But five years later the demand for justice is still unfulfilled.
Judges implicated in corruption and political cases have tended to be promoted, and those few known for their integrity and independence have been demoted and fired.
To create an island of justice in Ukraine’s corrupt judiciary, civil society and the nation’s Western partners have demanded the creation of the High Anti-Corruption Court, whose members are being selected now.
But members of the Public Integrity Council, the judiciary's civil society watchdog, say the authorities have all the tools at their disposal to block the selection of the most professional, independent, and impeccable candidates.
For hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, European liberties such as the freedom to work legally and the ability to live long-term and sell their services in the EU are becoming reality. These rights include the right of residence for persons of independent financial means.
However, this type of European integration is still largely a one-way street. There is very little movement of people from the EU into Ukraine.
Since April 2018, under the pretext of protecting its illegally constructed Kerch Bridge and fighting what it calls Ukraine’s “state piracy,” Russia has been brazenly conducting ad hoc inspections of merchant vessels headed to and from Ukraine. The unreasonably low clearance of the bridge combined with inspection delays hurts Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov, already costing the economy over a billion hryvnias ($36 million). In addition, Russia has increased its military presence there to about 120 patrol boats and ships.
This has caught Ukraine off guard.
Since 2017, at least 55 activists, journalists, and one opposition politician have been attacked. UkraineAlert asked activists and observers the following: What’s it like to be an activist in Ukraine today? Have you been threatened or attacked? Do you think the situation is getting better or worse? Who is responsible?
A draft law currently being considered by Ukraine’s parliament would require all media published in other languages to produce an identical Ukrainian version both online and in print. Radio and TV are also required to be in Ukrainian, with programs in other languages being dubbed. If passed, the law would threaten the existence of several excellent publications and potentially alienate some segments of the population.
“Russia has practically covered all of the Black Sea region,” says Hryhorii Perepelytsia, the head of the Kyiv-based Foreign Policy Research Institute. “It can destroy targets—for instance, NATO ships—right at the entrance via the straits of Bosporus and Dardanelles.”
Before the seizure of Crimea, both Ukraine and Russia agreed to regard the Sea of Azov as the internal waters of each state. Thus, the states had shared sovereignty over that body of water; in the case of disputes, they would resolve them jointly.
This result held until the invasion of Crimea.
Curiously, these sanctions are explicitly only economic, declaring that any assets on the territory of the Russian Federation belonging to these individuals and enterprises will be frozen, though one would presume that none of these people will be allowed to enter Russia and no trade with the sanctioned companies will be possible.
The sanctions focus mainly on two groups, politicians and businessmen.