Friday, December 31, 2010

My dear friends,
Seasons greetings wishing you and your families
a happy and prosperous New Year.
Have a nice winter holidays, stay healthy and happy!
Sincere yours,
Oleg(in 1960) and Oleg (in 2010)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

U.S. Government Statement on Investigation of Ukrainian Opposition Politicians

30 December 2010. Although as a rule the U.S. Government does not comment on the specifics of individual cases, we have raised with the Ukrainian government our concern that while corruption should be pursued, prosecution should not be selective or politically motivated. In that context, we also raised our concern that when, with few exceptions, the only senior officials being targeted are connected with the previous government, it gives the appearance of selective prosecution of political opponents.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Lutsenko to celebrate New Year in prison

Employees of the special subdivision of the Security Service of Ukraine “Alfa” detained ex Interior Minister of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko near his house in Kyiv. Criminal case is instituted against Lutsenko because of abuse of power. The Prosecutor General's Office instituted a criminal case against ex Interior Minister of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko on the basis of offence stipulated by part 3 of article 364 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The press service of the Prosecutor General's Office disclosed this to UNIAN. Pechersk district court of Kyiv changed a preventive punishment to ex Interior Minister of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko from a written undertaking not to leave the country to taking him into custody so most probably Lutsenko will celebrate New Year in prison

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yanukovych strongly influenced country’s life

Political experts have described the year 2010 for Ukraine as the year of President Viktor Yanukovych. "This was the year of the new president; it could be called the year of Yanukovych. He strongly influenced the political and social life of the country. He started forming a new political regime in the country, Director of the Penta Center for Political Studies Volodymyr Fesenko said at a press conference in Kyiv on Monday. Director of the Kyiv Center of Political Studies and Conflictology Mykhailo Pohrebynsky agreed with his colleague and noted that the year 2010 was very eventful. According to him, the most important events were the victory of Yanukovych at the presidential elections, the cancelation of the political reform of 2004, the reduction in conflicts among the branches of power, and the replacement of Kyiv's government.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The next scuffle in Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Today, at 7.20 p.m. lawmakers from the Party of Regions burst into the session hall of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine through the doors of presidium and after rough scuffle occupied the presidium, which has been blocked by the lawmakers from the "BYUT-Batkivschina" fraction. Some lawmakers from opposition were taken to hospital. The lawmakers from the Party of Regions will stay in the parliament for whole night. Lawmakers from the Party of Regions Volodymyr Rybak said this an UNIAN correspondent. "We should ensure a normal work of the parliament in the morning", he noted.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

AvtoKrAZ to ship 23 trucks to Philippines in early 2011

December 15, 2010 (Interfax Ukraine). The AvtoKrAZ holding company (Kremenchuk, Poltava region), the only producer of heavy trucks in Ukraine, plans to ship 23 trucks to the Philippines in early 2011 to work at the first of Philippine nickel ore opencast mines. The holding's press service reported on Tuesday that the contract was signed in the middle of December with Japan's Hanwa Co., Ltd., representatives of which visited the holding. One of the spheres of the Japanese company's activity is trading with vehicles and industrial equipment.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

NATO and Ukraine discuss cooperation under new Strategic Concept

December 8, 2010 (Interfax). The first meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission after the adoption of the alliance's new Strategic Concept has taken place, Deputy Ukrainian Foreign Minister Oleksandr Horin has said. Summing up the meeting in Brussels, he noted that the allies had praised Ukraine's fulfillment of the yearly national program and offered their recommendations for a new document." Actually, there was no criticism. They only proposed that we consider NATO member-states' recommendations and add them to the yearly program for next year," he said. According to the deputy minister, this document is being considered and will be adopted this year." The meeting was positive. The majority of the states expressed their opinions. For instance, the United States noted that Ukraine had asked them for expert help in the creation of the Election Code, while the others raised the issue of energy security," Horin said. He also reported that the allies "stressed that Ukraine had successfully implemented the program, which is an important mechanism for reform and the development of cooperation with the alliance."

All schools in Poltava closed for quarantine

December 8, 2010 (Interfax) All 42 schools in Poltava city have been closed for quarantine until December 19 inclusively and the winter holidays will be reduced by four days, as the flu and acute respiratory viral infection rate exceeds the epidemic threshold. The press service of Poltava city executive committee told reporters that the number of those who have fallen ill exceeded the epidemic threshold by two times: the illness rate among pupils is 437.7 per 10,000 citizens, while the epidemic threshold is 213.5. "This, in turn, led to a change in the terms of the winter holidays in comprehensive educational institutions of the city: from December 27, 2010 to January 9, 2011 (14 calendar days) to the period from December 31, 2010 to January 9, 2011 (10 calendar days). December 27-30 will be working educational days," reads a report by the press service.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Russia to completely re-arm anti-aircraft defense by 2020

December 1, 2010 (RIA Novosti). Russia will completely re-arm its air defense forces by 2020 and the process will start as soon as next year, a military official has said. Spokesman for the Russian Air Force, Colonel Vladimir Drik, told the ITAR-TASS news agency on Wednesday that apart from S-400 and Pantsir-S, the air- and space-defense troops would receive the newest Russian anti-missile system known under temporary name s-500. “Starting from 2011 we plan to supply the anti-aircraft missile forces with newest weapons and military hardware in mass quantities and by 2020 we plan to raise the share of such weapons to 100 per cent of the total,” Colonel Drik said. While describing the S-500 missile system, the military official said that the weapon will be able to take down high-speed targets, including those moving in the stratosphere and on low space orbits. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev dedicated part of his annual address to the Federal Assembly to the reform and re-armament of the Russian military forces. In particular, the president said that the military should pay special attention to the strengthening of the national air- and missile-defense. He said that the anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems should be united into one complex that should be able to control space. He also said that the unified complex would be subject to the strategic command.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Surviving On 30 Нryvnias (26 SEK) a Day

There are two million Ukrainians who, according to trade union data, live on the official minimum wage of Hr 907 ($115) a month or Hr 30 ($3.70) a day. The minimum wage is the basic financial unit the government uses to set other financial targets, such as pensions, student stipends, social subsidies and other payments guaranteed by the laws of Ukraine. Five volunteers agreed to live for a month off minimum wage, one made it. They can’t chat with their friends over a cup of coffee. They can’t afford meat. They can’t buy new shoes before the old ones fall apart. What they can do is eat a lot of cheap noodles and bread. They sleep in order not to feel hungry. That means they sleep a lot. They don’t live. They survive.
Read their fascinating stories at

