Fri, 24 May 2019

Live Blog: Changing Of The Guard

RFE
24 Apr 2019, 17:46 GMT+10

09:14

Good morning. We'll start the blog with a few interesting tweets that caught our eye overnight (including an op-ed by former Odesa governor Mikheil Saakashvili, who's now popped up on Fox News)

22:54 23.4.2019

One more...

22:51 23.4.2019

That ends the live blogging for today. See you again tomorrow!

22:29 23.4.2019 20:53 23.4.2019

Latest from our news desk on PM Hroysman:

KYIV -- Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman said he will take part in the October parliamentary elections with a party other than that of incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, who was defeated by comic and political newcomer Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a run-off election on April 21.

In a broadcast on the ICTV channel on April 22, Hroysman said he would contest the parliamentary elections with 'new political forces.'

'Clearly, it will be a political force that unites people with good reputation, people who don't just talk but are capable of doing real things,' Hroysman said, adding that he wants 'to be active, fight for ideas, and implement them.'

Hroysman became a lawmaker in 2014 as a member of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc party. In November of that year, he became the chairman of the parliament and since April 2016 has been prime minister.

Hroysman is expected to stay in power until the October election. If President-elect Zelenskiy wins enough seats in parliament, he is expected to form a new government.

Meanwhile, outgoing Poroshenko vowed to remain in politics and said publicly that his successor has 'strong opposition' in parliament.

Addressing thousands of supporters in Kyiv on April 22, Poroshenko promised to reclaim the presidency in elections-to-come and told his backers: 'Together we will go into the parliamentary elections.'

Poroshenko's party and its allies control the current parliament.

Observers say Zelenskiy might try to disband the national legislature and call early elections.

19:56 23.4.2019 16:45 23.4.2019 16:11 23.4.2019 15:48 23.4.2019 15:09 23.4.2019

Here's a new item from RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service:

Back In Parliament After Abrupt Release From Jail, Savchenko Praises Zelenskiy

Nadia Sacvhenko arrives at the Ukrainian parliament in Kyiv on April 23.

KYIV -- Ukrainian lawmaker Nadia Savchenko has returned to parliament a week after she was unexpectedly released from jail, where she had been held for more than a year over allegations that she plotted a terrorist attack on parliament.

Speaking on April 23, Savchenko vowed to remain in politics and said she does not plan to be in opposition to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who defeated incumbent Petro Poroshenko by a wide margin in an April 21 presidential runoff election.

'It was enough for me to read [his] program. Many points there are those I was talking about three years ago,' Savchenko said without giving details. 'I saw in Zelenskiy's program everything that had to be there. I think that must be supported.'

Savchenko, who returned from Russia a hero following two years in prison there but was arrested in her home country in March 2018, was freed on April 16 because the term of her pretrial detention expired and had not been extended.

Savchenko said she will continue to work as a lawmaker in the Verkhovna Rada 'because I was sworn in to the Ukrainian people.'

'As for my political future, yes, I will stay in politics. I will not be alone. I have a team,' she said.

Savchenko's release was the latest twist in a dramatic series of events for her, who for a time was a hero of the war that has killed some 13,000 people in the eastern region known as the Donbas since Russia fomented unrest and backed separatists after pro-European protests drove Moscow-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych from power in 2014.

Savchenko says she was abducted in the combat zone later that year and taken to Russia. She spent two years in prison there, defying the Kremlin with a series of hunger strikes, and returned to a hero's welcome in Kyiv when she was released as part of a prisoner swap in May 2016.

Elected to the Verkhovna Rada while still in Russian captivity, she had declared her intention to run in this year's presidential election. But she was stripped of her parliamentary immunity on March 22, 2018, a week after Lutsenko accused her of plotting to destroy the Radas roof cupola with mortar shells, kill surviving lawmakers with assault-rifle fire, and overthrow the government.

Savchenko has maintained her innocence. She said in March 2018 that undercover agents attempting to discredit her encouraged her to plan to overthrow the government, and that she pretended to go along with the conspiracy in a bid to embarrass the authorities and expose what she said was their duplicity.

Before her arrest Savchenko had drawn fire from several political camps, facing criticism for holding talks with the separatists without government consent and for comments nationalists said indicated she advocated accepting Moscow's seizure of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

After Savchenko 's release, Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko said that the accusations against her remain in place.

Ukrainian media reports said that the next hearing in the case was scheduled for May 7.

With reporting by Unian, Gordon, and Interfax Load more

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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