Ukraine: Daily Briefing – February 8, 2019, 8 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
February 8, 2019, 8 PM Kyiv time
Operation UNIFIER training. Photo – MOD Ukraine
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that on February 6 the Ukrainian Armed Forces had suffered no casualties. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire 6 times on Ukrainian positions in the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors, including several times using heavy weapons.
2. EU To Call For Ukraine Support Ahead Of Elections, In Document Seen By RFE/RL
Eighteen European Union member states have called on the bloc to be “ready to act” in support of Ukraine in case Russia tries to undermine the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections later this year, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
“In a discussion paper titled Keeping Ukraine On Its European Path, the 18 countries [namely: Austria, Belgium, Britain, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden] also say that the bloc should “avoid EU fatigue in Ukraine or Ukraine fatigue in the EU.”
The paper calls for measures to counter the “false Russian narrative of Ukraine as a ‘failed state,’ provide additional assistance, including humanitarian assistance, to eastern Ukraine where fighting between Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed separatists has killed more than 10,300 people since April 2014.
Commending Ukraine on many reforms [decentralization, public administration reform, deregulation, pension system, and transparency] the paper highlights that they had been “more profound and extensive for the past five years than in the previous 22 years of its post-Soviet life.”
It does emphasize, however, that Ukraine should work harder on the establishment of a “fully independent and effective” anti-corruption court, on protecting “the striving and vibrant civil society and bring those responsible for intimidating and attacking civil society activists and journalists to justice,” while ensuring a pluralist, independent, and accessible media landscape as well as a properly financed and operational public broadcaster.
3. Canada to Host 2nd International Grand Committee on Disinformation and ‘Fake News’ in May
Photo – Euromaidanpress
Bob Zimmer, MP and Chair of the Canadian Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, together with Damian Collins, MP and Chair of the UK Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, announced today that the second meeting of the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and ‘Fake News’ will take place in Ottawa, Canada on May 28, 2019.
“With several countries, including Canada, holding elections this year it is vital that we continue collaborating to protect our democracies from the global threats of foreign influence and disinformation on digital platforms,” said Mr. Zimmer.
“The unprecedented nature of these hearings underlines the central importance that the ethics of the use of technology plays both to our democracies and our daily lives,” said Mr. Collins. “My select committee has also embarked on a new inquiry about immersive and addictive technologies and we plan to come to Canada armed with fresh evidence and questions for the tech firms.”
While still focusing on holding digital platforms to account, the committee will also examine “Foreign Influence in Our Democracies and Data as a Human Right: Protecting Our Citizens – Data Security and Privacy.”
The first meeting of the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and ‘Fake News’ was held in London, UK on November 27, 2018.
4. Ukraine is Open for Business; report from International Policy Digest
Photo – coindesk.com
“Ukraine is extremely anxious to catch up with the European Union […] and recreate and even surpass the meteoric success of Poland and the Baltic States. This is excellent news for savvy foreign investors looking for undervalued world markets on the brink of astonishing success,” reports International Policy Digest.
One of the factors that indicate that Ukraine is up to “smart money sharp upward-growth trends” over the next few years is an educated workforce with 98% literacy rate and 70% of Ukrainians with secondary education or higher, […] over 130,000 engineers and about 16,000 IT graduates each year. Ukraine is home to the largest IT engineering force in Central and Eastern Europe.
Another factor is Ukraine’s unique geographical advantage combined with its low labor costs causing some economists to refer to it as “China on the Europe border.” “Goods that would usually take over 40 days to arrive via shipping container from Asia can reach the trade hubs of the European Union in a mere two-days from Ukraine.” […]
“Lower cost of electricity and other commodities [25% less than neighboring Poland and the Czech Republic, and 37% lower than Slovakia] paired with robust infrastructure [almost 170,000 km of roadways, 22,000 km of railways, 13 seaports and 20 passenger airports] add to the list of factors foreign investors need to consider while looking at the GDP growth which is approaching the important milestone of 4% per year. “The share of investment in the GDP is also trending upwards, approaching the 20% standard consistent with strong and sustainable economic growth. […]
There are still more opportunities on the horizon, as the Ukrainian government gradually moves to embrace more pro-business practices and enacts laws that protect the property rights of investors and the companies in which they are investing.”
5. Average Wage in Ukraine Grows 37% in 2018
Photo – UNIAN
The average wage in Ukraine in December 2018 amounted to UAH 10,570 [about CAD $500], which is 37 percent more than in January last year, reported the Ukrainian Statistics Service.
“The highest salary in December 2018 was paid to aviation transport employees (UAH 36,970) [~CAD $1,800], and those engaged in financial and insurance industries, public administration, defense, and compulsory social insurance.
The lowest salary was paid to those engaged in postal and courier activities (UAH 5,800) [CAD $285], food industry, health care and social services assistance (UAH 7,300) [CAD $357].”

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