Ukraine, Russia sign seven documents

November 26, 2010 (UKRINFORM). Ukraine and Russia have signed seven documents after a meeting of the interstate commission, which took place at the Russian presidential residence in Gorki outside Moscow on Friday. In particular, the sides signed a memorandum of mutual understanding between the Russian Transport Ministry, the Ukrainian Transport and Communications Ministry and Russia's Vnesheconombank on the construction of a bridge across the Strait of Kerch. (Ukrainian and Russian Presidents Viktor Yanukovych and Dmitry Medvedev earlier agreed that the construction of the bridge across the Kerch Strait worth about USD 900 million could start next year and be completed by 2014). Ukraine and Russia also signed an agreement on cooperation in the sphere of testing and the protection of rights to varieties of plants, an agreement on cooperation in conducting inspections at the sites of the stationing of the Russian Black Sea Fleet on Ukrainian territory, as well as an plan on cooperation between the foreign ministries of both countries in 2011. The fuel and energy ministries of Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement on cooperation in the transportation of oil to Ukrainian refineries and its transit across Ukraine. The heads of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and the National Space Agency of Ukraine signed a protocol introducing amendments to an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Swedish, Russian companies interested in development of digital TV in Ukraine

November 24, 2010 (UKRINFORM). Swedish and Russian companies became interested in development of digital TV in Ukraine, Chairman of the National Council on TV and Radio Broadcasting Volodymyr Manzhosov has said. According to him, no official bids have come yet for participation in the competition to determine a digital TV provider in Ukraine, however, a number of Russian and Swedish companies became interested in this project. In particular, Swedish companies are interested in supply of technical equipment, whereas Russian companies - in possibility to become a provider of digital TV in Ukraine. Manzhosov believes that official bids from the companies will come nearer to the expiry date of their filing, December 8, 2010.
According to a concept of digital TV implementation in Ukraine till 2015, all TV channels should work exclusively in the digital format. In addition, a single provider should be determined on the competition basis that will be engaged in implementation of digital TV.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Prince Philippe of Belgium to pay visit to Ukraine

November 18, 2010 (UNIAN News Agency). Prince Philippe of Belgium will pay visit to Ukraine on November 21-24. The press service of the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine disclosed to UNIAN that Ambassador of Ukraine to Kingdome of Belgium Ihor Dolhov was invited for audience to Royal Palace for a talk with Prince Philippe of Belgium on the eve of his visit to Ukraine at the head of the Economic mission. The Price noted an importance of preserving of high dynamics of the political dialogue between Ukraine and Belgium. An exchange of opinions on condition of economic cooperation between Belgium and Ukraine took place.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Over 12.5 million Ukrainians live below poverty line

November 17,2010 (UKRINFORM). The poverty level in Ukraine has increased in January-September 2010, the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine has reported. Some 26.4% of Ukrainians, or 12.5 million people, live below the poverty line. In addition, 9.5 million people live on income below the living wage. The unemployment rate calculated according to the methodology of the International Labor Organization was 8.5%, which exceeded the rate of 8.1% envisaged in an anti-crisis program. At the same time, in the first nine months of 2010 the living wage nominally increased by only 2.2%, but taking into account the consumer price index it actually fell by 4.8%.
The Ukrainian Labor and Social Policy Ministry said that the actual living wage in September 2010's prices was UAH 109 higher than a level of UAH 843 (110USD) legally established for that month.
The Accounting Chamber said that a set of food, consumer goods and services for main social and demographic groups had yet to be reviewed in accordance with the requirements of the law on the living wage. At the same time, the Accounting Chamber made a low assessment of the fulfillment of the 2010 budget in the first nine months.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Leaders of Foreign Ministries of Poland and Sweden to visit Ukraine

November 16, 2010 (UNIAN). Foreign Minister of Poland Radoslaw Sikorski and Foreign Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt are about to visit Ukraine on November 17, on Wednesday.
The press service of the Polish Foreign Ministry disclosed this to an UNIAN correspondent in Poland. An interlocutor of the agency noted that in Kyiv the Ministers are about to discuss a preparation of Ukraine-EU summit that will take place on November 22 in Brussels.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ukrainian Air Force, Antonov discuss plans to re-equip army with new aircraft

November 12, 2010 (Interfax-Ukraine). Kyiv-based Antonov State Enterprise is planning to create a new multipurpose transport aircraft based on An-158 for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which will replace the obsolete An-12, the press service of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry has reported. The plans to re-equip the army with new aircraft were announced at a meeting between Ukrainian Air Force Commander Serhiy Onyschenko and Antonov General Designer Dmytro Kiva.The parties discussed the ways to resolve problems on maintaining the airworthiness of An-24, An-26 and An-30 planes, as well as proposals on the army's future need for new aircraft, including An-26 light military transport aircraft.The two sides also discussed cooperation in the organization of flight tests and the mass production of the new An-70 short takeoff and landing transport aircraft.As reported, Antonov is planning to create the new An-178 transport aircraft with a cargo capacity of up to 15 tonnes to transport military and commercial cargo.
On the photo: Flag of Ukrainian Airforce.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Book about Ukrainian diaspora published

Honored journalist of Ukraine Oleksandr Karpenko has published a book titled "Ukrainians - From Sea to Sea" about the Ukrainian diaspora.
The edition came off the press under the auspices of Yulia Tymoshenko, the leader of the opposition Batkivshchyna party. The book features the life of Ukrainian communities abroad. It is based on articles and photos by Karpenko in the results of his travels to Russia, Brazil, Portugal, Kazakhstan, Croatia and other countries. As the book author says, during his travels he sought an answer to the question, what is the historical mission of Ukrainians, what is its national idea and what is the reason for disunity of Ukrainians. According to the World Congress of Ukrainians, the number of the Ukrainian diaspora in more than 30 countries around the world exceeds 20 million people. According to official figures posted on the government portal, outside Ukraine there are about 10 million people of Ukrainian origin.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Battle For Kyiv. 1943 reconstructed in Kyiv

November 7, 2010 KYIV. (UKRINFORM). Military reconstruction clubs from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Germany, Czech Republic and Poland held the 7th Festival of Military History named "For Kyiv! Year 1943" dedicated to the 67th anniversary of liberation of Kyiv from fascist invaders, in Pyrohovo, a village near Kyiv. Besides watching a military reconstruction of the 1943 battle, the festival visitors could also get familiar with battle machinery of the Great Patriotic War times, taste field cuisine and attend a concert of military songs.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ukraine wants European Union to cancel visas for short-term travel

November 4, 2010 (Interfax-Ukraine ). The Verkhovna Rada's committee on parliamentary cooperation between Ukraine and the European Union considers it expedient to cancel visas for Ukrainian citizens for short-term travel to EU countries, the committee's co-chairman, Borys Tarasiuk, said at a press conference on Thursday. "We, the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada and the European Parliament, expressed the view that the best systemic response to the problems linked to the visa regime with respect to Ukrainian citizens would be the cancellation of visas for Ukrainians for short-term visits to EU member states," Tarasiuk said. He said that these recommendations had been expressed in a joint report by the lawmakers of the Verkhovna Rada and the European Parliament on visa policies between Ukraine and the EU. Tarasiuk said that he was planning to submit the report to the Ukrainian president and the Cabinet of Ministers. He noted that MEPs would send the same document to the EU leadership. Tarasiuk also said that the 15th meeting of the committee on parliamentary cooperation between Ukraine and the EU had been held in Kyiv on Thursday and that it would continue in Odesa on Friday. He recalled that the committee included 16 deputies from the European Parliament and 16 Ukrainian lawmakers.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Poltava mayor congratulates his opponent on winning mayoral race

November 3, 2010. Poltava city council.

