Ukraine Russian War

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A Story of Ukraine and of the Russian Naval Base in Ukraine

This informative article shows that International treaties have to be consistent with national and international law if they have to represent the interests of the country and its people.

On the 21st of April 2010 in the city of Kharkiv in Ukraine, President Victor F. Yanukovich of Ukraine and President Dmitry A. 

Medvedev of the Russian Federation signed The Agreement where the period of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation to remain on the territory of Ukraine is extended for 25 years, from 2017 to 2042 with an automatic prolongation for 5 additional years.

In Ukraine, The Agreement caused indignation of the opposition, of parties of ecologists, of local Councils and in general of all segments of the Ukrainian society. 

A great number of analyses concluded that The Agreement contradicts the Constitution of Ukraine.

The Association of Independent Jurists and Journalists "The Democratic Space" decided to examine The Agreement and the legal grounds both for The Agreement and against it. 

The research focused on whether The Agreement fell in compliance with the applicable standards established by the current Ukrainian legislation and binding norms of the International Law. 

So, the whole article of this is based on the findings of the Association's "Analysis of The Agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation pertaining to questions of presence of The Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine".

The current Ukrainian and International laws that apply to this Agreement are:

1. The Constitution of Ukraine.

2. An agreement (named the Basic Agreement) between Ukraine and the Russian Federation "On the Status and Conditions for the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation to Remain on the Territory of Ukraine" dated 28.05.1997.

3. An agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation "On Parameters of the Black Sea Fleet Division" dated 28.05.1997.

4. An Agreement between the Governments of Ukraine and of the Russian Federation "On Mutual Calculations Related to the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation Division and to Remaining on the Territory of Ukraine" dated 28.05.1997.

5. The Law of Ukraine "On the International Treaties of Ukraine" dated 29.06.2004.

6. The Law of Ukraine "On the Order of Access and Conditions for Sub-Units of the Armed Forces of Foreign States to Remain on the Territory of Ukraine" dated 22.02.2000.

7. The Vienna Convention "On the Law of Treaties" of 1969.

An Examination in the aforementioned Analysis by the Association's President determined that:

1. The Law of Ukraine "On the International Treaties of Ukraine". foresaw that an International treaty of Ukraine might be extended due to the conditions established by the treaty itself;

2. The aforementioned Basic Agreement, concluded for a period of 20 years, by Article 25 envisages its prolongation only for 5 year periods providing that the period of its effect would be further automatically prolongated for subsequent 5 year periods unless any of the parties advised the other party in writing of the termination of the Basic Agreement's effect no later than a year before an expiration of the Agreement's period of validity". It means that, from the day of an expiration of the valid 20 year period, the term could be extended only in 5 year increments.

In our case, as we see, the 20 year validity term of the aforementioned Basic Agreement, did not come to an end and hence as it is obviously seen, the legal grounds for its prolongation did not exist in 2010. Since the Basic Agreement does not foresee a prolongation of the agreement for more than a 5 year period, its prolongation for a period of 25 years by The Agreement, does not have any valid grounds.

An access of sub-units of other states to to the territory of Ukraine is permitted by the aforementioned Law of Ukraine "On the Order of Access and Conditions for Sub-Units of the Armed Forces of Foreign States to Remain on the Territory of Ukraine", dated 22.02.2000. It states that such an access may be performed in accordance with the following underwritten aims (an aim is an obligatory indication in an International Treaty ) as they follow:

a) the joint participation with sub-units of armed forces of Ukraine, and with other armed formations for military training, and in other arrangements directed towards an improvement of military readiness, exchange of experience within the frameworks of agreements concerning international military cooperation intended for a joint preparation of military sub-units grounded in the frameworks of military cooperation according to the international treaties of Ukraine;

b) a transitional displacement of sub-units of armed forces of other states across the territory of Ukraine when the term of such displacements might not exceed 10 days unless other is not stated by an international treaty of Ukraine;

c) rendering military assistance to Ukraine at its request for the purpose of responding to: military aggression of a third country, in extraordinary situations caused by natural and man-made consequences;

d) maintenance of military units temporarily located on the territory of Ukraine due to international treaties.

