Ukraine boldly goes where no NATO member dared go

Last month, Ukrainian special forces conducted a daring operation in Kabul to rescue 19 Afghan refugees, among them translators, including one whom worked for Canada’s leading newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and another who served in the Canadian military, as well as their families. They arrived in Kyiv on August 29.

This rescue was coordinated by the Ukrainian military, the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and The Globe and Mail. Mark MacKinnon, the Globe and Mail’s senior international correspondent, not only broke the story but was integral in co-ordinating the rescue, reported CTV News.

Musings on current state of U.S.-Ukraine relations

U.S.-Ukraine relations are back on solid ground. Despite U.S. President Joe Biden’s ill-advised decision earlier in the year to lift the waiver on Nord Stream 2 sanctions, the overall trajectory is in a positive direction, especially following Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s recent Washington visit.

Some words that came to my mind in describing the visit are “encouraging,” “reassuring” and “heartening,” especially after some of the turmoil, neglect and even exploitation that our bilateral relations experienced under our previous president.

Selfreliance FCU holds blessing of new branch office

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. – The Selfreliance Federal Credit Union (SFCU) held a ceremony to bless a new branch office in Hamtramck, Mich., located across from Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Hamtramck, Mich., Mayor Karen Majewski, together with SFCU’s Chairman of the Board of Directors Oleh Karawan and President and CEO Vitaliy Kutnyy officiated at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

What does it mean to be Ukrainian enough?
Documentary “The Long Breakup” tackles question of Ukrainian identity

CHICAGO – Can a Russian-speaking, Soviet-raised, Kharkiv-born woman, who spent her childhood summers in Russia singing Russian folk songs with her Russian grandmother, be Ukrainian? For Forbes journalist and editorial director Katya Soldak, it took a decade of soul-searching travel between Brooklyn and Kharkiv to answer that question.

This past summer, the Ukrainian National Museum hosted its first live event in over a year, during which Ms. Soldak shared her intimate journey in her feature-length documentary “The Long Breakup” with 50 viewers.

Ukrainians of Hunter celebrate 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s renewed independence

JEWETT, N.Y. – The Ukrainian community located in and around Hunter, N.Y., gathered here to mark the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s renewed independence with two commemorative programs held at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church’s Grazhda community hall.

In the first event, Tina Peresunko, a Fulbright Scholar from Ukraine who is conducting research in the United States on the history of the Ukrainian Republican Capella (later known as the Ukrainian National Chorus), discussed the organization, cultural diplomacy and the group’s international tours of 1919-1924.

Ukrainian Usyk unanimously defeats Joshua

Several days before their September 25 showdown at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, a nervous Eddie Hearn was expecting a mentally “draining” fight for his client Anthony Joshua of Great Britain. Joshua had height, reach and weight advantages going into defending his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles against Oleksandr Usyk. Yet Hearn, among other noted boxing pundits, anticipated perhaps the toughest test of the Briton’s career.

Usyk plays ‘joker’ at press conference

In addition to sending shockwaves from his momentous victory at boxing’s most recent heavyweight summit, Oleksandr Usyk received much attention for his fashionable role playing. The Ukrainian has brought a refreshing, personable charm into the upper echelon of heavyweight boxing after plowing through the cruiserweight ranks as undisputed champion. He is being hailed as one of the sport’s more interesting personalities, as evidenced by the fighter’s choice of attire for the September 23 press conference with then-champion Anthony Joshua. The head-shaven challenger opted to dress as Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘Joker’ character from the movie of the same name.

Lomachenko trained Usyk for Joshua bout

Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22 KO) of Great Britain was set to defend his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight title belts against Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13 KO) at Totten­ham Hotspur Stadium in London on September 25. Usyk asked his amateur mentor Anatoly Lomachenko to put together a training regimen to secure a world title triumph. The fight pitted two London 2012 Olympic gold medalists against each other, with Joshua topping the podium in the super-heavyweight division, while the decorated Ukrainian (trained at the time by Anatoly Loma­chenko) reigned supreme in the heavyweight bracket.

Car with Zelenskyy’s top aide riddled with bullets in assassination attempt
President’s longtime friend survives amid string of assassinations and attempts on other high-level figures since start of east Ukraine war

KYIV – At about 10 a.m. on September 22, one or more shooter fired a volley of at least 18 bullets from the woods at a black, four-door Audi sedan along the road between the villages of Lisnyky and Khodosivka in Kyiv Oblast. Inside the vehicle was the president’s top aide, Serhiy Shefir, and a driver. The unidentified driver was shot three times and hospitalized in critical condition while Mr. Shefir survived unscathed. “The purpose of this crime was not to scare, but to kill,” Interior Affairs Minister Denys Monastyrsky said at a joint briefing the same day with Mr. Shefir. “Greeting me with shots from the forest at my friend’s car is a weakness.

Parliament approves ‘oligarch law,’ day after attack on top presidential aide

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.

Zelenskyy pleads with U.N. to do more to end Russia’s war against Ukraine

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.

U.S. House votes for sanctions in 11th-hour attempt to undermine Nord Stream 2

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.

Kyiv airing disappointment with Western policies

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).


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.

President Zelenskyy meets with Ukrainian community in New York

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.