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UKRAINE


 

 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 49,537 41,380 37,600 55
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 970 770 720 137
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Ukraine

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
603,700 

Population 
47,732,079

Principal 
ethnic groups 
Ukrainians 72.7%
Russians 22.1%
Jews 0.9%. 

Capital 
Kiev

Currency 
Hryvnya

President 
Viktor Yushchenko




Update No: 309 - (26/09/06)

Our Ukraine bloc issues ultimatum to Party of Regions
The political crisis in Ukraine is not yet over, although a working government has been in place since June. The pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc said on September 14th that it had given the Party of Regions 10 days to decide on forming a new coalition in parliament. 
A parliamentary anti-crisis coalition, formed in June and comprising the Party of Regions, the Socialist Party and the Communist Party, had for the previous two weeks been engaged in intensive consultations with Our Ukraine on the possibility of expanding the grand coalition. 
In August, the parties signed a national unity agreement on key policy areas. But outstanding differences on some of its provisions prevented them from forming a common political platform in the Supreme Rada. 
"Ten days is the maximum time within which members of the anti-crisis coalition can make up their minds," said Anatoliy Matviyenko, a member of the Our Ukraine parliamentary faction. The pro-presidential bloc warned that otherwise it would move to the opposition. 
"If this is not done, it will mean intentional retreat from the national unity agreement, and then we will have to switch to the opposition," Matviyenko said. 
He said the six political forces comprising the bloc "are ready to search for a compromise, but we cannot violate fundamental positions on the pro-European choice, European integration, the EU, and the language policy." 
President Viktor Yushchenko himself has called for a nationwide discussion aimed at historical reconciliation and mutual understanding between the eastern and the western parts of the country. The split in Ukrainian society became particularly evident during the past 20 months of political turmoil, when candidates backed by the east and west of the country vied for power. The country emerged from the political wrangling with a pro-Western president, Yushchenko, and a new prime minister, Viktor Yanukovych, head of The Party of the Regions, backed by eastern Ukrainians. 

NATO issue to be resolved by referendum - Ukraine's PM
The issue of Ukraine's accession to NATO will be resolved by a referendum, which will be held when the time is right, Ukraine's new prime minister said on September 14th. 
Western-leaning President Yushchenko has made NATO membership a priority since coming to power in 2004, but has met with strong opposition on the issue from pro-Russian political forces in the country, of whom the premier is foremost. 
"We separated NATO membership from the issue of normal mutually beneficial cooperation with the alliance, which is a key guideline for the government's work in relations with the alliance," Viktor Yanukovych said after a session of the Ukraine-NATO commission in Brussels in mid-September. "The issue of Ukraine's joining NATO will be resolved by a nationwide referendum, and time will tell when the need to hold it arises." 
He said it was premature to hold the referendum, as a number of social and economic reforms need to be implemented first to improve the living standards of the population. Yanukovych said Ukraine's accession to NATO needed the support of people at large, and not the current 12-25% of the population. 
Ukraine's line toward NATO has particularly displeased Russia, which is anxious about the approach of NATO bases closer to its borders. 
In this respect, Yanukovych said it was in Ukraine's interests to maintain strategic relations with Russia. "This completely suits Ukraine's strategic interests," he said. 

Yushchenko urges end to language debate, backs church
Addressing the nation on its Independence Day, Thursday, 24th, August, the Ukrainian president called for the promotion of the Ukrainian language among politicians and the establishment of a united, independent Orthodox church. In a speech from a central square in Kiev, Yushchenko said all the country's politicians should be able to speak Ukrainian. 
Twenty-four percent of the population in Ukraine, which is marking the 15th anniversary of its secession from the Soviet Union, speak Russian, particularly those living in the east of the country, near the Russian border. 
"The principle of this country is simple - a Ukrainian citizen is free to choose," Yushchenko said. "But a Ukrainian politician or a public servant must know, use and live by the national language." 
Yushchenko also called for an end to religious debates. Ukraine's two leading religions are Catholicism dominating in the west and Orthodoxy in the east. The president also said he advocated independence and international recognition for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. 
Following Ukraine's independence in November 1991, Metropolitan Filaret, then head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, convened a national church council and declared the canonical independence of the Ukrainian church from Russia. The council later asked Alexy II, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, to approve the decision, but it was rejected in April 1992, and the Russian church went so far as to anathematise Filaret. 
The Kiev Patriarchy has not been recognized by any of the world's Orthodox churches. 

Commemoration of the famine of Stalin's day
The Ukrainian leader further said he expected parliament, the Supreme Rada, to adopt a bill declaring the famine of 1932-33, or "holodomor," an act of genocide against the Ukrainian nation. The famine, which claimed millions of lives, is said to have been deliberately orchestrated by the Soviet authorities under Joseph Stalin to destroy Ukrainian society and culture in order to subdue the nation. 
Yushchenko instructed the government to set up a memorial to the victims of the famine by the 75th anniversary of the tragic events. The fourth Saturday of November is the day of commemoration of the famine victims in Ukraine. 

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BANKING

NBU allows Credit Agricole to buy Index Bank


The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has allowed France's Credit Agricole to acquire an almost 100 per cent stake in Kiev's Index Bank and has registered a subsidiary bank of Turkey's Finansbak in Ukraine, Interfax News Agency reported.
Credit Agricole signed an agreement on the purchase of a 98 per cent stake in Index Bank in March 2006. Based on the agreement, Credit Agricole will pay US$260m for its new stake in the Ukrainian bank. As of early July 2006, no Index Bank shareholders held a stake in the bank of more than 10 per cent.