The Agreement concerned envisages neither an aim that could have corresponded to national interests of Ukraine that could substantiate a need to prolong the military presence of the Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine, nor duration of this presence which accords with Article 5 of the aforementioned Law "On the Order of Access and Conditions for Sub-Units of the Armed Forces of Foreign States to Remain on the Territory of Ukraine". 

These conditions have to be understood as having clear distinctness and limitedness in time and conformity of that presence to the interests of Ukraine, but not of Russia. 

To the contrary, Article 2 of the aforementioned Basic Agreement speaks only of the interests of Russia i.e. of the interests of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation.

The Agreement, contrary to the requirements of this Law of Ukraine, does not define any limitations to the activity of the Russian Naval Base. 

That is, it does not impose a prohibition for the Fleet to join military conflicts with third countries, so that the national interests of Ukraine might be threatened. In the light of the Resolution of the 29th Session of the General Assembly of the UNO, in such a case Ukraine might be considered an accomplice of the aggression and would be automatically absorbed in war if ships of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation based on the territory of Ukraine participated in military actions, since there are no agreements establishing the right of Ukraine to ban the use of armed forces of the Russian Federation from the territory of Ukraine against a third country.

The Agreement does not define an amount or order of payments to Ukraine for the rental of land and of other landed property on the territory of Ukraine, e.g. for living quarters; for the use of the territorial waters and airspace of Ukraine; for air navigation and hydro-graphic searches should military sub-units be located there; or for providing Russian nationals with communal and other services. 

The Agreement does not define the process of determination of damages and recovery of damages to Ukraine and to third countries, or to physical and legal persons on the territory of Ukraine due to the actions or lack of actions by personnel and sub-units of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. 

The Agreement does not envisage a procedure to exercise control over activities of sub-units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, including the possibility of revisions without notice, of how the sub-units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation might meet conditions of this agreement.

The Agreement does not stipulate conditions for a denunciation of this agreement, which means that The Agreement cannot be denounced or withdrawn from by a party to the Agreement as it is provided for by Article 56 of the Vienna Convention "On the Law of International Treaties", stating that such a denunciation or withdrawal can not be considered legal if an agreement does not contain such a condition in its body. 

The Agreement manifestly does not comply with the requirements of the Convention and the aforementioned Article 5 of the Law of Ukraine dated 22.02.2000. So, one needs to conclude that any agreement that would be legal and responsive to the interests of Ukraine would foresee a limit to the stay of the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine.

The Agreement of 21 April 2010, like the Basic Agreement of 28 May 1997 that was extended, set such limits that would allow the Russian Federation to believe that its Fleet would remain on the territory of Ukraine for a long period of time. 

That such presence does not reflect the national interests of Ukraine is substantiated by Article 17 of the Constitution of Ukraine, which reads that presence of foreign armed formations shall not be permitted on the territory of Ukraine. 

And although account 14 of part XV of the Constitution of Ukraine envisages the existence of foreign military bases on the territory of Ukraine, it emphasizes that such a presence of the armed forces of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation in the Crimea ought to be temporary, on conditions of rent, in a manner stipulated by international agreements.

Supporters of The Agreement, while referring to its Article 2, speak of the value of this agreement to the national interests of Ukraine and its people saying that a rental payment for the presence of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine, beginning from 28 May 2017, will comprise payments by the Russian Federation to Ukraine amounting to 100 million American dollars per year plus additional costs, received as a reduction (beginning from the date of this agreement comes into force), of the price of natural gas established by the current Contract between NAK NAFTOGAS of Ukraine and VAT GASPROM in the amount of 100 USD per each 100 m³ of gas provided for Ukraine.

Also, should the price exceed $333 per 100m³ of gas; then it is reduced by 30%, paid out for the supply volume stipulated by the above contract. 

These additional funds have to be registered as monthly totals, as payment of the obligations of Ukraine, to be cleared off through the execution of provisions of Article 1 of this Agreement.

