Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Croatia Condemns Russia's Recognition of Ukrainian Separatist Regions

ZAGREB, 22 Feb 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Monday evening condemned Russia's decision to recognise the self-proclaimed regions in eastern Ukraine.

"We condemn the recognition the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which constitutes the violation of international law and the territorial integrity of Ukraine," PM Plenković tweeted on Monday evening.

We, together with European partners, express solidarity with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people, the PM added.

The Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs also condemned the decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin to recognise the two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent entities.

The decision violates Ukraine's territorial integrity, international law, the Minsk agreements and undermines diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis, says the Croatian ministry.

Many western countries and international organisations on Monday strongly slammed Russia's move to recognise the separatist regions and accused Putin of violating international law and Ukraine's sovereignty.

Sunday, 13 February 2022

Foreign Minister Says There are 114 Croatians in Ukraine

ZAGREB, 13 Feb 2022 - There are 114 Croatian nationals in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Sunday, adding that for the time being, there was no reason to close the Croatian embassy in Kyiv.

"There are 50 Croatians in Kyiv, 25 in the west and 25 in the east. There are also 14 Croatians in the OSCE Mission, so the number (of Croatians currently staying in Ukraine) we are certain of is 114," Grlić Radman told reporters in Split.

Stressing that his information was not certain, Grlić Radman said that he believed "nobody has yet left Ukraine in larger numbers."

Croatian nationals have been advised to contact the embassy and temporarily leave Ukraine.

As for the embassy, the minister said that there was still no reason to close it down.

"The situation is unpredictable, but in any case major efforts are being invested in dialogue as de-escalation, peace and finding a solution that would not compromise stability and security are in everyone's interest," the minister said, adding that conflict "would not benefit anyone."

Western countries have been withdrawing their ambassadors from Ukraine and advising their nationals to leave the country due to what they describe as a great likelihood of a Russian invasion.

At the same time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Saturday spoke out against spreading panic, saying that it only helped the enemy.

"If you or anyone has any additional information about a 100-percent chance of an invasion, give it to us," he added.

Concerns have been growing for months that Russia, which has amassed troops along the Ukrainian border, is thinking of invading Ukraine. Russian-backed rebel forces already control eastern parts of Ukraine, and Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

Russia denies any such plans. It, however, has used the attention focused on the region to express its fears that NATO has come too close to its territory, demanding that the Western alliance withdraw from what Russia regards its own sphere of influence.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 12 February 2022

Croatia Calls on Its Citizens to Leave Ukraine

ZAGREB, 12 Feb 2022 - Croatia has advised its citizens to leave Ukraine, joining other countries that have done the same for fear of a Russian attack on the country.

Croatians are also advised to avoid travel to Ukraine, particularly to areas along the border with Russia and Belarus and near the separation line with the temporarily occupied areas of the Crimea and Donbas, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs said in a statement on Saturday. 

Those who cannot leave Ukraine are advised to exercise caution and contact the Croatian Embassy in Kyiv.

The United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, Australia and New Zealand have earlier urged their citizens to leave Ukraine. Sweden, Spain, Italy, France, Saudi Arabia and Jordan did the same on Saturday.

As the list of countries withdrawing their citizens is increasing, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Saturday spoke out against spreading panic, saying that it only helped the enemy.

Concerns have been growing for months that Russia, which has amassed troops along the Ukrainian border, is thinking of invading Ukraine. Russian-backed rebel forces already control eastern parts of Ukraine, and Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

Russia denies any such plans. It, however, has used the attention focused on the region to express its fears that NATO has come too close to its territory, demanding that the Western alliance withdraw from what Russia regards its own sphere of influence.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 29 January 2022

MEP: Milanović's Statement for Internal Face-off, But Damage is in Foreign Affairs

ZAGREB, 29 Jan 2022 - Although President Zoran Milanović's statements on Ukraine, EU, NATO, and Russia were intended for his face-off with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković in the home policy, they have done damage to Croatia's credibility in the global affairs, Member of European Parliament, Tonino Picula, says.

The Croatian MEP said in an interview with Hina before his departure for Ukraine at the helm of the European Parliament's delegation, that he could see Milanovć's claims about Ukraine not belonging in NATO and his understanding for Russia's arguments in the Russia-Ukraine crisis "as his statements serving primarily the purpose of his conflicts on the internal policy scene."

The president and the premier are so deep in the conflict that some of the topics that are supposed to reflect a minimum of state unity such as foreign affairs topics have also fallen victim to that conflict, the Croatian MEP told Hina.

Last Tuesday, Milanović said that Croatia would not have a military presence in Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion, that the events in Ukraine of 2014, known as the Revolution of Dignity, were a military coup, that Europe had not done enough to assist Kyiv, and that the tensions on the Ukraine-Russia border were a consequence of the US home policy. "All that is happening in the antechamber of Russia. One must reach a deal that will take account of the security interests of Russia," said Milanović then.

