Top news stories about Ukrainians, Ukraine and beyond!
- Are the Ukrainians the Irish of the East, or are the Irish the Ukrainians of the West? Much in their histories and struggles are common. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
- The New York Times is shedding some light on the Holodomor – but CyberCossack reminds us who helped cover it up in the first place.
- US President Barack Obama should stop encouraging Georgia and Ukraine’s bids to join NATO in order to improve relations with Moscow, a bipartisan commission recommended in a report Monday. Led by former senators Gary Hart (D) and Chuck Hagel (R) who were received last week by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, the commission took aim at NATO’s eastward expansion.
- French defence minister Herve Morin said any future NATO enlargement must take Russia into account. Any expansion of NATO to include countries such as Georgia and Ukraine cannot happen without consultation with Russia, Mr Morin said, ahead of a parliamentary vote on France’s return to the alliance’s military structures. NATO has so far maintained that Russia does not have a veto over the alliance’s enlargement policy, despite the visible influence it has on some of its members, such as Germany and France, who last year blocked further steps in Georgia and Ukraine’s accession process. At US insistence, they were however promised they could become NATO members at some undefined point in the future.
- The Obama administration has proposed to triple the IMF’s resources from their current level of about $250 billion to salvage emerging markets, including Eastern Europe. In Ukraine, a former Soviet republic that does not enjoy the political benefits of E.U. membership, the stakes are especially high. There, industrial production has plunged by almost a third since the beginning of the crisis; living standards for 46 million people are starting to collapse. The weaker and more chaotic Ukraine becomes, the likelier it is that Russia will attempt to reassert hegemony over it. A Putinized Ukraine would be a disaster for that country, Europe and the United States.
- Pictures have been released of the Ukrainian MV Faina getting hijacked of Somali pirates.
- "Europe is no longer taking Russian gas as it was before" as gas transit fell 43% in February compared to last year.
- The art foundation of billionaire Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk will in April stage an exhibition by British artist Damien Hirst, known for his preserved animal carcasses. It is to open at the Pinchuk Art Centre in Kyiv, in a display of confidence by the oligarch as the country battles a major economic crisis.
- “For the first time in the history of Dnepropetrovsk, a memorial plaque to a Jewish spiritual leader was affixed and dedicated”. A plaque was affixed to the wall of the house where Rabbi Levi-Yitzchak Schneerson (1878-1944) the last Lubavitcher rebbe’s father was dedicated in Dnepropetrovsk. In 1939 he was arrested by the Communist regime for his stance against the party’s efforts to eradicate Jewish learning and practice in the Soviet Union. After more than a year of torture and interrogations in Stalin’s notorious prisons, he was sentenced to exile to the interior of Russia, where he died in 1944.
- Ukraine is collaborating with Germany on providing medical care services during the 2012 Euro Cup.
- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko together with his wife Kateryna took part in a liturgy in remembrance of the heroes of Carpathian Ukraine on Saturday. They honoured the only President Avhustyn Voloshyn of the independent Carpathian Ukraine, an autonomous region within Czechoslovakia from 1938-39.
- In January 2009, the population of Ukraine shrank by 0.06% or 27,800 people, compared to December 2008, and made up 46,115,900 people as of February 1, 2009. Economy
- The cost to protect debt payments from Ukraine, Russia and other emerging economies has plunged this week. The extra yield investors demand to own Ukraine’s international bonds fell 100 basis points to a five-week low of 28.07 percentage points today, according to JPMorgan data. The so-called spread has dropped about 780 basis points in the past five days on speculation the government will amend budget targets to meet the conditions of its IMF bailout.
- Ukraine’s cash-strapped banks, reeling from declining liquidity and a choked-off credit market, have suspended all cash withdrawals.
- It is predicted unemployment in Ukraine will reach 9% in 2009, or 1.3 million people.
- On March 19th, Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYT) and the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU), are planning to launch the presidential impeachment proceedings while Yushchenko is away in Brussels.
- Poland, which is the largest minority group in Ireland, are calling for restrictions on some foreign workers, partly to make room for thousands of Polish workers expected to lose their jobs in other parts of the crisis-hit European Union. Tens of thousands of workers from nearby ex-Soviet republics such as Ukraine flocked to Poland during the boom years which are now ending as world economic crisis takes hold.
- Vadim Charushev, an outspoken online critic of the Kremlin’s denial of the Holodomor was forcibly placed in a psychiatric clinic via a mobile court. Charushev’s current state of health in the clinic is very worrisome, he has reported to have lost a lot of weight and looks sick.
- Political instability in Ukraine is a major obstacle of the country on its way to joining NATO, according to the ambassadors of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to Ukraine. It was noted that many representatives of the Regions Party who earlier supported Ukraine’s integration with the alliance, however, serious changes have now occurred. Also noted was that if a country wants to gain NATO membership, there should be political stability in this country.
- Ukraine & Latvia which are at risk of bankruptcy as a result of the global financial crisis, warn the EU ere in danger of repeating the worst mistakes of the 1930s depression by retreating into isolationism and protectionism, and they have to overcome bitter internal differences over how to deal with the economic crisis in eastern Europe when world leaders met next month at the G20 summit in England.
- Russia is trying to exert pressure on the EU to postpone for an indefinite term the conference on Ukraine’s gas transport system modernization slated for March 23 in Brussels. This is principally due to Russia’s desire to raise its chances of getting the credit resources for the construction of gas transportation routs alternative to the Ukrainian one, in particular the Nord Stream and the South Stream natural gas pipelines. Another motive may be Russia’s desire to return on the agenda the issue of the formation of a consortium on controlling Ukraine’s gas transportation system.
- Vladimir Putin, Russia’s prime minister, has said his government will not fine Ukraine over a gas contract because he does not want to "finish off" the nation. Putin said on Thursday: "We are forgiving these fines because we proceed from realities – they have nothing to pay with."