Oleksandr Mamay has been elected Poltava mayor, according to unofficial poll returns.

Poltava Mayor Andriy Matkovsky has congratulated Oleksandr Mamay, who was nominated for Poltava mayor by the Sovist Ukrainy (Conscience of Ukraine) Party, on winning the mayoral election, the city council's press service told reporters on Tuesday. The press service reported that based on the preliminary results of the vote count, he had accepted Mamay's complete victory in the mayoral election.According to preliminary data, representatives of the newly elected mayor won the elections in 24 out of 25 single-mandate constituencies.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NATO may propose cooperation with Ukraine in missile defense – Rasmussen

November 3, 2010 (RIA Novosti). NATO does not rule out proposing cooperation in missile defense with Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said during a RIA Novosti news conference in Moscow, according to RIA Novosti. "The invitation will be open to our Euro-Atlantic partners. The invitation will also be open to Ukraine if Ukraine wishes. We don`t exclude that possibility," Rasmussen said.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ukrainian army to get 10 modernized Bulat tanks

KYIV, November 2, 2010 (UKRINFORM). A batch of ten Bulat Т-64BМ tanks has been delivered to Chernihiv from the state-run Malyshev Plant (Kharkiv) to be further sent to the 1st separate tank brigade of the 8th army corps of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, dislocated in the village of Honcharivske, Chernihiv region, north of Ukraine, UKRINFORM reported citing the Defense Ministry press center. The brigade will get another nineteen tanks by the end of 2001.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ukraine to deliver first batch of armored vehicles to Iraq

October 28, 2010 (Interfax-Ukraine). Ukraine is preparing to deliver its first eleven BTR-4 armored vehicles to Iraq in November under a large-scale contract on arms supply worth over $550 million struck in 2009. This was reported by the Ukrainian deputy industrial policy minister in charge of defense industry, Kostiantyn Kucher. "January 6 is the Day of the Iraqi Army, one of the country's most important events and one of the largest holidays. Therefore in January our eleven BTR-4 vehicles will participate in the parade," he told reporters in Kharkiv on Thursday. In 2009, the subsidiary of state-owned Ukrspetsexport – state-run Progress specialized foreign trade firm – signed a contract with Iraq worth more than $550 million, which is supposed to be one of an upcoming series of contracts in the sphere of military and technical cooperation between Ukraine and Iraq. The contract foresees the delivery more than 400 armored vehicles, in particular the BTR-4, about 10 An-32 aircraft, and aircraft repair services over three to three-and-a-half years.Among the major contractors are Kharkiv-based Morozov Engineering Design Bureau, Kharkiv-based state-run Malyshev plant, and Antonov State Enterprise. According to Antonov State Enterprise, the first three An-32 aircraft will be delivered to Iraq by the end of this year, and another three in 2011-2012.

Cossack descendant and a conqueror of Paris

Born in the Kharkiv region, Serhii Vasylkivsky like nobody else felt and managed to portray the image of Ukraine that fascinated French art galleries.

Serhii Vasylkivsky is known as the poet of Ukrainian painting. The famous Kharkiv-based writer, historian, composer, social and political activist Hnat Khotkevych (one of those shot in the 1930s) said of his compatriot: “When a wide field, all shining with light, will look at you from the canvases, and you’ll hear the lark’s singing, how easily and freely you’ll breath the air that the painter is pouring on you in waves and even like a river. And he, who lived one life with nature, who cried over sounds and colors, makes you tremble before the mysteries of life discovered by him, listen to the nightingale’s splendid song and sorrowful cooing of turtledove…”
One of the famous Ukrainian painters of the late 19th-early 20th century, Serhii Vasylkivsky was born in the Kharkiv region. His works, mostly landscapes of Podniprovia, Podillia, Slobozhanshchyna, Poltava region genre paintings, and historical canvases, create a deep romantic image of Shevchenko’s Ukaine. Armed Cossack-riders in the steppe or a group of Cossacks on guard, in cavalry march, or resting — these are some of the main themes of Vasylkivsky. In order to convey the spirit of the era, Vasylkivsky interspersed his contemporary images of Ukraine with lyrical digressions and historical landscapes portraying Cossacks themes. A descendant of a Cossack, the artist was a child of nature. He tried to put on canvas everything that he saw, felt, and imagined.
However, it would be a mistake to believe that Vasylkivsky’s work has only a local Ukrainian dimension. His works were also understood and prized in Paris. After training at the Landscape Scenery Workshop of the St. Petersburg Art Academy in 1885, Vasylkivsky was conferred the title of first-grad artist. He received one golden and five silver medals for scenery sketches, in which the artist conveyed the picturesque qualities of Ukrainian nature. He also received a big golden medal and the right to go abroad for professional development for the painting On Donets at the All-Russian Academic Exhibition. His next victory was in Paris, which opened to Vasylkivsky the doors to exhibits of Paris art galleries — his works there were highly prized, a rarity for foreign artists.
Vasylkivsky was a very prolific painter. The artist produced 45-50 paintings every year, many of which are still stored in Ukainian museums, first of all, at the Kharkiv Art Museum.
Vasylkivsky’s creative work, with its timeless value, can also be useful for the modern Ukrainian society that is suffering from the East-West stereotypes imposed upon it. Vasylkivsky, an artist born in Kharkiv province, felt and reproduced the metaphysical image of Shevchenko’s Ukraine in a way that nobody else has ever done. And it was that very image that fascinated Paris.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ukraine’s top bribe-takers are traffic policemen and hospital staff

Traffic police and doctors extort bribes from Ukrainian citizens more frequently than any other profession. This was one of the findings of the sociological survey presented in Kharkiv by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, UNIAN reports.
Thus, according to the poll, 91 percent of Ukrainians believe corruption is strongly widespread or rather widespread in Ukraine. When asked about their personal experiences, respondents most commonly cited two cases: public hospitals demanding unofficial payments for better treatment, and the traffic police extorting money instead of fining offenders. Forty-six percent of respondents paid bribes in hospitals more than once, 12 percent indicated that they had to pay just once. The traffic police received bribes more than once from 22 percent of respondents, while only four percent paid once. However, the study showed that Ukrainians were less pessimistic about the direction of the country’s development. Thus, 44 percent (compared to 74 percent in 2009, and 76 percent in 2008) of respondents believed that Ukraine was heading towards instability and chaos, while 21 percent (seven percent in 2009) believed that Ukraine was heading towards stability and prosperity. However, most respondents (83 percent) were dissatisfied with the economic situation this year, with 60 percent also being dissatisfied with the political situation (92 percent in 2009). 75 percent of respondents expressed concern about inflation (58 percent in 2009). Serious concerns were also expressed regarding other economic issues. These included unemployment (56 percent), poverty (51 percent), corruption (37 percent) and general economic issues (36 percent). This year’s political problems concerned 11 percent of respondents. The study was conducted September 8 through 20, with 1,519 respondents throughout Ukraine.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Three bombs went were detonated in Kirovohrad on Oct. 22 hours before President Viktor Yanukovych's scheduled visit to the city.

