Ukraine protesters demand no ‘capitulation’ to Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits the Port of Ochakiv to greet the three Ukrainian naval ships captured in the Kerch Strait and then returned by Russia last year. (Reuters)
Updated 22 November 2019

Ukraine protesters demand no ‘capitulation’ to Russia

  • The rally came even as relations between the states have thawed to a degree after Russia handed back three Ukrainian vessels seized off Moscow-annexed Crimea last year
  • Zelensky, who is more inclined to dialogue than predecessor Petro Poroshenko, has made a troop pullback a condition of having the quadripartite summit in France

KIEV: Thousands of Ukrainians demonstrated in Kiev on Thursday to demand no “capitulation” to Moscow as President Volodymyr Zelensky prepares for a December summit meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
The pair are due to meet for the first time since Zelensky’s election last April at a French-hosted December 9 quadripartite talks which French and German leaders Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel will also attend.
But as Ukraine marked six years since the start of the pro-European Maidan protests which fomented the ongoing conflict with Russian separatists which has killed some 13,000 the flag-waving protesters brandished slogans urging “no to capitulation.”
“Any concessions would only make the situation worse. One cannot conclude an agreement with Putin,” said demonstrator, 44-year-old Andrii Serguiienko.
The rally came even as relations between the states have thawed to a degree after Russia handed back three Ukrainian vessels seized off Moscow-annexed Crimea last year and with September having seen a large-scale prisoner exchange.
Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists have also agreed to stage phased troop withdrawals in three eastern frontline sectors — Zelensky, who is more inclined to dialogue than predecessor Petro Poroshenko, has made a troop pullback a condition of having the French summit.
But a pre-summit roadmap thrashed out between Ukrainian, Russian and separatist negotiators envisaging special status for separatist territories if they conduct free and fair elections under the Ukrainian constitution has sparked anger in Ukraine.
“The actions of Zelensky and his team targeting troop withdrawals is a veritable capitulation. It’s not normal,” scolded Ioulia Nikolaienko, a 30-year-old painter attending the demonstration.


Botswana bans hunters after killing of research elephant

Updated 15 min 23 sec ago

Botswana bans hunters after killing of research elephant

  • Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi sparked global controversy when he lifted a ban on elephant hunting in May
  • Africa’s overall elephant population is declining due to poaching
GABERONE: Botswana’s government has revoked the licenses of two professional hunters who shot dead a research elephant and then destroyed its collar to try to hide the evidence.

In a statement late on Saturday, the environment and tourism ministry said that professional hunters Michael Lee Potter and Kevin Sharp had surrendered their licenses after shooting the elephant at the end of last month.

Their nationalities could not be immediately established. Potter was banned for an indefinite period and Sharp for three years. Neither hunter was available for comment.

“In addition, the two hunters will replace the destroyed collar,” the ministry said. “The Ministry will work with the hunting industry to ensure that the necessary ethical standards are upheld.”

The shooting recalled the killing of ‘Cecil the lion’ by an American hunter in neighboring Zimbabwe in 2015, also an animal that had a research collar and was supposed to be protected. His death provoked outrage on social media.

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi sparked global controversy when he lifted a ban on elephant hunting in May. The ban had been installed five years earlier by his predecessor, Ian Khama, an ardent conservationist.

Africa’s overall elephant population is declining due to poaching but Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent’s elephants, has seen numbers grow to 130,000 from 80,000 in the late 1990s.

Officials in the southern African country say the animals are causing problems for farmers by ripping up their crops, so hunting is necessary to reduce their numbers.

The mostly arid country the size of France has a human population of around 2.3 million, and its expanses of wilderness draw millions of foreign tourists to view its wildlife.