Passenger traffic at Kyiv Boryspil was down by two thirds during the first two months of this year

Passenger traffic at Kyiv Boryspil was down by two thirds during the first two months of this year, compared to January-February 2020, reported the Center for Transportation Studies. With UIA’s suspension of its hub system, transfer passengers were down 94%, to 20,018. Passengers on regular, scheduled flights were down 75%, to 373,726. Faring best were vacationers on charter flights, which were down by 30%, to 298,332.

In the last six months, Ukraine’s Central Bank has moved from collegiality to Soviet-style centralism

In the last six months, Ukraine’s Central Bank has moved from collegiality to Soviet-style centralism, Kateryna Rozhkova, First Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, said in a lengthy interview with NV. “There’s actually a rollback,” she says. Relations with the new Governor of the Central Bank have become so frosty that they only communicate in group meetings, on Zoom. She said: “If there are any questions and I comment on something, he comments on something. It does not

Hours after the interview with NV was posted

Hours after the interview with NV was posted on Facebook yesterday, the bank’s communications department tried — unsuccessfully — to censor the interview. Rozhkova also complained that she is no longer invited to key meetings and that her opinions are not heard on PrivatBank, the bank she helped to nationalize in 2016. In response, Galyna Kalachova, the bank spokeswoman, wrote on Facebook that Rozhkova had been asked to edit the text to reflect bank policy. She wrote: “One-voice policy is

Independence of the Central Bank became the critical issue with the IMF last summer

Independence of the Central Bank became the critical issue with the IMF last summer after President Zelenskiy pushed out the internationally known and respected governor, Yakiv Smoliy. In the ensuing shakeup, several top officials left the bank and Rozhkova’s responsibilities were reduced. The public dispute comes one week after the bank raised prime for the first time in two year, to 6.5%. President Zelenskiy favors easy money policies.

With the $5 billion IMF lending program to Ukraine suspended, Bloomberg and Reuters moved stories yesterday on the spat

With the $5 billion IMF lending program to Ukraine suspended, Bloomberg and Reuters moved stories yesterday on the spat. Bloomberg headlined: “Another Ukrainian Central Banker Speaks Out on Governance Fears.” Reuters headlined: “Ukraine central bank denies it tried to censor top official.”

Ukrzaliznytsia passenger service – which has been hemorrhaging money loser – lost 26% more of its income in the last year, a total of $314 million

Ukrzaliznytsia passenger service – which has been hemorrhaging money loser – lost 26% more of its income in the last year, a total of $314 million, said Volodomyr Zhmak, the state railroad’s CEO, yesterday. Due to quarantine restrictions on travel, passenger traffic decreased by 56%, to 68 million passengers. Estimating that the railroad’s locomotives and cars are “90% worn out,” Zhmak praised the government for allocating $145 million this year for the renovation of rolling stock. In Ukraine, freight subsidizes

The share of UZ cars in freight trains has dropped in half – from 47% in 2018 to 21% in 2021

The share of UZ cars in freight trains has dropped in half – from 47% in 2018 to 21% in 2021, Zhmak said. This year, Zhmak wants to increase the UZ portion to 40%. Private cars are more popular because they are cheaper and in better shape. Critics charge UZ drags its feet on pilot projects to allow private freight trains on UZ tracks.

Former Ukrzaliznytsia CEO Wojciech Balczun is co-owner of Aurum Polonez, an amber mining company in Klesiv, northern Rivne oblast

Former Ukrzaliznytsia CEO Wojciech Balczun is co-owner of Aurum Polonez, an amber mining company in Klesiv, northern Rivne oblast, according to Nadra.info. A Polish rock musician, Balczun ran UZ in 2016-2017. His partners are Poland’s Amos Investments and Mykola Nemtsov, who was UZ’s acting director of security during Balczun’s time at the railroad.

