Nieuws Democracy

Nieuws over politieke trainingen en ontwikkelingen in Oost- en Zuidoost Europa, de Kaukasus, Afrika en het Midden Oosten

Moscow threatens to block BBC over separatist interview

A Siberian independence march that was planned in Novosibirsk for 17 August was banned by the Russian government yesterday. In parallel, authorities have threatened to block BCC’s Russian version over its reports on separatist protests and more precisely an interview of the march’s organiser, Artyom Loskutov. They declared his intervention "calls to mass unrest, extremist activities or participation in illegal public events", which is legally forbidden in the Russian Federation. The event contradicts Moscow’s recent support to independence movements in former Soviet states such as Ukraine and Moldova.

Gaza : 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire launches peace negotiations in Cairo

Twenty-nine days after the beginning of the “Protective Edge” operation launched by the Israeli Army, Tsahal, Israel has started withdrawing its soldiers from the Gaza Strip. After several failed attempts to install a ceasefire, both sides have agreed to indirect negotiations under Egyptian conditions. Israeli and Hamas delegations should start peace talks in Cairo today.

Tension rises in Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Caucasus is under strain of renewed tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. An outbreak of fighting in Azerbaijan’s breakaway region left more than fifteen soldiers dead, while both Armenian and Azeri government accused each other of fuelling clashes. Recent events have been the deadliest since the 1994 ceasefire and raise concern about a degeneration of the conflict.

Kosovo leaders face crimes against humanity charges

Senior Kosovo leaders face indictment for crimes against humanity after a report by US prosecutor Clint Williamson was released on 29 July. The charges include killings, abductions, disappearances, sexual violence and other forms of persecutions against Serb and Roma minority populations, as well as political opponents, since the end of the conflict with Serbia in 1999. Although the suspects are not named, they are referred to as "senior officials of the former Kosovo Liberation Army" (KLA), who fought against Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbian regime. The EU special investigative task force (SITF) which led the investigation is likely to prosecute some top figures of Kosovo politics, who accessed leadership positions after the country’s independence in 2008.

Russia to pay USD50 billion in historic Yukos case

The Hague’s Permanent Arbitration Court sentenced Russia to pay the historically high amount of USD 50 billion to oil company Yukos shareholders on Monday 28 July. This sum represents a compensation for the breaking up and nationalisation of the company in 2005. Most of its assets had been transferred to majority state-owned Rosneft, one of the companies that have been targeted by the United States’ latest sanctions against Russia. The ruling may have big consequences on Russia’s economic stability while the country is on the verge of recession.

Ukraine ruling coalition collapses after Communist Party is banned.

Two Ukrainian parties left the majority coalition in Parliament today. The Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR) and the All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda declared they would leave Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s government in order to call for new elections and clear what the leader of Svoboda called “Moscow agents” in the chamber. The news could put an end to dissolution of the Ukrainian Communist Party that was agreed on by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday 22 July. The decision was contested by the Communist Party which filed a complaint, and declared that it underlines the "lawlessness prevailing" in Ukraine.

UPDATED - Israeli ground offensive in Gaza increases war casualties

The ground offensive launched by Israel in the Gaza strip on 18 July has led to an escalation of the death toll on both Israeli and Palestinian side. So far, 28 Israeli soldiers were killed while the Palestinian death tolls steadily reaches 600. The United Nations children’s agency, Unicef declared that a third of them were children. The bombardment of the city of Shejaiya in Gaza city on Sunday 20 July led to the death of about 60 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers, making it the bloodiest day since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge. United States Secretary of State John Kerry and UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon met today in Cairo, in order to reactivate the 2012 ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

UPDATED - Malaysian MH17 crash : anger grows as investigations stagnate

298 people died on Thursday 17 July in the crash of Malaysian Airlines MH 17 passenger plane flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, in the unstable region of Donetsk in Ukraine. While uncertainties remain as for how the plane was effectively attacked, 272 bodies had already been found this morning and loaded on two refrigerated railroad cars. The tragedy has raised a lot of international reactions and anger as the area was controlled by pro-Russian separatists suspected of launching a missile that hit the plane and later taking evidence away from the crash scene. Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged the warring parties to ensure an international investigation that can take place in the Donetsk region, while the United Nations Security Council is issuing a resolution.

US-EU impose toughest targeted sanctions on Russia since Ukraine crisis start

The United States and the European Union have increased the level of their sanctions against Russia on Wednesday 16 July. For the first time, they have targeted Russian enterprises specialised in gas and petrol, which maintain close relations to the central power in Moscow. US President Barack Obama underlined that Russia faces economic weakening and diplomatic isolation as a result of politic decisions in Ukraine. The European Union also decided to target the entities that materially and financially support breaches to the Ukrainian sovereignty.

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