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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
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

Update No: 315 - (29/03/07)

A weakened president
Ukraine has had an uncertain post-electoral situation which has dragged on for months since elections to parliament last year, in which there was no clear victor. President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko has greatly weakened his position at home by spurning an alliance with his natural partner, the leader of the Timoshenko Bloc, the redoubtable lady of the same name, Julia Timoshenko, his first premier after the Orange Revolution, and preferring his foe in that event as his premier, Viktor Yanukovich. This despite the latter's pro-Russian stance and prominence under the old corrupt regime.

He has had to accept a whittling down of his presidential powers by parliament to the advantage of both premier and parliament as a result. The latter will choose the former and the former the bulk of ministers in the government, subject to the approval of parliament. The Orange Revolution is ebbing.

He rather despises Yanukovich; but hates the guts of Timoshenko, who said that she was the only man in the leadership of the Orange Revolution and would be wearing the trousers. Not a very tactful or accurate comment after he had barely survived a murder attempt by the KGB.

Ukraine's parliament appointed ministers
The new constitutional dispensation was in force in choosing a new cabinet of ministers in mid-March. The parliament has dismissed Volodymyr Rybak from the post of vice-premier and minister of construction, architecture and housing and communal services. 252 deputies voted for the decision. 

At the same time the parliament appointed Rybak as a vice-Prime Minister of Ukraine by 246 votes.

Prime Minister Yanukovich submitted for consideration the candidature of Oleksandr Popov for the post of the minister of housing and communal services. Deputies approved the candidature by 248 votes.

Yanukovich also submitted for consideration of people's deputies a draft bill on appointment the Secretary of Regional Development Council, ex-minister Volodymyr Yatsuba for the position of the Minister of Regional Development and Building of Ukraine. 253 deputies voted for Yatsuba's candidature.

Yatsuba, 59 years old, worked as the State Secretary of the Cabinet of Ministers since May 30, 2001. Since December 1998 he was the first deputy of the Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers, the first deputy of the governmental secretary. Since August 1994 he headed the department on territory issues in the Administration of the President of Ukraine. Since March 1995 he was the first deputy head of the Administration of the President. In 2003-2004 he worked as the chairman of Dnipropetrovs'k Regional Administration. Now he is the aide of the Prime Minister of Ukraine, vice-premier of the National State Administration under the President of Ukraine

Yushchenko will not change foreign policy of Ukraine
But Yushchenko is sticking to one prerogative, the right to appoint the foreign minister and dictate foreign policy. He declares the invariability of the foreign policy of Ukraine. The President told his new choice of minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk, in the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine on his appointment in mid-March:- 

"I ask you daily and regularly confirm this - to make our neighbours and partners see those principles, which have been formed at the heart of our foreign policy. They are stable and strategic," the President said. 

The President decreed to dismiss Yatsenyuk from the post of the first deputy Secretariat Chief of Staff / President's representative in the Cabinet.

With his other decree the President assigned Yatsenyuk to the composition of the National Security and Defence Council. No foreign policy is worth its salt without the support of a defence policy. The president is fashioning this body, which he heads, as his new locum of power.

Yushchenko removed Kinakh from NSDC
To this end Yushchenko has removed the newly-appointed Economy Minister Anatoly Kinakh from the composition of the National Security and Defence Council. 

The corresponding decree was signed on March 21, 2007, the president's press office reported. A tycoon and intimate of the premier's, Kinakh was premier under President Kuchma, in fact his predecessor in that position.

The attempt by the president to claw back power is under way. But it will be an uphill struggle in the new conjuncture in Ukraine.

President considers Ukraine is not ready for missile shield placement
Yushchenko wants his country to join NATO in due course, but not to offend Russia in the process. This will be a difficult task. But he is showing a judicious statesmanship on one key issue.

Ukraine should not make any hasty decisions on the placement of a missile shield on its territory until a common global approach to this issue has been developed, President Viktor Yushchenko said on March 21st. Ukraine's parliament, the Supreme Rada, is planning to hear a situation report by the Defence Ministry and Foreign Ministry about the possible deployment of missile-defence systems on Ukrainian soil. 

"This is an issue that involves more than just one particular state," Yushchenko said in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti. "We are speaking about global processes that would affect any country regardless of its geographical location." 
"It is a multi-layered discussion and every layer must be discussed," the Ukrainian president said. "That is why I do not want Ukraine to rush into an agreement on missile shield deployment." 

He said the United States and Russia should be the main participants in the discussion because both countries are actively developing missile-defence systems and are planning to deploy them in Europe. 

Washington announced in January that it would build a radar installation in the Czech Republic and a missile interceptor base in Poland in the next five years to counter possible attacks from Iran or North Korea. 

Moscow has strongly opposed the U.S. plans, saying the missile shield threatened Russia's national security and pledged to take adequate measures to counter the U.S. move. 

Russian and U.S. experts have agreed to discuss Washington's missile defence plans in Central Europe on the sidelines of a NATO-Russia Council meeting in April. 

Yushchenko said the second stage of the discussion on the missile shield should involve the development of a common global approach to the issue because it directly affects collective security. 

"In the future, national security policies will be developed on the basis of a regional or global approach to collective security," Yushchenko said, adding that it is the most reasonable answer to all controversial security issues. 