Picula said that at the moment no one is considering the deployment of NATO's troops in Ukraine.

"I am against the policy that undermines the credibility of Croatia as a member of the European Union and of NATO. Milanović's pro-Russian attitudes undermine that credibility and I also hold that PM Plenković, too, undermines Croatia's credibility primarily through toleration of corruption in his own ranks."

Picula calls on the head of state and the head of government to refrain from spilling their conflicts over to foreign affairs.

"This story should be closed as soon as possible. Croatia needs definitely a higher degree of consent between top leaders for the sake of its credibility abroad," said Picula who was the foreign minister in the coalition government led by Prime Minister Ivica Račan of the SDP party in the early 2000s.

Ukraine crisis exposes weaknesses of EU

While Kyiv and Western countries are bracing themselves for a potential invasion of Russia along its border with Ukraine, where Russian troops are being amassed, Moscow refutes claims that it is preparing attacks on its southwestern neighbour, and insists that the West provides it with guarantees that NATO will not be expanded further eastwards.

On Sunday, the eight-member EP delegation, which includes Picula, is set to fly to Ukraine to meet the Ukrainian leadership.

In the European Parliament, there are different views on the Ukrainian crisis.

Picula said that a majority of the MEPs express solidarity with Ukraine, and support the respect for that country's sovereignty and right to choose which associations it would like to join.

Different approaches of the EU member states to the response to the Russia-Ukraine crisis have an effect on the EU's political strength, he said.

"This crisis also exposes the EU being stuck halfway in its integrations, and this half of unfinished integrations prevents the Union from responding to ad hoc crises, notably when they are external shocks."

The Ukrainian crisis also juxtaposes much wider geopolitical interests, he said adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin would like to avoid EU leaders in efforts to settle the current crisis.

"He wants to talk with the Americans and not with EU leaders, and this is part of his strategy to disintegrate the West."

On the other hand, he does not refrain from holding talks with the economic establishment of the EU and reminding them of the benefits of the Russian-European cooperation, Picula said.

Granting Russia's maximum demands such as that Ukraine should not join the EU or NATO  and that NATO should pull out of eastern countries would mean that the European project is abandoned, said the Croatian MEP.

He says he cannot accept the arguments of Moscow that it could feel threatened in the event of the further eastbound expansion of NATO.

"Although Russia's fears about an invasion from Europe have their roots in the past, also the east of Europe has the historically rooted fears of Russian invasion," Picula told Hina in the interview published on Saturday.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 24 January 2022

Notions of 'Spheres of Influence' Have No Place in 21st Century, EU Says

ZAGREB, 24 Jan 2022 - EU foreign ministers said on Monday that notions of "spheres of interest" had no place in the 21st century and condemned Russia's threats against Ukraine, threatening Moscow with "massive consequences" if it attacks Ukraine.

"Notions of 'spheres of influence' have no place in the 21st century," the Council said in conclusions on the European security situation.

EU foreign ministers met in Brussels today and the main topic was the tense situation on Ukrainian borders, where Russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops.

"The Council condemns Russia’s continued aggressive actions and threats against Ukraine, and calls on Russia to de-escalate, to abide by international law and to engage constructively in dialogue through the established international mechanisms," the conclusions say, adding that "any further military aggression by Russia against Ukraine will have massive consequences and severe costs."

That "includes a wide array of sectoral and individual restrictive measures that would be adopted in coordination with partners."

Due to the situation in Ukraine, some countries have announced downsizing their diplomatic missions and advised against travel there.

Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said Croatia was monitoring the situation and that for now there was no reasons to withdraw diplomats.

"The EU High Representative for the foreign and security policy, Josep Borrell, has said that for now there is no reason to evacuate. Croatia will follow the situation and the EU's position. There might be a change, but for now the member states won't withdraw their diplomats," he said.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Borrell Calls for Vigilance due to Emerging New Coronavirus Strains

ZAGREB, 10 July 2021 - There is a light at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic tunnel, but we must stay vigilant due to emerging new variants, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borrell said in Dubrovnik on Saturday and called for cooperation with Russia and China.

We are reaching the end of the tunnel, but the pandemic is still raging, especially in South America, Africa and India. We must stay vigilant because new strains are emerging, said Borrell at the 14th edition of the ministerial forum in Dubrovnik. This year's gathering focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on geopolitical relations and the world economy.

We still have a long battle ahead of us, said the chief of European diplomacy, adding that one the consequences of the pandemic will be an increasingly insecure, unequal and less free world.

Inequality will be visible, he said, not only between countries but also within each individual country.

