Month: September 24, 2021 10:11 am

Ukrainian lawmakers have approved a draft bill directed at limiting the influence of oligarchs, the day after a car carrying a top aide of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who pushed for the reform, was riddled with bullets as it traveled through a village.

The second and final reading of the proposed legislation – known as “the oligarch law” – was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on September 23.

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KYIV – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered an impassioned speech at the 76th United Nations General Assembly in which he called on the world’s most prominent diplomatic convocation to do more to help end Russia’s war against his eastern European country.

Given on September 22 while back home assassins attempted to kill one of his top confidantes the same day, Mr. Zelenskyy told the assembly that it needs to live up to its mandate of maintaining peace and order throughout the world.

The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives has agreed to add legislation to the annual defense-spending bill that would place sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 project, potentially putting in jeopardy an agreement reached between the Biden administ­ration and Germany in July.

The House on September 22 unanimously passed on a voice vote a package of amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including the sanctions legislation.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelens­kyy is reverting to his earlier, forlorn hopes of improving relations with Russia through a personal meeting with President Vladimir Putin. The Ukrainian president is eager to meet Mr. Putin “any time, any place” – whether bilaterally or in the framework of a “Normandy” summit (Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France). The chief of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak, is negotiating the conditions for a Zelenskyy-Putin meeting in either of those formats. This track ended badly for Mr. Zelenskyy in 2019 (see Eurasia Daily Monitor, October 3, 16, 17, December 5, 2019).

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Parliament passes bill banning anti-Semitism

Ukraine’s parliament has passed a law defining anti-Semitism and banning it in the country. The Verkhovna Rada on September 22 approved a second reading of the bill by 283 votes with the required minimum of 226, sending it to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for his signature to become law. Mr. Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, has said he lost relatives in the Holocaust. An estimated 0.2 percent of Ukraine’s population of 41 million is Jewish. The legislation defines anti-Semitism as hatred of Jews, calling for or justifying attacks on the minority, making false or hateful statements about Jews and denying the mass extermination of Jews during the Holocaust.

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NEW YORK – President Volodymyr Zelens­kyy met with dozens of leaders representing various Ukrainian community organizations at the Ukrainian Institute of America (UIA) on September 21 during his working visit to the United States. His primary reason for the visit to the U.S. was to participate in the opening of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Following the singing of the Ukrainian national anthem, Mr. Zelenskyy began his address by highlighting the active role of the Ukrainian community in the U.S. and its close working relationship with Ukraine.

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KYIV – Some 7,000 supporters of LGBT rights marched peacefully on September 19 in Ukraine’s capital in what was this city’s 10th gay pride parade. Organizers of the march said that, as opposed to previous pride parades that did incur violence, this year’s march was peaceful with only a handful of minor provocations.

This was also the first time that organizers of the march expressed demands on the Ukrainian government. Those demands, published in a manifesto signed by 15 non-governmental organizations, asked the Ukrainian government to adopt a bill to combat discrimination and create a procedure for holding people who commit crimes motivated by homophobia, transphobia and other forms of intolerance legally liable.

Sincere thanks to all contributors to The Ukrainian Weekly Press Fund.

The Ukrainian Weekly Press Fund is the only fund dedicated exclusively to supporting the work of this publication.

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Andriy Shevchenko’s September 3 press conference sent tremors across Ukraine’s football landscape. The coach rocked and shocked the public when he revealed his reasons for departing the coaching duties of the country’s national team.

Ukraine’s national soccer team performed well at the Euro 2020 soccer championship, benefiting from some good luck, but, nonetheless, exhibiting positive results. Indeed, the quarterfinal showing by the young Ukrainian squad, still in a development stage, turned out to be quite successful.

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This has been an unusually busy and eventful week for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.  Having visited the United States a few weeks earlier, he began his week by flying back to the United States to address the 76th United Nations General Assembly on September 22, where he pleaded with world leaders to do more to help end Russia’s war against Ukraine.

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Five years ago, on September 29, 2016, Ukraine marked the 75th anniversary of the World War II-era mass execution of 33,771 Jews at the Babyn Yar ravine on the outskirts of Kyiv. World leaders attended the official commemoration, hosted by President Petro Poroshenko, which included Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who was on a working visit to Ukraine but had to return to Israel on September 28 after the death of Israeli statesman Shimon Peres.

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