Ukraine: Daily Briefing – November 15, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
November 15, 2018, 5 PM Kyiv time
Members of 36th Naval Infantry Battalion conduct anti-tank Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG-7) launcher training at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center in Lviv, Ukraine during Operation UNIFIER.
Photo- Joint Task Force-Ukraine

1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire on Ukrainian positions on the Luhansk and Donetsk sectors of the front 16 times in total, including at least 5 times with heavy weapons. Returning fire, Ukrainian forces killed 3 and wounded 3 enemy combatants in the last 24 hours.
2. Petrol bombs thrown at Kyiv’s St. Andrew’s Church
Reuters reported, “Unknown assailants threw petrol bombs at a historic 18th century Orthodox church in the Ukrainian capital and attacked a priest early on Thursday morning, a church spokesman said, blaming Moscow for the incident. […] The petrol bombs did not explode and no damage was done to St. Andrew’s church, a baroque late 18th century church which sits on a steep slope on one of Kyiv’s best-known tourist spots.
           The church spokesman, Archbishop Yevstraty, said the attackers, whom police said numbered four, used a spray against a priest. The Kyiv authorities handed over the use of St. Andrew’s to the Ecumenical Patriarch, the global spiritual leader of Orthodox Christianity. […] ‘We see that Moscow’s henchmen are dropping ‘clear hints’ to intimidate representatives of Ecumenical Patriarch,’ Yevstraty said.
           Ukraine in October secured approval to set up an independent church from the Ecumenical Patriarch, a move fiercely opposed by the Russian orthodox church and the Kremlin.”
3. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister on working visit to US
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin is on a working visit to the US November 14-16. Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported, “the main purpose of the visit is to hold the inaugural meeting of the US-Ukraine Strategic Partnership Commission on November 16. The meeting will be co-chaired by the heads of the foreign policy departments of Ukraine and the US.” Klimkin is also scheduled to hold talks in Washington with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US.
4. Naftogaz postpones Eurobond posting
Ukraine Business News reported, “Naftogaz postponed Wednesday’s placement of $500 million in Eurobonds. Although $700 million in bids were made for the 5-year bonds, they came in higher than the 10.9% target interest rate. Wednesday’s 7% drop in oil prices hurt energy assets across the board. Last week, in advance of the energy company’s Monday-Tuesday road show, Fitch Ratings gave the bonds a B- rating. On Tuesday, Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolev told a conference in Kyiv that he wants to replace the state energy company’s $2 billion debt portfolio with lower interest rate Eurobonds.”
5. EBRD helps acquire new rolling stock for Ukraine Railways
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) reported, “An investment programme by rail transport company Ukraine Railways (UZ) is to receive a major boost in the form of a US$ 150 million senior loan from the EBRD. The loan will be used to acquire up to 6,500 general purpose open freight gondola-type wagons through an open international tender.
           The investment programme will help to maintain the UZ’s capacity, significantly improve its efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by its operations. Carbon dioxide emissions are expected to fall by up to 80,000 tonnes a year thanks to the new rolling stock.
          The financing will be combined with corporate governance reforms at UZ and its subsidiaries. The development and implementation of a Corporate Governance Action Plan and an Anti-Corruption Action Plan will introduce measures such as the appointment of independent directors, business planning, the establishment of an audit committee, an internal audit function and anti-corruption measures, making it a benchmark for other state-owned enterprises in Ukraine.
          The EBRD will also assist UZ in certifying and improving its procurement processes and implementing an energy management information system, which will lead to better overall efficiency of UZ. This will be funded by the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund.
          Upgrading and modernising Ukraine’s freight railway fleet is a major contributor to strengthening the country’s regional and international integration. UZ possesses a total track length of over 23,000 km, making it the 14th largest in the world. It is the world’s 6th largest rail passenger transporter and the world’s 7th largest freight transporter. The EBRD has supported the transformation of the state-owned enterprise into a commercially-run corporate.”

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