Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin – October 6-12, 2018

Ukraine: Weekly Bulletin
October 6-12, 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 October 5-11, five Ukrainian soldiers were killed and twelve Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action on the eastern front. Throughout the week, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 201 times on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front, including at least 72 times with heavy weapons – mortars and artillery. Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation headquarters reported that returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed 23 and wounded 49 enemy combatants in the last week.
2. Ecumenical Patriarchate recognizes right to independence of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church
For the press briefing by Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate, please click on image above
For the press briefing by Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate, please click on image above
On October 11, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate recognized the right to independence (Autocephaly) of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church. For the statement from the Patriarchate on the decision, please click here
3. Statement by the President of Ukraine regarding the decision of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
To view the statement by Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, please click on image above
To view the statement by Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, please click on image above
On October 11, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko stated, “The Lord saw the struggle of the Ukrainian people for their independence. He heard our prayers. He properly estimated our labor. It became so desirable for Him to have His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Holy Synod of the Mother Church of Constantinople to declare the dreamed and long-awaited ‘yes’, for which we fought for a long time. There will be Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
          The decision of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Holy Synod has finally dispelled the imperial illusions and chauvinistic fantasies of Moscow, which were not supported by any legal church document – about Ukraine as so called ‘canonical territory of the Russian Church.’ […]
          Autocephaly is the part of our pro-European and pro-Ukrainian state strategy, which we have been consistently implementing over the past four years and, I emphasize, which we will implement hereafter. This is the foundation of our own path of development, the development of the State of Ukraine and the development of the Ukrainian nation. […]
          The Ukrainian government guarantees the full respect for religious freedom for the believers of all denominations. There is no state church, we never had it and there will never be one. And nobody will be ‘invited by force’ to the Orthodox Church consecrated with Tomos.
          Once again I emphasize that this is a matter of free choice for each believer. The joint creation of an independent church cannot be the basis for discord, for confrontation, for violence. We certainly can’t let it happen. On the opposite side, it is a road to peace, comfort and understanding.
          As soon as you see people who will call up to take the Laurel, monastery or temple by force, you should know – they are the agents of Moscow. As the goal of the Kremlin is to fuel the religious war in Ukraine. And this is definitely not my plan, not the plan of the Ukrainian people and not the plan of the State of Ukraine. […]
I congratulate everyone on this great day, for which the Ukrainian people have been waiting for 332 long years. I congratulate you! Glory to Ukraine!”
4. Ukrainian political prisoner in Russian-occupied Crimea suspends hunger strike
Volodymyr Balukh, a Ukrainian political prisoner illegally jailed by Russian occupation authorities in Russian-occupied Crimea, suspended his months-long hunger strike, pending an expected transfer to a prison in Russia.
          On October 9, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported, “Archbishop Klyment, the cleric responsible for Crimea in the Kyiv-based Ukrainian Orthodox Church, told reporters in Kyiv on October 9 that Balukh will resume the hunger strike once he arrives at prison in Russia. He is currently being held at a jail in Crimea.
          Klyment read aloud from a letter in which Balukh wrote that he ‘used the last chance to find at least a crack in the occupier’s punitive system, where some elements of common sense and honor might be present, and decided to halt the hunger strike.’
          He said he will resume the protest fast once he is in a prison in Russia. ‘I will not allow myself to consume food from the occupiers’ hands and wear their prison robes,’  Balukh wrote, adding that if he dies he would like to be buried in the ‘unoccupied part of Ukraine.'”
5. Metro, IKEA and Foxtrot expand Ukraine retail
Ukraine Business News reported on October 11, “Germany’s Metro Cash & Carry, the self-service wholesaler, plans to open 15 to 20 ‘small’ stores across Ukraine in coming years, their country CEO, Olivier Langlet, tells Interfax-Ukraine. ‘It’s better to open more than 20 stores in the regions than one big one,’ Langlet said, referring to stores in the 1.5-2,000 square meter size that cost EUR 150-300,000 to open. In Ukraine for 15 years, Metro has 27 stores, largely hypermarkets, with the exception of two of the new, smaller stores, in Lutsk and Ternopil.
          Sweden’s IKEA will partner with one of Kyiv’s largest shopping center developers for major expansion in the 2020s, Vagif Aliyev, the developer, told reporters Wednesday. One year from now, Aliyev’s new Ocean Mall is to open with a 5,000 square meter IKEA, the first Ukraine store of the multinational furniture retailer. This will be followed as many as six IKEAs – in the 5,000 and 30,000 square meter formats – said Aliyev, adding that he is building a group of 10 shopping and entertainment centers in Kyiv. IKEA’s regional representative,            Vladislav Lalich, was more cautious, only telling Interfax-Ukraine that the company ‘really plans to stay in Ukraine for a long time, but develop step by step.’
          With retail sales strong, Foxtrot, a major electronics and household appliances retailer, is spending $150 million this year to renovate 40 stores and to open 10 new stores, Interfax-Ukraine reports.  Targeting big cities and small cities, the chain is opening new stores in Kyiv, Dnipro, Khmelnytskiy, Nova Kakhovka, Kherson region and Varash, Rivne region. Overall, Foxtrot has 161 stores in 90 cities in Ukraine.”
6. EBRD shifts gears from “crisis response” to growth stimuli in Ukraine investments
Ukraine Business News reported on October 9, “The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the largest international financial investor in Ukraine, is shifting gears from post-2014 ‘crisis response’ to targeting five areas for investment through 2023. Since 1993, the Bank has invested EUR 12.1 billion in 400 Ukraine projects, a track record that motivates foreign investors to watch its evolving priorities.

As approved by the Bank’s London-based board, the new priorities for Ukraine are: 1) energy – efficiency, renewables and market reform 2) privatization and better governance in the state sector 3) strengthening banking and capital markets 4) facilitating foreign investment and trade 5) modernizing infrastructure and ties to the EU.”

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