From prisoner to hero and back: Will Kostenko follow in Savchenko's steps
Ukrainian political prisoner Oleksandr Kostenko, recently released from the Russian prison, is now at risk of repeating the fate of Nadiia Savchenko in the sense that his return to Ukraine, which is now being boasted in high offices as a win of Ukraine authorities may as well result in his further imprisonment, this time in Ukraine.
Week's balance: Empty treasury, Kyiv's struggle for hot water, and selection of privatization advisers
The balance of funds in the single account of Ukraine's State Treasury has dropped to its absolute low over the past four and a half years; Kyiv is looking for opportunities to negotiate with Naftogaz, while purchasing fuel from private entities; the State Property Fund has selected investment advisors to conduct large privatization - these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
Suing Russia: New twists and turns in legal battle
Ukraine authorities plan to create an interdepartmental body to consolidate claims against Russia for compensation of damage over the Kremlin's aggression in Donbas and Crimea annexation. Experts consider the move to be timely, although warning that hearings in international courts will be lengthy, while Russia will not pay off its debts voluntarily, so Ukraine needs to be strategically prepared for foreclosures.
Kremlin's backdoor diplomacy
The latest meeting of the Normandy Four at the level of foreign ministers was held early June. It was announced that the Quartet's leaders would meet "in the near future." Now, almost two months since the top diplomats met, Russia is claiming there are no conditions for this. At the same time, Russia continues to discuss Ukraine behind its back, offering its own, peculiar vision of the Donbas "settlement."
Iryna Siedova: Ukraine needs to show that it can broadcast in the occupied territories in the language of people living there... Otherwise, the invaders will say Bandera followers want to destroy Russian language
Representative of the Crimean Human Rights Protection Group Iryna Siedova in an interview with UNIAN told whether broadcasting across Crimea from the TV tower in Chongar is effective, how the invaders block the signal of Ukrainian radio stations in Crimea, and what to do in order to gain confidence of a Crimean audience that still does not know whom to trust - Ukraine or Russia.
Hunt for activists
In recent months, it seems like a real hunt has been launched in Ukraine for civic activists. Some receive verbal threats, some get beaten up, stabbed, and lately even attacked with acid and killed.
Week's balance: delay with pensions, gas tariff freeze, and privatization restart
The pension fund for the first time in many years failed to ensure the timely payment of pensions, the government once again refused to raise gas prices for the households, while a long-awaited start was given to privatization of smaller-scale state companies - these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
Sergei Loznitsa: War was looming over us like a sword. The city of Kryvyi Rih where we shot Donbas isn't so far from there... And while we were shooting, bodies of a few Ukrainian troops were brought to the city to be buried. This is all terrible.
In an exclusive interview with UNIAN, a highly-acclaimed film director Sergei Loznitsa shared his vision of developments in Ukraine's east, explained why art cannot be apolitical, and told about the challenges he faced while working on the "Donbass" movie.
Week's balance: gas talks in Berlin, offensive on smugglers, barriers in economy
Representatives of Ukraine and Russia governments met in Berlin in an attempt to determine positions in the future gas negotiations; the Cabinet continued its fight against smuggling and, in the framework of economic deregulation efforts, simplified rules for foreigners' employment - these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
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.