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30 November, 2021

Digest of Ukrainian news: 22.11 – 28.11.2021

The world through the prism of Ukrainian interests

Trends

  • Foreign policy and international agenda

    In the domain of foreign policy, the main events for Ukraine last week were related to the next tranche of the International Monetary Fund, the start of cooperation with Airbus and the commemoration of the victims of the Holodomor in Ukraine.

    Ukraine received the second tranche of a $ 699 million loan from the International Monetary Fund under the current stand-by program. To receive the next payment, the Ukrainian government must meet a number of requirements by the summer of 2022 regarding the state budget deficit, transparency and efficiency of the banking sector, the completion of judicial reform and the appointment of the head of the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office.

    Ukraine will also cooperate with Airbus in creating a national airline. The memorandum was signed by Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov and Airbus Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Kimon Sotiropoulos.

    Finally, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Ukrainians from all over the world on the occasion of commemorating the victims of the Holodomor of 1921-292, 1932-1933 and 1946-1947. He called on all people connected with Ukraine to tell the world about these tragedies and to take part in expanding the international recognition of the Holodomor of 1932- 1933 as genocide of the Ukrainian people and involving international partners in honouring the memory of its victims.

  • Domestic policy

    In the field of domestic policy, the key topic was traditionally the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, one of the key newsmakers in this area last week was the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, who held a press marathon. Important news on energy modernization and de-oligarchization also came from the Cabinet of Ministers.

    For the first time in three months in Ukraine, the weekly number of deaths from COVID-19 decreased compared to the previous week. The country also has a declining trend in the number of new coronavirus infections: 24.4 thousand cases the week before last against 32 thousand a week earlier.

    President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky held a press marathon. During a conversation with journalists, the President admitted, in particular, that the Ukrainian special services were preparing an operation to detain militants of the private military company Wagner in the summer of 2020. In addition, Volodymyr Zelenskyi stated that a coup d'etat was being prepared in Ukraine, the organizers of which sought to involve oligarch Rinat Akhmetov in the action.

    The Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal stated that in 2022 energy modernization will be one of the components of the program of infrastructure renovation "Velyke Budivnytstvo" (Large Construction). In addition, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine developed a draft plan to combat the oligarchs in 20 steps.

    • Security

    Almost the entire security sphere last week has focused on a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine this winter. Ukrainian intelligence and the Ministry of Defense, in constant contact with their British and American counterparts, acknowledged the high level of such a threat. Against this background, security cooperation between Kyiv, Washington and London has intensified. In addition, other Ukrainian allies and partners have joined in strengthening Ukraine's defense capabilities.

    At the same time, Ukraine's active international cooperation to obtain more weapons in the face of Russian aggression continued. This week, Ukraine received two Island-type boats from the United States, and a transfer of the Stinger MANPADS set and Mi-17 helicopters is also planned. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine also plans to attract credit funds from the United Kingdom for the purchase of Brimstone Sea Spear sea missiles.

    Given the great threat of socio-political crisis on the border with Belarus, this week the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine and jointly with the National Guard, National Police and the Armed Forces of Ukraine launched a special operation "Polissya" to maintain security in border areas.

    • Bilateral relations
    In the domain of bilateral relations, the main news were related to Ukraine’s relations with

    Germany, Great Britain, Canada, Poland and China.

    The Social Democratic Party, the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party of Germany dedicated several points to Ukraine in their coalition agreement. In particular, Kyiv was identified as one of the partners or an important direction in Berlin's foreign policy.

    The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba had telephone conversations with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Liz Truss and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada Mélanie Joly. The main topic of conversation was Russia's aggressive actions in eastern Ukraine and Moscow's build-up of forces on the Ukrainian-Russian border.

    In addition, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi had a telephone conversation with President of Poland Andrzej Duda. The parties exchanged assessments of the situation on the border between Belarus and the EU. Volodymyr Zelenskyi informed Andrzej Duda about the development of the security situation in eastern Ukraine.

    Finally, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Senik met with Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Ukraine Fan Xianzhong. They also exchanged views on the prospects of cooperation between Ukraine and China in political, trade, consular and other areas.