Thus although The Agreement is specific in having the obligations of Ukraine cleared off, it does not recognize the obligation (and if there's not an obligation, then there's not a responsibility) of Russia to make the rent payments to Ukraine in the amount of 100 million US Dollars. In the wording of Article 2 of this Agreement, payment as lease for the presence of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine, starting from 28 May 2017, will comprise payment for the presence of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine. 

Such a wording defines the amount of payment, but not an obligatory annual payment of this sum to Ukraine for the 25 years' period to which the basic agreement is extended.

Moreover in this provision of The Agreement, the terms of such payments did not have a clear meaning and according to the requirements of the Vienna Convention "On the Law of International Treaties" (Article 32),The Agreement concerned is inadmissible for being equivocal. So, on the one part, the rent payment due to Article 2 of The Agreement, dated 21.04.2010, has to be received by Ukraine together with the concessionary gas prices beginning from 28 May 2017, while, on the other part, the agreed payments have to be made by Ukraine to Russia from the date that this Agreement comes into force, that is from the date of ratification( on27April 2010) by the Ukrainian and Russian Parliaments.

The Agreement does not envisage a legal mechanism to ensure the execution of payments by Russia to Ukraine that demonstrates the failure of The Agreement to assert the national interests of Ukraine and its citizens. 

The lack of such a mechanism in The Agreement will make the recovery of the agreed but not paid sums difficult, even if so ordered by international courts. 

The Agreement is clearly more concerned about gaining permission for the navy of the Russian Federation to be based on the Ukrainian territorial waters of the Black Sea, than about intentions of the Russian Federation to make future payments to Ukraine in return for Ukraine's granting permission for a further extension of the Russian Fleet's presence in the territorial waters of Ukraine. 

That is, The Agreement is secured only by the other party's absolute confidence in the promises of the Russian Federation.

In order to evaluate the validity of this confidence, one needs to analyze the Russian Federation's fulfillment of preceding agreements mentioned above.

Some Ukrainian Internet and journal articles pertaining to these questions state that the Russian party more than once had violated treaty requirements of the aforementioned agreements between Ukraine and the Russian Federation and that is substantiated by the facts as they follow below.

In 2005 military personnel and equipment of the 382nd detached battalion of marines disembarked in the Crimea from a Russian landing vessel of the Black Sea Fleet "M. Filchenkov" with the authorization of the Russian Federation. 

The Russian party had not adjusted their plans to hold maneuvers and combat training on Ukrainian territory with the competent Ukrainian authorities as was their obligation. 

The maneuvers and training included vessels of the Black Sea Fleet crossing the frontier of Ukraine, which is specifically addressed in the above Agreement "On an Order of Ordnance Yards Use for Combat Trainings of the Naval Forces of Ukraine by the Naval Forces of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation".

On 15 April 2008 an APR-3M-1 aircraft rocket designed to attack vessels was lost from a nautical sea yard by ships of the Russian Federation. 

Authorities of the Black Sea Fleet did not acknowledge this by any documentation. On 26 April 2008, a coastal command of Ukraine found this rocket on a seashore of Privatnoye - a village of the Alushta district in the Crimea. 

Such a loss of this military rocket endangered the local inhabitants. Experts of the Naval Forces of Ukraine examined the rocket and concluded that the Russians had brought armaments to the territory of Ukraine that had not been stipulated by the Russian- Ukrainian agreements.

During the preparatory arrangements to commemorate on the 29th of April 2008 the 250th anniversary of the City of Sevastopol founding, ships of the Russian Federation performed maneuvers in the bay of the city. During these maneuvers ten armored troop carriers of the 810th regiment of marines of the Black Sea Fleet landed from the landing ship "Azov". 

The troop carriers and marines performed military exercises and marched through the streets of the city to the point of their re-embarkation in the Kozacha bay. 

Permissions for naval maneuvers and for the movement of armored troop carriers along the streets of the city had been given neither by the Center of Regulation of ships' movements of the Transportation Ministry of Ukraine nor by motor inspection department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.

According to the information from UNIAN the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine issued a decisive protest against systematic neglect by the Russian Black Sea Fleet of provisions of the Basic Agreement.

