German Chancellor Angela Merkel (center) hosts talks in Berlin with Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Francois Hollande of France regarding the war in Ukraine.

Leaders agree to draft road map to implement Minsk agreement

The leaders of Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia agreed to draw up a road map by the end of next month to carry out the Minsk peace agreement for eastern Ukraine. After six hours of talks on the wars in Ukraine and Syria on October 19-20 in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel emerged to say the leaders “didn’t achieve miracles,” but the road map would enable all sides to keep pushing ahead with the 2015 Minsk peace agreement. The leaders also discussed creating zones of disengagement between the warring parties in eastern Ukraine, as well as measures to improve the humanitarian situation there, she said. “It’s urgently necessary to keep having such talks in order not to lose momentum,” said Ms. Merkel. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the road map “should have the sequence of the implementation of the Minsk agreements and guarantee their implementation.”

He also said the leaders agreed to withdrawals of Ukrainian troops and Russia-backed separatists in four new areas on the front line of the fighting in the Donbas region.

Petro Rondiak stands outside the Winner Group of Companies’ 9,000-square meter, $22 million distribution and office building in a Kyiv suburb.

Ukrainian American businessman optimistic about the future of Ukraine

KAPITANIVKA, Ukraine – As the son of a Green Beret serviceman, Petro Rondiak grew up moving around a lot. He spent two years in Stuttgart, Germany, and has resided in Boston, Washington and Philadelphia. In 1995, the 50-year-old father of three children finally cemented his feet in his ancestral homeland of Ukraine to help a sprawling Ford car dealership network founded by John Hynansky – a Ukrainian American who was already an established successful car dealer in America in several eastern states. Mr. Rondiak had no automotive experience, but had technical training as an engineer with Raytheon, a major U.S. defense contractor, and knowledge of the Ukrainian language. Those qualities were enough for his former roommate and fellow Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization member in Philadelphia, Bohdan Kulchycky, to recruit him in 1995 at Winner Automotive in Kyiv at the behest of Mr. Hynansky, who started the company three years ealier.

“RED LINES” FOR UKRAINE: Ukrainian think tanks issue memo on implementation of Minsk agreements

The Kyiv-based Institute of World Policy initiated and prepared, together with other Ukrainian think tanks, a memo for Ukrainian authorities regarding “red lines” for a compromise that should not be crossed by Ukraine within the framework of the implementation of the Minsk agreements. Following is the full text of the October 12 document. On the ceasefire:

• A complete and sustainable ceasefire should be maintained according to clause 1 of the “Package of Measures” during disarmament and withdrawal of troops (clauses 2 and 3 of the “Package of Measures”) and until the full restoration of control of the border by Ukraine. • The ceasefire should be observed by the OSCE Monitoring Mission and the Joint Control and Coordination Center established within the Trilateral Contact Group. On disarmament:

• If, until the time of the elections, military equipment and armaments remain on Ukraine’s territory in special security storages, those storages should be guarded by the representatives of an international mission with a military component.

Russian military theorists consider future war: Bridging the NATO-Russia gap

Russian military theorists have a long-developed reputation for paying close attention to the possible contours of future wars. And now – in the context of Moscow’s military modernization, its involvement in armed conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, as well as its continued strained relations with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – Russian theorists are again actively assessing trends in modern warfare and what they will mean for the future of the country’s armed forces. A range of real-world actions implemented by Moscow in recent months, ranging from strengthening air defense for the deployed forces in Syria, changes to ground forces’ structures, or reportedly moving the conventional and nuclear-capable strike system Iskander-M (without nuclear warheads) into Kaliningrad, connect intrinsically with how the top brass and leading military thinkers view future warfare (see Eurasia Daily Monitor, October 6, 12, 13; Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, October 7; Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, October 4). It is in this context that one of the most significant works in recent years to examine Russian perspectives on future warfare was recently published. “Voyna Budushchego: Kontseptualnyye Osnovy i Prakticheskiye Vyvody.

Russia flexes Iskander muscles on its northwestern flank

Over the past several months, Russia has been ramping up military activities on its northwestern flank (see Eurasia Daily Monitor, July 11). This was most recently underscored by the intensification of Moscow’s “Iskander diplomacy” and attempts to project the image of improving efficiency in the western-facing armed forces. Both elements revolve around Russia’s strategic outpost in the West – the Kaliningrad Oblast exclave. According to Lauri Lepik, the Republic of Estonia’s permanent representative to the North Atlantic Council, speaking on October 7, Russia was secretly transporting Iskander-M theater ballistic missile complexes to Kaliningrad Oblast. As proof, the Estonian official presented screen shots that depict the sea vessel Ambal, a civilian ferry from Ust-Luga (Soikinsky Peninsula, by the Gulf of Finland), being used for this purpose (, October 7).

