MH17: Four years after tragedy
Four years after the deadly shooting down by Russia of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing flight MH17, killing 298 people on board, the world is still far from punishing the perpetrators. Despite the fact that this year the Joint Investigation Group officially established that the passenger jet had been downed by the Buk anti-aircraft missile system owned by one of the Russian army units, Russia still has not admitted its guilt.
Week's balance: Premonition of default, scandals around energy minister, and victory of "EU-platers"
Ukraine's key business associations in order to avoid default and macro-financial destabilization called on the authorities and IMF to immediately unblock the allocation of $1.9 billion to Ukraine. Minister of energy and coal industry Ihor Nasalyk fought off accusations of cooperation with Russia. People's deputies adopted in the first reading the draft law on preferential customs clearance of cars with European registration – these are the main economic news outgoing week.
Ukrainian interest. Success in Brussels, Procrustean bed for Trump, and surprise in Greece
Brussels has hosted the Ukraine-EU and the NATO summit, and Ukraine can be quite pleased with the outcome of both. Donald Trump taught another lesson of attracting all media attention, but saw an unexpected "postcard greeting from Homeland." Greece is expelling two Russian diplomats.
Taking back Donbas: Will Columbia experience fit Ukraine
Armed conflict in Colombia between the government and militants of the paramilitary organization FARC lasted more than fifty years and ended only in 2016 with the signing of a peace treaty. UNIAN tried to figure out from the former head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Colombia how this experience could be useful to Ukraine.
Week's balance: Bill on exit capital tax, Groysman vs smuggling, and reform of state banks governance
President Poroshenko suggested that the Rada replace the profit tax with the tax on the capital withdrawn from businesses, the prime minister intimidated shadow importers with some radical methods of fighting them, while the parliament passed a bill on reforming corporate governance in state-owned banks – these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
Ukrainian interest. Relapses of Stalinism, meetings in Belgrade, and Polish diversity
The Russian government cynically combines in its policy certain relapses of Stalinism and Putin's willingness to join the EU in countering cyber threats. Petro Poroshenko paid a visit to Serbia, the country traditionally looking up to Moscow. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew noted that the Russian Orthodox Church has no right to consider Ukraine its canonical territory. Representatives of the Polish government on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Volyn tragedy sent a number of varying signals to Ukraine.
Ukrainian interest. Battle of ombudswomen, European values, and geopolitical czardas
Trajectories of the efforts of Liudmyla Denisova and Tatyana Moskalkova almost don't intersect while Ukrainian political prisoners continue their hunger strike. PACE adopted a resolution calling for the release of Ukrainian political prisoners, while its Bureau scheduled for October an attempt to return to the Assembly the suspended Russian delegation. The EU Council approved allocation of another financial assistance package to Ukraine, coordinated actions against illegal migrants, and extended sanctions against Russia. Moscow and Washington agreed on the date and venue of the Trump-Putin summit. The Polish Sejm amended the law on the national remembrance institute but left the "Ukrainian" article intact. Hungary continues its geopolitical czardas with Ukraine.
Week's balance: Good-bye to small coins, welcome to EU money for Ukraine reform, and latest budget deficit
The National Bank refused from further minting of small coins, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman asked the European Union to help with the financing of Ukrainian reforms, while the state budget was reduced to a deficit - these are the key economic news of the outgoing week.
Ukrainian interest. Kremlin's traditional cynicism, Zakarpattia optimism, and migration threat for EU
The Kremlin's stance toward hunger strikes of Ukrainian political prisoners is especially cynical. Moscow and Washington are increasingly discussing the future summit between Putin and Trump. Negotiations of the quartet of Ukrainian and Hungarian ministers in a Zakarpattia resort allow some optimism not only toward Ukraine's participation in the future NATO summit, which is timed with the adoption of the National Security Bill, but also toward the prospects for normalizing bilateral relations. The migration crisis risks becoming a serious problem for the European Union.
