Top news stories about Ukrainians, Ukraine and beyond!
- An update from last week, opposition activist Vadim Charushev who was confined against his will to a mental hospital, will remain in the facility after a St. Petersburg court ruled in favor of his compulsory treatment Saturday.
- Talk about Ukrainian influence: Salo is making a comeback and Gucci’s Fall fashions were inspired by the Pysanka.
- RosUkrEnergo said Ukraine’s state gas company Naftohaz could again have trouble finding the money to pay for the higher gas prices Russian Gazprom is now charging ($360 per 1,000 cubic metres in the first quarter up from $179.50 in 2008). But with a $16.4 billion IMF loan programme still on hold due to unresolved issues surrounding a large budget deficit, the government’s financial and gas reserves are dwindling. Naftohaz says the main problem it faces is non-payment by Ukrainian consumers, mostly in utilities. Tymoshenko has asked Russia for a $5 billion loan, a possible life-line that would give Moscow more leverage over Ukraine ahead of presidential elections which constitutional experts say must take place by late January 2010.
- “The modernisation of Ukraine’s gas pipeline is vital if the former Soviet republic is to achieve its goal of joining the European Union”, President Victor Yushchenko said Saturday in an interview.
- The European Commission expects “total transparency” from Ukraine about gas in transit in return for a major international investment programme to upgrade the country’s pipelines, according to EU officials.
- Viktor Yushchenko said he hoped to reach a settlement soon with the IMF on conditions for receiving further credits for his country. But the Fund has suspended release of the loan’s second tranche while discussions proceed on several issues, including the size of the budget deficit.
- The EU has urged Ukraine’s leaders to end their long-running power struggle to help the country through its deepening economic crisis, as they seek to persuade the International Monetary Fund to release the latest tranche of a €12.1 billion emergency loan.
- Ukraine’s privatisation agency said on Wednesday it planned to sell off blocking shares in five regional energy companies in April or May, a project it has backed since 2008.
- The Ukrainian housing market in 2011 could face a serious deficit of new housing, causing prices for primary housing to grow. Speculation caused by the deficit of new housing in 2011 could be intensified by growth in demand because of the coming European Football Championship Euro 2012. The situation could be worsened by the fact that this year few companies will start new construction because of financial difficulties.
- Forbes gives a quick economic snapshot: The average monthly wage decreased by 5% month-over-month, the reappearance of phenomena such as delayed payments and wage arrears and the possibility of labor-driven protests. The hryvnia exchange rate fell as low as UAH 8.35/$1 this week as well.
- From the ‘overly obvious’ bin, Russian Intelligence Agencies were behind the cyber attacks on Georgian government servers last summer.
- Israel’s ambassador to Kyiv warned that the current financial crisis could lead to an increase of violence against Jews. Ukrainian Jewish leaders said the ambassador’s claims were exaggerated.
- Viktor Yushchenko proposed Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States Oleh Shamshur as foreign minister on Tuesday after his predecessor was sacked in the aftermath of a row with the prime minister.
- Oleh Tyahnybok’s All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda won the regional council election in Ternopil.
- Ukraine’s government says it has halved the salaries of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and her Cabinet amid a devastating financial crisis. The government’s press service on Wednesday declined to reveal Tymoshenko’s salary. Ukrainian media say other ministers were receiving about 15,000 hryvna ($1,875) a month.
- Ukraine has expelled two diplomats of NATO-member Romania after accusing them of supporting separatists and discrediting the alliance’s image of Ukraine.
Other news in Ukraine
- Radiation has affected animals living near the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster far more than was previously thought, challenging beliefs that local wildlife was on the rebound. Some areas were nearly completed depleted of animal life. Animals living near the Chernobyl reactor had more deformities, including discoloration and stunted limbs, than normal.
- Here is a photo tour of what Chernobyl looks like today.
- Flambouyant Nigerian pastor and apparently Ukraine’s most prominent Pentecostal leader, Sunday Adelaja, has been indicted on fraud charges.
- The Silver Gorlov Medal was presented to Barnes by the City of Gorlovka, Ukraine in recognition of her humanitarian efforts to provide places of safe refuge for the orphan children of the area.
Other news abroad
- Jaroslaw Duzyj passed away this month in Macomb, Michigan, a Concentration Camp survivor who established the Ukrainian Studies Foundation at Harvard University. Jaroslaw also served as the president, vice president, treasurer and director of the Ukrainian Cultural Center and financed, edited and published many works about Ukrainian history, geography and art.
- Japan, seeking to meet a 2012 cap on greenhouse-gas emissions, agreed to purchase carbon dioxide credits from Ukraine in its first such overseas deal. The two countries signed a contract for the sale of credits under the United Nations-sponsored Kyoto Protocol, under a so-called green investments plan which will allow Ukraine to boost spending on environmental projects and energy-saving technologies.
- Vitali Klitschko of Ukraine stopped Juan Carlos Gomez in the ninth round Saturday in Stuttgart, Germany, emphatically retaining his WBC heavyweight title.
- The 2012 EuroCup in Poland & Ukraine is hitting more roadblocks as the American company responsible for transport infrastructure projects has yet to raise the $7 billion it promised the Ukrainian government.
- The head of the Polish Football Federation on the other hand has no doubt that Ukraine will be able to co-host the 2012 European Championship with Poland.
- Andriy Voronin and Andriy Shevchenco have been named in Ukraine’s 28-man provisional squad ahead of the World Cup qualifier against England.
- An announcement about the eagerly anticipated heavyweight clash between IBF, WBO and IBO world champion Wladimir Klitschko and rising British star David Haye is expected next week.