UKRAINE IN NEWS REPORTS OF THE WESTERN MEDIA. MAY 2020 REVIEW

06.06.2020 0 Редакция NS.Writer

May is May what should I say. But, frankly we were counting for more bright events in this month despite of that Quarantine during which we all stayed at home despite of warm sunny weather. And, still, Ukraine was in the detailed observation from the side of foreign media, let me say this – during May, 2020.

| Newssky.com.ua

UN chief: 16 armed groups have responded to cease-fire appeal

Sixteen armed groups have responded positively to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ appeal for a global cease-fire to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, but the U.N. chief said Thursday that mistrust remains high and turning intentions into an end to hostilities is difficult.

He said at a news conference that his March 23 call “has resonated widely, with endorsements from 114 governments, diverse regional organizations, religious leaders and more than 200 civil society groups spanning all regions.”

According to an informal tally kept by the U.N. based on various sources, the 16 armed groups that responded positively are from Yemen, Myanmar, Ukraine, Philippines, Colombia, Angola, Libya, Senegal, Sudan, Syria, Indonesia and Nagorno-Karabakh, reports AP on May 1, 2020.

Trump to nominate new U.S. ambassador to Ukraine

The White House said Friday that President Trump intends to nominate Keith Dayton as the next U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, after the position was unoccupied for nearly a year. Dayton is the director of the George C. Marshall Center in Garmisch, Germany, and the senior U.S. defense adviser to Ukraine.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was abruptly removed from her post in May 2019. She told House investigators in November she was removed because of a smear campaign orchestrated by “foreign corrupt interests” and Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

Yovanovitch was a key witness in the impeachment inquiry against Mr. Trump last year, which was precipitated by a whistleblower complaint about a July 25 phone call between Mr. Trump and the Ukrainian president where Mr. Trump asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, who is now the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. – reports CBS News May 2, 2020.

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 104/2020

Compared with the previous reporting period, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and more in Luhansk region.

The Mission lost spatial control of its mini-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) near Vrubivka due to signal interference. It recovered the UAV with damage to its landing gear and propellers.

Members of the armed formations continued to deny the SMM passage at checkpoints along official crossing routes in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.*

The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske. It observed persons near former military and military-type positions inside the disengagement area near Zolote and near military-type positions inside the disengagement area near Petrivske, all during evening hours. OSCE reported on May 3, 2020.

Attacks on Education in Ukraine, Situation Report

During 2020, the Ukraine Education Cluster has received reports regarding 9 conflict-related incidents resulting in physical damages to school infrastructure, 5 education facilities that have been temporarily closed, 4 incidents resulting in the threat of death or injuries to students, teachers and parents. Five reported cases of school damage is the highest number of such incidences within one month since July 2019 and brings the total number of incidents resulting in damages to schools to 104 during 2017-2020. Reliefweb May 4, 2020.

Invoking Cossack resistance, Ukrainian mayor defies lockdown measures

The mayor of a town in central Ukraine has unilaterally decided to ease lockdown restrictions, causing a row with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s government as it seeks to avoid a second wave of novel coronavirus infections.

Cherkasy mayor Anatoliy Bondarenko decided to open shops, hairdressers and restaurants on April 30 after appeals from businesses.

The move comes amid signs of growing impatience in Ukraine against lockdown measures imposed in March which the authorities say have kept infection rates lower than much of Western Europe.

The government announced a partial lifting of restrictions from May 11 but has cajoled citizens and local authorities not to let their guard down in the meantime.

Police have recorded more than 10,000 violations of lockdown rules, and the health minister has spoken out against people going to parks or holding rallies. Hundreds of businessmen protested against the lockdown in Kiev last week. Reuters May 5, 2020.

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report

Compared with the previous reporting period, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region, including a spike in areas west of Donetsk city, and fewer in Luhansk region.

An SMM patrol heard five explosions assessed as mortar rounds while positioned close to a checkpoint of the armed formations near Olenivka, Donetsk region.*

The SMM saw shelling damage to three residential houses in Oleksandrivka.

Members of the armed formations continued to deny the SMM passage at checkpoints along official crossing routes in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.*

The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske. OSCE May 6, 2020.

Georgian ex-President Saakashvili toasts appointment to Ukraine reform role

Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, was appointed on Thursday to a senior role at an advisory body on reforms chaired by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The move marks another political comeback for one of the post-Soviet world’s most recognisable politicians, although it was not immediately clear how much influence Saakashvili would be able to exert over Zelenskiy’s administration.