Three small bombs went off next to government buildings in the Ukrainian city of Kirovograd on Thursday night, hours before a visit by President Viktor Yanukovich, the Interior Ministry said on Friday. A ministry statement said it regarded the blasts, which shattered several windows in one of the buildings but did not cause any injuries, as acts of hooliganism. Parts of an artillery shell, a clock and a battery were found next to one of the buildings targeted, the state prosecutor's office. Two other blasts targeted police and court buildings, the statement said. The ministry has not reported any arrests or detentions in connection with the case and the president's visit went ahead.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the situation, said the blasts early Friday outside the prosecutor’s office, a police building and the courthouse were the work of regional gangs and were a local affair. Yanukovych earlier said an investigation had begun, and if the blasts were staged by his opponents to intimidate him, they would be brought to justice. As reported, the blasts rang out early Friday at 02:50 in the city of Kirovohrad in central Ukraine, where Yanukovych later arrived on a working visit. Fragments of an artillery missile, parts of a clock and a cylindrical battery were found at the scene. No injuries were reported, and no details were disclosed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met on Monday with his Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yanukovych, during a visit to Ukraine focussed on aerospace cooperation. Chavez was scheduled later in the day to tour the Antonov aircraft assembly plant in the capital Kiev, the Interfax news agency reported. 'This visit for us is not simple protocol, we are not just passing through here,' Chavez said. 'This is an extremely important visit for us.' Cold-shouldered by most developed nations for his outspoken criticism of the United States, Chavez has said his two-week international trip is devoted to increasing trade between Venezuela and European and Middle Eastern nations. It is his first visit to Ukraine.
Kiev is keen to find buyers for the Antonov Company, a state-owned producer of cargo and passenger aircraft with customers primarily in the former Soviet Union and Africa. Over the weekend, Chavez met with Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko and signed an agreement on oil. The deal will see Venezuelan crude transported to the landlocked former Soviet republic via a pipeline running across Ukraine from the Black Sea. The pipeline would give Belarus for the first time an alternative to importing oil from Russia. Chavez was in Russia last week for talks with the Kremlin on possible arms deliveries to Venezuela and possible construction of a nuclear power plant in Venezuela by Russian engineers. The Venezuelan leader is scheduled to travel onwards from Ukraine to Iran, Syria and Portugal.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Prosecutor: Khodorkovsky's words prove his guilt

October 14, 2010 (Associated Press). Prosecutors said oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky's own testimony has proven his guilt, as closing arguments got under way Thursday in his 20-month-old fraud trial. Khodorkovsky is serving an eight-year sentence for tax evasion and is on trial in a second case on charges of fraud and embezzling $25 billion in crude oil. If found guilty, he faces up to 15 more years in prison after his initial term expires in a year.He denies all charges in the politically driven legal onslaught.

Photo1. Former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky is seen behind a glass wall at a court in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010. Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, is serving an 8-year prison sentence on tax evasion charges and faces decades more if convicted on a new set of embezzlement charges in his second trial currently under way.
The criminal cases and the bankruptcy of his Yukos oil company, once Russia's largest, are seen as punishment for challenging the power of Vladimir Putin, who has led Russia since 2000, first as president and now as prime minister.Prosecutor Gulchekhra Ibragimova told the Moscow court on Thursday that Khodorkovsky's own testimony points to his guilt. She cited his acknowledgement of sanctioning stock swaps between Yukos and some regional companies that prosecutors deem illegal.Khodorkovsky, looking pale and dressed in a worn-out black suede jacket and black slacks, made notes while listening to the prosecutors' arguments. Khodorkovsky's lawyer Vadim Klyuvgant told reporters during the recess that prosecutors have no real evidence, which is why "they produce flows of words, senseless and inconherent."Putin's successor, President Dmitry Medvedev, has pledged to reform Russia's judicial system, which suffers from endemic corruption and is subject to political influence. Khodorkovsky's ability to receive a fair trial has been seen as a test of Medvedev's commitment to reform and willingness to break with Putin's policies.Putin has not softened toward Khodorkovsky.
Photo2. Former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky is escorted to a court in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010. (AP)
In recent months he has responded angrily to questions about the former Yukos chief executive, suggesting he deserves no leniency because he "has blood on his hands." This is a reference to the former Yukos security chief and a former business partner who have been accused of organizing contract killings in the 1990s to further the company's interests.The verdict is not expected for several weeks. The defense team said it expects closing arguments to continue through the end of next week and then for the judge to call a recess for no less than a month before issuing a ruling.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bus-train crash kills 38 in Dnipropetrovsk region

KYIV, October 12, 2010 (UKRINFORM). 38 people have been killed in a collision between a train and a local bus in the town of Marhanets, Dnipropetrovsk region (central Ukraine), Tuesday morning. Another 12 are in grave condition, railway authorities reported.
The accident occurred at an unguarded railway crossing of the Prydniprovska Railway.
"The crossing was closed, an alarm system was activated, which determined that the crossing was closed to traffic," officials said. Investigators have found that the alarm system was operative. According to the national railway carrier Ukrzaliznytsia, a preliminary cause of accident was the violation of traffic rules by a bus driver in terms of movement through the railway crossings. "The bus driver ignored the prohibition light signals and moved to the crossing in close proximity to the approaching train that resulted in a collision with a locomotive," Ukrzaliznytsia officials confirmed.

