LVIV – As of the morning of June 24, there were 4,423 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Lviv region – 120 of them fatal. There are currently 3,603 active cases of COVID-19 in the region, which makes it the most infected part of Ukraine. (There are about 3,000 active cases in the city of Kyiv and nearly 2,600 active cases in the Chernivtsi region.)
Furthermore, Lviv Oblast now has the highest rate of increase in infections with the novel coronavirus.
As a result, Lviv is among those regions of Ukraine where quarantine restrictions have not been lifted to the next level. The daily disinfection of entrances and public transport, and the washing of roads and sidewalks, as well as playgrounds, continue in Lviv.
WASHINGTON – Freedom House on June 19 awarded the 2019-2020 Mark Palmer Prize to Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland for her tireless work championing democracy through advocacy, journalism and policymaking.
The Mark Palmer Prize, given in honor of the late U.S. ambassador and foreign policy innovator Mark Palmer, recognizes diplomats and civil servants who have gone beyond their normal course of duties to promote democracy and human rights.
Rainstorms in western Ukraine have killed three people and forced hundreds of others to evacuate their homes. The flooding has affected Ukraine’s western regions of Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi, Zakarpattia and Lviv.
The three deaths occurred in the Verkhovyna district of the Ivano-Frankivsk region, an area that has been cut off by flooded roads.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Internal Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov have visited the disaster zone – an area where one emergency service report said about 5,000 houses in 187 villages remained flooded early on June 24.
Relations between Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have long been complicated, sometimes even uncertain. From hopes for membership after the Bucharest Summit in April 2008, to effectively declaring Ukraine neutral during Viktor Yanukovych’s presidency; from the reactivation of a Euro-Atlantic integration course following Russian aggression in early 2014, to new doubts after Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s victory in the last presidential election.
For the last several years, there was at least one important sticking point on Ukraine’s path toward membership in the organization: the position of Hungary, whose government had officially blocked important progress at the NATO-Ukraine Commission (see Eurasia Daily Monitor, June 3, 4, 8). A new round in this struggle occurred late last month, when Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba rushed to Budapest by car (due to continued quarantine limitations on air and rail travel) to meet with his Hungarian counterpart, Péter Szijjártó (Radiosvoboda.org, May 29).
Ukraine, as of the morning of June 23, had 20,554 COVID-19 cases, according to the National Security and Defense Council’s epidemic monitoring system. Meanwhile, the Public Health Center of the Health Ministry of Ukraine reported that in the previous 24 hours 940 new cases of COVID-19 were registered, 453 of those previously infected had recovered, and 16 people had died. There were 681 cases on June 22; 735 on June 21; 841 cases on June 20; and 921 cases on June 19. In turn, on the website of the National Security and Defense Council’s COVID-19 epidemic monitoring system, the number of people infected totally since the beginning of the pandemic as of the morning of Tuesday amounted to 39,014 people, some 17,409 people recovered and 1,051 people died. The largest number of new cases was detected in the Lviv region (203), Rivne region (126) and Zakarpattia region (78). (Ukrinform)
Kyiv is adding Ukrainian citizens from the Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine’s east as members of Kyiv’s delegation to the Minsk Contact Group (see Eurasia Daily Monitor, June 15, 17). But this is only one aspect of the delegation’s thorough overhaul. At the same time, Kyiv has turned its Contact Group delegation from a semi-official one into a fully governmental and parliamentary delegation, under the Presidential Office’s and the government’s hands-on management, albeit bringing Ukrainian citizens from Donetsk-Luhansk along as delegation members.
The following statement was issued on June 20 by Canadian Member of Parliament Yvan Baker (Etobicoke Center, Ontario).
Today we mark the 100th anniversary of the official end of internment operations in Canada during the first world war.
From 1914 to 1920, more than 8,000 civilians, most of them immigrants, were interned as “enemy aliens” in 24 locations across Canada. They were subjected to xenophobia and prejudice, fired from their jobs, deprived of their possessions and civil rights, then forced to work as laborers in some of the most remote regions of Canada. They suffered in the internment camps for years.
Ukrainian civic leaders, including former political prisoners of the Soviet regime Josef Zissels, Myroslav Marynovych, Mykola Horbal, Larysa Lokhvytska, Oles Shevchenko and Leonid Milyavsky, on June 14 published an open letter to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. (The English-language text that follows is from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Daily Briefing. The open letter is available in the original Ukrainian on Mr. Zissels’ Facebook page.)
We have written this letter in response to recent events that are returning our country to the times of [Viktor] Yanukovych. After the Revolution of Dignity, arbitrariness, selective justice and political persecution were supposed to be gone from Ukraine forever.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound effect on the global community, including the Ukrainian National Association, a fraternal benefit society that serves the Ukrainian community and its members throughout North America. And yet, we are proud to say, UNA operations have continued throughout the pandemic.
At the UNA’s Home Office, which is based in Parsippany, N.J., we reacted immediately and put into effect a business contingency plan previously developed for such an eventuality. Out of an abundance of caution, our Home Office was closed and, beginning on Monday, March 16, our employees began to work remotely in order to continue serving our members without disruption. Thus, the UNA was focused on both protecting the health of its Home Office staff and meeting the needs of its thousands of members.
There’ve been some strange goings on lately in Ukraine, as former President Petro Poroshenko has been repeatedly called in for court hearings on a variety of criminal charges. Among them were such ludicrous charges as “treason” and “inciting religious enmity.” (We refer you to the commentary on the right.) Many observers see these cases as political persecution by the administration of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of his predecessor and opponent in the most recent presidential election.
On June 14, a group of civic leaders, including former Soviet political prisoners, released an open letter to President Zelenskyy (see page 3) to express their outrage over the actions of the State Bureau of Investigations and the Prosecutor General’s Office, which are bringing back “arbitrariness, selective justice and political persecution.”