He joins as Ukraine faces a recession caused by a nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic, and the government is trying to secure aid from the International Monetary Fund that is contingent on Kiev’s reform performance.

According to a decree published by Zelenskiy’s office, Saakashvili will head an executive committee at the National Reform Council. Reuters May 7, 2020.

Georgia recalls its ambassador in Ukraine over ex-president

Georgia’s Foreign Ministry on Friday recalled its ambassador in Kyiv after the former Georgian president was appointed to lead an advisory body in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday put Mikheil Saakashvili in charge of the executive committee of the National Reform Council.

The move angered Georgia, where Saakashvili was president from 2004-2013. In a statement Friday, Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani pointed out that Saakashvili has been convicted by a Georgian court and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

“That is why we have made the decision to recall Georgia’s ambassador in Ukraine, Temuraz Sharashenidze, for consultations in Tbilisi. I want to emphasize that despite this regrettable decision, we are not considering termination of diplomatic relations between our countries or overlooking our strategic partnership,” Zalkaliani said. AP May 8, 2020.

Time for Europe to stop fighting over World War II

As the international community marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Second World War, the conflict continues to loom large in the global imagination. But while few would question the importance of the war in shaping the modern world, there is less agreement over the causes and character of the conflict. This is particularly true in Europe, which saw the worst of the carnage and emerged from the wreckage of WWII as the epicenter of a new Cold War that would keep Europeans separated along ideological lines for a further four-and-a-half decades.

Although Europe is no longer divided, attitudes towards WWII continue to vary widely across the continent and remain the cause of contemporary confrontations. Even basic timelines can prove contentious. Those in Western Europe are inclined to see May 1945 as the decisive date, whereas for Europeans living behind the Iron Curtain, the end of the Nazi empire merely meant exchanging one totalitarian occupier for its Soviet successor.

This diverse range of opinion towards WWII poses challenges for the future of an increasingly united and integrated Europe. Ukraine’s bitter experience of post-Soviet memory wars, which have played a significant part in facilitating the 2014 annexation of Crimea and the ongoing conflict with Russia in the east of the country, offers an urgent lesson for the rest of Europe on the importance of fostering a common approach towards the shared past. Atlantic council May 9, 2020.

Skadden Said to Have Paid $11 Million to Settle Ukraine Dispute

The law firm paid a former Ukrainian prime minister, Yulia V. Tymoshenko, and an associate to avert a suit over its role in a report justifying her imprisonment by a political rival. The New York Times May 10, 2020.

Outdoor cafes and parks reopen as Ukraine eases virus lockdown

Ukraine in mid-March ordered all non-essential businesses to close, with only grocery stores and pharmacies permitted to remain open as part of the efforts to stop the pandemic.

Public transport has been reserved for employees of essential services, including police and hospital staff.

Under new government regulations which entered into force Monday, Ukrainians are now also permitted to visit beauty salons, dental clinics, and parks and public squares. Medicalxpress May 11, 2020

UEFA bans Ukraine forward Biesiedin for 1 year for doping

Ukraine forward Artem Biesiedin has been banned from soccer for one year in a doping case, UEFA said Tuesday.

The ban ends on Dec. 19, leaving Biesiedin clear to play at the postponed European Championship in June 2021.

The 24-year-old Biesiedin scored in the last game of Ukraine’s qualifying group in November — a 2-2 draw at Serbia.

Less than two weeks later, Biesiedin tested positive for a banned stimulant while playing for Dynamo Kyiv after a Europa League game against Malmo, UEFA said.

The stimulant, Fonturacetam, is described in scientific journals as being “developed in Russia as a stimulant to keep astronauts awake on long missions.” AP May 12, 2020.

Ukraine approves law on banks in a bid for IMF aid

Ukraine has passed a law preventing former owners of nationalized or liquidated banks from regaining ownership or receiving state compensation, a move that allows the country to get $5.5 billion in loans from the International Monetary Fund.

The bill, which some lawmakers tried to sandbag with over 16,000 amendments, was approved on Wednesday by 270 votes out of 450.

Some said that the bill targets billionaire tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky, among others, whose Privatbank was nationalized in 2016 and who sought to get it back using his connections to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. AP May 13, 2020.

Ukraine to import 3 additional arms shipments from US in 2020

Ukraine plans to purchase at least three shipments of armaments from the United States this year, Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States, Volodymyr Yelchenko told The Day newspaper.