The Splendor of the Cossack Era in the Historic Context of the Ukrainian-Swedish Alliance on Display for First Time in North America

The Ukrainian Museum in New York has unveiled an important and exciting exhibition: Ukraine–Sweden: At the Crossroads of History (XVII–XVIII Centuries). The exhibition originated in Kyiv, where it was chosen the best exhibition in Ukraine for 2009. King Charles XVI Gustavus of Sweden and President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine participated in the opening ceremonies.
It is presented at The Ukrainian Museum in an expanded format. Comprising the exhibit are 116 unique and historically significant items from 28 museums, library and archives in Ukraine, Sweden and the United States, as well as private collections. The exhibition explores a pivotal period of European history through the prism of the alliance between Sweden, then a preeminent European power, and Ukraine whose Cossack leaders (Hetmans) were striving to establish an independent state.
An era of treaties, shifting alliances and glorious battles whose victories and defeats had lasting consequences, comes to life in the exhibit. The viewers stand before actual Cossack flags, including the imposing flag of Hetman Ivan Mazepa, admire the armor and other fascinating artifacts and examine original historic documents written by the prominent leaders of the period.
The exhibition also conveys the achievements and splendor of the era with magnificent works of religious, cultural and political significance. Many of the items were commissioned by Hetman Mazepa and bear his coat of arms. They are testimony to his generosity and vision. His immense contribution had a powerful, lasting impact on the Ukrainian people. Works in the exhibition include Mazepa's exquisite book of Gospels, silver and gilded Royal Gates from the early 18th century iconostasis of Saints Borys and Hlib in the Cathedral in Chernihiv – a splendid example of metalwork, and the majestic eleven-foot high silver icon enframent from the Troitsko-Illinsky Monastery in Chernihiv. Regalia such as Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky's hat and Hetman Pylyp Orlyk's mace (bulava) are also on display. Every object in the exhibition has crossed the Atlantic for the first time and represent the most cherished treasures of the period.
The exhibition opened at a propitious time of key anniversaries related to the period. Dr. Yurii Savchuk, Senior Research Associate at the Institute of History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and curator of Ukraine–Sweden notes that "October 2007 marked the 350th anniversary of the 1657 Treaty of Korsun in which Sweden recognized Ukraine as 'a free people, subject to no one.' March 2009 saw the 300th anniversary of a 1709 treaty that sealed their military-political union and included Sweden's agreement not to accept peace with Moscow until Ukraine was free from Russian rule. Aimed at legitimizing the newly founded Cossack state and providing it with military guarantees, the two agreements were defining moments in Ukraine's development as a modern sovereign state." Later in 1709 the allied forces of Ukraine and Sweden lost the decisive Battle of Poltava against Peter I of Russia, which changed the course of history and saw the emergence of Russia. The battle is remembered by Ukrainians as a noble and heroic act of self-determination – one that has never been forgotten. April also marks the 300th anniversary of Hetman Orlyk's constitution of 1710 – one of the most advanced legal documents where for the first time governing functions are divided into three branches. Orlyk's constitution predates the American and French revolutions by many decades.
As Ukrainians throughout the world approach the twentieth anniversary of national independence in 2011, it is fitting that we pay homage in the present exhibition to the great historical leaders who three hundred years ago had the vision and courage to fight for the right to live free. It is also important to acknowledge those who stood with them.

Click to view the slideshow (73 images):

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Russia poses no threat to Ukrainian economy - Yanukovych

KIEV, October 9, 2010 (RIA Novosti) Russia will not "swallow up" the Ukrainian economy as a result of the blossoming relationship between Moscow and Kiev, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said. Relations between Russia and Ukraine, which sunk to post-Soviet lows in the past five years during the presidency of pro-western Viktor Yushchenko, have improved significantly since Yanukovych's election in February. However, the Ukrainian opposition claims that the country's new leadership does not defend properly Ukraine's national interests in relations with Russia. "Ukraine is integrated into the world's economy to such a degree that this [the strengthening of ties with Russia] has little impact [on the state of Ukrainian economy]. But we are watching closely and Russia realizes that," Yanukovych said in an interview with the Ukraina television on Friday night. He added that his frequent meetings with the Russian leadership were necessary to restart the economic mechanism that had been idle for years. "We have an obligation to 'jump start' the bilateral economic mechanism that has been partially destroyed...and, of course, both sides defend their national interests," the Ukrainian president said. According to Yanukovych, Kiev and Moscow are both interested in the revival and development of infrastructure in many branches of the Ukrainian economy, as well as the steady growth of the Russian economy.
"Russia is interested in Ukraine's development because it provides a colossal consumer market [for Russian business]...and we are interested in Russia's development because our trade is already $40 billion," Yanukovych said. The new Ukrainian leadership has set the strategic aim of joining the EU, but says the country will continue developing closer ties with Russia.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Kremlin attacks Belarusian leader

MOSCOW, October 3, 2010 (Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev harshly criticized Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko on Sunday, accusing him of waging a "hysterical" anti-Russian campaign to boost his bid for re-election on Dec. 19. Ties between the ex-Soviet neighbours have deteriorated sharply in recent months and analysts say the Kremlin could complicate veteran leader Lukashenko's bid to repeat his landslide 2006 victory."The election campaign there is entirely built on anti-Russian plots, hysterical accusations of Russia's unwillingness to support the Belarussians... and on curses against the Russian leadership," Medvedev said in his weekly video blog ( President Lukashenko in his comments has gone far beyond not only the diplomatic rules, but also basic human decency," he said. "There is a clear desire to set our two states, and hence our two peoples, against each other." For most of his 16 years in power Lukashenko, 55, has enjoyed Russian support as a counterweight to antagonism from Western leaders who accuse him of prolonging his rule through rigged elections and the suppression of dissent. But a series of diplomatic and trade spats have poisoned their relationship in recent months. The Kremlin is furious at Minsk's failure to recognize the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states after Russia's 2008 war with Georgia. In his blog, Medvedev described Lukashenko as "dishonest" for reneging on a pledge to recognize the regions that he said was made in front of five other heads of state.Relations between were soured further when Belarus in April gave refuge to former Kyrgyz leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was criticised by Moscow. Lukashenko's intermittent efforts to woo the West have also infuriated Moscow.As ties deteriorated, Moscow hiked energy prices and withdrew $2 billion worth of effective annual subsidies on oil supplied to Belarus refineries. In June, Minsk threatened to cut Russian gas transit to Europe in a pricing dispute. Lukashenko, Medvedev said, had proved ungrateful for years of generous Russian financial support. Medvedev's attack comes after Russian state television this summer ran three documentaries that accused Lukashenko of rampant corruption. Lukashenko in turn accused officials in Medvedev's administration of orchestrating "an intentional flow of shameless lies, absurdities and outright misinformation about Belarus" at a press conference in Minsk on Friday. Despite its criticism of Lukashenko, Moscow has not backed any of the 14 candidates running him in December. The opposition has failed to chose a united candidate as they did in 2006.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rolls-Royce eyes cooperation with Antonov Company

October 1, 2010 (UKRINFORM). Roll-Royce, the British automaker and the world's second-largest maker of aircraft engines, is interested in cooperation with Ukraine's state-owned aircraft concern Antonov, Paul Kaye, Rolls-Royce director for Central and Eastern Europe, has said at the AviaSvit-XXI International Aviation & Space Show in Kyiv region. In his words, Ukraine is one of the leading countries in civil cargo aircraft design. According to Kaye, one of the advantages of Rolls-Royce's aircraft engines is a well-developed maintenance network. "We provide technical support to 600 airlines," the British firm representative said. In this connection, he recalled that the Ukrainian DniproAvia airlines operate Embraer-145 aircrafts equipped with Rolls-Royce engines. During the Ukrainian-British Business Forum, held as part of the airshow, Kaye also stressed the interest in developing cooperation with the Ukrainian scientific-research and design institutes.
According to him, the company is thereby looking for new ideas rather than trying to reduce development costs. "Here the question is not about money, but intellect," the Rolls-Royce top manager underscored.

