In Digest, Ukraine

Note by New Cold editors: Reuters reports in a brief article on mid-day July 6 that a  spokesman for Senator Richard Durbin, Ben Marter, says the alleged letter by the senator reported below is a hoax. The denial does not appear on the senator’s website. The most recent item there is dated July 2.

New Cold, July 6, 2015

A letter dated June 25 addressed to Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk by U.S. Senator Richard Durbin has been leaked and published. The letter shows the extent to which U.S. policymakers continue to play key roles in directing who is in government in Ukraine. 

Leaked letter of June 25, 2015 by U.S. Senator Richard DurbinThe letter was re-published on the Facebook page of Ukraine’s former minister of foreign affairs, Leonid Kozhara (Dec. 2012-Feb. 2014). Kozhara copied the letter from a posting on, which, in turn, cites Anonymous as its source. It broadcasts a two-minute video and text by Anonymous.

The letter backs Yatsenyuk in ongoing disputes with President Poroshenko over appointments to positions of power in the Ukrainian government. It discusses two ministries in particular where foreign corporations have a keen interest in penetrating–agriculture and nuclear energy. Durbin assures Yatsenyuk that he backs his efforts to keep the present ministers in place. He also backs Yatsenyuk’s apparent efforts to have Poroshenko fire the minister of energy and coal as well as the head of a division of state-owned gas company Naftogaz.

U.S. Senator Richard Durbin during Senate hearings in 2013 (Bloomberg)

U.S. Senator Richard Durbin during Senate hearings in 2013 (Bloomberg)

Tensions heightened within the Ukrainian government last month when the head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) was fired for saying he would step up investigations of corruption, including at oil company BRSM-Nafta. On June 8, the company’s oil depot is the southern district of Kyiv exploded and burned for days.

Political analysts have raised doubts about the authenticity of the letter. But the widely-read media platform, owned by Petro Poroshenko until 2013, publishes a full story on the letter on July 5. Senator Durbin has not issued a public statement.

Anonymous writes in its report, “Whether the President or the Prime Minister of Ukraine wins the political duel is not that important. The key point is that the Ukrainian people will be the ones to lose.”

Richard Durbin is a Democratic senator elected in Illinois. He is outspoken in support of the war in eastern Ukraine and favours the U.S. government sending heavier weapons to the Ukrainian government. Here is a June 9 press release on the senator’s website:

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and the bipartisan Senate Ukraine Caucus met today with Ukrainian Prime Minister Anseniy [sic] Yatsenyuk to discuss increased military aid to Ukraine in the face of continued Russian aggression. Durbin is co-chairman of the Senate Ukraine Caucus with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH). Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) also attended today’s meeting.

U.S. Senate delegation meets with Ukraine President Poroshenko in May, 2015 (photo from Office of President Poroshenko)

U.S. Senate delegation meets with Ukraine President Poroshenko in May, 2015 (photo from Office of President Poroshenko)

“Ukraine is at a critical moment in its history. As Russia continues its unprecedented aggression in the region, the United States should to be doing more to ensure Ukraine can defend its borders,” Durbin said. “At today’s meeting, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk made it clear that increased military aid, defensive weapons, and economic support will help Ukraine in its struggle for freedom and sovereignty. The United States must act swiftly to provide this assistance and the Senate Ukraine Caucus stands ready to help.”

Durbin recently traveled to Ukraine to meet with senior government officials and visit the Yavoriv training area, where 300 United States Army personnel are training Ukrainian National Guard personnel. Watch Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor discussing the trip HERE.

Read also:
U.S. to pay salaries of Governor Saakashvili’s team in Odessa, Ukraine,, July 6, 2015


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