New parliament: Five parties and hundreds of promises. How will they affect wallets of Ukrainians
The outcome of the early parliamentary election to the Verkhovna Rada shows that five parties have made it to Parliament. All of them are political forces with distinctive leaders. That is, the Ukrainians again voted for specific "persons" and public promises, not for action plans. Although it is the action plan, especially its economic aspects, that will reflect on the wallets of every citizen.
Week's balance: NBU improves outlook, lowers key rate, finance ministry boasts of record borrowing, and customs agency receives official status
The National Bank announced improved economic development forecasts and decided to reduce the key rate, the Ministry of Finance held this year's record placement of domestic government loan bonds, while the renewed customs agency received official status and began its work – these are the key economic news of the outgoing week.
People as bargaining chips: Russia using Ukrainian POWs to get concessions from Ukraine
Russia is further upping the stakes on the issue of releasing Ukrainian POWs. The latest episode in the dramatic story is the extension of custody term for Ukrainian sailors captured near the Kerch Strait on Nov 25, 2018.
Vitaliy Markiv's case in Italy revealed issues of dual citizenship, legal status of troops in Donbas
Last week, the cruel sentence of the Italian court for the Ukrainian National Guard, ATO veteran Vitaly Markiv, caused a real shock wave. He received 24 years of imprisonment instead of 17 for ... possible complicity in the murder of the Italian photo reporter Andrea Rocchelli in Donbas. The verdict to the Ukrainian military will be appealed, but the Markiv case is not the only trial initiated against the Ukrainian military abroad.
Igor Hiriak, unique soldier from Chernobyl response team: Did anyone go around catching stray dogs in the zone? I don't know. One lived in our camp. We shared food with it.
After watching the "Chernobyl" series, many in Ukraine did not agree with the author's reading of those events. People said many things were made up. Meanwhile, one British scriptwriter criticized the authors for not having any PoC actors. People on social networks immediately mocked this remark, because most believed it was unlikely that any soldiers of color ever served in the Soviet forces. However, the ridicule proved to be wrong as there actually was one soldier of another race on the response team! UNIAN was able to find this man.
Week's balance: Launch of energy market, forex easing, and Nefyodov starting war against shadow businesses
A new model of the energy market started operating in Ukraine, the National Bank went for another forex deregulation for businesses, while the Cabinet approved First Deputy Minister of Economy Maksym Nefyodov at the post of the country's chief customs officer, handing him an "order" to start war against shadow businesses – these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
New face of Ukrainian customs
The new customs chief has been appointed. It's former first deputy minister of economic development and trade, Maksym Nefyodov. A young official with a reputation of a reformer announced large-scale changes to turn customs into a European-style body without corruption and with full digitalization of control routine.
Chief border guard Serhii Deineko: We're not going to cover up corrupt servicemen. If a hundred, two hundred, or a thousand of them must be locked up, we're ready for this
New Head of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, Serhii Deineko, sat down with UNIAN to tell about dealing with the lines on the border, prospects for tackling corruption in the agency, and his priority tasks in office.
Week's balance: industrial output slows down, reformer Nefyodov appointed head of customs, National Bank says goodbye to small coins
The Cabinet has managed to complete the contest for the post of new head of the customs service and after two months of judicial struggle appointed reformer Maksym Nefyodov to this position, the State Statistics Service reported a slowdown in industrial output, while the National Bank announced the introduction of a new UAH 1,000 banknote and a withdrawal from circulation of small coins – these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
Putin greenlights transit of Ukrainian goods. What pitfalls should Kyiv expect
Russia allowed transit by road and rail of Ukrainian goods through its territory, which has been banned since 2016. The condition is the use of GLONASS satellite tracking technology, as well as registration coupons. Experts do not believe in the "good intentions" of the northern neighbor – everything that Russia is doing always has a clear and goal that is far from being kind to Ukraine.