The decisive factor for overcoming the pandemic are vaccines without which we cannot win this battle, Borrell said.

There was a lot of division at the international level, there was a lack of cooperation, but the scientific world worked hard and produced the vaccines in a very short time, Borrell said.

China increasingly intrusive, but cooperation necessary

Certainly, we need to do more, but there is one positive aspect. The EU is the only region in the world that has vaccinated its population and at the same exports the vaccine to other countries and donates to the COVAX programme, Borrell underscored.

He accused Russia and China of using vaccines to achieve their interests and warned that we had to be aware of that.

Those countries are using vaccine diplomacy, we must be aware of that, he said.

He pointed out that it was important how the EU would position itself in the triangle with the US and China, recalling that China is recording amazing economic development and that they received a very defiant message from President Xi Jinping from Beijing that foreign forces will face broken heads if they try to bully or oppress China.

(China) is becoming increasingly intrusive, cooperation with it is becoming more difficult, Borrell said.

However, he added there had to be cooperation with China in many areas and that the economic potential was still very large.

As much as 25% of global economic growth this year is from China, Borrell said, adding that in the the United States there are comments that China is a competitor, rival and partner.

He thinks that the competition between China and the US would shape the world in the decades to come, and the EU had to set a clear direction.

We share history, political and economic system with the US. We will always be close to Washington, but we must view the world taking into account our own interests, said Borrell, stressing that the dialogue between the EU and American President Joe Biden's administration on China was real, positive and constructive.

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

VukovART 2021 to Return Art, Culture and Joy to the City of Vukovar

April 20, 2021 - With a five-year tradition already in place, VukovART 2021 promises a month of fun and exciting activities for Vukovar with visual eye candy as souvenirs to last.

A unique concept in the culture and art of Vukovar, the VukovART festival will be held from May 15 all the way to June 15, writes HRTurizam.  

With a five-year tradition, the streets and squares of Vukovar will once again host numerous exhibitions and workshops, debates, children's programs, film, and literary programs, panel discussions, colorful lectures, and concerts. This event, organized by the City of Vukovar and Val Kulture association, co-financed by the European Social fund, promotes Vukovar as a Port of Art, changing the visual identity of the city making it a beautiful place to live. In addition to the local community, tourists also enjoy the eye candy of the city's open-air gallery. Artists Boa Mistura (Spain), BustArt (Switzerland), Jana Brike (Latvia), Mr Woodland (Germany), Victor Splash (Russia), Artez (Serbia), Juandres Vera (Mexico), Kerim Musanović (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Marion Ruthardt from (Germany), and Croatia's own Forest are ten artists who will come this year to give their contribution to the growing visual content of the city.

The festival will be opened by a beloved Croatian band Vatra (Fire), with performances of Mia Dimšić, musical composition CLUE, and vocal composition Watercolor in the following days too. During every larger event of the festival, „a superb craft scene and street food“ offers will be offered to visitors too. 


© VukovArt - Art Harbour

Famous Croatian singer from Psihomodo Pop with a neck in painting as well, Davor Gobac will exhibit his paintings and also host Motivational and Art Workshop for children.

„There will also be an active weekend led by the Vukovar Half Marathon, and for a slightly more relaxing activity, a bicycle race will be organized to tour previous works of art“, says HRTurizam article.

Domagoj Jakopović Ribafish, Dusan Bučan, and Robert Knjaz will host travel lectures and the full program and more details can be found on VukovART official website and on social networks.  

Learn more about Croatia's festivals on our TC page.  

For more about Made in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Health Minister Beroš Calls on Russian Side to Expedite Delivery of Vaccine Documentation

ZAGREB, 3 March, 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Wednesday that during his talks with a Russian delegation he had called for expediting the delivery of documentation on the Russian COVID-19 vaccine so that Croatia's HALMED regulator could evaluate the vaccine's safety and efficiency.

"The meeting yesterday with the Russian ambassador does not indicate that we are abandoning the European Commission's common procurement but is rather a sign that we are looking for complementary methods that will be in line with the EC and Croatian regulations," the minister told a news conference.

He said that it was possible to obtain the vaccine without the approval of the European Medicines Agency and that the analysis by HALMED would take some time, but that he was talking about days and weeks, not months.

Yesterday's meeting was held at the proposal of the Russian ambassador, it was pleasant, constructive and friendly and focused on possibilities of obtaining the vaccine, Beroš said.

It was stressed that procuring the vaccine from Russia was a possibility and that it had to be in line with EU and Croatian regulations, Beroš said.

He noted that the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry has sent a note to the Russian Embassy specifying the 11 documents HALMED needed in order to be able to evaluate the safety of the vaccine.

"I thank our Russian friends for their efforts to help us in the fight against the pandemic because vaccination, along with restrictions, is the main weapon in preventing the spread of the infection," he said.