Egis Ukraina, a French-financed engineering company working in Ukraine for the last three decades,

Egis Ukraina, a French-financed engineering company working in Ukraine for the last three decades, has entered into a joint venture with Ertle, Ltd, an international engineering and construction holding, known locally as Derffer. The new company is called Egis Ertle Engineering. Ignace Haertlé, founder of the Ertle Group and major Derffer shareholder, notes that the company worked on the NOVARKA new safe confinement for Chornobyl, saying: “Through the years, we have delivered projects for both international and local clients including

Half of Ukrainians seeking work abroad want to go to Poland, with two thirds looking for seasonal work,

Half of Ukrainians seeking work abroad want to go to Poland, with two thirds looking for seasonal work, according to an OLX Work survey last month of 7,700 Ukrainian job seekers. The other top two destinations are: the Czech Republic – 11%; and Germany – 9%. The primary reasons are: high salaries in the EU – 60%; and difficult financial situation at home – 39%. Construction and factory work account for half of the jobs sought.

Resistance to vaccinations against the coronavirus is high and growing in Ukraine,

Resistance to vaccinations against the coronavirus is high and growing in Ukraine, the AP reports in an article headlined: “Wide resistance to vaccines plagues Ukraine’s COVID-19 fight.” The portion of poll respondents who do not want to get vaccinated rose from 40% in February to 60% in March 2021, according to polls of 1,200 Ukrainians conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology. In the first half of 2019, resistance to measles vaccinations lead to 5,000 cases in Kyiv and

The Health Ministry reported that 40% of medical workers say they do not want to be vaccinated.

The Health Ministry reported that 40% of medical workers say they do not want to be vaccinated. In the Donetsk village of Selydove, a visiting AP reporter found that only 5% of medical workers agreed to be vaccinated. Thirty kilometers away, in the frontline town of Krasnohorivka, AP reported: “Soldiers widely refused to be vaccinated.”

Ukraine and Israel are negotiating mutual recognition of “vaccination passports” for tourist travel

Ukraine and Israel are negotiating mutual recognition of “vaccination passports” for tourist travel, Yevhen Korniychuk, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel, told Ukraine 24 TV. In September, more than 4,000 Hasidic Jewish pilgrims plan to travel to Uman, Cherkasy region, for the High Holidays. Although Israel has the world’s highest vaccination rate for a major country – 44% — some Orthodox Jews refuse to be vaccinated.

In a separate poll, only one quarter of respondents told

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

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

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,”

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,

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.

The State Department has barred Ihor Kolomoiskiy and his immediate family from entering the US.

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

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.

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

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

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,

Denmark’s Maritime Authority expects Nord Stream 2 to be completed by the end of September 2021, several months later than forecast completion date.

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

Baker Hughes Co and AXA Group and 16 other international companies have withdrawn from the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to avoid US sanctions

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

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

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

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

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

Although last year’s Dnipro shipping season was six weeks longer than usual, cargo dropped 5% yoy, to 11 million tons

Although last year’s Dnipro shipping season was six weeks longer than usual, cargo dropped 5% yoy, to 11 million tons. “Results of cargo transportation were influenced by the reduction in grain transportation on navigable rivers,” says Dmitry Kozachenko, executive director of the Rivers of Ukraine Association. Volumes on Ukraine’s portion of the Danube were down 28%, to 4 million tons. On the Southern Bug, volumes were down 37.5%, to 500,000 tons. The big products moved down Ukraine’s three largest navigable

With traffic jams clogging Kyiv’s Dnipro bridges, the City Council is studying restoring boat service across the river.

With traffic jams clogging Kyiv’s Dnipro bridges, the City Council is studying restoring boat service across the river. According to Kiev Vlast, the River Port Administration calculates that 2,000 people a day would commute by ferry, following this route: Rusanivka, Bereznyaki, Dnipro Metro station, Podil River Port. Depending on the boat and the weather, the entire trip would take one hour. Tickets would cost UAH 30-60, $1-2.