On 8 July 2009 law enforcement officers of Ukraine detained vehicles of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation that in violation of the agreements were transporting winged rockets through the densely populated city of Sevastopol without any permission from the Ukrainian authorities. 

Experts concluded that those actions of the Russians created a risk of extraordinary emergency. The possibility of such threats increased when the Russian Federation amended its defense structure legislation through Presidential Ukase dated 10.01.2000 (#24). 

This Ukase envisages an application of forces beyond the confines of the Russian Federation in case the national interests of Russia require it.

A deployment on the Ukrainian territory of the Russian potential nuclear weapons transports, including the armored cruiser "Moskva", the patrol ships "Pitlivy" and "Smitlivy", as well as airplanes: "Su-24", "BC-12", and "KA-27" is an infringement of the International agreements of Ukraine."

Some actions of the commanders of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation violated the sovereignty of Ukraine on its territory, and violated the rights of Ukrainian citizens when the commanders enclosed some inhabited locations with fences and established checkpoints at entrances making them closed areas. 

For example, this was done in the city of Kacha, hindering the free movement of the inhabitants of the peninsula.

More than once Russian authorities subleased lots of land and landed property belonging to Ukraine to other persons and legal entities, without necessary permissions and approvals, who in the course of time changed their function, modified structures etc. 

Lessees and sub-lessees did not properly maintain some properties leased to them, causing gross material losses. 

These violations of the basic agreements between Ukraine and the Russian Federation concerning the Black Sea Fleet, as it is understood, are a vivid substantiation that the execution of The Agreement does not support absolute confidence in the promises that the Russian Federation will pay the rent agreed in return for the Black Sea Fleet's staying on the Ukrainian territory.

The Agreement we are examining both as other agreements concerning the Black Sea Fleet do not clearly define the legal status of landed property. 

Neither do they secure the rights of Ukrainians to that property given by Ukraine to the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation in a way that allows the authorities of the Fleet to sublease to commercial parties against the interests of Ukraine. 

The Agreement as well as the preceding agreements mentioned above, could be better understood to represent the interests of the Ukrainian state and of its citizens if they clearly defined the rent payments for the use of the land, defined waters, air space and other privileges of Ukraine. 

The Ukrainian Delegation when concluding the first basic agreements concerning the rent of lands and specific waters by Russia, proposed different calculations based on the Russian legislation that resulted in a sum of 420 million US Dollars. During the negotiations in Kyiv, the Russian Delegation headed by the then PrimeMinister V. Chernomyrdin did not agree with that sum.

The Ukrainian delegation then proposed a calculation based on average rates of payment for lands situated beyond the confines of inhabited settlements that amounted to $22,000 US dollars per hectare per year. 

The first proposed figure of 420 million dollars was close to world rates. For example, the USA while renting the naval base in Subic Bay in the Philippines, which doesn't have the developed infrastructure of Sevastopol or Feodosia in the Crimea, pays $25,000 dollars per year for the use of a hectare of the base's territory. 

The Russian Federation uses eighteen parcels of land totaling 23 hectares in the cities of Feodosia, Yalta, Yevpatoria and Saki, and in the Black Sea Region. One can imagine what the payment to Ukraine would have been, had the terms been determined in the agreements. 

According to this rate, Russia will have to pay to Ukraine 471 million US Dollars annually. Russia was not able to pay such an amount to Ukraine. Hence debts for energy carriers were set as a base for the calculations. 

The Agreement like other basic agreements pertaining to the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation envisages the payments for stationing of the Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine through the repayment of Ukrainian debts.

If The Agreement and other basic agreements could be concluded in a way that satisfied and asserted the national interests of Ukraine and its people through an establishment of precise rates of rent for outlined areas of waters of the Black Sea, air space and lands of the Crimea with its infrastructure), then Ukraine could receive funds exceeding those 100 millions of American dollars promised by Russia, that could be used to cover payments to the Russian Federation for their energy carriers. 

But at the time The Agreement was being drafted these issues were not brought up by the Ukrainian party. 

