Saturday, March 31, 2018

Patience exhausted

March 31, 2018 (UKRINFORM) "Today's extraordinary international response by our allies stands in history as the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers ever and will help defend our shared security. Russia cannot break international rules with impunity," UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said.

He also explained that it was "the last drop" that filled the cup of patience of the Western powers and triggered decisive steps. According to him, so many other countries in the last ten years have now experienced, if not attempted assassination with the use of a nerve agent, provocations of one kind or another. He also mentioned Russia's interference in the election of many states, cyberattacks and other manifestations of "Russian aggression," or disrespect for international law. Joint and decisive action is needed to respond to this.
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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Russia, EU Powers Agree to Intensify Eastern Ukraine Peace Bid

March 29, 2018 (BloombergPolitics) Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine said they’ll examine ways to speed up progress on a peace plan for eastern Ukraine and end a conflict that triggered sanctions against Russia. Government leaders of the four countries welcomed an Easter cease-fire taking effect Friday and called for international observers to be allowed to verify it, according to joint statements published in Paris and Berlin on Thursday.

A destroyed pro-Russian armoured personnel carrier near the city of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine. 

The four countries pledged to “search in the months ahead for possible solutions to accelerate the implementation” of the Minsk accords, which laid out military and political steps to end the conflict between Ukraine’s government and pro-Russian separatists. The governments also called for further prisoner swaps.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on March 12 that European Union sanctions on Russia could be “discussed” if there’s “qualitative progress” in eastern Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed France’s commitment to Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty in a phone call with Russia’s Vladimir Putin on March 19. Putin and Merkel are among the signers of the Minsk accords in Belarus in February 2015. Sporadic fighting in the eastern regions of Ukraine bordering Russia has continued and many terms of the accords haven’t been met.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

What luck is?

What luck is? Of course, everyone has its own understanding of this hard-to-explain phenomenon. Without a doubt to be lucky at war is something different. Probably these two pictures taken in the Eastern Ukraine could explain to you what luck is much better than words. Just look at them and think it out.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

EU recalls ambassador from Russia as leaders back May over Salisbury

March 24, 2018 (The Guardian) The European Union has recalled its ambassador from Moscow after leaders on the continent threw their weight behind Theresa May’s stance over the Salisbury attack. Several EU member states were poised to announce expulsions of diplomats, in a bid to dismantle Vladimir Putin’s spy network. Following a summit in Brussels to discuss the response to the Salisbury nerve agent attack, EU leaders gave their full-throated backing to the prime minister by adopting a statement declaring it was “highly likely Russia is responsible” for poisoning Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

May met the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, who have been robust in echoing Britain’s position. Photograph: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, tweeted that all leaders agreed Russia’s responsibility for the attack was highly likely. In a significant point for May, the statement goes further than a declaration by foreign ministers earlier this week, which avoided pinning the blame on Russia. British diplomats believe that a strong message of solidarity with the UK, from Russia’s closest European neighbours, will hit home with President Putin.
France, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are understood to be considering expelling Russian diplomats, as requested by the UK government, in a coordinated strike against Moscow. The Lithuanian president, Dalia Grybauskaitė, said: “All of us, we are considering such measures.” She added that she had not congratulated Putin on his election victory. On Thursday night the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, said the EU ambassador to Russia was being recalled to consult with Brussels over the Salisbury attack. Rutte said characterised this as a “measure” rather than a formal “sanction” against Moscow.

Friday, March 23, 2018

National Bank to replace Hr 1, 2, 5 and 10 banknotes with coins

March 22, 2018 (KyivPost) The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has announced that it will issue new coins worth Hr 1, 2, 5 and 10 by 2020. In a statement published by its press service on March 14, the NBU showed off the designs of the new coins, which will replace the paper bills of the same value that are currently in circulation. The NBU will also stop issuing 1-, 2-, 5- and 25-kopika coins.
The replacement of paper bills with coins will make it possible to achieve the optimum balance between the quality and the number of circulating paper bills and coins, which will meet the needs of the state and the economy today,” Yakiv Smolii, the NBU’s acting head, said in a statement posted on the NBU’s website. The NBU will mint the new coins in two stages: the ones worth Hr 1 and Hr 2 will start to be issued on April 27, while the Hr 5 and Hr 10 coins will start to be issued in 2019 and 2020. The bank will cease producing the paper equivalents of the coins, but they will remain valid tender until they are finally taken out of circulation. The replacement of paper bills with coins is due to the devaluation of the hryvnia and the development of cashless payments. The National Bank of Ukraine introduced the designs of the new Hr 1, 2, 5 and 10 coins.

According to the NBU, over the last five years, the share of cashless payments with cards in Ukraine has increased by more than three times. In 2018, 39 percent of payments were made with cards. Ukraine will be able to save around Hr 1 billion due to the measure, as paper bills wear out faster than coins. The NBU removes from circulation 800 million worn out paper bills every year, with 40 percent of them being bills of low denominations, Smolii said.
The new silver-color coins will be from 18 to 23 millimeters in diameter. Framed with an ancient Kyivan Rus ornament, a new coin’s obverse will feature Ukraine’s small coat of arms and the coin’s denomination. The coins’ reverses will feature portraits of the prominent figures in Ukrainian history, as currently depicted on the paper bills of the same value: Kyivan Rus Princes Volodymyr the Great and Yaroslav the Wise, Ukrainian Hetmans Bohdan Khmelnytsky and Ivan Mazepa. 
As with the low denomination paper bills, the withdrawn 1-, 2-, 5-, and 25-kopika coins will be legal tender until they are fully removed from circulation. Because there will no longer be 1-, 2-, 5-, and 25-kopika coins, the NBU has set rounding rules for cash payments: a sum that ends in 1-4 kopikas is rounded down to the nearest 10 kopikas, and a sum ending with 5-9 kopikas is rounded up to the nearest 10 kopikas. The rules will come into force on July 1. However, those who still have low denomination kopika coins will be able to pay exact sums, without rounding.