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)

Sen. Rob Portman releases Ukrainian campaign ad

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Portman for Senate campaign on October 18 released a Ukrainian-language radio ad that highlights the Ohio senator’s work with the Ukrainian community. The ad copy (translated into English) reads in part: “As co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, Rob Portman is standing up for Ukraine in the United States Senate. Portman is leading the fight to condemn the Russian-backed separatist attacks, and he supports providing Ukraine with the necessary lethal weapons to defend itself.”

The advertisement also notes that the Republican senator is endorsed by the Ukrainian Civic League. The senator’s campaign said the ad will be run on targeted shows in Cleveland through Election Day. The campaign also pointed out in a news release that later that week Sen. Portman was to receive the Shevchenko Freedom Award from the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America.

“Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan are not the world’s only major ‘refugee’ hosting nations. Ukraine too hosts enormous numbers of people who have had to leave their homes because of war. Millions fled their homes in 2014 after Russian operatives and tanks invaded Ukraine’s eastern regions and annexed Crimea. …According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Social Policy, 1.7 million Ukrainians are officially registered as [internally displaced persons]. “…The death and destruction caused by Russia’s occupation, in human terms, is horrific.

The Ukrainian World Congress delegation at the Cabinet of Ministers (from left): UWC Vice-President Olena Koszarny, UWC Director of Humanitarian Initiatives Victor Hetmanczuk, UWC Vice-President Tamara Gallo Olexy, Director of the UWC Mission to Ukraine Serhiy Kasyanchuk, UWC Treasurer Zenon Potichny, UWC President Eugene Czolij, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, First Vice Prime Minister/Minister of Economic Development and Trade Stepan Kubiv and Vice Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kyrylenko.

UCCA leaders hold high-level meetings in Kyiv

NEW YORK – In late September, the newly elected president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), Andriy Futey, and his predecessor, Tamara Olexy, traveled to Kyiv on a four-day working visit. It was a packed schedule of meetings with members of the Verkhovna Rada, Cabinet ministers and the new U.S. envoy to Ukraine. On September 27, Mr. Futey and Ms. Olexy joined the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) delegation headed by UWC President Eugene Czolij at a signing ceremony with Ukraine’s Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, to sign a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Ukrainian World Congress. On September 28, the UCCA leaders and representatives of the UWC met with the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Ukrainian Parliament, Hanna Hopko, to discuss ongoing efforts to maintain U.S. and European sanctions on Russia and continued support of the U.S. administration and Congress in the current crisis in Eastern Ukraine. Afterwards, Ms. Hopko invited other members of the parliamentary committee to present their concerns and priorities.

Orysia Sushko (right), president of the World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations, with Dr. Iryna Kliuchkowska, director of the International Institute for Education, Culture and Relations with the Diaspora.

World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations holds annual meeting in Kyiv

TORONTO – The annual meeting of the World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations (WFUWO) was held on August 21-23 in Kyiv, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence. However, the celebration was clouded by the fact that this anniversary was being marked at a time when there was growing military aggression in eastern Ukraine. The meeting took place at the Kozatskyi Hotel on Kyiv’s Independence Square. Officially there were 18 delegates and nine official guests representing WFUWO member organizations. However, invited guests and representatives of women’s organizations of Ukraine were also present.

Minsk, again

Talks about the war in Ukraine resumed this week in the so-called Normandy format – Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia – with a meeting in Berlin on October 19. (U.S. involvement here is nil, as the Obama administration has basically said this is a European problem – no matter that the aggrieved party is a proclaimed strategic partner of the U.S.) The aim of the first four-way talks in over a year was to push ahead with implementation of the Minsk agreement of February 2015 (which superseded the earlier Minsk agreement of September 2014). It’s a severely flawed deal. For example, reference is made to the withdrawal of “foreign armed formations,” yet Russian forces are not mentioned; there is no mention at all of Russian-occupied Crimea; there is a call for local elections, without any concern about the security situation there or the ability of internally displaced persons who have fled their homes to vote. There have been calls in the past to scrap Minsk.

