President Poroshenko introduced a draft law about the abolishing of the non-aligned status of Ukraine to the Verkhovna Rada. US President Obama signed a bill named “The Ukraine Freedom and Support Act”, which provides military and technical assistance for Ukraine. Russian President Putin during an annual press conference showed he hasn’t changed his position on Ukraine.
Important Events In Ukraine
● President Poroshenko introduced a draft law to abolish the non-alinged status of Ukraine to the Verkhovna Rada, explaining that the current status did not ensure sovereignty and national security. The draft will be considered as an urgent one.
● A corresponding Committee of the Parliament endorsed a draft law, which expands the powers of the National Security Council, and submitted the draft for consideration during the current session
● The Verkhovna Rada will not consider the budget-2015 in the package with the changes to the Tax and Budget Codes. Each budget amendment will be voted on separately.
● According to the Minister of Justice Mr. Petrenko, three lawsuits against Russia were submitted to the international courts. These are for the kidnapping of orphaned children, for the violation of human rights of Mustafa Cemil and residents of the Crimea.
Losses from Russia’s aggression in the Donbas and Crimea are bound to be taken into account in the following claims, which should be heard in the International Court of Justice. Volunteer Ukrainian lawyers are helping to prepare lawsuits against the Russian Federation pro bono at the pre-trial stage.
● UkrEnergo enacted schedule of outages based on the value of the imbalance of energy grid in the amount of 5.2 GW, whereas previous level was 3.5 GW. Base capacity of one unit of nuclear power plant is 1 GW.
Ukraine exported electricity worth $ 466 million in last 11 months. The main exporters were the subsidiaries of DTEK company, fully owned by Ukrainian oligarch Akhmetov.
Another auction for the electricity export in next year have been announced despite of insufficient power generation in Ukraine.
● The decline in industrial production in November was as low as October’s one at 16% compared to last year.
● Prosecutor General Mr. Yarema is creating The Bureau of Special Investigations to investigate all crimes committed during the protests in Ukraine in winter as well as the mass murder on the Maydan.
● If Ukraine does not submit the results of investigations of crimes of persons, who have fallen under EU sanctions, until April, 2015, the sactions will be lifted.
● National Bank left the official FX rate of hryvnia almost unchanged: 15.77 UAH / USD (-0.01 UAH), 19.63 UAH / EUR (-0,15 UAH), 2.33 UAH / 10 RUR. (+0.05 UAH). Commercial banks have received the next 3 billion UAH of refinancing from NBU to support their liquidity.
● Kyiv left without its tram service because of the strike of the municipal enterprise “Kyivpastrans” employees, who are demanding the payment of wages. The company’s management began to pay wage arrears and is planning to completely repay those in full before the end of the year.
War in Ukraine
● Attacks on positions of Ukrainian army by militants are continuing in the Donets’k airport and near Slav’yanoserbs’k.
● MP from the party “Bat’kivschina” Savchenko continues her hunger strike in a Moscow jail, and demands to recognize her as a POW. Russian President Putin said the court must decide whether she’s guilty or not. The Security Services of Ukraine handed the evidence proving her innocence to Savchenko’s lawers.
● Russia blocked expansion of the OSCE mission at border crossing points of the Rostov region. The number of mission’s observers will be increased to 500 people. They will have to maintain control of the Ukrainian-Russian border. Additionally, the mission should be strengthened by 400 Ukrainian observers and get 100 armored vehicles.
Ukraine and world
● US President Obama signed the bill called “The Ukraine Freedom and Support Act”, which gives him the right to impose additional sanctions on Russia, which annexed the Crimea. Such sanctions are prepared in close coordination with the EU institutions. The bill provides for the military assistance to Ukraine, as well as financial assistance, and is already incorporated in the US budget for 2015.
● The EU imposed additional sanctions against Crimean enterprises. They include a ban for investments, purchases of real estate, tourism activities, exports of goods and technologies. Russian Foreign Ministry called the sanctions “discrimination of people of Crimea and Sevastopol.”
● German Chancellor Angela Merkel is convinced that sanctions against Russia should continue as long as Russian Federation does not respect the sovereignty of Ukraine.
● President of the European Council Mr. Tusk urged EU member states to adopt strong and responsible strategy towards Russia, and to support Ukraine, including financial assistance.
● Russian President Mr. Putin has held a yearly press conference. During the conference, he again accused the Ukrainian authorities which, in his opinion, are conductig punitive operations in the Donbass. He said that the removal of former President Yanukovych from power was illegal. According to Mr. Putin, militants fighting in the Donbass are not mercenaries because they do not receive payment for doing so, and the responsibility lies with the Russian president – the commander in cheif.
● The European Parliament overwhelmingly ratified an association agreement with Georgia, including a comprehensive free trade zone.
● EU Ambassador Mr. Tombinsky said that Ukraine is not ready to establish visa-free regime, but still has a chance to meet all the requirements of the EU before the Eastern Partnership Summit in May.
● Switzerland has introduced a negative rate for demand deposits.
● President Mr. Poroshenko is going to create another constitutional commission to make changes to the fundamental law. Published in July of 2014 changes, proposed by the previous commission of Verkhovna Rada, were not introduced to the Parliament as a bill despite the “positive assesment of the draft by the Venice Commission”.