It is also important to consider the positions taken by Poland and the Czech Republic, the two countries that were initially approached by the U.S. with missile shield placement proposals. 



Ukraine, Russia to modernise Ukrainian air defence systems

The Ukrainian state weapons export and import company Ukrspetsexport and Russia's state arms export agent Rosoboronexport intend to set up a joint venture to modernize Ukrainian air defence systems and extend their service lives, Ukrspetsexport Director General, Serhiy Bondarchuk, said in Kiev on February 6th, New Europe reproted.
All essential documents for setting up such a joint venture have been almost compiled and are undergoing the final clearance procedures, he said. Ukraine was the initiator of the project, considering the current technical condition of its air defence systems, which need modernisation, and the joint venture will be set up on the basis of the Ukrainian company Ukroboronservice, Bondarchuk said. Bondarchuk said his meeting with Rosoboronexport chief Sergei Chemezov at the end of 2006 resulted in concluding an agreement on revising and updating plans of cooperation between Ukrspetsexport and Rosoboronexport to advance partnership between them.



Universalna sells 10% stake in Universal Bank

Ukraine's Universalna Insurance Company has sold its 9.99 per cent stake in Universal Bank, both of which are based in Lviv, to Greece's Eurobank EFG for 25 million hryvnias (almost US$ five million), Universalna said in a press release, New Europe reported.
The company decided to sell the stake so that it could concentrate its resources on the development of insurance activities, above all on expanding its sales network, the release cites Universalna director general, Natalya Bezbakh, as saying. Eurobank completed a deal recently to acquire a 99.34 per cent stake in Universal Bank.
According to Universal Investment Group, which represents the interests of Universal Bank's private shareholders, the 99.34 per cent stake in the bank was worth almost US$50 million in July 2006. Universal Investment Group is a holding company that coordinates a number of business projects in Ukraine.



New round of talks to produce gas in Turkmenistan

Ukraine hopes to implement gas production projects in Turkmenistan, Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister, Yuriy Boiko, said, New Europe reported.
"We have many interests in Turkmenistan. The market for Ukrainian goods is large there. We hope to produce gas there, we begin as new round of talks and we will strengthen our positions there," BBC radio quoted the minister in an interview. Ukraine will receive Central Asian gas through RosUkrEnergo AG (Switzerland) until the "pattern suits us and complies with the interests of our state," the minister said. "We have the cheapest (imported) gas of all our neighbours and guaranteed deliveries. If someone presents a more advantageous delivery pattern, we will sign an agreement. As yet the situation suits us from the point of view of the price and guarantees for the deliveries," the minister said.



Ukraine to supply Uzbekistan with pipes, high technology

The governments of Uzbekistan and Ukraine signed an agreement on supply of pipes and high technology on February 19th, Uzbek Prime Minister, Shavkat Mirziyayev, said in Ukraine, New Europe reported.
Uzbek official said the sides should consider cooperation between countries critically and do their best to promote their development. He said the sides adopted serious decisions in 2003, but bilateral trade turnover increased twice only in 2006. He said increase of bilateral trade turnover is good sign, but the results could be better. He said eight enterprises with Ukrainian enterprises work in Uzbekistan and 26 companies with Uzbek investments operate in Ukraine. Uzbek Prime Minister said the level of cooperation between Uzbekistan and Ukraine cannot satisfy the sides. Mirziyayev said the countries should increase significantly bilateral trade turnover. He said Uzbekistan is ready to supply wide range of products to Ukraine and Uzbekistan is interested high technology and pipes from Ukraine.



Mittal Steel Kriviy Rih boosts sales 16% in 2006

Mittal Steel Kryviy Rih (formerly Kryvorizhstal), Ukraine's biggest steel mill, boosted sales 15.9 per cent in 2006 to 7.089 million tonnes of steel products. Sales on the Ukrainian market rose two per cent to 1.415 million tonnes, Volodomyr Shalymov, the company's sales manager, said at a conference on metals and the construction industry in Kiev, New Europe reported.
Domestic shipments fell in January and February last year due to the severe cold weather at the time, but the situation picked up in the second half of 2006 and sales hit a record 159,000 tonnes in October, Shalymov said. The company has devised a special system to increase domestic market sales, split Ukraine into six zones: Kiev/Vinnitsa, South, North, East, west and Dnipropetrovsk. Shalymov said the biggest wirebar consumers included Dniprometiz, Zavod Metiz, Metizy Trading House and Vistek. 



Ukraine to invest 250m hryvnias in uranium mining 

Investment in the development of Ukrainian uranium mining enterprises will total 250 million hryvnias this year, the head of state company Ukratomprom and president of the Energoatom National Atomic Energy Company, Andrei Derkach, said, New Europe reported.
Capital investment in the state-owned Eastern Mining & Beneficiation Works is targeted at 150 million hryvnias, and 100 million hryvnias will be invested in the Novokonstantinov uranium deposit, Derkach told reporters.
He said if Ukratomprom gets funding from the nuclear fuel cycle fund, annual investment in the development of Ukraine's nuclear industry will increase to one billion hryvnias.
The government on March 1st approved Ukratomprom's charter and appointed as its head the president of Energoatom, who will combine the two posts.





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