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CREDIT RATINGS

Fitch RatingsProredit Ukraine AAA(ukr)

Fitch Ratings has assigned ProCredit Bank Ukraine (ProCredit Ukraine) a National Long-term AAA(ukr) rating with a Stable Outlook. ProCredit Ukraine's other ratings are affirmed at foreign currency Issuer Default BB- (BBminus) and Short-term B, local currency Issuer Default BB and Short-term B, Individual D and Support 3. The Outlooks on the IDRs are Stable. At the same time, Fitch has assigned ProCredit Ukraine's upcoming four-year 175 million hyrvnias bond issue, with a two-year put option, an expected National Long-term AAA(ukr) rating, New Europe reported.

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ENERGY

Coal output to increase 2.5% in 2007

Ukraine plans to increase coal production 2.5 per cent in 2007 to 82 million tonnes, Serhy Tulub, the coal minister, said at a meeting of coal ministry officials, New Europe reported.
"We need to achieve the 2004 level of at least 82m tonnes," Tulub said. The ministry also needs to work on a programme to raise coal production to 100m tonnes in 2011, he said. Tulub said particular attention must be paid to 35 mines built 30 years ago with reserves of 3.5bn tonnes. He said those mines were capable of producing 65m tonnes a year but were only producing 32-34m tonnes.

Shell signs Ukraine gas deal

Royal Dutch Shell has inked a small but strategically important gas purchase agreement in Ukraine with Poltava Petroleum Company, a subsidiary of UK-based JKX Oil & Gas, The Financial Times reported recently.
The agreement marks the continued expansion of Shell into Ukraine, which has been dominated by Russian and Ukrainian companies.
JKX said in a statement that the agreement would give the Shell subsidiary a minimum of 250m cubic metres of gas over a 12-month period commencing in September.
It also allows Shell to acquire more gas from Poltava Petroleum, which produced more than 356m cubic metres of gas in the previous year.
Shell said the agreement marked the energy giant's entry into the gas trading market of Ukraine, a large consumer of gas and transit route for hydrocarbons from Russia and central Asia to Europe.
Shell said it would sell the gas to industrial and commercial consumers, adding that the company did not yet have export rights allowing for westward sales to Europe, where prices are higher.
Poltava Petroleum is the principal production unit for JKX, which is traded on the London Stock Exchange.
Poltava Petroleum is a lucrative operation that produces only a fraction of the gas needs of Ukraine, a country that consumes in the order of 75bn cu m annually.
Ukraine produces 20bn cu m of gas every year, importing the rest from gas-rich Russia and Turkmenistan.
It has opened its doors to western energy firms, seeking help in reducing its energy dependence on Russia.

Naftogaz Ukrainy has no debts toward UkrGaz-Energo

Naftogaz Ukrainy national joint-stock company's subsidiaries have fully paid ZAO UkrGaz-Energo (Kiev) for gas supplies, Naftogaz Ukrainy's press service said recently, New Europe reported.
"In July Naftogaz Ukrainy fully paid back its 360 million hryvnias debt to ZAO UkrGaz-Energo, which arose from partial payment of April-May natural gas supplies," the press service said in a release. In April-May, UkrGaz-Energo supplied to Naftogaz Ukrainy over 3.1 billion cubic metres of gas. In June-July, Naftogaz purchased no gas from the company.
Naftogaz Ukrainy comprises the country's major oil and gas production companies. It is a monopoly in import, export, transit and storage of natural gas in underground reservoirs and for the transit of oil in Ukraine.
UkrGaz-Energo was created in February 2006 in accordance with a January 4th 2006 agreement, regulating relations between Naftogaz Ukrainy, Russia's Gazprom and Swiss RosUkrEnergo AG. Naftogaz Ukrainy and RosUkrEnergo each have a 50 per cent stake in UkrGaz-Energo.

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MINERALS & METALS

EU raises Ukrainian steel quota 6%

The European Union on August 10th sanctioned a six per cent increase in Ukraine's quota to export steel this year, Interfax News Agency reported.
The increase represents 60,480 tonnes of steel carried over from 2005. The quota is being increased in line with a 2005 agreement on steel trade between Ukraine and the EU, which states that unused quotas of up to 15 per cent can be carried over from one year to the next. This is the first time that this option has been used. Ukraine and the EU signed an agreement on July 29th last year by which the EU will allow Ukraine to ship up just over one million tonnes in 2006.
The quota does not apply to EU imports of Ukrainian flat and long products intended for the ship building industry or the construction and renovation of drilling rigs of platforms.

NGZ ups putput 4.5% ZALK downs output 4.4%

Ukriane's Nikolyev (Mikolayiv) alumina plant (NGZ), the FSU's biggest alumina producer, raised output 4.5 per cent year-on-year in January-July to 820,000 tonnes of alumina, including 123,375 tonnes in July, the company said, Interfax News Agency reported.
NGZ said the production growth was achieved by augmenting the plant's capacity to 1.4m tonnes from 1.1m tonnes per year. Production rose 4.8% to 1.365m tonnes in 2005. NGZ aims to increase output 2.5% to 1.4m tonnes in 2006 as a whole. Zaporizhiya Aluminium (ZALK), Ukraine's only aluminium smelter, reduced output of the metal 4.4% year-on-year in January-July to 54,059 tonnes, the company said. July output was 7,760 tonnes. ZALK raised alumina production 0.6% to 150,280 tonnes in the seven months and produced 22,282 tonnes in July.

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