“Last year, we had the first case of direct purchase by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine from the United States of Javelin anti-tank systems. This was the first batch of non-assistance, namely the purchase of weapons in the United States. As far as I know, an agreement is being prepared to extend such purchases. There are some other types of weapons, defensive ones, which are especially important today in Donbas. We are talking about at least three large parties and I will not specify, but this is being done and I think that these purchases will be made during this year,” he said in an interview published on May 12.

The diplomat said deliveries of Island-type boats were not removed from the agenda: two of them were handed over to Ukraine as early as last fall, and the American side plans to transfer three more ships of this type within a year. Army recognition May 14, 2020.

Surrogate-born babies stranded in Ukraine

Ukraine’s human rights ombudswoman has appealed to authorities to find a solution for scores of infants born to surrogate mothers for foreign parents who are stranded because the country’s borders are closed under coronavirus restrictions.

Ukraine has a thriving surrogate industry and is one of the few countries that allows the service for foreigners. Concern is high that a long border closure will place a burden on clinics and distress the parents.
“About 100 children are already waiting for their parents in different centers of reproductive medicine. And if quarantine is extended, then it will not be about hundreds, but about thousands,” said ombudswoman Lyudmila Denisova. AP May 15, 2020.

Discover Ukraine through Film – Modern Ukraine

Stuck at home and looking for something to watch? Why not use the time to brush up on your Ukrainian history? We’ve compiled the definitive list of 50 films to guide you through 1,000 years of Ukrainian history.
“Discover Ukraine Through Film” is a project by journalist Lee Reaney teaching Ukrainian history through cinematography. Hromadske.ua May 16, 2020.

Osnat Lubrani on the challenges that may await Ukraine in the context of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic

UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine Osnat Lubrani shared that Ukraine might face several challenges in the context of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, including food crisis, the risk of relapse, and the need to protect people at risk.

In her opinion, quarantine restrictions should be lifted very carefully.

“Ukraine has a lot to learn from how other countries are dealing with this, and the task of the UN here is to facilitate the exchange of this experience so that countries can return to normal life as soon as possible,” said Lubrani.

The UN representative stressed that this is not only a health crisis it is also a very serious socio-economic crisis that will have a lot of impact on millions of people.

“No one will be able to cope with it alone. Countries and the international community must work together with a very strong focus on the most vulnerable groups. Food security is a problem for poor countries, but it also relates to world trade and agriculture,” she said. UN May 17, 2020.

U.S. tells Russia tostop ‘inflicting suffering on Crimean People’

The acting U.S. ambassador to Kyiv, Kristina Kvien, has called on Russia to “stop its legacy of inflicting suffering on the people of Crimea,” as Ukraine commemorated the victims of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s mass deportation of Crimean Tatars from their homeland in 1944.

Kvien issued a video statement on Twitter on May 18, which since 2016 has been marked in Ukraine as the Day of Commemoration of Victims of the Genocide of the Crimean Tatars. RFE/RL May 18, 2020.

Ukraine to use pro-Separatist Interviews as Evidence of Role in MH17 downing

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) says it will use a journalist’s interview with former pro-separatist figures as evidence of crimes committed during the war in the east of the country, including the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17).

The SBU announcement on May 19 relates to two interviews published by Ukrainian journalist Dmytro Hordon on his YouTube channel in which ex-separatist leader Igor Girkin, also known as Strelkov, and the former top prosecutor in Russian-annexed Crimea, Natalia Poklonskaya, divulge information that prosecutors say could be used against them.

“All the information voiced in these interviews is already being analyzed in detail by the [SBU] staff for its use as additional evidence of the Russian Federation’s seizure of Ukrainian territory and the actual beginning of the war in the east of our state,” the SBU said. RFE/RL May 19, 2020.

I Expected War. I Didn’t Expect Trump’s Impeachment or a Pandemic

Ukraine’s president looks back at what got him through his first year in office.

Last year on May 20, I was surrounded by crowds of people shaking hands, high-fiving and leaning in for selfies as they gathered to watch my inauguration. Ukrainians had elected me with 73 percent of the vote, pinning their hopes on me to clean up a corrupt government and bring stability.

I never thought being president would be easy. My previous job was as a comedy writer and producer; the team that I brought in was full of smart, energetic, capable and dedicated people, but many lacked political experience. We had high hopes and a fierce commitment to improving our embattled country, both at home and on the world stage. Then the past year happened.