Week's balance: New customs war, currency regulations, and new Supervisory Board in Ukrzaliznytsia
A new customs war: Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, anticipating a possible attack on himself, went all-in, deciding to withdraw the Ukrainian customs from under control of the president. The Verkhovna Rada adopted a historic decision - changed the obsolete currency decree by a law declaring the "all is allowed that is not prohibited by law" principle. In one of the most corrupt state companies, Ukrzaliznytsia, elected a supervisory board, which included acclaimed international experts. These are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
Ukrainian interest. Berlin talks, struggle for Sentsov, and Summit in Singapore
The Normandy Four foreign ministers made an attempt to resume discussion of the situation in Donbas. Petro Poroshenko and Andriy Parubiy urged Ukraine's Western partners to refuse from participation in the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 energy project, while the president also took part in the launch of the TANAP line. The European Parliament stood up for Oleh Sentsov and other political prisoners in Russia, followed by the Polish Sejm. The Trump-Kim Summit was a sweet deal for both leaders, while Paul Manafort was finally thrown behind bars in the U.S.
Week's balance: War against business harassers, NBU names key financial risks, and Swedish court suspends Gazprom debt collection
Last week, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman declared war on law enforcers who continue to exert unlawful pressure on businesses; the National Bank released its new financial stability report, pointing out major risks; and the Swedish Court of Appeal suspended execution of the Stockholm arbitration award obliging Russian Gazprom to pay $2.6 billion in favor of Naftogaz.
Crimea. Territory of torture
Russia's crimes against Crimea and its residents did not end with the actual occupation. And although Putin's regime still does not allow international observers to Crimea, some information is coming through. Since the beginning of the annexation, human rights monitors have recorded about two hundred cases of inhuman treatment of people, a quarter of which are torture cases. Some victims manage to escape from the FSB grip, and they are ready to tell the whole world about their experience.
"Mr. X": New law for investors
The Verkhovna Rada adopted a law simplifying the entry to the Ukrainian market of foreign investors. This should ensure the introduction of foreign financial intermediaries, nominal holders – a sort of Mr X. Meanwhile, experts are divided on the prospects for the new legislation. UNIAN tries to clear up the situation.
Ukrainian interest. Putin building up tension, Trump's impromptu, and inter-parliamentary trio
The Russian president is going on a counter-offensive in the international arena, trying to bring down the negative resonance surrounding the hunger strike of Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners. Russia was on top agenda of the G7 summit. A new Italian government with Euroskeptic sentiments has begun its work. Sweden gave permission to the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in its territorial waters. In Kyiv, the creation of the Interparliamentary Assembly of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine was announced.
Week's balance: Anti-corruption court for IMF, finance minister sacked, and new energy regulator's stance on "Rotterdam +" formula
Verkhovna Rada's constitutional majority adopted the Anti-Corruption Court it earlier resented, thus, fortunately, retaining cooperation with the IMF, but then immediately sacked Finance Minister Oleksandr Danyliuk, who had dared accuse of corruption the entourage of President Poroshenko. The National Energy and Utilities Regulation Commission received a new leader: its notorious ex-chief was not given even an advisor post. These are the main economic of the outgoing week.
NABU Auditor Volodymyr Vasylenko: Very often, police and courts act not as law enforcers but as law violators... NABU is called to defend law; therefore, its activities must remain within the legal framework
Volodymyr Vasylenko, a NABU Auditor appointed today by the Verkhovna Rada, an expert in international law, honorary lawyer of Ukraine, Doctor of Law, told UNIAN about the purpose of the audit of anti-graft bodies and his mission as an auditor.
Worse than serial criminals: Why Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia receive huge terms
Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia face with "public flogging," being handed down verdicts on far-fetched charges way harsher than those to outright criminals or even serial killers. UNIAN tried to find out why Ukrainians in Russia face huge prison terms, and who else can be a "person of interest" to Russian security services and find themselves in a risk zone.
Week's balance: Attack on Gazprom, Vovk's lay-off, and premier's war with finance minister
Naftogaz began the process of forcing a US$2.6 bln debt from Gazprom in Europe, targeting Putin's favorite Nord Stream 2; squabbles between Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and Finance Minister Oleksandr Danyliuk hit an international level, while President Petro Poroshenko finally approved five new members of the energy regulator and dismissed its scandalous head, Dmytro Vovk – these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
Ukrainian interest. Babchenko test, maneuvers around Nord Stream 2, and demonstrative visit
The Babchenko case attracted the attention of various world players to Ukraine. Sergei Lavrov in Minsk recalled the "Steinmeier formula," complete with various "horror stories" about Ukraine. Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Haiko Maas visited Kyiv. Ukraine-Poland partnership is reflected in their cooperation within the UN Security Council. Andriy Parubiy paid a visit to Israel.