, said Tetyana Adamanko, the Head of Agrometeorology at the Hydrometeorological Center at a farm associations meeting yesterday. Due to the late spring, seedlings can easily withstand the air temperatures that fell to -3C, she said, (Ukrinform). By contrast, the wet cool spring has resulted in one of the best moisture penetrations of the soil in 20 years. Ukrinform concludes: “The situation with winter cereals looks extremely optimistic.”
This would be 15% over last year’s output. State weather forecasters said last month around 98% of Ukrainian winter wheat crops and 100% of winter barley were in good condition.
In a separate poll, only one quarter of respondents told the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology that they would take a coronavirus vaccine. Of the 1,207 respondents, 60% said they would not take the vaccine. The poll concluded on Monday, before President Zelenskiy and Health Minister Maksym Stepanov were filmed taking the vaccine.
Under pressure for a slow start to vaccinations, Minister Stepanov told the Rada on Friday that all Ukrainian adults will be vaccinated by the end of this year. As of Thursday, only 10,000 people had been vaccinated – 10 days after the arrival of 500,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from India. A second load of 1.9 million Sinovac vaccines from China are expected to arrive one week from now.
Ukraine will open full-fledged embassies in Chile, Ghana and the Philippines this year, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters on Friday. In addition to these new diplomatic posts, Ukraine will open consulates general in Mumbai, Wroclaw, Poland and Sighetu-Marmatiei, the Romanian city across the border from Zakarpattia.
Ukraine will allow dual citizenship with EU and “friendly countries,” Foreign Minister Kuleba said on Friday when he announced plans to allow dual citizenship in Ukraine with the EU countries. One goal is to reconnect Ukraine with Ukrainians who have emigrated since the collapse of the Soviet Union. As for Russia, he said: “This is an aggressor state, there can be no talk of any dual citizenship with it.”
Ukraine’s grain harvest is expected to rise by 15% to 75 million tons this year, returning to the bumper crop levels of 2019, Deputy Economy Minister Taras Vysotskyi wrote on Facebook. While the amount of grain planted is virtually unchanged, moisture levels in the ground lead government experts to forecast the following increases in output: corn +10% to 33 million tons; wheat +17.5 % to 29.5 million tons; and barley +18% to 9 million tons.
Oil crops are increase by 3.2% to 19 million tons. The harvest forecasts are: sunflower seeds +3% to 13.5 million tons; soy +11% to 3 million tons; and canola unchanged, at 2.6 million tons.
The State Department has barred Ihor Kolomoiskiy and his immediate family from entering the US. The bans come as the US Justice Department pursues a civil case alleging Kolomoiskiy and his business partner Hennadiy Boholyubov stole billions of dollars from PrivatBank and laundered the money by buying office buildings and steel companies in the US.
After Ukraine’s government nationalized PrivatBank in 2016, Kolomoiskiy left Ukraine for Switzerland and then for Israel, where he also holds citizenship. In 2019, Kolomoiskiy backed Zelenskiy in the Presidential campaign. After Zelenskiy won the first round, Kolomoiskiy returned to his native Dnipro. The US entry ban applies to Kolomoisky’s wife, Iryna Kolomoiska, his daughter, Angelika Kolomoiska, and his son, Israel Zvi Kolomoiskiy.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken couched the Kolomoiskiy bans in the framework of getting Ukraine back on a Western-style free market, low corruption track. “The United States continues to stand with all Ukrainians whose work drives reforms forward,” Blinken said. “The Department will continue to use authorities like this to promote accountability for corrupt actors in this region and globally.” Last month, Blinken singled out Zelenskiy’s ousted Prosecutor-General, Ruslan Ryaboshapka, as an “anti-corruption champion.”
In response to the Kolomoiskiy bans, Zelenskiy’s office said: “The battle with the oligarchs lies not only in the realm of criminal responsibility. It is also about creating the conditions in Ukraine, in which business can grow in a transparent and competitive environment, and large financial groups will not be able to dominate the market or influence the media and political decisions.”
On Thursday, the day before the Kolomoiskiy family bans were announced, the Washington-based Atlantic Council posted an essay headlined “Zelenskiy Aims to End Ukraine’s Oligarch Era,” written by Yuliia Mendel, Zelenskiy’s spokeswoman. “President Zelenskyy is now making good on his election promises and combating oligarch influence in ways that eluded his predecessors,” wrote Mendel. Listing a string of recent measures, including the closing of three TV stations owned by pro-Russian oligarchs, she concluded: “As events in recent weeks have shown, President Zelenskyy is prepared to challenge the power of Ukraine’s oligarchs everywhere from the energy and banking sectors to politics and the media.”
Denmark’s Maritime Authority expects Nord Stream 2 to be completed by the end of September 2021, several months later than forecast completion date. Reuters reports that a Russian pipe-laying vessel, Akademik Cherskiy, left Wismar, a German Baltic port, yesterday to join another Russian vessel, the Fortuna, in laying 120 km of pipe through Danish waters. The new gas pipeline is designed to double the capacity of the existing undersea Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, to 110 billion cubic meters per year. If commissioned, it would render Ukraine’s east-west pipeline system redundant.
Baker Hughes Co and AXA Group and 16 other international companies have withdrawn from the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to avoid US sanctions, Reuters reported. Washington has sanctioned the Fortuna’s owner and other Russian companies. Yet Russian companies are expected to try to complete the $11 billion Russia-Germany project despite US opposition. Texas Senator Ted Cruz is leading a Republican effort to pressure President Biden to widen sanctions against the project, Bloomberg reported from Washington.
Bidding in an online auction of a Ukrspirt distillery drove the price up almost five times, to $3.6 million, reported the State Property Fund. Thursday’s sale of the Vyshiakivka, Poltava is part of a plan to sell all 41 unites of Ukrspirt. In the second half of this year, major privatization will commence, notably the sales of: Kyiv’s President Hotel, the Bolshevik enterprise, the Odesa Port Plant, and the United Mining and Chemical Company.
By the end of this decade, Ukraine’s goal is to sell all state companies not protected from privatization and to transfer to concession 90% of companies enterprise protected from privatization. These goals are stated in the National Economic Strategy of Ukraine until 2030, approved last week by the Cabinet of Ministers. The plans include corporatizing all state-owned companies, introducing supervisory boards, ensuring the financial self-sufficiency, increasing the average return on equity of state-owned enterprises to 10%, and carrying out IPOs in international financial markets of at least two state companies.
With new coronavirus cases hitting 10,000 a day last week – double the rate of one month ago – over half of Ukrainians told pollsters they would support a new lockdown. If cases keep surging, 56% would back a lockdown, and 41% would oppose, respondents told the Rating Sociological Group last Tuesday and Wednesday. Two-thirds of respondents were in favor of closing restaurants, cafes, and cinemas during a lockdown. Support for other measures were: shutting down gyms – 58%; closing schools – 52%; closing urban mass transit – 20%.