Let’s start long before “coronavirus” was a familiar word. Remember President Trump’s impeachment? After chasing higher ratings for most of my life in the entertainment business, it took only one phone call to become truly world famous. The impeachment story was not comfortable for me. It took American and international attention away from the issues that mattered most to Ukraine and turned our country into a story about President Trump. The New York Times May 20, 2020.

Ukraine: Dogs auctioned to pay owners’ debts

Thoroughbred dogs that were confiscated under a court order in Ukraine to pay for their owners’ debts have been put up for auction online.

The auction, highlighted by an opposition MP, has drawn criticism.

Many initially thought it was a joke when two dogs were put up for auction on a state-owned online site for confiscated goods.
But it soon became clear the dogs were real. One has not yet been sold but one has a potential buyer.

Opposition MP Mykhailo Volynets posted screengrabs of the two elite dogs, complaining that they were being used as bargaining chips. The starting price for one, a shepherd dog, was €44 (£40; $48), the other far less.
There was indignation on social media, and one opposition MP, Oleksiy Honcharenko, said bailiffs should not be seizing innocent dogs. BBC May 21, 2020.

IMF, Ukraine Pencil $5 Billion Deal to Help With Debt Repayments

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Ukrainian officials reached a staff-level agreement on a new $5 billion stand-by arrangement to help Kyiv cope with economic shock caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The agreement is subject to approval by the IMF’s management and executive board, which will look at the deal “in the coming weeks,” the IMF said in a statement.

The agreement aims to provide balance of payments and budget support over a period of 18 months.

IMF Ukraine mission chief Ivanna Vladkova Hollar says it will ensure that Ukraine is “well poised to return to growth and resume broader reform efforts when the crisis ends.”

The arrangement also is expected to “catalyze additional bilateral and multilateral financial support,” she added in the statement. RFE/RL May 22, 2020.

Body of Ukraine lawmaker found in office, had gunshot wound

The body of a member of the Ukrainian parliament was found Saturday in his office, police said.

The body of 47-year-old Valeriy Davydenko was found by a cleaner in the restroom of his office. He had a gunshot wound and there was a pistol near him.

The preliminary investigation suggests he committed suicide, said Zoryan Shkiryak, an Interior Ministry official.

Davydenko, a former deputy agriculture minister, ran for parliament as an independent. In the previous parliament, he was a member of President Petro Poroshenko’s party. AP May 23, 2020.

Russia – Ukraine war updates

Russian hybrid forces launched 11 attacks, including the use of forbidden 122-mm artillery as well as 120-mm and 82-mm mortar launchers in the war zone in eastern Ukraine for the last day. Russian proxies launched attack in the North area with the use of the following types of arms: forbidden 120-mm and 82-mm mortar launchers – near Mayorsk (20 mines released in total), forbidden 82-mm mortar launchers – near Size and Krymske. Russian proxies launched attacks in the East area with the use of the following types of arms: forbidden 122-mm artillery – near Kamyanka (3 times and 32 rounds released), forbidden 120-mm mortar launchers – near Hnutove (2 times) and Avdyivka, manual anti-tank grenade launchers – near Kamyanaka (3 times), grenade launchers of different systems – near Starognativka, sniper fire – near Verkhnyotoretske, small arms – near Starognativka, Russian forces losses are as follows: 4 killed actions and 7 wounded in actions. 1 Ukrainian serviceman was wounded in actions for the last 24 hours. EMPR.media May 24, 2020.

COVID-19: Ukrainian Cities Reopen Subways

Authorities in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, have allowed the city’s subway system to resume operations after being closed for more than two months as part of the measures to restrict the movement of people during the coronavirus outbreak.

Officials said on May 25 that people will have their temperature taken before entering the subway system. Those with a body temperature higher than 37.2 degrees Celsius will be refused entry.

Those who do enter the underground transportation system will still have to follow social distancing and other restrictions still in place, they added. Subway operations also resumed in the eastern city of Kharkiv on May 25.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said on May 25 that as of June 1, the city administration plans to reopen kindergartens, sports venues, fitness centers, sports schools, clubs for children and youths, beaches and recreation areas by rivers and lakes, vocational schools, and universities. Swimming pools will remain closed, he said. RFE/RL May 25, 2020.

