This is a curated list of the biggest economic news in Ukraine for the past week.
The past week in Ukrainian media has been centred around President Volodimir Zelensky’s trip to the US, where he met with Joe Biden in Washington DC. However, a much bigger news story is hidden away behind the international diplomatic efforts of the Zelensky government.
COVID-19 seems to be making a return to Ukraine. Not that it was ever gone, but the number of cases has been rising for the past weeks with a sharp increase this week. On August. On August 31, 1356 cases were registered. Today, September 3, 2693 new cases were registered.
This almost doubling in cases is a worrying tendency. There have been no warnings of new restrictions coming, but chances are that – if the contamination is not stopped – we will see a new outbreak in the mostly unvaccinated Ukrainian population with the following lockdown or quarantine restrictions this fall.
This is of course bad news for many businesses, but especially airports have been struggling with the lockdown. The Zhuliany Airport in Kyiv is expecting to rebound quite heavily this year, but the air might be taken out of the balloon by the recent developments.
What happened at that meeting?
In the US, Zelensky has been meeting with Joe Biden. The two presidents have a lot of stuff to discuss, including Nord Stream 2, the war in Eastern Ukraine, NATO membership and economic cooperation.
Biden has previously been reluctant to grant Ukraine NATO membership, and instead he said that he will do what he can to support Ukraine’s “democratic reforms agenda and movement toward being completely integrated in Europe.” The U.S. also said that it will provide Ukraine with more Covid-19 vaccines.
The U.S. and Ukraine will also start a dialogue on the issues of energy and climate. Ukraine is trying to transform its energy sector to meet the future demands for green energy and the U.S. could play a role in this. Zelensky had prior to the meeting said that he also wanted to discuss the issue of Nord Stream 2 with Biden, and, according to UBN, Biden said that it is important to prevent Russia from using its gas as a weapon against Ukraine.
More highlights from the meeting can be found here.
Back to the courts
As a reoccurring nightmare, Scania has been forced to the court rooms again. This time they have been sued by another former dealership, that wants lost profits paid back after Scania terminated a contract with them.
Scania has decied to appeal a court decision requiring them to pay Proscan, a former Scania dealer, 164 million UAH because of lost profits, Scania writes in a press statement. The case is in many ways similar to a previous case, where Scania Ukraine won the case against Zhuravlyna – another former Scania dealer – that sued Scania for lost profits.
According to Scania, they have been dealing through Proscan for a long time, but as an outstanding loan made it “impossible for Proscan to fulfill its obligations under the dealer agreement,” as Scania puts it, they decided to terminate the arrangement. Therefore, Proscan has filed a claim for reimbursement of allegedly lost profits.
Ukraine drops privatization in the sphere of energy transits
The Cabinet of Ministers and the State Property Fund of Ukraine will not be privatizing the regional energy distribution companies after all. This was decided by presidential decree on August 28, Interfax-Ukraine reported.
“To complete the implementation of measures to separate the activities of operators of electricity distribution systems, which shares are state-owned, and universal service providers, and to transfer state-owned universal service providers to the management of the state-owned enterprise National Nuclear Energy Generating Company Energoatom,” it is said in the document.
Many of the shares in several companies has been prepared for privatization, but that will not be happening after all. More about that here.
Nord Stream 2 is struggling with the EU
Gazprom might be forced the sell off the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, if it is to comply with the European Unions regulations.
“Nord Stream 2 had already tentatively submitted a request to the Federal Network Agency in June for “Certification as an independent transport operator. It is intended to comply with the separation order by promptly separating the operation of the pipeline from the parent company in terms of accounting as well.” Interfax-Ukraine quoted Frankfurte Allgemeine:
“The Network Agency has four months to check this as soon as all the necessary documents have been filed – so far this has not happened. In general, the Bonn agency is apparently willing to allow such a construction. From the point of view of participants in the Commission [European Commission), which deals with this topic, the prescriptions of the EU in this case will not be fulfilled anyway.”
Earlier this week, Ukraine Nu wrote that Gazprom would only be able to use half the capacity of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline because of a German court ruling against the Nord Stream 2 project on a matter of monopoly regulations.
Ukraine paid off debt
On September 1, the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine paid out a third series of Eurobnds isued in 2015. The total payment amounted to more than 1.3 billion USD, Ukrainian Business News reports.