American "hawk" for Donbas
Freshly appointed U.S. Special Envoy on Ukraine settlement Kurt Volker wasted no time and took on a visit to Ukraine as part of the delegation led by State Secretary Rex Tillerson, to familiarize himself with the situation on the ground. Obviously the challenges he will be facing differ from those which his predecessor Victoria Nuland had to deal with.
Week’s milestones. PGO vs Rada Committee, London report, and fidgeting Yanukovych
The Verkhovna Rada Regulations Committee demonstrated that the cover-up in the Ukrainian parliament has no factional or political coloring. The prime minister and leading members of the government persuaded Ukraine’s partners in London that the reforms were continuing. Viktor Yanukovych recalled his defense team from his treason trial. Former drug enforcement chief Ilya Kiva declared himself a new leader of the Socialist Party of Ukraine.
Ukrainian interest. Waszczykowski case, prospects in London, and G20 with Ukrainian accent
Foreign Minister of Ukraine's strategic partner state continued the anti-Ukrainian line of his fellow party members. Warsaw felt it was becoming Washington’s leading partner in Europe and will try to play this card. The Ukrainian government in London reported on the reforms carried out and spoke on future transformation. Stratcom Dialogue was held in Riga. The G20 summit is “speaking” with a Ukrainian accent. Ahead of Rex Tillerson’s visit to Kyiv he appointed a special envoy on Ukraine.
Week’s balance: Postponed bailout tranche, central bank’s worsened macroeconomic forecast, and international partners urging Kyiv to speed up reform
The authorities announced the postponement of key reforms and, subsequently, of the next IMF bailout tranche, at least until autumn 2017; the National Bank of Ukraine worsened its outlook for the country’s economic growth and inflows of credit funds; while international partners called on the president, government and parliament boost reform - these are the main economic news of the past week.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg: "We cannot isolate Russia. Therefore, we believe in deterrence, defense and predictable approach but, at the same time, open channels for political dialogue"
Ahead of the Ukraine visit of the North Atlantic Council, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in an exclusive interview with UNIAN spoke about the reason for an eight-year pause since the NAC’s latest visit, about his vision of Ukraine’s prospects of joining the Alliance, and why NATO, despite having halted practical cooperation with Russia, retains political channels open.
Trump and Putin: "Reset" or final break-up?
On the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg July 7, a meeting of the presidents of the United States and Russia has been announced. While the Kremlin is struggling to present the talks as a landmark event, Trump has already sent quite an unpleasant signal to Putin in his appeal to cease Russia’s “destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere."
Ukraine's Ambassador to the Netherlands: "Russia is obliged to provide legal assistance [to the Netherlands] in criminal matters"
The Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Ukraine to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Vsevolod Chentsov, in his interview with UNIAN has told what the grounds were for making a decision to pass the right to prosecute those guilty of the MH17 crash to the Dutch court, when will this court start its hearings and whether anything is able to force Russia to cooperate in the criminal investigation.
Awaiting environmental Armageddon
Besides the fact that Ukraine has joined the Paris Climate Agreement and the latest twists and turns regarding Lviv’s waste landfills row, environmental issues in Ukraine have long been back-shelved. Well, they shouldn’t be.
Week’s milestones. Pre-holiday escalation, positioning of Ukraine authorities, and Prosecutor General’s offensive
Ukraine was taught a showing lesson of hybrid aggression. The president spoke of early elections, while prime minister positioned himself as the major center of influence in the government, and the Rada speaker said he was convinced of the parliament's potential, although recognizing the lack of political will to change the electoral law. The Prosecutor General did not stop on six requests to the Rada on lifting parliamentary immunity off MPs, hinting at a probe pending against former and today’s ministers.
Ukrainian interest. Positive Macron, deposition of Agramunt, and restless neighbors
Ukrainian and French presidents have found common language. PACE President Pedro Agramunt turned into a political outcast. Stepan Poltorak visited Brussels and will fly to Washington soon. Minsk and Chisinau are giving Kyiv new reasons for boosting political efforts. Donald Trump said the United States would sell coal to Ukraine.