To answer a why question, one may refer to Mr. Yanukovich's words saying in an interview to journalists that he had signed The Agreement because he had no choice regarding the conditions proposed by the Russians and because the economy of Ukraine was in a critical state.

So, going out of this one may conclude that The Agreement of 21 April 2010 was drawn by Ukraine in full compliance with the propositions of the Russian Federation's interests while disregarding the national interests of Ukraine and its people.

An analysis of Article 2 of the Agreement, which discusses the structure of rental payments in return for the Black Sea Fleet's stationing on the Ukrainian territory, shows that it contradicts fundamental methodology in the construction of international treaties that requires them to be unambiguous so as to facilitate the understanding of The Agreement. 

As an example of this is the fact that the rental payment for the use of the Ukrainian territory by the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation, in the amount of 100 million dollars a year together with the funds as a reduction of prices for natural gas (up to 100 US dollars per thousand cubic meters) will take effect beginning from 28 May 2017 and not from the date of the Agreement comes into force, i.e. from 27 April 2010 that is the date of The Agreement's ratification by the parties.

That the Russian Federation was is and will be in no hurry to pay its contractual debts to Ukraine can be proved by the fact that, on 13 July 2007 at the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, at the Exit Session of the Council of Defense and Security of the Russian Federation there was taken a decision regarding a transportation of remnants of ammunition kept in storehouses of the Fleet to the Russian territory The Council emphasized a necessity to find at the process of this transporting a mechanism to avoid export controls, taxes and fees that is illegal.

After all we have discussed, one may conclude that The Agreement did not fall in compliance with current Ukrainian and international law, concerning requirements to extend the period of presence of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine till 2042.

For this reason the Association decided to propose to President of Ukraine in accordance with some provisions of the Vienna Convention "On the Law of International Treaties" to make possible amendments to The Agreement of 21 April 2010, due to the legal grounds explored in the Association's analysis. On 08 May 2010 the Association of Independent Jurists and Journalists "The Democratic Space" sent its analysis with the proposition to President Victor F. Yanukovich of Ukraine. He has not responded yet.

While drawing a conclusion one may say that the aforementioned The Agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation concerning the prolongation of the Russian Naval Base operation on the territory of Ukraine does not have legal grounds for it doesn't fall in compliance with lawand hence it does not protect national rights and interests of Ukraine and its people. 

Literature used in the process of writing this article:

1.The Constitution of Ukraine adopted by the Supreme Council of Ukraine on 28June 1996.
2.The Law of Ukraine, "On the International Treaties of Ukraine" dated 29 June 2004.
3.The law of Ukraine "On the Order of Access and Conditions for Sub-Units of the Armed Forces of Foreign States to Remain on the territory of Ukraine", dated 29 June 2004.
4 An Analysis of The Agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation pertaining to questions of presence of The Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine", by the Association of Independent Jurists and Journalists "The Democratic Space". April 2010.

A Preview of Ukraine for The Euros

The ghost of Lobanovskyi still looms large over the current Ukrainian team, managed by Oleh Blokhin. Having been a key player for Lobanovskyi, Blokhin is a true disciple of his former manager. 

His ceaseless restlessness, constantly seeking improvement, a keen eye for detail, huge emphasis on the team and system of the team and a disciplinarian approach in demanding the very best from his players.

 Blokhin will go into 2012 with realistic ambitions, but there won't be a more determined nation to do well, indeed many sections of the media and fans haven't been shy in demanding a Euro 2012 win.

Blokhin doesn't hold back, saying about his squad for Euro 2012 We don't call up players for their beautiful eyes. In my team I only want players who are prepared to fight for our country. These players need to be our leaders, but just now they are not fulfilling their potential," he said. "If this doesn't change they may not be included in my UEFA EURO 2012 selection. 

I don't look at the names.

Amidst the ghost of Lobanovskyi, an exciting set of players have emerged and could provide some surprises in the tournament. The provisional squad will provide the mainstream press all the ammunition they need with old heads present but dig below the obvious names and there is much to be excited about for Ukraine.

