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A Ukrainian serviceman stands guard in the city of Schastye in the Luhansk region late last month.

Live Blog: Ukraine In Crisis (Archive)

Final News Summary For September 1, 2017

-- EDITOR'S NOTE: We have started a new Ukraine Live Blog as of September 2, 2017. Find it here.

-- Ukraine says it will introduce new border-crossing rules from next year, affecting citizens of “countries that pose risks for Ukraine.”

-- The Association Agreement strengthening ties between Ukraine and the European Union entered into force on September 1, marking an end to four years of political drama surrounding the accord.

-- The trial of Crimean journalist Mykola Semena will resume later this month after the first hearing in weeks produced little progress toward a resolution of the politically charged case.

*NOTE: Times are stated according to local time in Kyiv (GMT +3)

10:05 16.6.2017

Good morning,

We'll start the live blog today with a few of the things that caught our eye overnight:

And this from the spokeswoman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry:

01:40 16.6.2017

We are now closing the live blog for today, but we'll be back again tomorrow morning to follow all the latest developments. Until then, you can catch up with all our other Ukraine coverage here.

22:49 15.6.2017

Vladimir Putin seemingly took a swipe at Petro Poroshenko today. RFE/RL's Tom Balmforth has been taking a closer look:

As Ukraine Says 'Farewell Unwashed Russia,' Putin Says Take Care In 'Gay' Europe

A composite photo of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (left) commenting on visa-free travel to the EU on June 11 and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin speaking during a TV phone-in on June 15.
A composite photo of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (left) commenting on visa-free travel to the EU on June 11 and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin speaking during a TV phone-in on June 15.

MOSCOW -- When Ukraine was finally granted visa-free travel to the European Union last week, President Petro Poroshenko hailed it as a "final break" with the "Russian Empire," quoting 19th-century Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov with a smile: "Farewell, unwashed Russia!"

When Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked about the comment in his annual call-in program on June 15, he fired right back at Poroshenko. Quoting the poem in its entirety, Putin used it to suggest that Ukraine is historically a province of Russia and to quip that Ukraine should have its guard up in "gay" Europe.

Throughout Putin's third presidential term, Russia has cast itself as a bastion of "traditional" values, introducing for instance legislation to prevent minors being exposed to "nontraditional" propaganda, although officials have never explicitly condemned homosexuality.

'Running Around With Swastikas'

In his call-in program, called Direct Line and featuring questions from selected Russians, the president began by playfully praising Poroshenko for knowing his Russian classics, eliciting chuckles from older men in the studio audience. He then quoted the whole poem from memory, zeroing in on the first stanza: “Farewell unwashed Russia, the land of slaves, the land of lords, And you, blue uniforms of gendarmes, And you, obedient to them folks."

Putin noted Lermontov wrote the poem in 1841 when he was traveling to fight as a Russian officer in the Caucasus, a region also then a part of the Russian Empire despite the "farewell unwashed Russia" reference. In an aside, Putin then noted that, at the time the poem was written, Ukraine was a province of the Russian Empire, echoing his controversial contention to U.S. President George W. Bush in 2008 that "Ukraine is not even a country."

"Perhaps Poroshenko is trying to send a signal that he also is not going anywhere," said Putin, "but he does this so subtly, with an eye to the patriots and to the real nationalists, idiots, who are running around with swastikas."

Read the entire article here.

21:13 15.6.2017

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21:06 15.6.2017

ICYMI

18:55 15.6.2017

Russia bars imprisoned Crimean Tatar from seeing dying mother:

By RFE/RL

Supporters of Akhtem Chiygoz, the head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis who has been held by Russian authorities since January 2015, say a Russian court in the annexed Ukrainian region of Crimea has rejected a request that Chiygoz be allowed to see his mother, who is reportedly dying of cancer.

The Russian-installed High Court of Crimea made the ruling on June 15, although Chiygoz's lawyers said doctors say his mother, Aliye Abduraimovna, most likely has only days to live.

Chiygoz is charged with organizing an illegal demonstration in the Crimean capital of Simferopol on February 26, 2014, outside the Crimean parliament. Lawyers say the charges are absurd because the demonstration came before Moscow's annexation of the Ukrainian region and no Ukrainian laws were violated.

Some analysts have argued that the massive demonstration forced Moscow to use its own military personnel to carry out the annexation instead of relying on local supporters.

Chiygoz, 52, and two other Crimean Tatars charged in connection with the demonstration -- Ali Asanov and Mustafa Degermendzhy -- have been declared political prisoners by Russia's Memorial human rights group.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and other international organizations have called for their release.

17:49 15.6.2017

17:48 15.6.2017

17:47 15.6.2017

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