Ukraine's generous pension system close to collapse

(Reurets) Those who think the French pension system is bloated should take a look at Ukraine, a nation which has not only preserved but enhanced generous Soviet retirement benefits -- which now threaten to bankrupt it. Street protests might come easier to the French than they do to the Ukrainians. But the government of President Viktor Yanukovich, who is being urged to raise the retirement age to 65 years for men and women, is still wary of a possible backlash. Relatively small on an individual basis -- about $140 a month on average -- total pension expenditure is a big burden on the ex-Soviet republic's budget, making up 18 percent of gross domestic product in 2009, one of the highest rates in Europe. Ukraine's ageing population means the system's financing needs will only increase unless it is changed. There are already nine pensioners for every 10 working people paying into the pension fund in Ukraine -- and this ratio is set to get worse. "No system can withstand those demographic trends," said Marcin Swiecicki, director of EU-sponsored think tank Blue Ribbon Analytical and Advisory Centre. "This would be a financial catastrophe. "The World Bank said in a report this month that fiscal reform, which includes an overhaul of the system, was "the most urgent priority" for Ukraine."The unreformed pension system and Ukraine's ageing population threaten short-term fiscal stability (with growing deficits that are becoming unfinanceable) and long-term sustainability," it said. Ukraine was taxing payrolls at 35 percent in order to finance pensions -- "one of the highest rates in the world", Swiecicki said.


But even that is not enough. Without reforms, by 2050, Ukraine will have to reduce its average pension to 28 percent of the average wage from the current 40 percent. And if it wants to keep pensions at the same level, the nation will have to raise the retirement age to 65 years for both men and women. Under the current rules, Ukrainian men can retire at 60 while women retire at 55. "Ukrainian women hold the world record in correlation between the length of retirement and the work period needed to obtain a pension: 7.1 years of staying retired for every 10 years of work," Swiecicki said. That compares to 6.2 years in Italy and just 4.6 years in Germany, according to Blue Ribbon data. Opponents of change say earlier retirement in Ukraine is justified by the fact that life expectancy at birth in Ukraine is 7.8 years shorter than in the EU for women and 13.3 years shorter for men. Among other worries are the disparity between pensions in different sectors -- miners and military officers, for example, enjoy much higher benefits than an average pensioner -- and the fact that only 75 percent of workers pay pension contributions.


In his long-term reform programme announced this year, President Viktor Yanukovich promised to radically change the pension system by switching to an accumulative system used in countries like Chile and ex-Soviet peers Russia and Kazakhstan. But the government has so far committed only to gradually raising women's retirement age to 60, as spelt out by its $15 billion deal with the International Monetary Fund made in July. It also plans to reduce early retirement benefits and increase the qualification period for full benefits by 10 years. "This is not a complete solution but it represents a significant step forward," said Blue Ribbon's Swiecicki.The plans have not been clearly articulated at home. The Yanukovich government has prudently shelved discussion of the issue until after the October 31 regional elections so as not to damage his Regions Party's prospects at the poll.However, signalling that even modest reform plans could be reviewed, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Tigipko said this month the government would try to avoid retirement age adjustments -- a policy that could displease the IMF. "If we find ways to compensate (growing pension expenditures) without raising the retirement age, we will not raise it," Tigipko told reporters. "If we don't find ways to compensate we must stimulate people to continue working -- by enabling them to earn more for working every additional year and so on."Carrying out pension reform in a slowly growing economy was "a big risk", he added.
On the picture: An elderly woman sleeps as she sells cigarettes to make some money in the centre of Kyiv.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ukraine plans to build 12 Antonov aircrafts

September 28, 2010 (UKRINFORM). In 2011 Ukraine plans to build 12 Antonov aircrafts and further increase their production, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has said during the conference entitled "Ukraine: Reforms, Competitiveness, Investments". "The aircraft complex in recent years was producing, at best, 5-6 aircrafts per year. In the future, we plan to produce 12 aircrafts," he said. The premier stressed that it is necessary to produce 150-200 planes a year so that Ukrainian aircraft enterprises reach the level of profitability. "Is the Ukrainian aviation complex able to do that? Of course, it is," Azarov assured. He expressed confidence that the Ukrainian-made aircrafts will be in demand in the market. The Kyiv-based state-owned company Antonov was established through the incorporation of Kyiv Aviation Plant Aviant SE to the Antonov Aeronautical Scientific/Technical Complex named after Oleh Antonov in July 2009 and in January 2010 Antonov ASTC was renamed into Antonov SE.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ukraine starts building new sarcophagus for Chernobyl nuclear plant

Ukraine began construction of the foundation for a new sarcophagus to cover one of the destroyed reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, local media reported Thursday. The project, called a safe, new confinement, would function for 100 years. The structure was designed as an arch with a height of 108 meters and a length of 150 meters over the existing sarcophagus. The technology building will include units for decontamination, sanitation, workshops and other facilities.The sarcophagus will be equipped with modern systems for radiation safety control, according to the project.Earlier, 2011 was declared in Ukraine as "the year of solving problems of Chernobyl." United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday he plans to participate in an international conference dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine. The disaster, the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, occurred in April 1986, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, 130 kilometers from Kiev. Despite the accident, the country continued to operate the remaining reactors at the plant for many years. The last reactor was finally blocked in 2000.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Russians to build nuclear fuel plant in Ukraine

September 19, 2010 (UKRINFORM). The Russia-based TVEL Fuel Company has been declared a winner on the auction to select a partner and technology on the construction of a nuclear fuel plant in Ukraine, according to Svitlana Merkulova, an adviser to director of the Westinghouse office in Kyiv.
"We have received a notice with thanks for participation and that an inter-ministerial commission decided in favor of TVEL," she said. As reported, TVEL Fuel Company (Russia) and Westinghouse Electric Compnay, LLC (USA) applied for the competition on the selection of a technology and partner to build a plant for the production of nuclear fuel in Ukraine for VVER-1000 reactors. On May 5, 2010, Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov noted that Ukraine agreed with Russia on a joint construction of a plant to produce nuclear fuel. According to the Energy Strategy, Ukraine planned to build by 2014 its own plant for the fabrication of fuel assemblies. Under the state target program "Nuclear Fuel of Ukraine" approved in September 2009 by the Cabinet of Ministers, the construction of the nuclear fuel plant is scheduled to be completed in 2013. The construction cost is estimated at UAH 1.679 billion, of which UAH 1,092 billion will be investments (USD 1 - UAH 7.9).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ukraine, United States begin to scrap Scud missiles stored in Vinnytsia region

