News from Ukraine: In Case You Missed It: Ukraine fighting off external aggression and reacting to internal threats
Politics18:18 Jul. 29, 2016

In Case You Missed It: Ukraine fighting off external aggression and reacting to internal threats

Catch up on this week's developments: fighting in eastern Ukraine, peace talks in Minsk and religious gatherings in Kyiv and Krakow

Another busy week here in Ukraine. The fighting in eastern Ukraine doesn't stop. Just last weekend 6 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 13 - wounded - all in the course of 24 hours. 

Militants continue using the prohibited weapons in violation of the ceasefire agreement. And according to the military intelligence Russia is regrouping its two armies near the border with Ukraine.

Watch also Ukrainian soldiers defend positions just several hundred metres from separatists

All this is happening, while the members of Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine meet again in Minsk. This time they hope to negotiate the withdrawal of troops.

In the other part of Ukraine the joint Ukrainian-U.S. multinational maritime exercises Sea Breeze 2016 kicked off in the waters of the Black Sea. Apart from the Ukrainian and American Navy, representatives of 14 other countries are taking part in the manoeuvers.

Turkey, which lived through an attempted coup a while ago, staged by the military, still dispatched its navy units to participate in the drills.

The 2016 marine component includes 26 vessels, 20 planes and helicopters, as well as 50 military equipment units and 4,000 soldiers.

One of the most-watched video from the military drills was parachute-free airdrop of the naval border guards from a 7-meter height from a helicopter flying with a speed of about 30 km / h. For all of the Ukrainian naval border guards this was a first-ever experience.

Indeed, you don't get to jump out of the flying chopper every day. Also, not every day you see people with crosses marching some 500 kilometers towards a European capital. To celebrate the 1028th anniversary of baptism of Ukraine on July 28-th, Orthodox groups from eastern and western Ukraine walked for around 3 weeks to Kyiv. 

But their difference was not only geographic, but also political. The Kremlin-backed procession of the Orthodox priests, flock and private security guards was feared to have ulterior motives behind their crusade on Kyiv. The government suspected that the Moscow-oriented Orthodox group would clash with Kyiv-backed Orthodox or that the procession will be used for provocations and possibly violence. Hence, under the tight security measures both groups reached Kyiv, marched across the city center, prayed in the famed Lavra monastery and without any incident left home.

In Poland a much grander and much younger crowd has gathered for the World Youth Day, which brings together young Catholics from around the globe every 2 or 3 years. The week-long event was initiated by Pope John-Paul II.

This year event brought together more than one and a half million young believers to the Polish city of Krakow. Traditionally the Pope comes for the final days of the gathering and addresses the crowd. Pope Francis has already arrived to Poland and celebrated a mass.

Ukraine continues fighting the external aggression in the East and also reacting to internal threats. Overall, this has been a good week for the government trying to keep the country safe. Let's see what the next week will bring us.

Volodymyr Solohub for Ukraine Today

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