Goalkeepers: Oleksandr Bandura (Metalurh Donetsk), Oleksandr Goryainov (Metalist Kharkiv), Maxym Koval (Dynamo Kiev), Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk).

With Oleksandr Rybka, Oleksandr Shovkovskiy and Andriy Dykan all ruled out of Euro 2012, Ukraine find themselves in a precarious position with goalkeepers. 

A position Ukraine always thought they would have no worries in, two uncapped 'keepers in Oleksandr Bandura and Maksym Koval have been called up to supplement Andriy Pyatov and Oleksandr Goryainov. Even with three goalkeepers ruled out, the options for Ukraine are decent. Goryainov comes with a wealth of experience at 36, though has had an indifferent season, while Pyatov has come in for the banned Rybka and shown excellent form for Shakhtar.

Defenders: Bohdan Butko (Illychivets Mariupil), Olexandr Kucher (Shakhtar Donetsk), Vitaly Mandziuk (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk), Taras Mikhalik (Dynamo Kiev), Yaroslav Rakitskiy (Shakhtar Donetsk), Yevhen Selin (Vorskla Poltava), Yevhen Khacheridi (Dynamo Kiev), Vyacheslav Shevchuk (Shakhtar Donetsk).

Defence poses the biggest worry for Ukraine. Going into the tournament they have shown to be leaky, conceding four goals against both France and the Czech Republic. Again, Ukraine suffers from a major omission in the form of Dmytro Chygrynskiy. 

However, his team-mate at Shakhtar Donetsk, Yaroslav Rakitskiy, offers one of the exciting prospects held in the Ukrainian squad. Dogged in defence, he's more than capable of shifting the ball intelligently and is a goal threat too. Another Shakhtar defender, Oleksandr Kucher, provides a robust unit and is also capable on the ball. Both players examples of the Lobanovskyi ghost and how that can be carried on into the modern era, in that they are capable in dealing with many situations on the pitch, they aren't rigid in their defender role, offering a modern-style defence partnership that can shape attacks.

Midfielders: Olexandr Aliyev (Dynamo Kiev), Denys Garmash (Dynamo Kiev), Oleh Gusev (Dynamo Kiev), Yevhen Konoplyanka (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk), Serhiy Nazarenko (Tavriya Simferopol), Ruslan Rotan (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk), Taras Stepanenko (Shakhtar Donetsk), Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (Bayern Munich), Andriy Yarmolenko (Dynamo Kiev).

The midfield is where Ukraine's hopes are largely held. Anatoliy Tymoshchuk has been used sparingly by his team Bayern Munchen post winter-break and will head into Euro 2012 relatively fresh. His main priority will be offering a barrier in front of the defence and helping to spring counter-attacks with his ability to spread the ball swiftly. 

But it's with his team-mates in midfield where Ukraine can spring a few surprises. Young wingers Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhan Konoplyanka (both 22) are lightning quick, attack with wild abandon and have many tricks up their sleeve. Yarmolenko provides the width on the left-flank. At 6ft 1, he's a powerful player that will give full-backs a real worry with his running and rasping left-foot.

 His goal-scoring record for his club Dynamo Kyiv is excellent and having shone in European competition this season, he goes into Euro 2012 full of confidence. Konoplyanka struts with real swagger but it's a graceful swagger that is beautifully fluid and slightly languid. He's capable of beating a man with a piece of skill, always looking to go forward and is a real goal threat. Expect big things from both.

Elsewhere, Dynamo Kyiv duo Denys Garmash and Oleksandr Aliyev are spritely through the middle, along with Ruslan Rotan of Dnipro. 

The Lobanovskyi effect looms large over the Ukrainian midfield, their midfield is acutely tactically aware and cover each other well. 

No situation on the pitch is alien to them, they're capable of sitting back and sucking pressure in and countering with a blistering velocity. But they're also capable of putting the opposition on the back foot, as seen last November against a strong Germany side, where Ukraine went 3-1 ahead (more on this later). The success of Ukraine very much weighs heavy on the midfield's shoulders. 

The experience of Rotan and Tymoschchuk will help the likes of Yarmolenko and Konoplyanka. It's very much a Lobanovskyi midfield, but with green shoots of modernity.