     

    Foreign policy and international agenda

    Ukraine received the second tranche of a $ 699 million loan from the International Monetary Fund under the current stand-by program. According to the memorandum of Ukraine and the financial organization, in order to receive the next tranche of the loan, the Ukrainian government undertakes to guarantee the state budget deficit of no more than 3.5% of GDP in 2022, replace members of state banks' supervisory boards, and inspect National Bank of Ukraine's employees on the professionalism in banking supervisors' area, approve the privatization plan of Privatbank and Oschadbank, audit the Coronavirus Fund, review the procedure for appointing the head of the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, complete the certification of members of the High Council of Justice and corporatize Energoatom.

    Ukraine will cooperate with Airbus in establishing a national airline. The memorandum was signed by Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov and Airbus Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Kimon Sotiropoulos. The document provides for the purchase of aircraft for the new Ukrainian airline, as well as other steps in cooperation. According to Kimon Sotiropoulos, the fact that Ukraine's national airways are created from scratch would provide it with the latest technologies in the field of air transportation.

    The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Ukrainians from all over the world on the occasion of commemorating the victims of the Holodomors of 1921-2922, 1932-1933 and 1946-1947. He called on all people connected with Ukraine to tell the world about these tragedies and to take part in expanding the international recognition of the Holodomor of 1932-1933 as genocide of the Ukrainian people and involving international partners in honouring the memory of its victims.

    Domestic Policy

    For the first time in three months in Ukraine, the weekly number of deaths from COVID-19decreased compared to the previous week. The country also has a declining trend in the number of new coronavirus infections: 24.4 thousand cases the week before last against 32 thousand – a week earlier. The Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal reported this last week. His words were confirmed by the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, concluding that the country has passed the peak of mortality from COVID-19 of the current wave. Nevertheless, none of the 19 regions (including Kyiv) of the country with the highest level of epidemic danger has lost this status over the past week. However, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine reported that more than 34% of the adult population of the country have received a full course of vaccination against this coronavirus.

    President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky held a press marathon. During a conversation with journalists, the President admitted, in particular, that the Ukrainian special services were preparing an operation to detain militants of the private military company Wagner in the summer of 2020. According to him, Volodymyr Zelenskyi himself expressed doubts about the expediency of holding such actions, so they were postponed. The President also said that the head of the operation, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency Vasyl Burba, intended to discredit him.

     

    In addition, Volodymyr Zelensky stated that a coup d'etat was being prepared in Ukraine. According to him, agents in Ukraine and Russia were involved in this. The head of state also said thatthe organizers of the activities had planned to involve Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov in its implementation.

    Also during the press marathon, Volodymyr Zelensky promised to complete judicial reform, called on big business to refrain from influencing socio-political processes in the country, and assured that the state was ready for the escalation of Russian aggression against Ukraine. Finally, the Ukrainian leaderexpressed hope that after the start of the new federal government, Germany will increase its support for Ukraine. He also counts on the assistance of the United States and Turkey in the release of Ukrainian citizens illegally detained by the Russian authorities in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and in Russia.

    In 2022, energy modernization will be one of the components of the program of infrastructure renovation "Velyke Budivnytstvo" (Large Construction). This was stated by the Prime Minister ofUkraine Denys Shmyhal. The Ukrainian government is now able to raise € 25.5 million from the CreditInstitution for Reconstruction (KfW) for energy efficiency projects in Zhytomyr and Zaporizhzhia. The Cabinet of Ministers has also started cooperation with the European Investment Bank in the framework of the project "Energy efficiency of public buildings in Ukraine", which aims to modernize kindergartens, schools, health care facilities, as well as social, administrative and cultural facilities.

    The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine developed a draft plan to combat the oligarchs in 20 steps.Among other things, the agency proposes to start implementing the "law on de-oligarchization" by creating a register of businessmen who influence socio-political processes. The Ministry of Justice also seeks to strengthen the capacity of the Antimonopoly Committee, to limit the protection of foreign investment from Ukrainian beneficiaries of companies registered in foreign jurisdictions. In addition, the state body proposes to develop a law on lobbying and amend the law on the media. The Ministry of Justice also included in the plan to complete judicial reform and join the EU energy network ENTSO-E as necessary steps for de-oligarchization.

    Security

    Russia massing troops on Ukrainian border.

    Протягом цьгго тижня продовжилося загострення міжнародної безпекової ситуації, викликане нарощування російських сил на кордоні. Із заявами щодо погіршення ситуації виступили Генеральний секретар НАТО Єнс Столтенберг. Він заявив, що наразі Альянс вивчає усі доступні інструменти для того, аби зупинити подіьні агресивні дії Москви .