Statement by former US Ambassadors to Ukraine

Over the past three decades, the United States and Ukraine have developed a broad and robust relationship that serves the interests of both countries, countries that share values such as democracy, liberty, and human freedom. Ukraine’s success in developing as an independent, stable, democratic state with a strong market economy, anchored to European institutions, advances the US interest in a more stable and secure Europe.

The bilateral relationship has long enjoyed wide bipartisan support in the United States, including in Congress and from both Republican and Democratic presidents alike. It has also enjoyed support from a broad political spectrum in Ukraine.

We have worked over the years to build and strengthen the US-Ukrainian strategic partnership established in 1996. We thus are disheartened by efforts to inject Ukraine into America’s domestic politics as the 2020 US presidential election approaches. Those efforts advance a false and toxic narrative, one with no basis in the reality of US-Ukraine relations, in order to weaken the relationship between the United States and Ukraine and sow division within our two countries. That serves neither country’s interests. We strongly condemn these efforts to divide our two countries and call on officials in both to avoid steps that will only erode the bilateral relationship and alienate our countries from one another.

Ambassador (Ret.) Roman Popadiuk, 1st US Ambassador to Ukraine, Ambassador (Ret.) Steven Pifer, 3rd US Ambassador to Ukraine, Ambassador (Ret.) Carlos Pascual, 4th US Ambassador to Ukraine, Ambassador (Ret.) John Herbst, 5th US Ambassador to Ukraine, Ambassador (Ret.) William Taylor, 6th US Ambassador to Ukraine, Ambassador (Ret.) John Tefft, 7th US Ambassador to Ukraine, Ambassador (Ret.) Marie Yovanovitch, 9th US Ambassador to Ukraine. Atlantic council May 26, 2020.

Ukraine Business News

Ukraine’s three underground metro rail systems – Kyiv, Kharkiv and Dnipro – reopened yesterday morning – 10 weeks after closing to slow the spread of coronavirus. Passengers on all three systems will be required to wear masks, and when, possible to keep their distance from others. There will be random temperature checks. Mayors have asked residents to only use the metro when necessary, primarily for work.

When crowds form, police may close metro entrances and escalators. Trains and stations are to be cleaned every three hours. The Kyiv metro system handles 1 million riders a day and is a transportation pillar for the economy. If the metro reopening goes well, Ukrzaliznytsia plans to resume limited inter-regional train service next Monday.

Six of Ukraine’s 24 regions failed to win Health Ministry approval to reopen mass transit – bus, minibus and tram systems. Regions deemed to have too high rates of infection are Kyiv and five in the west: Chernivtsi, Lviv, Rivne, Volyn and Zakarpattia.

Since March 13, Ukraine has registered 617 deaths attributable to coronavirus – 8.5 a day. As of Sunday, Ukraine has conducted 285,626 tests, identifying 20,986 cases. About one quarter of cases require hospitalization.

Shifting employees to working at home – either partially or fully – is being considered by 62% of directors at 105 member companies of the European Business Association. In a survey completed Thursday most respondents said they were willing to allow up to 50% of the staff to work remotely. To recover to pre-crisis levels of business, 20% of the directors said it would take six months, 39% said one year, and 17% said two year. Henniger Winkelmann Consulting May 26, 2020.

Ukrainians who fled Putin face new pandemic realities

When the coronavirus crisis reached Ukraine in early 2020, the country was already struggling to cope with the fallout from an undeclared war with Russia that was then entering its seventh year. Beginning in February 2014, Russian aggression has led to the occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and around half of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east of the country. Despite no longer making international headlines, it remains Europe’s only war.

The cost of the conflict for Ukraine has been catastrophic. Over fourteen thousand Ukrainians have lost their lives. This death toll continues to rise, with sporadic clashes still a feature of everyday life along a front line stretching hundreds of kilometers in eastern Ukraine. The war has also dealt a devastating blow to the Ukrainian economy, causing a sharp decline in GDP while robbing the country of vital industrial and natural resources.

Since 2014, the Russian occupation has forced millions to flee their homes in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. This has created a population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) within Ukraine that is thought to number around 1.4 million people. Largely unseen by the outside world, the members of this vast IDP community have had to rebuild their lives elsewhere in Ukraine, often with little more than the personal possessions they were able to carry with them. Atlantic council May 27, 2020.

Energy Crisis in Ukraine: Predicted, but still a surprise

By the end of April, Ukrainian electricity distribution companies owed the system operator Ukrenergo approximately $187 million. The major part of this debt, $176 million, was the result of households delaying payment of their electricity bills.