Forwards: Andriy Voronin (Dinamo Moscow), Marko Devic (Metalist Kharkiv), Artem Milevskiy (Dynamo Kiev), Yevhen Seleznyov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Andriy Shevchenko (Dynamo Kiev)

Yes, Andriy Shevchenko makes it, the man that flopped at Chelsea. Yes, Andriy Voronin makes it, the man that flopped at Liverpool. 

Undoubtedly the press and many fans alike will look at those two and assume Ukraine will struggle at Euro 2012 but it isn't as simple as that.

Shevchenko has previously stated that he would withdraw from selection consideration if he felt he wasn't capable of performing at the top level anymore but he still makes it. 

Indeed, a look at his recent performances and it isn't difficult to see why. 

In the spirit of Lobanovskyi's constant development and outlook to the future, Shevchenko has adapted his game in recent years. Gone is his yard of pace that used to leave many a defender for dust, but his intelligence in his movement and awareness of space is a real asset to Ukraine. 

Shevchenko is excellent at providing a dummy run he knows a defender or two will be attracted to, providing space for his team-mates in the process. He knows when to drop off the front-line to provide that bit of space for a winger to dart into. 

He's a real team player, despite a career of glitz and glamour taking many plaudits, he's equally happy playing his part as a cog in the machine to allow team-mates to shine.

Artem Milevskyi, once tipped for the top, goes into the tournament on the back of a strangely indifferent season. 

He's been in and out of the Dynamo Kyiv side, sometimes majestic, sometimes frankly useless. 

At 27 now he should be going into the prime of his career and perhaps Euro 2012 will provide a kickstart for what was a promising career. 

Most at ease as a striker but more than capable as an attacking midfielder, Milevskyi has a beautiful touch and control that can allow him to glide past players with great balance. At 6ft 3, he's no pushover and he often seeks to take full advantage of his presence, shifting his body well.

Elsewhere, the sharp Devic provides a genuine goal threat, with four in six games in the Europa League this season for Metalist Kharkiv. Voronin comes into Euro 2012 on the back of an inconsistent season for Dynamo Moskva. He's often looked too heavy footed and positionally struggles to find areas to do real damage. 

With the ball at his feet however, he's capable of holding it up or picking out a pass but will do well to make the final squad. Lastly, Seleznyov is a hard-working forward with a great aerial threat and goes into the tournament with fourteen goals to his name last season, notched in twenty-five games for Shakhtar.

Ukraine, in Lobanovskyi style, are very much a collective team with an emphasis on the team over individual and the systems the team deploy. 

They're capable of rapid, fluid attacks but susceptible to leaking goals. 

Science in Ukraine, as described by a Ukrainian friend, has "become a cesspit". Science in football however has caught up with Lobanovskyi's methods, and is now very much in place in all the top clubs around Europe and beyond. Partly as a result, Ukrainian clubs have lost their way on the international stage. 

A slew of foreign imports has distorted the character of the top sides but the ghost of Lobanovskyi is still clear. 

Dynamo Kyiv still play in a similar manner. Shakhtar Donetsk, despite many South American imports, still play in a similar manner. Right across Eastern Europe the influence of Lobanovskyi is clear, collective systems trying to control the space as much as possible, subjected to iron fists.

Their recent friendly against Germany is a fine example of their strengths and weaknesses. 

They went 2-0 up against a very strong German side with a couple of blisteringly swift attacks, with Konoplyanka and Yarmolenko aggressively attacking into the space that was partly created by the genius of Shevchenko. 

Following a Kroos equaliser, Nazarenko hit a piledriver to make it 3-1 at half time. Come the second half however, Germany ramped up the pace in which they attack and Ukraine's foundations crumbled from a series of swift and decisive attacks from Germany. 

The Ukrainian defence is vulnerable to movement and pace.

So, where does this leave us for their chances at Euro 2012? Ukraine go into the tournament full of optimism with much to be excited about and a raucous home crowd to spur them on. 

