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Tuesday, April 6, 2021
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Editor’s Note: In Joe Biden, Vladimir Putin meets his ‘starshyy’ – his senior. Biden was elected to the US Senate in the fall of 1972, when 20-year-old Putin was a second-year law student at Leningrad State University. For the next half century, Biden went on to watch Russia and to deal with the Kremlin — either on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee or as Vice President. This spring, Putin is using his old playbook – testing a new US President early in his term. But Putin is used to dealing with neophyte US presidents with limited Washington experience: George W. Bush was governor of Texas; Barrack Obama served only half a US senate term. Donald Trump was a businessman/entertainer. Biden comes in knowing more than where the wash rooms are in the White House. He knows Washington’s levers of power — and how to use them. Only 75 days after his inauguration, 3 million Americans are being vaccinated every day – 10 times the rate of Russia. In Ukraine, Putin is again playing brinkmanship. But the new US president and his team who know how to play the game. Of all the Russia-Ukraine-US quotes that came out last week, the most telling was to David Ignatius of The Washington Post from ‘a senior Biden official’: “We are not looking to reset our relations with Russia nor to escalate. Our goal is to impose costs for actions we consider unacceptable, while seeking stability, predictability, turning down the temperature…If they’re inclined to turn the temperature up, we’re ready for that.” With Best Regards Jim Brooke

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
UIA resumes regular flights in June from Kyiv Boryspil to Batumi, Delhi, Jeddah, Nice, and Rome,

 according to the airline’s new summer schedule. Frequencies increase to Istanbul, Tel Aviv, and London’s two main airports, Heathrow, and Gatwick. Missing are flights to North America. UIA says it is postponing its relaunch of flights to New York and Toronto in the ‘3rd quarter’ – sometime in the July 1-Sept. 30 period.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Kyiv’s new lockdown has caused massive traffic jams yesterday morning, leading to traffic gridlock in westbound lanes on the four bridges across the Dnipro,

delaying access to and from Kyiv Boryspil Airport. The Metro is to run during the 2-week lockdown, but access is limited to about 600,000 people working in ‘critical’ jobs. In addition to health care, these sectors include energy, chemical industry, transport, banking, telecommunications, food, and utilities. Employers are asked to shift to remote work as much as possible.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Ukraine’s restaurants and cafés lost almost 30% of their revenue last year, falling to about $500 million,

the analytical group Restaurant of Ukraine reported on Facebook. The number of restaurants, cafes and bars fell by 21%, to 14,786.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Lemtrans, owner of Ukraine’s largest private rail car fleet, is investing $15 million to create a logistics hub at Mostyska,

 Ukraine’s Lviv region border town with Poland. By the end of this year, this ‘Dry Port’ will allow shippers to switch container between trains on Soviet gauge tracks and trains on EU gauge tracks. Referring to the growth of freight train traffic from China, Lemtrans General Director Vladimir Mezentsev told Interfax-Ukraine: “Such a project can give an impetus to the development of the entire industry of freight rail transportation in Ukraine.”

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Roads leading to all five of Ukraine’s border crossings with Hungary are to be repaired.

Talks are ongoing regarding an agreement to build a sixth crossing, at Dyida, and to repair the highway bridge over the Tisza River at the busiest crossing – Chop-Zahony. Last month, at the first meeting of the Ukrainian-Hungarian Joint Commission on Border Traffic Control they discussed: “increasing capacity, reducing queues, modernization of existing and construction of new crossing points, as well as prospects for the introduction of joint border control on the Ukrainian-Hungarian border,” wrote Lyubov Nepop, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Hungary on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
To roll out the welcome mat to EU drivers, Ukravtodor is repairing and upgrading 250 km of roads to border checkpoints this summer

, the highway agency reported on Facebook.  “Unfortunately, having crossed the borders of our state, it is expected that you meet a pothole,” Ukravtodor wrote. Almost all the work this year is being undertaken in Zakarpattia, repairing road connections to Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. Last year, 150 km of border roads were repaired. By 2023, the plan is to repair 600 km.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Ukraine-EU border crossings are in urgent need of upgrades

, wrote Lesia Dubenko an Pavlo Kravchuk in a recent Atlantic Council piece of the Kyiv-based think tank Europe Without Barriers. “Kyiv must deliver on its promises and complete the renovation and construction of checkpoints funded by both the EU and Poland,” they wrote. In turn, the EU should compromise on several Schengen rules to allow Slovakia-Ukraine and Hungary-Ukraine joint border crossings. Increasingly important to the economies of the EU and Ukraine, Ukraine-EU land border registered a total of 32 million crossings in 2019.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
The Cabinet of Ministers has approved expenditure of $350 million to build 10 new customs checkpoints and to rebuild 25 old ones

, the government portal has reported. Much of the funds originate from a Polish government loan to Ukraine to build border crossings with Poland. More than half of the loan will be used to buy and install video surveillance equipment, weighing and scanning systems. The Finance Ministry wrote that the goal is “the latest technical equipment, which minimizes the human factor in the inspection, and hence corruption risks.”

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
During the first quarter, the Central Bank of Ukraine purchased a net $220.5 million

 to smooth out foreign exchange fluctuations. As the hryvnia strengthened last week, the bank sold $50 million, reported the National Bank of Ukraine website. Since the start of the year, the hryvnia has appreciated by 2%, achieving the current rate of 27.8 hryvnia/dollar.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Capital investment by cross border investors in Ukraine decreased by $868 million last year, the first decline of Incoming Investment since 2015,

Bohdan Danylyshyn, Chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine wrote on Facebook. He said: “The key reasons for the low interest of foreign investors in the Ukrainian economy are the weak and underdeveloped domestic market, the ongoing military conflict with the Russian Federation, as well as the low level of legal protection of investments.”

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Financing for Qatar’s largest investment in Ukraine – Qterminals’ Olvia concession – was brought forward by

 another meeting in Doha. QTerminals is now on track to fulfill the $140 million investment contract that it signed in August 2020.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Qataris expressed an interest in buying or building hotels in Kyiv, Kherson region and Odesa,

Zelenskiy said. To facilitate Qatari participation in Ukraine’s privatization campaign, Ukraine’s State Property Fund of Ukraine signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Qatar Investment Authority. The Authority has $345 billion of assets under management in diversified markets.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Qatar’s state-owned Nebras Power signed an agreement with UDP Renewables to invest in Ukrainian solar plants

 which are planned for construction by the end of 2022. At the end of the investment cycle, Nebras will become owner of a controlling stake in the plants.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
President Zelenskiy said of the emerging energy relationship:

“Ukraine is very interested in supplying liquefied natural gas, as well as working with Qatari specialists in the development of our Black Sea shelf. We have signed a memorandum between our states, and I think we will achieve results in this direction.”

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Qatar Petroleum wants to supply LNG to Ukraine and help Ukraine develop its Black Sea gas,

according to a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed yesterday in Doha by Saad bin Sherid Al-Kaabi, Energy Minister and the CEO of Qatar Petroleum, and Yuriy Vitrenko the Acting Energy Minister. Vitrenko said: “Qatar is one of the largest gas producers in the world and has valuable experience and significant financial resources to invest in gas exploration and production in Ukraine.”

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