Sunday, October 26, 2008

IMF, Ukraine Reach Agreement on $16.5 Billion Loan

The International Monetary Fund reached agreement with Ukraine on a $16.5 billion loan to help support the nation's financial system as turmoil in global credit markets and recession concerns roil the eastern European country.

The 24-month stand-buy loan will be conditional on parliamentary approval of legislation to support the country's bank, the Washington-based lender said in an e-mailed statement today without elaborating. Ukraine will also need to balance the budget and address the current-account deficit, the Kiev-based Ukrainian central bank said in a separate statement.

The loan may ensure financial stability and rebuild confidence among investors, who've shunned riskier emerging- market assets in a flight to safety. Ukraine is the least creditworthy of Europe's transition economies measured by the cost of credit-default swaps, which protect bondholders against default.

``This program is focused on the essential upfront measures needed to maintain confidence and economic and financial stability,'' IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said in the statement. ``The strength of the program justifies the high level of access, equivalent to 800 percent of Ukraine's quota in the Fund.''

Fitch Ratings on Oct. 17 cut Ukraine's credit rating to B+, four steps below investment grade, citing the currency's weakness, instability in the banking system and risks to economic growth.

International credit rating companies say the threat to Ukrainian banks has intensified because of the seizing-up of global credit markets, the high inflation rate, a widening current-account deficit and political instability.

The central bank pledged to support the banks and has injected more than 16.25 billion hryvnia ($3.13 billion) into the banking system this month, almost three times the figure it loaned in September. It also took control of Prominvestbank in recent weeks and promised an injection of 5 billion hryvnia to help the lender ``renew its financial stability'' after a run by depositors.

Source: Bloomberg

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Parliament recognises Ukrainian famine of 1930s as crime against humanity

According to the resolution, the Holodomor famine of 1932-1933, which caused the deaths of millions of Ukrainians, "was cynically and cruelly planned by Stalin's regime in order to force through the Soviet Union's policy of collectivisation of agriculture against the will of the rural population in Ukraine".

MEPs believe that "recalling crimes against humanity in European history should help to prevent similar crimes in the future" and they stress that "European integration has been based on a readiness to come to terms with the 20th century's tragic history and that this reconciliation with a difficult history does not denote any sense of collective guilt, but forms a stable basis for the construction of a common European future founded on common values".

The resolution therefore makes a "declaration to the people of Ukraine and in particular to the remaining survivors of the Holodomor and the families and relatives of the victims".

It "recognises the Holodomor (the artificial famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine) as an appalling crime against the Ukrainian people, and against humanity".

The text then "strongly condemns these acts, directed against the Ukrainian peasantry, and marked by mass annihilation and violations of human rights and freedoms".

It also "expresses its sympathy with the Ukrainian people, which suffered this tragedy, and pays its respects to those who died as a consequence of the artificial famine of 1932-1933".

Lastly, the resolution "calls on the countries which emerged following the break-up of the Soviet Union to open up their archives on the Holodomor in Ukraine of 1932-1933 to comprehensive scrutiny so that all the causes and consequences can be revealed and fully investigated".

Source: European Parliament

Kremlin hyping Georgia arms sales

The war of words over Ukraine’s role as one of the world’s top 10 arms exporters and in supplying weapons to Georgia is heating up.

The Ukrainian arms industry is in the firing line.

The war of words over Ukraine’s role as one of the world’s top 10 arms exporters and in supplying weapons to Georgia is heating up – at least with the Kremlin and Moscow-friendly Ukrainian lawmakers.

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Source: Kyiv Post

Friday, October 17, 2008

Putin tracks pet dog from space


Russia's satellite navigation system isn't fully operational yet, but it seems to work on Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's dog.

Putin listened Friday as his deputy, Sergei Ivanov, briefed him on the progress of the Global Navigation Satellite System.

Then footage broadcast on Russian TV showed them try a collar containing satellite-guided positioning equipment on the prime minister's black Labrador Koni.

Ivanov said that the equipment goes on a standby mode when "the dog doesn't move, if it, say, lies down in a puddle.

Now if they only could fit this type of device on Putin and his cronies, would it not be so wonderful?

Source: CNN

Monday, October 06, 2008

Putin's misstep

While we have many issues that require Russian co-operation, implementing these measures would go a long way toward firing a shot across Mr. Putin's bow and level the playing field.

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Source: The Washington Post

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Ukrainian president gives time until Oct 7 to form coalition

KYIV, October 4 (Itar-Tass) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko will have consultations on Tuesday on whether to dismiss the parliament. The presidential press service cited him as saying this to reporters in the Khmelnitsky region.

The president said that he already had the right to dismiss the Supreme Rada. He said he realised that he had the full right to do it, but noted that he gave time until October 7 for political forces to legally formalise agreements to form a new coalition.

Yushchenko suggested that the existing inter-party agreements should be completed in a few days. Consultations planned for October 7 are a formal moment after which he will legally have the right to disband the parliament, he noted.

Ukrainians deny giving wartime help to Georgia

Ukrainian officials on Friday denied Russian accusations that Ukraine provided weapons to Georgia during the August war with Russia and that its military personnel operated some of the weapons during the conflict.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made the charge Thursday, calling it "a crime" that this former Soviet republic helped Georgia during the fighting. The Russian military had said previously that anti-aircraft missiles supplied by Ukraine shot down four Russian warplanes.

The governments of both Ukraine and Georgia, which also is a former Soviet state, have angered the Kremlin by moving closer to the West and seeking membership in NATO.

Ukraine is a top supplier of weapons to Georgia. But the head of its state arms export company, Ukrspetsexport, said no arms were sold during the war, the Interfax news agency reported.

"Not a single bullet" was supplied to Georgia during the conflict, the report quoted the official, Sergei Bondarchuk, as saying.

Ukrspetsexport declined to comment on Interfax's report.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov, meanwhile, denied that Ukraine's military personnel fought on the side of Georgia.

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Source: Associated Press