Blasts at arms depots in Bulgaria, Czech Republic part of Russian plot to thwart Ukraine

KYIV – A secretive Russian military intelligence unit has been implicated in a series of explosions at munitions depots in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic as part of a long-term clandestine operation to cripple the supply of weapons for Ukraine’s war effort.

A spokeswoman for the Bulgarian Prosecutor-General’s Office, Silka Mileva, said on April 28 that six Russian nationals are being investigated for their alleged role in blasts at four weapons and armament facilities between 2011 and 2020, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported in Sofia.

Ukraine elected to Executive Council of United Nations Women

KYIV – The United Nations Economic and Social Council elected Ukraine to the Executive Council of U.N. Women for 2022-2024. Beginning on January 1, 2022, Ukraine will be among 17 states leading the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (U.N. Women).

Russia’s bluffing, huffing and puffing: where do things stand?

While the tensions created by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s massing of military forces on Ukraine’s eastern border have temporarily abated, the uncertainty and apprehension continue.  Where do things stand at present?

Behind the intensive diplomatic activity of recent weeks, posturing and probing by all the actors involved have continued. On the surface no visible changes in the status quo have occurred, but in fact there are signs that new nuances and dynamics have been introduced with potentially significant implications.

NEWSBRIEFS

Head of Naftogaz replaced

Ukraine’s government has replaced the head of Naftogaz, the country’s largest oil and gas company, after it posted a loss of nearly $700 million last year. The government’s press service said on April 28 that Andriy Kobolyev was dismissed from the post and acting Energy Minister Yuriy Vitrenko will take over the state-owned giant due to “unsatisfactory” results of the company’s operations in 2020. Deputy Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko will replace Mr. Vitrenko, the press service said. Earlier in the day, a lawmaker representing the ruling Servant of the People party, Olha Vasylevska-Smahlyuk, wrote on Telegram that the government fired Mr. Kobolyev “at last.”

Coalition Against Funding Putin’s Neo-Fascism

The following letter, addressed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and signed by the authors, was released on April 30 by the ad hoc Coalition Against Funding Putin’s Neo-Fascism.

Dear Madam Chancellor:

We appeal to you, madam chancellor, to take immediate measures to halt all construction on Nord Stream 2 (NS2) until [Russian President Vladimir] Putin removes all Russian troops from Ukraine’s territory, and Alexei Navalny is freed.

Chornobyl’s deadly legacy: 35 years on

The following statement was released by the Ukrainian World Congress on April 26.

On April 26, the world marks 35 years since the Chornobyl nuclear disaster. The world stands with Ukraine in honoring the memory of the victims and remembering the heroism of the emergency responders. Their sacrifices and suffering must never be forgotten.

35th anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster

The following statement was released by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America on April 26.

On April 26, 1986, a tragedy of unspeakable magnitude occurred at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant in northern Ukraine. At 1:23 a.m., an explosion at the plant blew the concrete roof off reactor No. 4 spewing huge amounts of toxic radioactive particles into the atmosphere. Other than immediate attempts by Chornobyl workers to put out the fire caused by the explosion, there was no official government reaction to this catastrophe – no announcements were made, no warnings given – nothing that showed the slightest concern for the population of Ukraine, or for the global community in general.

Commemorating the Chornobyl nuclear disaster

The following statement was released by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress on April 26.

Today, the world commemorates the 35th anniversary of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) asks all Canadians to pause today in remembrance of the thousands of victims of this terrible tragedy.

On April 26, 1986, a reactor at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant near Pripyat, Ukraine, exploded and melted down. The disaster affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, with the effect still being felt today in Ukraine and Belarus.

UOCC announces postponement of 24th Sobor until 2022

WINNIPEG – The Consistory Board of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada (UOCC) resolved on April 16 to postpone its 24th Sobor of the UOCC, and requested that the Church’s prime hierarch, Metropolitan Yurij, immediately call the Sobor to be held in 2022 at a time and place determined by the Consistory Board, no later than July 10, 2022.