He noted that it had already been said that HALMED could evaluate the efficacy of the vaccine without the approval of the European Medicines Agency if so requested by Croatian health authorities, in order to secure emergency vaccine imports.

"I believe it is a legitimate government effort to ensure for citizens everything that science can offer, but the main criterion must be safety, efficacy and quality," he stressed.

As for the debt to drug wholesalers, which have limited drug deliveries to hospitals because of their debts, Beroš said that it was a problem that had persisted for decades and that it should be dealt with through a reform of the health system as well as talks with drug wholesalers.

He said the government would do its best to secure an unobstructed supply of drugs for citizens and that it would hold talks with drug wholesalers.

The Croatian health system is financially unsustainable and the crisis year 2020 accentuated the negative financial effects due to an increase in health spending as well as the cost of procuring the COVID-19 vaccine, which amounted to more than two billion kuna last year, said Beroš.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Croatia and Russia Sign Programme for Boosting Cultural Cooperation

ZAGREB, Dec 16, 2020 - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Croatian Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek signed on Wednesday the sixth Programme of Cooperation in the Field of Culture for the 2020-2022 period, the Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media said.

The program was signed as part of the Russian Foreign Minister's official visit to Croatia, and it encourages exchange and cooperation between artists, cultural and art institutions, and associations, as well as direct cooperation between cultural institutions of mutual interest, the MKM said.

Mutual cooperation, the Ministry said, encompasses a wide range of activities related to museums, galleries, performing arts, literature, and publishing, as well as the existing high level of cooperation in the area of audiovisual activities.

The Ministry recalled that in the domain of cultural heritage the cooperation was especially pronounced between the Underwater Research Centre of the Russian Geographical Society, the Lomonosov Moscow State University Marine Research Centre, and the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology in Zadar, a UNESCO Category II Centre.

Signing the Programme will improve, the Ministry said, the existing cooperation between organizations, artists, and experts.

In addition to a good and meaningful bilateral cooperation between the two countries, which is achieved through direct contact between cultural institutions and artists working in Croatia and Russia, the cooperation within international platforms will also continue, the Ministry of Culture and Media said.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Sberbank's Maksim Poletajev Will Be At ''New'' Agrokor's Head

Daniel Boehi, Miodrag Borojević, Paul Foley, Kelly Griffith, Maxim Poletajev, Jullian Michael Simmons, Sergey Volk and Fabris Peruško are a list of names that will enter the ''new'' Agrokor, or Fortenova's management.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of March, 2019, Sberbank's Maksim Poletajev will be the head of Fortenova's board of directors, as was decided upon by the concern's owners during meeting in London, Večernji list writes.

At the moment, this information remains unofficial and should be confirmed at the end of March, when new functions will be recorded in the Court Registry of companies. Namely, on the first day of April, the Fortenova Group, formerly Agrokor, will be chaired by a board of nine directors and an executive board consisting of three members. Daniel Boehi, Miodrag Borojević, Paul Foley, Kelly Griffith, Maxim Poletaev, Jullian Michael Simmons, Sergey Volk and Fabris Peruško, Agrokor's current extraordinary administrator, are already known.

Maxim Poletajev of Russia's Sberbank, will be at the helm of this body which will make all strategic decisions on the involved companies.

This body decides on the selling and acquiring part of the business, appointments, and other major contracts. Along with Poletajev as a representative of Sberbank, the largest shareholder, which has a 39.2 percent stake in the new ownership structure, Sergey Volk will also enter the body, who as a member of the temporary creditors' council has been present within Agrokor since the very beginning of the extraordinary administration process. Both bankers are well acquainted with the opportunities within Agrokor, over the past two years they have become well acquainted with Agrokor's suppliers and most of the owners of major Croatian companies.

In an interview with Večernji list, Poletajev announced that the company, which will continue to operate under Fortenova's name, will boast some powerful management names.

For now, all operating company directors have retained their positions in mirror companies, and some very powerful names are set to enter the board of directors. Miodrag Borojević is certainly one of them. He currently runs the O'KEY Group, one of the leading retail chains in Russia, and also boasts an exceedingly rich career in the sector. He was the director of REWE Italy, which was rescued during his mandate, he has also operated Kaufland's business in Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovakia and in the Czech Republic.

Foley has valuable long-standing experience in large retail chains and has been leading the large chain of Aldi in his career and is now in the Magnitum Management, a Russian chain where VTB Bank, which owns about seven percent of the new Fortenova, bought and sold shares from February to May 2018.

The board of directors also includes a workers' representative whose name is as yet unknown. The executive board of directors who will operate the company will have three members, Fabris Peruško, Irena Weber and a member who will be responsible for finances, their name is as yet is unknown.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more on Agrokor.

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