How conflict between Cabinet and Naftogaz helps Russia tighten gas noose on Ukraine's neck
A long-lasting conflict between Volodymyr Groysman's government and Naftogaz has moved to a new stage of aggravation. Now it is spinning against the Cabinet's decision on Naftogaz restructuring. The spat is being fueled by the lack of funds for pumping gas into underground storage facilities in excess of the usual volume, which is necessary to remove the risk of Russia's halting gas transit via Ukraine from January 1, 2020.
Week's balance: Zelensky vows business liberalization, NBU cancels mandatory sale of forex proceeds, while state budget gets EUR 1 bln
President Volodymyr Zelensky promised Ukrainian business leaders to liberalize the economy and improve business climate, the National Bank decided on a historic step to abolish the mandatory sale by exporters of foreign exchange proceeds, the state budget was replenished by EUR 1 billion after a successful placement of foreign government bonds, while the statistics agency improved the outlook for GDP growth in the first quarter – these are main economic news of the outgoing week.
Week's balance: Ukraine issues bonds worth EUR 1 billion, inflation shows rise, while Constitutional Court alters status of energy regulator
Ukraine for the first time in fifteen years issued euro-denominated bonds, the State Statistics Service reported accelerating inflation, the Cabinet approved Ukrzaliznytsia's development strategy until 2023, and the Constitutional Court caused a storm with its decision to recognize unconstitutional a number of provisions of the law on the energy regulator – these are economic news of the past week.
Debt pressure: borrowing again to pay back previous "loans"
The Ministry of Finance is going to borrow in the foreign market, again. They have announced the next issue of Eurobonds. No specifics have been revealed yet about its parameters. Details are being discussed with Ukraine's Western partners. But the main thing is that our country will get into more debts to settle on the previous ones worth billions.
Gas conflict between Cabinet and Naftogaz: Will Ukrainians have heat in their homes this winter?
Another conflict has erupted between the Cabinet and Naftogaz. This time it broke out against the background of the purchase of gas for the passage of the future heating season, taking into account the risk of a halt to the transit of Russian gas from January 1, 2020. Naftogaz said it had no money for these purposes. In turn, the government believes that the issue of the shortage of funds should be resolved by Naftogaz's "creative" management, which over the past three years has increased tenfold the expenditures on the company's management.
Week's balance: Cabinet "freezes" electricity tariffs for households, obliges Naftogaz to reduce gas prices, while National Bank keeps key rate unchanged
The government has passed a resolution that would retain electricity prices for the households at their current level until the end of 2020, and obliged Naftogaz to reduce by UAH 800–900 the cost of natural gas, while the National Bank ruled to keep the key policy rate unchanged to prevent inflation risks. These are this week's major economic developments in Ukraine.
"Gas" plans: What will Ukraine do if Russia stops transit
Naftogaz has planned to pump additional gas volumes into underground storage facilities by the heating season, 3 billion cubic meters more than usual. This will be a kind of insurance if Gazprom from January 1, 2020, blocks the transit through our territory. But are there enough stocks and how can we pay for them?
Week's balance: New front against Gazprom, forex easing, and new tax service chief
Naftogaz of Ukraine has opened a new front in its battle against Russian Gazprom, the National Bank raised the bar for the withdrawal of dividends by foreign investors, while the Cabinet of Ministers appointed a new head of the Tax Service – these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
Not just grains: Ukrainian food products conquering world markets
Last year, Ukrainian producers exported agrarian products worth a record $19 billion. And although the lion's share of the supply remains raw export, domestic ready-made food products can already be found on the shelves of foreign retail chains. But for Ukraine to obtain the prestigious status of a "global supermarket," farmers and the government still have a lot of work to do.
Aircraft designer Vadim Lukashevich: We urgently need to stop using Superjet and figure out what happened...
Hard landing at the Sheremetyevo airport of the newest Sukhoi Superjet aircraft resulted in the death of 41 people on board. This is not the first accident with a Russian plane that has just recently been put into operation. Whether traveling on these aircraft are the same as playing "Russian roulette" is what UNIAN sat down to discuss with the former designer of the Sukhoi Design Office, which created the "Superjet".