Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin – August 11-17, 2018

Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
August 11-17, 2018
Ukrainian Armed Forces training exercises. 
Photo – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence reported that during the week of August 10-16, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and 13 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 287 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front, including at least 50 times with heavy weapons – Grad rockets, artillery and mortars. Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation headquarters reported that returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed 10 and wounded 29 enemy combatants in the last week.
2. Ukraine files lawsuit against Russia over Ukrainian political prisoners illegally jailed by Russia
Ukrinform reported on August 13, “The sixth interstate lawsuit with the ECHR over Ukrainian political prisoners held in Russia gives Ukraine’s international partners a reason for imposing additional personal sanctions against the Russian officials.
            ‘The Ukrainian government for the first time files a legal document against the Russian Federation, describing massive human rights violations towards Ukrainian political prisoners held on the territory of the Russian Federation, with specific names of Russian officials involved, including high-ranking officials. Thus, our international partners are given a reason for introducing additional personal sanctions against the leadership of the Russian Federation and the officials involved in the politically motivated persecutions,’ Ukrainian Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko said during a press conference at Ukrinform news agency.
            It is the sixth interstate lawsuit of Ukraine filed with the ECHR, the minister noted. The Justice Ministry expects prompt consideration of the lawsuit.
            ‘Moreover, we will appeal to our international partners with a proposal to form a separate sanction list, like the Magnitsky list, to indicate the persons involved in kidnapping, imprisoning and torturing Ukrainian citizens who are now held as political prisoners on the territory of Russia,’  the Ukrainian justice minister said. As reported, the lawsuit describes human rights violations with regard to 71 political prisoners.”
3. Ukraine’s President speaks with German Chancellor
Ukraine’s Presidential Administration reported on August 16, “President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko held a phone conversation with Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel.
            The interlocutors coordinated positions on the eve of the meeting between the Chancellor of Germany and the President of the Russian Federation. Petro Poroshenko and Angela Merkel discussed the situation in the Donbas and further efforts, including peacekeepers, to ensure progress in a peaceful settlement.
            Petro Poroshenko paid special attention to the issue of the release of Ukrainian hostages and political prisoners illegally detained in the temporarily occupied territories and in Russia, in particular the need for the immediate release of Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov.
            The President of Ukraine and the Chancellor of Germany also discussed the security challenges related to the construction of the Nord Stream 2. The interlocutors coordinated schedule of the further contacts in the framework of the bilateral dialogue development.”
4. US National Security Advisor to visit Ukraine next week
US National Security Advisor John Bolton will visit Ukraine next week, the White House reported on August 14. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders stated, “Looking ahead to next week, Ambassador Bolton will meet with officials in Israel and Ukraine, as well as with his Russian counterpart in Geneva as a follow-up to the Helsinki Summit to discuss a range of important national security issues.”
5. IMF mission will visit Kyiv September 6-19
On August 13, Goesta Ljungman, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Resident Representative in Ukraine, stated,  “At the request of the Ukrainian authorities, an IMF mission will visit Kyiv during September 6-19, 2018, to discuss recent economic developments and policies. The mission will also discuss next steps, including financial assistance from the IMF in support of policies to maintain macroeconomic stability and keep the economy on a path toward sustainable and inclusive growth.”
6. Ukraine’s economy grows by 3.6% in Q2 2018
Ukraine Business News reported on August 15, “Ukraine’s economy grew by 3.6% in the second quarter, beating forecasts as the recovery gathers steam, the State Statistics Service reports. ‘The economy of Ukraine has been growing for 10 consecutive quarters,’ the Statistics Service says in a release. ‘Growth of commodity exports has become one of the factors of growth. For the first half of the year, the growth of this indicator was 12.7% compared to the same indicator of the last year.'”
7. Real income in Ukraine rises 10% in first half of year
Ukraine Business News reported on August 17, “Ukrainians’ real incomes increased by 10% during the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year, according to the Social Policy Ministry. In nominal terms, hryvnia earnings were up 24%.”
8. World Bank support for reforms in Ukraine
The World Bank’s Ukraine office stated on August 16, “At the request of the Ukrainian authorities, the World Bank is preparing a Policy-Based Guarantee (PBG) to support key policy and institutional reforms to promote economic growth, fiscal sustainability, and improved governance. Once appraised and approved, the proposed operation would provide a $650 million IBRD guarantee that is expected to help Ukraine raise about $800 million through a private transaction in the lending market.
            In order to proceed with the proposed operation, it will be necessary to confirm the completion of all reform actions and the adequacy of the macroeconomic framework. In this context, it is critical to enact the State-Owned Bank Law # 8331D and the Resumption of Credit Law # 6027D, both of which were approved by the Verkhovna Rada in July 2018. It is also critical for the authorities to reach agreement on the Fourth Review of Ukraine’s program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), without which the proposed operation will be unable to proceed.

The World Bank encourages the Ukrainian authorities to complete the pending reform actions and reach an agreement on the IMF Fourth Review.”

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