Ukraine: Daily Briefing – April 11, 2018, 6 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
April 11, 2018, 6 PM Kyiv time
 
Ukrainian soldier participates in urban operations training, Yavoriv training center. Photo – US Army Europe


 
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that attacks by Russian-terrorist forces on Ukrainian positions escalated significantly in the last 24 hours. In the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 5 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions 61 times in total, including at least 13 times with heavy weapons – mortars and tanks.
2. World Bank: Ukraine’s economic growth projected at 3.5% in 2018
The World Bank stated on April 10, “Ukraine’s economy grew by 2.5 percent in 2017, the second year of modest growth, according to the World Bank’s latest Ukraine Economic Update.  Growth in manufacturing, services, and construction was robust, but weaknesses in the agriculture and mining sectors, together with delays in key reforms to further strengthen investor confidence contributed to the modest overall growth performance. […]
           Economic growth is projected at 3.5 percent in 2018 if pending reforms in anticorruption, land markets, state-owned banks, and privatization can be advanced in the next few months. This would provide an important signal to investors. If reforms are delayed, growth could drop below current levels in an uncertain macroeconomic environment as financing risks rapidly increase.
           Ukraine faces major financing needs to repay public debt and fiscal pressures from higher public sector wages and social benefits in 2018 and 2019. Mobilizing adequate international financing by completing pending reforms in the months ahead will be important to maintain macroeconomic stability.
          Meeting the fiscal deficit target of 2.5 percent of GDP in 2018 will require improving targeting of housing utility subsidies, making further wage increases contingent on measures to optimize the school and hospital network and public-sector staffing, and identifying affordable options to update public sector pensions. […]
         The recently adopted reforms in education, health, and public administration seek to improve compensation for teachers, doctors, and public servants to strengthen incentives and attract quality personnel. Achieving this in a fiscally affordable manner will require coordinating further increases in salaries with time-bound measures to optimize staffing and the school and hospital network.”
The World Bank’s latest Ukraine Economic Update is available here
3. Fitch Ratings upgrades Ukraine’s Naftogaz rating to B-; Outlook stable
Fitch Ratings “has upgraded NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine’s (Naftogaz) Long-Term Foreign-and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) to ‘B-‘ from ‘CCC’. The Outlook is Stable.The upgrade of Naftogaz’s IDRs follows our reassessment of its standalone credit profile (SCP) and linkage with Ukraine (B-/Stable) under Fitch’s Government-Related Entities Rating Criteria published 7 February 2018, the favourable Stockholm arbitration ruling on its multi-billion dollar litigation with Russia’s Gazprom PJSC (BBB-/Positive) and recent improvements in its financial profile,” Fitch Ratings stated.
4. Ukraine launches tests of new missile weapons system
photo – National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine reported on April 10, “The state tests of the ‘Vilkha’ missile system were carried out today in the Odesa region.According to Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov, the current tests are ‘the final stage of a large-scale project of Ukrainian scientists, designers and manufacturers.’ […]

           Oleksandr Turchynov stressed that after the completion of these large-scale state tests, the ‘Vilkha’ missile system would be taken on armament, and the Ukrainian defense-industrial complex will launch their mass production.
           ‘I want to emphasize that the first stage of the state tests, during which the missiles struck particular targets at the maximum shooting range, was successful – the test program was fully implemented,’ – Secretary of the NSDC of Ukraine said.”

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