Top news stories about Ukrainians, Ukraine and beyond!
- Ukraine told 17 banks not to buy or sell the currency at a weaker level than the exchange rate set by the central bank in a bid to help stabilize the hryvnia. Ukraine’s economy may rebound “relatively quickly” next year after a sharp contraction in 2009, helped by exports.
- Lytvyn has said that he doubts that Ukraine soon would be able to fulfill recommendations of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to receive a second tranche of the standby credit from the fund. Ukraine has received $4.5 billion — the first installment of a $16.4 billion credit — but hasn’t complied with IMF demands to receive a second $1.8 billion credit.
- Armed units of the Security Service late last week conducted raids on the headquarters of Naftohaz. During the raid, members of Tymoshenko bloc rushed to the building to intervene with the armed SBU unit and prevent them from seizing the original signed copy of the contract with Gazprom on gas purchases and transit. The original contract was needed in order to clear customs for Russian gas bound for Europe and for domestic Ukrainian consumption. The key question in the dispute is why Gazprom, an interested party, is not contesting the legality of Naftohaz taking possession of the gas. The peace is likely to be short lived and the troubles will spill over, amid a dispute over who controls the rights to vast gas reserves held in a storage facility in Western Ukraine.
- During her first official visit to Europe last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mentioned “a fresh start” with Russia but also pushed for holding NATO’s door open to “European countries such as Georgia and Ukraine.”
- What price would secure Russian cooperation on Iran? Who exactly is going to tell Ukraine or Georgia that we have returned to a "Russia first" policy? Does anyone believe that saying nothing about Kremlin crackdowns on domestic opponents would keep Moscow on board? And what if all this isn’t enough? Moscow is likely to keep raising the fee for its cooperation — in effect, extorting the United States.
- Poland approved the local cross-border traffic agreement between Poland and Ukraine. Residents of Polish-Ukrainian border regions will be able to cross the state border, which is also the European Union and Schengen area’s eastern border, using special permits instead of visas. The agreement effectively improves the situation for Ukrainian citizens wanting to visit Poland, as Polish citizens are not required to produce a visa at the border with Ukraine.
- A Ukrainian singer, Anastasia Prikhodko, won the Russian Eurovision final 2009, performing partly in her native tongue. Critics were galled by the fact that the entry also represents a collaboration with Georgian and Estonian composers, as well as allegations of vote rigging. Georgia selected a disco-tune taking pot shots at Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Ukrainian pop star Svitlana Loboda was announced winner of Ukrainian Eurovision finals 2009.
- Two Ukrainians were among the 11 who died when an Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft crashed in Uganda. The Ilyushin Il-76 was one a flight as part of a peacekeeping mission in Somalia.
- The Cowboys filled a large vacancy on their defensive line Friday by signing former San Diego Chargers defensive end Igor Olshansky. The Ukraine-born Olshansky received a four-year deal worth $18 million with approximately $8 million guaranteed.
- Ukrainian striker Andrei Voronin, a bust at Liverpool, has rediscovered his form since returning on loan to the Bundesliga. He upped his total to 10 goals this season with a hat trick in leader Hertha Berlin’s 3-1 victory at Energie Cottbus that moved it four points ahead of Bayern Munich, Hamburg, Hoffenheim and Wolfsburg, all tied for second place.