About Donbas conflict
The so-called Steinmeier formula is perhaps the most disturbing thing discussed this week, in terms of solution to Donbas conflict. This plan/formula provides for the simultaneous implementation of both the security part and the political part of the Minsk agreements, that is, setting peace and restoring Ukraine’s control over its territories; granting a special status to Donbas (which could actually mean legalization of the Russian illegal armed formations); and holding elections at once (this could mean recognition of pro-Kremlin mercenaries). However, given Russia’s aggressive and obnoxious behavior in the ongoing conflict, one could doubt it would ever commit to any peace initiatives in Ukraine. Ukraine’s leader Zelensky said that during the upcoming meeting of the Normandy Four, the sides will seriously discuss Steinmeier formula and Minsk agreements. He insisted that the meeting took place this month already. The French government already said that such opportunity existed.
Military actions in eastern Ukraine took the life of another serviceman of the government troops. A fighter of the National Guard of Ukraine was killed in combat on September 12.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe stated that Russia is legally obligated to combat impunity and should ensure investigators' access to Volodymyr Tsemakh - the suspect in the MH17 case. Soon after that, the Netherlands changed his status from the key witness to a suspect.
The ongoing war in Donbas and Russia's behavior were the key topics during the meeting of foreign ministers of North European countries. The summit will take place in Borgarnes, Iceland on September 12.
Members of the illegal armed groups in Luhansk region transferred 54 prisoners to Ukraine.
About the released prisoners and Ukrainian sailors
After a big prisoner swap on Saturday, September 7, 35 Ukrainians returned from Russian prisons to Ukraine. Among those released are Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Roman Sushchenko, Stanislav Klykh, Mykola Karpyuk, Pavlo Gryb, Edem Bekirov, and 24 Ukrainian sailors, detained by Russia in the Kerch Strait last year.
Later, on September 12, illegal armed groups in Luhansk region transferred another 54 prisoners to Ukraine.
About new laws adopted by Verkhovna Rada
This week, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada adopted the law on impeachment, supported as the basis a bill, which provides for criminal liability for illegal enrichment in the amount of more than 570,000 dollars, introduced customs information exchange system with 35 countries and moved to remove the article on fictitious entrepreneurship from the Criminal Code and the liability foreseen for this.
About Ukraine's suit to ECHR against Russia
The Grand Chamber of the European Court for Human Rights had a hearing in the case of Ukraine versus Russia on September 11. The ruling on the case was not meant to be made on the same day, but at a later stage. At their speeches, the rhetoric of the countries never changed – Ukraine spoke of “Russia targeting opponents of Russia's illegal occupation in annexed Crimea”, Russia defended themselves stating “Russian forces did not much, almost nothing in Crimea”.
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk reported that the IMF mission arrived in Ukraine for negotiations. On September 12, the IMF mission headed by Ron van Roden has begun its work in Ukraine.
About sanctions against Russia
On September 12, the EU extended sanctions against 170 Russian officials and 44 organizations for actions against the territorial integrity of Ukraine for six months, until March 15, 2020.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to the work partners of Ukraine to keep sanctions against Russia. Besides, Foreign Minister of France Jean-Yves Le Drian believes that it is early to lift sanctions from Russia.
However, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö expressed doubt about the efficiency of sanctions against Russia.
Dnipro city hosted a friendly football game where Ukraine played with Nigeria. The fixture ended as a draw (2-2).
Vasyl Lomachenko, Ukraine-born lightweight champion of the world (WBA, WBO, WBC) could use a couple of months of rest. Boxing Truth reported that, quoting Lomachenko's promoter Egis Klimas. "It was a good fight against Campbell. Well, what did you expect? Luke is taller, and he's got a bigger reach. Probably, everyone would like to see what Lomachenko when he was 126 and 130, doing this to smaller guys, but now, you know, there's a big monster. He needs to put a lot of effort, a lot of work, to win", he said.
The world's No.3 in tennis Elina Svitolina proved victorious in the Round of the Last 16 of the WTA tournament in Zhengzhou, China. The Ukrainian stood against Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. The Kazakh athlete won the first set and then lost the second. The things went into a tie break, where Ukrainian made a tremendous comeback from 0-4. Eventually, Svitolina was the one to triumph (6:3, 1:6, 6:7).