October 27, 1983

Thirty-three years ago, on October 27, 1983, U.S. forces – including U.S. Marines, U.S. Army Rangers, Paratroopers, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army Delta Force and U.S. Navy SEALs – airlifted nearly 500 medical students from the Caribbean island of Grenada, following the assassination of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop on October 19. Among those rescued from St. George’s Medical School was Ukrainian American Ruta Cholhan, a 23-year-old native of Brooklyn, who spoke with The Ukrainian Weekly about her 84-hour ordeal of isolation and uncertainty. Ms. Cholhan said that the U.S. invasion and liberation was “totally unexpected,” following the closing of the island’s airport. She noted that on the night before the landing, Grenadian troops had evacuated the beach in an apparent anticipation of an attack.

Ukrainian is now becoming de facto the language of Ukraine, Viatrovych says

Kyiv’s announcement that railway stations in Ukraine within three months will have signs in Ukrainian and English but not in Russian shows Ukrainian is becoming de facto and not just de jure language of Ukraine, and that Ukrainians want to dispense with the Russian imperial past and become part of Europe, Volodymyr Viatrovych says. In a commentary on the Apostrophe portal today, the director of Kyiv’s Institute of National Remembrance says that Ukrainian is the only state language in Ukraine and that “there are no people in Ukraine who do not understand [it]” ( As for the use of English, he continues, “this is testimony to the openness of Ukraine to the world because it is one of the main world languages” and is a way to make Ukrainian closer to Europe and to those of its residents “who do not understand Ukrainian.”

And as for the dropping of Russian, this is part and parcel of the broader need Ukrainians feel for dispensing with “the Soviet-imperial heritage.” Some people thought that doing this or renaming streets, cities and villages in Ukraine could lead “almost to a civil war, but nothing of the kind happened.”

Mr. Viatrovych says that he is “certain that Ukrainians must give exclusively Ukrainian names to population points. There should not be any piety for Russian toponymy in Ukraine,” although it is of course entirely possible to have place names drawn from figures in Russian culture. But “their domination seems to me completely inappropriate.”

“If someone very much likes Russian toponymy, Russian culture, Russian language and Russian history, then it is obvious that for such people there is their own state – Russia,” he comments.

Anti-Americanism is ‘cult of Putin’s Russia’ with all the consequences thereof, says historian

“Anti-Americanism,” Vladimir Pastukhov says, “is the Marxism of ‘the Russian spring’ and the religion of the ‘post-modern’ post-Communist rebirth. It is the guide to any action and at the same time a universal indulgence” and explanation of all problems Moscow faces. It is in short, the Russian historian at the London School of Economics says, “the new cult of Putin’s Russia,” reflecting the fact that “Russia no longer loves America, but as before cannot live without her. If the Americans did not exist, it would be necessary to invent them” ( This cult is “not simply a continuation of an old trend,” he suggests, but rather “a transition to some completely new quality,” containing as it does “something neurotic” and in some cases as “poorly concealed hysteria.” And like any other hysteria, it has “earthly and rational” roots in three things: folly, rage and jitters.

Stop Putin, stop the war, stop the killing of our people

Following is the text of a statement released on October 13 by the Illinois Division of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America for the October 14 international day of protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his war in Ukraine. 

The day of protest was organized via social media and was reported to include events worldwide, including in cities in Switzerland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Latvia, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Rumania, the Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Hungary, Israel, Poland, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ukraine and others. The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), Illinois Division, joins our fellow Americans, our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, and friends of Ukraine throughout the world, in condemning Putin’s military aggression in Ukraine. October 14 has been designated as a day of protest, calling upon the world community to “Stop Putin – Stop the War in Ukraine.”

Russian military formations and their surrogates, including advanced weapons systems, continue to pour into the Donbas region, in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian defense forces and the civilian population along the war zone are subjected to incessant shelling – over 10,000 have died, thousands more wounded and over 1.8 million have been driven from their homes. Therefore, we appeal to President Obama and to the international community to force Putin to stop the killing.

Trump’s policies dangerous to Ukraine

Dear Editor:

In his attack piece on Hillary Clinton (letters, September 18), Volodymyr Kurylo has displayed startling ignorance not only of U.S. export control laws but also of the danger Donald Trump’s election would pose to Ukraine and the U.S.

First, export of sensitive technology from the U.S. requires an export license and U.S. government review. Contrary to what Mr. Kurylo believes, such acquisitions most likely can take place via espionage not foundation activities. Second, surely Mr. Kurylo must have read the papers and is aware of Mr. Trump’s pro-Putin stance. Is there any doubt that Mr. Trump’s policies could end Ukraine’s independence and lead to attacks on NATO countries? It is absurd to reminisce about 1953 and ignore the threats of 2016.