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Ukraine in brief. Thursday, July 24

Communist Party Faction disbanded; Communist Party to appeal to Constitutional Court; independent deputies, UDAR and Svoboda quit coalition' 4 militaries killed in ATO; Malaysia Airlines victims bodies; UN to help in restoration of Donetsk, Luhansk regions; Ukraine disappointed at France's decision; Verkhovna Rada coalition falls apart; experts examined Malaysia Airlines jetliner crash site; U.S. considering granting Ukraine status of non-NATO ally

10:23 Chair of the Ukrainian Parliament Oleksandr Turchynov has announced about the disbandment of the Communist Party faction at the Ukrainian Parliament, he said at the Thursday meeting of the Verkhovna Rada.

Turchynov noted that as at July 1, the Communist Party faction consisted of 23 deputies which is less than the lowest number of parliamentarians in parliamentary factions formed at the very beginning.

Under the law enacted on Thursday, that is a ground for the dissolution of the faction.

The deputies applauded to the hope expressed by Turchynov not to see the Communist Party in the walls of the Ukrainian Parliament.


12:05 The Communist Party of Ukraine intends to appeal against its Verkhovna Rada faction's dissolution at the Constitutional Court, Verkhovna Rada independent deputy Olha Levchenko has told the press.

Levchenko also expressed confidence that abroad the stance of the Communist Party will anyway be approved.


12:38 A total of 15 Verkhovna Rada independent deputies announce quit from the parliamentary coalition in order to allow the President to disband this Parliament's convocation in 30 days, deputy Serhii Myschenko said on their behalf.

At that Myschenko did not name the said deputies.


14:01 The factions of the Vitali Klitschko's UDAR (Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms) and the Svoboda All-Ukrainian Association party at the Verkhovna Rada have announced their quit from the coalition, chairpersons of the factions Vitalii Kovalchuk (UDAR) and Oleh Tiahnybok (Svoboda) said.

"The UDAR faction announces quit from the coalition," Kovalchuk said.

He also addressed President Petro Poroshenko on behalf of the faction and requested scheduling extraordinary election of the Parliament.

Later Tiahnybok also announced the quit of his faction from the coalition.

The UDAR faction is formed of 41 deputies and the Svoboda faction - 35 deputies.

Given the fact that the coalition is likely to be abandoned by 15 Verkhovna Rada independent deputies, in general it will be quit by 91 parliamentarians.

The coalition had been formed of 256 deputes before the quit announcement.

Therefore, there will be fewer than 226 parliamentarians in the coalition and its activity will be terminated.

In compliance with the Constitution, should new coalition be not formed within 30 days after the dissolution of the previous one, the President of Ukraine obtains right to appoint extraordinary parliamentary elections.


14:04 Four military men were killed and 35 wounded as a result of combats in the zone of antiterrorist operation on July 23, a spokesperson of the of the information center of the National Security and Defense Council Andrii Lysenko has told a briefing.

Lysenko says that most part of the losses is a result of President Petro Poroshenko's order not to use heavy machinery within town and cities.

The spokesperson states that military men liberate Ukrainian towns with the help of firing arms.


14:41 The fourth jet with bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines jetliner crash in Donetsk region has departed from the Kharkiv International Airport to the Netherlands at 13:46, July 24.

A total of 74 coffins have been sent to the Netherlands.

On Thursday, July 24, the first jet carrying the bodies departed from Kharkiv to the Netherlands at 12:00.


14:52 The United Nations intends to assist Ukraine in implementation of programs for restoration of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, said Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, acting coordinator of UN system in Ukraine/acting permanent representative of the UN development program in Ukraine.

At that Toyberg-Frandzen noted that the UN is ready to launch the elaboration of programs required for the restoration of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

He said that international cooperation in the issue may allow settlement of acute issues within short terms.

The Cabinet of Ministers estimates expenditures for the restoration of infrastructure in Donetsk and Luhansk regions at UAH 8.1 billion.


15:37 Ukraine is disappointed at France's decision to ship the Mistral amphibious assault vessels to Russia, President Petro Poroshenko twitted.

"We are discouraged at the French government's decision to continue cooperation with Russia within the Mistral program," he wrote.

The Ukrainian President stressed the decision was the matter of values, rather than money.

Member of the European Parliament Rebecca Harms (The Greens/European Free Alliance; Co-Chair) favored handing over the France-made Mistral helicopter carrier ships to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) instead of Russia.


16:28 A total of 12 representatives of special monitoring mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and six experts - three from each Malaysia and Australia - are examining the site of the Malaysia Airlines jetliner crash in Donetsk region as at July 24, speaker of the mission Michael Botsyurkiv has told a briefing.

Botsyurkiv noted that the Malaysian group consists of three experts and the group from Australia is formed of two experts and one criminalist.

He also added he saw no Ukrainian experts or representatives of state authorities.

He did not rule out that OSCE mission representatives can stay at the site of the air crash until the end of the investigation.

Fourteen members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe from the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) and three criminalists from the Netherlands are taking part in the investigation into the crash of the Malaysia Airlines passenger jetliner in Donetsk region as of July 21.

31 international experts have arrived in Kharkiv for taking part in the investigation into the crash of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Donetsk region.


16:38 The European Choice coalition formed by factions and separate Verkhovna Rada deputies has disbanded, Chair of the Ukrainian Parliament Oleksandr Turchynov has said.

The speaker said that a total of 36 deputies of the Vitali Klitschko's UDAR (Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms) faction, 35 deputies of the Svoboda All-Ukrainian Association party, and 19 Verkhovna Rada independent deputies submitted their applications on quit of the coalition.

Therefore, the coalition now has fewer than 226 deputies thus, it disbanded.

Should new coalition not be formed within 30 days, under the provisions of the Ukrainian Constitution President Petro Poroshenko will obtain right to call extraordinary parliamentary elections.

The European Choice coalition was formed on February 27 by the factions of the Batkivschyna All-Ukrainian Association, UDAR, Svoboda, and deputy groups: Economic Development and Sovereign European Ukraine, as well as by independent deputies.

At first it was formed of 262 deputes and later the number changed insignificantly.


16:41 The United States of America is considering the possibility of granting Ukraine the status of an ally without membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The Adjutant General of the California National Guard, David Baldwin, announced this during a meeting with Deputy Defense Minister Ihor Kabanenko.

Baldwin said that the American side highly appreciates its cooperation with the Armed Forces of Ukraine and that it is ready to provide comprehensive support to them.

He stressed that a draft law on prevention of Russian aggression, adoption of which will allow Ukraine to obtain the status of an ally of the United States without NATO membership, is currently under consideration by the United States government.

Kabanenko said that the scale of threats and the scope of the required response to the current crisis demonstrate the need for international support for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

President Petro Poroshenko has asked the United States Congress to declare the self-proclaimed "People's Republic of Luhansk" and "People's Republic of Donetsk" as terrorist organizations and declare their members as terrorists.

Poroshenko believes that when sanctions are not working, there are grounds for appeal to the United States Congress to grant Ukraine the special status of a major ally outside NATO (like Israel, Australia, and the Philippines) to enable it to solve its security problems.


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