September 21, 2010 (Interfax-Ukraine). Ukraine and the United States have begun to dismantle around 200 9K72 Scud missiles decommissioned in 1997 and stored at the 48th ammunition arsenal of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry in Vinnytsia region, the ministry said in a statement. The project, which is estimated at $2 million, is funded by the United States. The work is being conducted by Ukraine's Commonwealth Corporation under the supervision of Global Offshore Projects.Director General of Commonwealth Corporation Vasyl Mitishov said that around 200 missiles were to be dismantled at the arsenal within over five months. After the dismantling, elements of missile systems will be transferred to Ukrainian steel mills for melting and further sale as scrap metal. The Defense Ministry said that over 2,000 tonnes of scrap metal would be received after the recycling of missiles.Deputy Defense Minister Volodymyr Omelianchuk said that funds received from the sale of scrap metal would be sent to the ministry's special fund and then be used for the disposal of excess ammunition. He said that over 10,000 tonnes of ammunition had already been removed from the 48th military arsenal in 2010, and added that the base was to be liquidated in four years. As reported, the cooperation program was signed in the framework of the November 2009 Memorandum of Understanding between the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and the U.S. State Department.According to the document, the contractor of the project is U.S. Controlled Demolition, Inc. Implementation of the program on the elimination and disposal in Ukraine Scud missiles is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015. In 1993 Ukraine and the U.S. reached a framework agreement to provide assistance in the elimination of strategic nuclear weapons.In 1998 the United States and Ukraine signed an intergovernmental memorandum of understanding on issues related to the regime of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). As reported, cooperation on the program to scrap and recycle Scud missile systems is carried out under a memorandum of understanding between the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and the U.S. Department of State signed in November 2009.According to the document, Controlled Demolition, Inc. is a contractor in the project. Three state-run companies and one private company are Ukrainian subcontractors, according to results of a tender. The project to eliminate and recycle Scud missile systems is to be completed by the end of 2015.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ukraine and Brazil are preparing the launch of a new space launch vehicle "Cyclone-4"

September 16, 2010 (UNIAN). The first launch of Ukrainian-made rocket is planed for 2012 on Brazilian launch site near Alcantara. The State Minister of Defense of Brazil Mr. Nelson Azevedo Jobim said this today during meeting with the Prime Minister Mykola Azarov. "The basic project is already prepared and we have every opportunity to implement such a launch in 2012" - the Minister of Defense of Brazil noted. Mykola Azarov appreciated the high level of bilateral cooperation between our countries. "We have very good relations with Brazil, evidenced by an ambitious joint project to build a spaceport in Brazil, although the work could take place much faster pace. We see great prospects for bilateral trade and economic cooperation. We hope that your visit will enhance cooperation between our two defense departments. We have lot of things to propose to Brazil" - Mykola Azarov emphasized. Mr. Nelson Azevedo Jobim informed that the Ministries of Defense of Ukraine and Brazil signed an agreement on cooperation in defense sphere. The agreement provides for establishment of joint working groups in aviation industry, shipbuilding, armored vehicles, air defense and radar systems. According to him, working groups will start operation from November, so that to move to the practical implementation of cooperation projects in these areas from January 2011. "You will soon receive news from us regarding the fact what Brazil chooses" - assured Mr. Jobim.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nemiroff tops ranking of steadily growing spirit brands

September 15, 2010 (UKRINFORM). According to the Elite Brands List ranking compiled by reputable research firm IWSR (International Wine and Spirit Research), headquartered in London (the UK), the Nemiroff international brand is the leader in global sales among the most steadily growing spirit brands. The results of the ranking compiled in 2009 were published in the September issue of the IWSR Drinks Record magazine (London, the United Kingdom), an UKRINFORM correspondent reported, citing an official press release by Nemiroff.
In order to become a member of one of the most reputable alcohol producers in international rankings, it is necessary to meet several conditions: a company should sell over 1 million cases of production (1 case = 9 liters) under one brand per year, with 40% of sales outside the main market (for the demonstration of the international presence), and its Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) should be not less than 5% over the past five years (2004-2009).
According to the latest ranking by IWSR, the list of the most steadily growing spirit brands is led by the Nemiroff international brand. With average annual growth of 5.05%, its volume of global sales in 2009 totaled 8.85 million cases. Thus, the Nemiroff brand climbed four positions compared to the figures reported in 2008. The brand then occupied fifth place in the Elite Brands List.
While commenting on the results of the ranking, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nemiroff Alexander Glus said: "In every country where we begin to supply our products, it is important for us to take into account local customs and traditions, the level of household income and the culture of alcohol consumption. A detailed market analysis, good planning activities on each national market, professional distribution, an approach to work, as well as a consistently excellent quality of products have ensured a stable sales growth and the ongoing development of the Nemiroff brand over the past few years. The company is planning soon to increase sales volumes, primarily on the markets in Western Europe and Asia."

Monday, September 13, 2010

Joint statement by Yanukovych, Barroso: Kyiv, Brussels will strengthen relations

September 13, 2010 (UKRINFORM). Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso have made a joint statement after talks held in Brussels on Monday, an UKRINFORM correspondent reported. The statement says that the two presidents stressed their unequivocal support for the further strengthening of EU-Ukraine relations and reconfirmed their commitment to cooperate closely in facilitating the implementation of the reform agenda in Ukraine with a view to bringing Ukraine closer to the European Union.
"The leaders exchanged views on the negotiations on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, notably its deep and comprehensive free trade area aspects. They welcomed the progress made to-date and looked forward to accelerating and completing the negotiations as soon as possible. The leaders reiterated their common commitment to establishing a deep and comprehensive free trade area with a view to providing for the gradual integration of Ukraine into the EU's internal market," reads the statement.
The leaders discussed the issue of a future Action Plan setting out conditions to be met by Ukraine in order to establish a visa-free travel with the EU, which will be on the agenda of the forthcoming Ukraine-EU Summit in November this year. Viktor Yanukovych and Jose Manuel Barroso welcomed continuing cooperation between the EU and Ukraine across a comprehensive range of sectors. They underlined the importance of the Stand-By Arrangement agreed with the IMF, which the EU is complementing and supporting through EUR 610 million of macro-financial assistance, and looked forward to its full implementation in the interests of economic stability and a return to growth. They also discussed other reform priorities set out in the EU-Ukraine Association Agenda, including in the areas of the economy, trade and energy. President Barroso warmly welcomed the adoption by Ukraine of a law on the functioning of the gas market, as well as Ukraine's steps to finalize the process of Accession to the Energy Community and to implement the necessary reforms for the modernization of Ukraine's energy sector (including gas transit to the EU), to which the EU stands ready to contribute. The leaders said in particular that the relationship between the EU and Ukraine was based on a common history and common values such as democracy, market economy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law. They noted, in this regard, the vital role of a free media and an independent judiciary for the continuing consolidation of Ukraine's democratic development. They also stressed the importance of the forthcoming local elections in Ukraine being conducted in accordance with international standards.
President Barroso and President Yanukovych welcomed the EU's Joint Cooperation Initiative for Crimea, which includes EUR 12 million in 2010 for the development of the region. The leaders also discussed relations with the Russian Federation, the situation in Moldova and the Transdniestria settlement process. They looked forward to reviewing progress on these and other areas at the forthcoming EU-Ukraine Summit, which will take place in Brussels on November 22.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ukrainian National Space Agency prepares 30 launches of rocket Zenit-3SL till 2016