Week’s milestones. New format of hostilities, dumpster drama, and sociological framework
Kyiv authorities went for a counterattack in the issue of the status of military operations in Donbas, offering to replace the obsolete, and not always effective, Anti-Terrorist Operation format. Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi went all-in with the government and president. Sociological studies not only help determine the political priorities of Ukrainian citizens but also to understand the shifts in public moods. Equality March in Kyiv was held amid the overall atmosphere of scandal.
Equality without bragging: Kyiv hosts another LGBT Pride
LGBT community has held the fourth "March of Equality" in Kyiv, and each time, participants faced individual provocations. This year, almost no skirmishes were reported. At the same time, Kyiv "March" is still far from reaching the scale of European Pride events.
Ukrainian interest. Visa-free carrot and stick, chance in Washington, and poetry battles
The introduction of a visa-free regime between the European Union and Ukraine is accompanied by changes in the tone of statements by the representative of the European Commission in Kyiv. The future meeting between Donald Trump and Petro Poroshenko presents a good chance for Ukraine. Volodymyr Groysman studied the experience of reintegration in Croatia. Putin was noticeably irritated by Petro Poroshenko citing Mikhail Lermontov’s poem saying “good-bye” to the “unwashed Russia.”
Westinghouse Vice President: There's a lot of bureaucracy in Ukraine
Vice President and Managing Director at the world’s nuclear power giant Westinghouse Aziz Dag in his interview with UNIAN spoke about the prospects of the increase in nuclear fuel supplies to Ukraine and the company’s plans for the period when the current contract with Ukraine expires, also commenting on the global trend for the “green” energy development and the role of nuclear energy in the near future.
Week’s balance: budgetary "revolution," billions for roads, and preparations for heating season
The Ukrainian government approved the budget resolution for the next three years, engaged in improving road safety, and once again extended the emergency measures in the energy sector, while KyivEnergo warned of the lack of sufficient funds to prepare for the heating season - these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
Abducted in Donbas
The number of Ukrainian prisoners of the Kremlin has steadily been growing both in the territory of the Russian Federation and in the Russia-occupied areas of Ukraine. And while the negotiators in Minsk continue their efforts to coordinate the number of people the parties are willing to exchange, pro-Russian militants from “DPR” and “LPR” are filling throwing more hostages into their dungeons.
Tax on "excess" real estate Ukrainian style
Real estate tax, aimed to replenish local coffers by tens of millions of hryvnias, is by far failing to achieve its objective. Before July 1, Ukrainians will receive from their local fiscal offices this new tax notice. UNIAN clarified why the tax is not working and what should those do who have not received such a notice.
Week's milestones. Tectonic visa-lib, Rada at crossroads, and Avakov in spotlight
The introduction of a visa-free travel across the EU for the Ukrainians has become a reality that could have a serious impact on Ukrainian society. The parliament’s decision to confirm the country’s strategic objective to become a NATO member state was a much easier move than launching healthcare reform. Arsen Avakov has come to a spotlight playing a role of the state’s guardian angel and the enemy of firarms possession by civilians.
Week’s balance: President’s reform, shady Gazprom, and hryvnia tranquility
The president greenlighted the energy market reform, Gazprom commented in its favor on the decision of the Stockholm arbitration tribunal, while the Ukrainian government ahead of the land reform instructed the National Police to verify all land deals - these are this week’s main economic news.
Ukrainian interest. Face to NATO, Baltic favorite, and British surprise
The Verkhovna Rada has defined Ukraine's entry into NATO as its strategic priority. Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin assured that his ministry is ready for the introduction of visa requirements with Russia. President Petro Poroshenko received his Lithuanian counterpart Dalia Grybauskaite in Kharkiv. Bellingcat investigators showed more images of a deadly Buk missile launcher on the grounds of a Russian military base. Every second Russian citizen polled by Levada Center regards Ukraine their country’s foe.