Another source of debt is the state-run “Guaranteed Buyer” company, which is responsible for subsidizing households and renewable energy producers. It owes Energoatom—the state-owned company operating all nuclear power plants—about $150 million. In addition, the company is scheduled to pay approximately $237 million to renewable electricity producers and about $7.5 million to the big hydropower plants.

But these debts are just one part of the problem. After several years of preparation, a new electricity market model was introduced on July 1, 2019, in Ukraine. As part of a broader European integration effort, this reform was designed make Ukraine’s electricity market more in line with the European market. But the energy sector entered the new era with a debt overhang of $112 billion.

In general, the cumulative debt on the electricity market amounts to about $1.87 billion, with about the same figure for the gas market. For comparison, Ukraine’s GDP last year was $154 billion. Wilson center May 27, 2020.

Zelenskyy at home: One year of domestic reform?

On May 15, top Ukraine experts assessed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s domestic policies during his first year in office at an Atlantic Council event. Dr. Tymofiy Mylovanov, president of the Kyiv School of Economics, associate professor of the University of Pittsburgh, and former Minister of Economic Development, Trade, and Agriculture of Ukraine, was joined by Atlantic Council Senior Fellows Adrian Karatnycky and Dr. Anders Åslund took questions from the audience, but due to time constraints, they were unable to address them all. Below are responses to a selection of these questions. Atlantic council May 28, 2020.

On Russia’s Ongoing Aggression against Ukraine and Illegal Occupation of Crimea

Ongoing Violations of International Law and Defiance of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation in Ukraine. As delivered by Ambassador James S. Gilmore III to the Permanent Council, Vienna.

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson. In 2014, Moscow saw an opportunity to exploit a period of significant political change in Ukraine and launched a campaign to undermine the diplomatic processes, governance, and territorial integrity of its sovereign neighbor, Ukraine. For more than six years, the Russian government has fueled the conflict in eastern Ukraine, threatening the lives of local civilians and degrading critical infrastructure on which millions depend for electricity and water. Despite the impact of COVID-19 throughout the region, Russia’s aggression continues unabated. U.S. Mission to the OSCE May 28, 2020.

Ukraine expects $5 billion IMF loan approval on June 5 – PM

Ukraine expects the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to approve a $5 billion (4.05 billion pounds) loan package at a board meeting on June 5 and the first tranche of $1.9 billion to be disbursed the following day, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal told Reuters on Friday.

Ukraine needs the loans to weather an economic shock caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Gross domestic product could fall by 12% in the second quarter of this year, according to a preliminary estimate, Shmygal said in an interview.

He also said the government would allow wheat exporters to export freely for the next two months.

Reuters – WKZO May 29, 2020.

Hungary will continue providing reverse gas supplies to Ukraine

“We will continue providing reverse gas supplies to Ukraine. We have already [provided] 14 billion cubic meters,” Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said at a joint briefing with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba in Budapest, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.

Szijjártó also spoke about the readiness to invest in the economy and infrastructure in Zakarpattia region in western Ukraine. “The President of Ukraine and the Government of Ukraine plan large investments in Zakarpattia region, and we will be glad to join, which is why we have now signed a tied aid loan agreement,” the Hungarian minister added.

In addition, he noted that Budapest was ready to continue the “economic program of development of Zakarpattia.” “We are interested in good neighbourliness,” Szijjártó assured.

According to PJSC “Ukrtransgaz”, about 1 billion cubic meters of gas was supplied from Hungary to Ukraine in 2016; 2.8 billion cubic meters – in 2017; 3.4 billion cubic meters – in 2018. Newsnow.co.uk/Ukrinform May 30, 2020.

With masks and gloves, Ukraine’s priests return to duties

Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine (AP) – Wearing a white biohazard suit, a face shield and a blue mask over his mouth and nose, the Rev. Yaroslav Rokhman is hard to recognize as a priest when he visits terminally ill patients at a Ukrainian care center. But his words still bring comfort to the dying.

Rokhman, a clergyman in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, is pleased just to be performing one of a cleric’s most heartfelt duties again. As the coronavirus pandemic’s grip slowly recedes in Ukraine, priests received clearance on May 22 to resume religious services and to visit the sick and bereaved. Brooklyn News 12 May 31, 2020.

Stay cool. Plan your business with and within Ukraine.

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