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Mar 25, 2015

Ukraine leader fires oligarch Kolomoisky as regional chief

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s president has fired billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky as governor of a key region in the east, the presidential website said on Wednesday, after armed men that lawmakers said were linked to the oligarch raided a state-owned oil firm.

Kolomoisky has been at the center of a political storm since the masked men briefly entered the offices of UkrTransNafta on Thursday night after its director, his ally, was summarily replaced.

Mar 20, 2015

Ukrainian oligarch under fire after night raid on state oil firm

KIEV (Reuters) – A raid by a group of armed men in combat fatigues on a state-owned oil company in the Ukrainian capital Kiev caused uproar in parliament on Friday and thrust banking billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky into the spotlight.

Two parliamentary deputies accused Kolomoisky of sending the masked men into the offices of UkrTransNafta late on Thursday night after it was announced that its chairman, an ally of the 52-year-old oligarch, had been sacked.

Mar 19, 2015

Ukraine peace plan creaks amid fresh Russian-Ukrainian dispute

KIEV (Reuters) – A peace plan to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine came under renewed strain on Wednesday, with Ukraine and Russia clashing publicly over the next steps and further Ukrainian military casualties from rebel attacks testing a fragile ceasefire.

Moscow reacted sharply after Ukraine agreed on Tuesday to confer special status on rebel-controlled eastern regions and grant them limited self-rule – but only once local elections had been held under Ukrainian law, something unpalatable for rebel leaders who have proclaimed their own “people’s republics”.

Mar 18, 2015

Ukraine peace plan creaks as Russia and Ukraine row

KIEV (Reuters) – A peace plan to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine came under renewed strain on Wednesday, with Ukraine and Russia rowing publicly over the next steps and further Ukrainian military casualties from rebel attacks testing a fragile ceasefire.

Moscow reacted sharply after Ukraine agreed on Tuesday to confer special status on rebel-controlled eastern regions and grant them limited self-rule – but only once local elections had been held under Ukrainian law, something unpalatable for rebel leaders who have proclaimed their own “people’s republics”.

Mar 17, 2015

Ukraine parliament offers special status for rebel east, Russia criticizes

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s parliament voted on Tuesday to offer limited self-rule to pro-Russian rebels in the east to try to preserve Western support for peace efforts, despite some deputies saying it would give separatists more scope to tighten their grip on the region.

The law granting “special status” to “people’s republics” proclaimed by the separatists was a follow-up to a peace agreement worked out in Belarus last month.

Feb 20, 2015

Options narrow for Ukraine’s Poroshenko after Debaltseve defeat

KIEV (Reuters) – The loss of the key town of Debaltseve to Russian-backed separatists, the latest in a string of big battlefield defeats for Ukraine, narrows the options for President Poroshenko in his dealings both with Moscow and with the West.

No sooner did the strategic railway junction fall to the rebels on Wednesday, with thousands of Ukrainian soldiers withdrawing under fire, than separatists re-opened another old front, attacking government positions near Mariupol, a strategic coastal city in the south-east.

Feb 18, 2015

A year after revolution, Ukraine struggles with old hang-ups

KIEV, Feb 18 (Reuters) – The former power company executive
yanked up his trouser leg to show the electronic bracelet round
his ankle that would alert police if he tried to make a run for
it from Kiev.

“And all this when I am not guilty of anything and there has
been no crime,” said Volodymyr Zinevich.

Feb 13, 2015

Fighting rages in run-up to Ukraine ceasefire

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine and Russian-backed rebels fought fiercely for control of a strategic railway junction on Friday despite a new peace deal brokered by Germany and France.

A ceasefire is due to come into effect from Sunday under the agreement, which also envisages a withdrawal of the heavy weaponry responsible for many of the more than 5,000 casualties in the conflict that broke out almost a year ago.

Feb 6, 2015

German, French leaders head for Moscow to press for Ukraine peace

MOSCOW/KIEV, (Reuters) – The leaders of Germany and France are expected to take peace proposals to Moscow on Friday on the second leg of a dramatic initiative to end a confict in Ukraine that has killed more than 5,000 people and driven Russia-West relations to new lows.

The coordinated trip by Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande to see Russia’s Vladimir Putin followed five hours of late-night talks with Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko in snow-bound Kiev.

Feb 5, 2015

German, French leaders take Ukraine peace plan to Moscow

KIEV (Reuters) – The leaders of Germany and France announced a new peace plan for Ukraine on Thursday, flying to Kiev with a new proposal they would then take on to Moscow.

The importance of reaching a deal was demonstrated by a dramatic collapse in Ukraine’s hryvnia currency, which lost nearly a third of its value after the central bank halted daily auctions at which it sold hard currency to banks.