In January-February, Ukrainians imported 53,000 used cars, 4.4 times the volume of the first two months of 2019

In January-February, Ukrainians imported 53,000 used cars, 4.4 times the volume of the first two months of 2019. Used imports, a rarity four years ago, now account for 81% of car imports, reports Ukravtoprom, the vehicle industry association. In 2020, 353,400 used imports and 85,500 new imports were registered in Ukraine.

More hikes could come this year,

More hikes could come this year, Yuriy Geletiy, a deputy governor of the central bank, told reporters yestrerday. “The National Bank is ready to raise the discount rate more decisively to limit the fundamental inflationary pressure and bring inflation to the target. Therefore, monetary policy will continue to focus on preventing the inflation spike.”

In the first two months of this year, foreign holdings of Ukraine government bonds increased by $570 million

In the first two months of this year, foreign holdings of Ukraine government bonds increased by $570 million, Geletiy told reporters yesterday. As of Monday, foreign holdings totaled $3.65 billion. He said: “In February, non-resident investors continued to grow their portfolio, with a slowdown in the second half of February.”

Remittances from Ukrainians working abroad are expected to grow by 8%, to $13 billion this year

Remittances from Ukrainians working abroad are expected to grow by 8%, to $13 billion this year, Geletiy said. For the last two years, remittance averaged $12 billion, or $1 billion a month. Labor is Ukraine’s third largest export, after food and metals.

With new coronavirus cases doubling this week,

With new coronavirus cases doubling this week, Prime Minister Shmygal warned yesterday: “It’s obvious that the third wave of the pandemic has started that Ukraine is facing.” Yesterday morning, 10,057 new cases were registered, more than double Monday’s level of 4,285. “If the situation worsens, if we see that medics are not coping, then we will probably have no choice but to impose strict quarantine like the one that we have already experienced.”

The new cases are largely in Kyiv and to the West

The new cases are largely in Kyiv and to the West: Zhytomyr Oblast – 888; Kyiv City – 868; Vinnytsia Oblast – 827; Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast – 776; and Zakarpattia – 676. Ukraine’s first two cases of the British coronavirus variant, were detected in Ivano-Frankivsk region, health officials said yesterday.

Ukraine plans to become a major producer of lithium batteries for Europe’s electric cars

Ukraine plans to become a major producer of lithium batteries for Europe’s electric cars, Prime Minister Shmygal told reporters yesterday, reviewing talks he had in Brussels last month. By 2030, Europe will need 18 times more lithium than now, by 2050, 60 times more, he said. “Ukraine has the largest lithium deposits on the European continent,” he said. “Europe sees Ukraine as a partner, both in production and processing…We are interested in added value, production, processing, and the maximum creation of

Coal miners may become lithium miners

Coal miners may become lithium miners under a pilot project to start closing two coal mines this year, one in Lviv and the other in Donetsk, the Prime Minister. With German and Polish advice and aid, Ukraine’s “Fair Transformation of Coal Regions” project could involve employing some coal miners to work in new lithium mines, he said.

Turkey and Ukraine are on the final stretch for finalize a bilateral free trade agreement

Turkey and Ukraine are on the final stretch for finalize a bilateral free trade agreement, Shmygal told reporters. Of the long-delayed agreement, he said: “Literally, last week and this week the free trade agreement with Turkey is being finalized.”

In a new twist on the Motor Sich drama, David Arakhamia, the head of Servant of the People faction in the Rada

In a new twist on the Motor Sich drama, David Arakhamia, the head of Servant of the People faction in the Rada, said yesterday he will submit a bill to nationalize the Zaporizhia-based aircraft engine manufacturer. On Jan. 29, President Zelenskiy barred Chinese investors from asserting control. “It is to settle the legal status of the company, that is a large constructor of helicopter engines,” Arakhamia said. “Because the company is facing uncertainty, it is being sanctioned upon, and several