    Two Island-type patrol boats arrived in Ukraine. On board the ship "Ocean Grand" two boats of the type "Island" arrived in Ukraine, which were named "Fastiv" and "Sumy". The transfer of the boats took place in the framework of logistical assistance of the United States of America to Ukraine, which has been going on since 2014 and is a contribution of American society to strengthening the maritime security of our country.

     

    This is the second batch of boats that the United States will hand over to Ukraine as part of security and defense assistance. The first two, Slovyansk and Starobilsk, are already serving in the national fleet. Another Island-class boat is waiting to be sent to Ukraine in the USA. The fifth patrol boat transferred to Ukraine was named after the Hero of Ukraine, Ensign Vyacheslav Kubrak.

    Combined special operation is being conducted in the north of Ukraine. It is coordinated by the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine and is conducted jointly with the forces of the National Guard, the National Police, the Armed Forces and other involved structures. The operation, which began on the evening of November 23, is a further measure to increase the protection and defense of the Ukrainian border in order to prevent a migration crisis and combat illegal activities.

    The main task of the special operation is to prevent illegal migrants from crossing the state border and entering Ukraine.

    U.S. Congress urges to provide more support for Ukraine in arms and funds. Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress are concerned about the concentration of Russian troops around Ukraine. In recent days, Republicans and Democrats have made clear statements in support of Ukraine. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner said Putin's aggressive rhetoric and actions threatened peace and stability in Europe and the world.

    US Senators Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Gene Shahin are calling for an increase in the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine amid reports of the accumulation of Russian troops near the border of our state.

    Portman and Shahin offer to allocate $ 350 million to the Pentagon to provide military assistance to Ukraine.

    Ukraine gets additional loans to purchase Brimstone Sea Spear. This is a loan of 1.7 billion pounds, provided to Ukraine by the United Kingdom for ten years. The loan provides funds for the establishment of two naval bases in Ukraine, the purchase of two minesweepers from the United Kingdom, the construction of eight missile boats and, in fact, missile weapons for these boats.

    An agreement on the development and strengthening of the Ukrainian Navy was reached a year ago - during last year's visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to London, a memorandum was signed to strengthen cooperation between Ukraine and the United Kingdom in the military and military- technical spheres. It was signed by the defense ministers of the two countries.

    Bilateral relations

    The Social Democratic Party, the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party of Germany dedicated several points to Ukraine in their coalition agreementIn particular, Kyiv was identified as one of the partners or an important direction in Berlin's foreign policy. In addition, coalition members stated their intention to work on developing the EU's Eastern Partnership policy so that Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine can move closer to EU membership through reforms in the areas of rule of law and market economy. The Bundestag partners also promised to help Kyiv restore its territorial integrity and sovereignty. Finally, coalition members expressed a desire to deepen the energy partnership with Ukraine, with high ambitions in the areas of renewable energy, green hydrogen production, energy efficiency and CO2 reduction.

    The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba had telephone conversations with theSecretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Liz Truss and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada Mélanie Joly. The main topic of conversation was Russia's aggressive actions in eastern Ukraine and Moscow's build-up of forces on the Ukrainian-Russian border. Liz Truss and Mélanie Joly expressed support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. The heads of diplomatic services also coordinated their positions on the eve of the meeting of NATO foreign ministers and their partners, which will take place in Riga from November 30 to December 1.

    President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi had a telephone conversation with President of Poland Andrzej Duda. The parties exchanged assessments of the situation on the border between Belarus and the EU. The heads of state determined that Ukraine and Poland must jointly respond to this hybrid attack. Volodymyr Zelenskyi informed Andrzej Duda about the development of the security situation in eastern Ukraine. The President of Ukraine stressed the need to maintain sanctions pressure on the Russian Federation by the international community until the full restoration of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state. The parties also paid special attention to the coordination of positions on counteracting the commissioning of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

    Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Senik met with Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Ukraine Fan Xianzhong. The parties discussed cooperation between the countries in counteracting the COVID-19 pandemic. They also exchanged views on the prospects of cooperation between Ukraine and China in political, trade, consular and other areas. The diplomats paid special attention to the activities of the Commission on Cooperation between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of the People's Republic of China. They agreed to intensify work on the preparation of its next meeting.

    Foreign Policy Council" "Ukrainian Prism"


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