Their group offers a challenge but it's a group they can qualify from. France, revitalised under Laurent Blanc's management, are all round very good and the trickery and pace of the likes of Ben Arfa, Benzema, etc will test Ukraine. 

England however, a team that has struggled at recent tournaments, are also susceptible to pacey attacks and movement and Ukraine can capitalise on this. Going forward, England are short of options that will hurt Ukraine's weaknesses. 

Meanwhile Sweden aren't the quickest team both in terms of the players physically and the way they attack. 

The Ukrainian midfield will work hard to cut the supply line to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and it's a game Ukraine will look to take something from.

If they manage to qualify they again have an excellent chance of progressing. 

If they can avoid Spain, they will come up against either Croatia, Italy or Republic of Ireland. 

All three will offer a stern test but all three are games Ukraine can take something from when firing on all cylinders, which would put them in the semi-finals. It may seem like a pipe dream but maybe, just maybe, in front of a passionate home crowd, Ukraine can take the principles of Lobanovskyi into the modern age with aplomb. 

One thing's for sure, they will provide a few surprises to unsuspecting opposition media and fans alike.

Ten Essential Things to Do When You Visit Ukraine

If you want to take a trip to Eastern Europe, then the best place for you to go to is Ukraine. Whereas Russia is the biggest in terms of the land area, Ukraine is, on the other hand, the richest in terms of what it has to offer. Ukraine is the second largest country in Eastern Europe, and its cultural heritage is probably the best it can offer to you as a foreign visitor.

1.) Libraries

You will find an extensive list of libraries in Ukraine dedicated to a variety of concentrations. For one, there is Ukrainian Academy of Science, the biggest in the country, so be sure to visit this library if you want to get to know more about the culture of Ukrainians. There are many other libraries in Ukraine, ranging from topics of religion, politics and works of fiction.

2. Historical Museums

The rich history of Ukraine has spawned a lot of museums. One notable museum is the Historical Museum of Ukraine where you can get a glimpse of Ukraine's history just by a tour of the museum. Other famous museums include the Museum of Historical Treasures and Museum of Ukrainian Art.

3.) Churches

Another good thing about Ukraine is its magnificent and beautiful churches. These churches are inspired by different architectural styles. Two world-famous churches are in here - the Church of Saint Andrew and Cathedral of Saint George, both of which are found in Kyiv.

4.) The City Capital, Kyiv

The most interesting city you must visit if you are in Ukraine is the country's capital - Kyiv. Because most of the structures and buildings in the area were destructed during the World War II, a vast regeneration of the place was done throughout the past, recent years. Thus, Kyiv will come off as a very modern place probably similar to your hometown.

5.) Waters in Ukraine

A lot of bodies of water can be found in Ukraine. The most abundant of which are rivers. In Ukraine are found some of the largest river bodies in Europe, and this will prove to be a great experience if you are looking for a bonding experience with your family.

6.) Natural Reserves and Wildlife

Another thing Ukraine is proud of is its natural reserves and wildlife refugees. Ukraine is home to a number of endangered species, which is why it has taken the important move to protect its wildlife. You ought to visit the zoos and reserves in the place to get a glimpse of animals you can only see in this country.

7.) Literature

You should never leave Ukraine without having a taste of their native literature. The thing about Ukraine's literature is that it manifests directly the history of the country. Its literary topics include poems, Christian verses, and political novels and books dealing with social realism. You should read or buy a book in Ukraine while you're at it.

8.) Theaters

Ukrainian culture has procreated a lot of original works in the arts and letters. In theater, the same can be said for no less. The theaters in Ukraine hold concerts and ballet performances which have been deemed as world class by critics and fans alike.

9.) Art Exhibits

Again another proof of the rich cultural ancestry of Ukraine is its exhibits. These exhibits showcase the works of their artists for over hundreds of years ago. Usually, the themes are either secular or non-secular, which makes it perfectly enjoyable for you, whether or not you are a religious person.

10.) Christian Places

Many places in Ukraine are known for its being religious in nature. Usually, this religion has something to do with Christianity. The peacefulness of the place also allows for you to be in perfect reverie, as the country is not often visited by tourists.

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