September 11, 2010 (UKRINFORM). The National Space Agency predicts that in 2011-2015, 30 launches of Ukrainian rocket Zenit-3SL will be held from the starting complex Sea Launch, Adviser to NSA Director Eduard Kuznetsov said. According to Kuznetsov, these days, negotiations will complete on the future project Sea Launch. Carrier rocket Zenit-3SL, developed in the design office Pidvdenny and made by Pivdenny Machine Building Plant named after Makarov (both in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine's south) is the basis of the Sea Launch project.
It is able to orbit from four to 15 tons of payload. On July 27, the U.S. court approved a reorganization plan of the company Sea Launch, according to which the affiliated with RSC Energia (Russia) Energia Overseas company will receive 85 percent stake in Sea Launch, in exchange for USD 140 million investments into the company capital and a commitment to attract investments for another USD 200 million. Sea Launch carried out 30 launches from 1999 and till 2010. The launch program was attended by Pivdenny Machine Building Plant named after Makarov and Pivdenny design bureau, Boeing Commercial Space Company (USA) and Space Corporation Energia (Russia), as well as Akar ASA (Norway).
See video about Sea Launch project at

Friday, September 10, 2010

Medical official: Vladikavkaz bombing on Thursday affected 161, 17 of them dead

The Thursday (September 6) bombing at the Vladikavkaz market affected a total of 161 people, Olga Krivonos, the director of the Russian Health and Social Development Ministry's medical aid organization and healthcare development department, said at a news briefing on Friday. "The terrorist attack in Vladikavkaz affected 161 people. Fourteen were killed on the spot, and three more people died at medical institutions," Krivonos said. As many as 109 people are currently receiving treatment at Vladikavkaz hospitals, and seven of them are in serious and critical condition, Krivonos said. "The rest are in stable condition, and 24 are receiving outpatient treatment," she said. As for the 11 casualties who have been delivered to Moscow, Krivonos said five of them are still in serious and critical condition, and the lives of the rest are out of danger.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Legends of the Ancient Kyiv Festival from the IX – XI Centuries

This impressive medieval military show have taken place on August 28, 2010 in the village of Kopachiv located 35 km. away from the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. About 500 miliraty reconstructors from Ukraine, Poland, Russia, Belarus, and France arrived to this hospitable village to show what life was like in 9th-11th centuries to the numerous spectators. Many forgotten holds of hand-to-hand combat of that time were shown to the appreciative audience. In the frame at the festival a big medieval culinary contest was organized. A few medieval music group presented their performance to the public. I sincere wish SMB members were here!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Several Yulia Tymoshenko allies are in jail, wanted or facing criminal probes. Is She Next?

President Viktor Yanukovych’s administration says law enforcers are finally cracking down on corruption. But the main targets are people close to former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who claims political persecution. She will lead an opposition rally on Sept. 7 outside of parliament. Several former high-ranking officials under ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, this year’s losing presidential candidate, are either behind bars or on the run.And now many in the embattled opposition are wondering who will be next. The whole article is available at:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ukraine's share in world trade in sunflower oil may grow to 65% - BG Capital

September 2, 2010 (UKRINFORM). Ukrainian weather proved to be favorable for most oilseeds. In this regard, BG Capital experts predict an increase in sunflower yield by 5%.
Given the growth in the harvesting areas under the crops by 5%, a record harvest of sunflower is expected at 7 million tons, according to research materials. According to analysts, prerequisites for lifting the export duty on sunflower seeds this year are not forecasted. 95% of the total crop will be processed within the country. Against the background of the expected significant reduction in exports of sunflower oil from Russia, as well as the decline of production in Argentina, the leading positions of domestic producers in the world market are projected to strengthen. As a result of the marketing year, the share of Ukraine in world trade in sunflower oil may rise to 60-65% from 53% in 2009/10.

Minimilönen för bärplockare är drygt 16 000 kronor.

August 18, 2010 (Dala-Demokraten). Medborgare från länder utanför EU måste ha arbetstillstånd för att jobba som bärplockare i Sverige. I år har det än så länge registrerats nära 4 000 ansökningar om sådana arbetstillstånd hos Migrationsverket. Det är en klar minskning jämfört med förra året. Då registrerades omkring 7 000 ansökningar. De flesta som ansöker om arbetstillstånd kommer från Thailand, men också Vietnam, Bangladesh, Kina och Ukraina.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New school year begins, educational system waiting for reforms

September 1, 2010 (UKRINFORM). About 406,000 first-graders and more than half a million first-year students the first time sat down at their desks. In total, 4.222 million schoolchildren and 2.8 million students came to study in Ukraine this year. The reform of education in this country, slowed down somewhat in recent years, will gain momentum. This is both optimization of the network of educational establishments and review of the spectrum of professions given by high school. The road to educational reform opens at the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine with adoption of the laws On Education and On Higher Education. President Viktor Yanukovych, who attended the Day of Knowledge in one of the schools in the capital city, said that his priority and an objective of the national security is "concern over the development of intellectual potential of the nation, and formation of the economy based on knowledge."

The Russian Navy's first aircraft carrier could be constructed in cooperation with Ukrainian shipbuilders.

September 1, 2010 (Interfax-Ukraine). The Russian Navy's first aircraft carrier could be constructed in cooperation with Ukrainian shipbuilders, a source in the main headquarters of the Russian Navy told Interfax on Tuesday. "The possibility of constructing the aircraft carrier at several sites is being considered, one of which could be Chornomorsky Shipbuilding Yard in Mykolaiv, and the second one - at Russian yard Sevmash in Severodvinsk," the representative of the Russian Navy said. According to him, the Mykolaiv plant could build the hull of the future aircraft carrier, and its final construction would be carried out at Sevmash. "The first yard has a lot of experience in constructing Soviet aircraft carriers, the second one has experience in their repair and advanced modernization," the source said.