Medvedchuk tapes, Gaza return, Belarus plane hijacking, Eurovision: Ukraine’s week in review.

KYIV NOT KIEV reviews what happened in Ukraine last week: new intercepts allegedly proving the criminal intentions of pro-Russian politician Medvdechuk to sell off a Ukrainian pipeline, the return of Ukrainian citizens from the Gaza strip, Ukraine’s response to the Lukashenka regime hijacking of a plane carrying Belarusian dissident journalist Roman Protasevich, and the success of Go_A’s Shum on Eurovision and beyond.

Journalists published new records regarding Medvedchuk

Ukrainian investigative journalists have published conversations that purportedly were held by oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk and testify the latters’ criminal role in betraying Ukraine’s interests. Records, dating back to 2015-2016, prove that Medvedchuk was negotiating with Russian officials, including the head of “Transneft,” Nikolay Tokarev. Medvedchuk promises to return Ukraine’s oil pipeline, which belonged to Ukraine by right of succession from the USSR, to the Russian company “Transneft.”

According to Bihus.info, at the last stage of nationalization, Ukraine abandoned the pipeline. Thus, it became the property of a Swiss company, which Medvedchuk allegedly owns, although it is registered to a completely different person. The person with Medvedchuk’s voice connects the refusal of the oil pipeline with someone in the upper echelons of Ukrainian authorities who were interested in giving the pipeline to Russia. The Ukrainian media suggests that the former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko is meant.

The press service of the 5th president has already hastened to refute any allegations about Poroshenko’s connection to the subject of the conversations on these recordings.

It is the second time that investigative journalists have published records featuring Medvedchuk. On previously published recordings, Medvedchuk talks to former Putin aide Vladislav Surkov and discusses contacts with “Defense Minister” of the so-called Donetsk People`s Republic Kononov, corruption schemes in the occupied territories, the Minsk agreements, and the special status of Donbas.

Let us remind you that Medvedchuk is the leader of a pro-Russian political party in the Ukrainian Parliament. He owns many media outlets and is allegedly a close friend of Putin. The latter is highly questionable because, as recordings show, it is clear that Medvedchuk, who positions himself as someone who can influence the Kremlin and Putin personally, couldn’t meet with Russia’s leader for weeks and therefore talked to administration officials. Medvedchuk is currently under house arrest. He is accused of treason and attempted looting of national resources in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea.

Ukrainian diplomats returned Ukrainian, Moldovan, and Bulgarian citizens from Gaza Strip

This morning, Ukraine conducted a special operation to return Ukrainian citizens from Gaza Strip. Additionally, our diplomats did not leave in trouble citizens of Moldova and Bulgaria. 109 Ukrainian, 13 Moldovan, 4 Bulgarian citizens returned to Ukraine from Gaza because of military conflict in the region.

“Ukraine is among the first to successfully complete an international humanitarian mission by evacuating citizens of three countries from Gaza. We never abandon our citizens and we help partners. Grateful to Egypt and the entire Ukrainian diplomatic team for successful cooperation,” – stated Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

Active hostilities have been going on since May 10, when Hamas escalated the conflict by firing missiles at Jerusalem. Israel, in turn, unleashed airstrikes against Gaza. After 11 days and more than 200 victims of this war, Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease-fire.

What are the origins of the conflict? In 1947, the United Nations divided Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, and Jerusalem became an international city. Jewish leaders supported this plan, but Arab side disagreed. Since then, the conflict between Israel and Palestine remains on the global agenda. Nowadays, Palestinians live in East Jerusalem and Gaza, so the tensions are very intense. The new round of conflict was fueled by the threat of evicting dozens of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah district of Jerusalem and handing over their homes to Jewish settlers.

Ukraine reactions to hijacking of Ryanair plane in Minsk 

World must respond as strongly as possible to “Belarusian Milošević” – Ukrainian NGOs

This weekend, in Belarus, self-proclaimed President Alexander Lukashenko has ordered the landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk to detain journalist Roman Protasevych. The latter opposes the current regime in the country.

The international community has already reacted to this outrageous event. U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken seeks international investigation. Declaration by EU High Representative Josep Borrell states, “This is yet another blatant attempt by the Belarusian authorities to silence all opposition voices”. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary calls forced landing in Minsk “State-sponsored hijacking, state-sponsored piracy”. According to his words, the passengers and crew were frightened, as they were under armed guard and their bags were searched. He stated, “We believe there were some KGB agents offloaded at the airport as well”.

Ukraine also reacted to this unprecedented event. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine wrote, “This is yet another attack on freedom of expression by Belarusian authorities. We demand his immediate release”.

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has decided to suspend flights between Ukraine and Belarus and banned flights over Belarusian territory.

Ukrainian activists also held a rally supporting Roman Protasevych in Kyiv near the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Protesters demanded Protasevych’s immediate release. They chanted “Shame on the Lukashenko regime” and held placards reading: “Crimes against journalism and humanity have no borders”, “Stop ignore terrorism”.

Roman Protasevych is a former editor of the NEXTA Telegram channel, which covered opposition protests in Belarus after the last presidential election. The founder of the “Azov” Battalion, Andriy Biletsky, said that Roman Protasevych once worked as a journalist in Donbas.

No, Belarusian dissident Protasevich is not a neo-Nazi. But the Kremlin sure wants you to think so

Ukrainian music continues to win the hearts of the international community

The secret of Kateryna Pavlenko, Ukraine’s enigmatic Eurovision singer

The song “SHUM” by the Ukrainian band Go_A leads the music charts after the Eurovision Song Contest. The Ukrainian-language song topped the ranking of the most popular tracks in the music app Spotify. Ukrainians even bypassed the winners of Eurovision, the Italian band Måneskin.

The band shared this news on their Instagram page, writing that “they continue to make noise” (one of the meanings of the word “shum” in the Ukrainian language is noise). The Spotify rating is updated every day. Currently, Go_A is in first place! Also, the Ukrainian song took fourth place in the European ranking of iTunes and 10th in the world ranking. In the Ukrainian rating of Apple Music, “SHUM” is in 6th place.

Victoria Dubiv is a Project Manager at TRUMAN Agency, Editor of KYIV NOT KIEV

Tetiana Gaiduk is Creative Services Director a TRUMAN Agency, Co-founder and co-host at KYIV NOT KIEV

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