KYIV – Ukraine can expect to see its economy grow only modestly over the previous year by 2.9 percent, or to $113 billion, if declared, albeit muted, reforms continue, say three Kyiv-based policy centers and an economist in Washington.
Despite Russia’s unprovoked war that Kyiv has managed to contain, the country’s biggest internal national security threat remains corruption from within, they say. It includes existing quasi-monopolies that the oligarch-economic machine has managed to preserve, and a disjointed judicial system that enables the takeover of businesses and land from their rightful owners, domestic or foreign.
KYIV – Ukraine’s foreign affairs minister has called the killing of an activist attorney in Kyiv “a challenge to the state” as the authorities, facing public outrage, opened a murder investigation into the death of Iryna Nozdrovska.
KYIV – Anne Applebaum, journalist, historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, received an honorary doctorate at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (known by the acronym NaUKMA) during a ceremony on December 16, 2017, in a packed university auditorium filled by over 750 students. Many of the students asked excellent questions after Ms. Applebaum’s lecture based on her book, “Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine” about the genocidal Holodomor of 1932-1933. Ms. Applebaum’s visit to Ukraine included a NaUKMA fund-raising event at the Kyiv Art Arsenal, a press conference, a book presentation, and meetings with media and civil society reformers, as well as members of the executive and legislative branches of the Ukrainian government. The author also had an extensive private meeting with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko.
LVIV – U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch visited the Dzherelo Children’s Rehabilitation Center in Lviv on November 23, 2017. She met with the children and young people of the center during a tour of the facility. Dzherelo has been serving children with disabilities in the Lviv Region since 1993. It serves 170 children daily and is the only center of its kind in Ukraine. According to Peace Corps Volunteer Christie Taylor, the ambassador “seemed to be impressed by our participants and staff.
TORONTO – The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) is calling upon all high-ranking officials of governments and international organizations to boycott the games of the 21st World Cup of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) scheduled to be played in the Russian Federation from June 14 to July 15, 2018.
FRESNO, Calif. – Quoting the Book of Matthew, the Rev. Gregory Zubacz of the Ukrainian Catholic Mission Church in Fresno, Calif., read the following beatitude: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.”
First in Ukrainian, then in English, the Rev. Zubacz stated, “Our hunger and thirst for the truth is why we have come together today, to demonstrate that the truth can never remain hidden, and to tell our story to the world. And by gathering here and doing so, we are plowing a field of justice in the world so that the seeds of true peace may grow for future generations to be nourished with. Where once was sown a bitter harvest may we now sow the seeds of hope so that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness may be satisfied.”
With his homily on the importance of truth the Rev. Zubacz set the tone for the first symposium on the Holodomor to be held in California. Ukrainians as a community share a common fate – the historical trauma of the Holodomor – the genocidal Famine of 1932-1933.
TREVOSE, Pa. – The Rev. Dr. John Kovalchuk, a retired leader of Ukrainian Baptists in the United States, died on December 19, 2017, at the age of 78. He was born in Argentina on June 23, 1939, and completed studies at the Ukrainian Bible Institute in South America. He immigrated to Canada with his family in 1974 and served for three years as assistant pastor of the Ukrainian Baptist Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Then he was called to become pastor of the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church in Crum Lynne, Pa.
KYIV – Investigative journalist Natalie Sedletska of the TV program “Schemes” was presented the Light of Justice award on December 2, 2017, at the 10th gala dinner of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU). The award was established by the late Dr. Anastasia Shkilnyk, a Ukrainian Canadian philanthropist, author and academic who named it after her father, a renowned lawyer and community and political activist during the liberation movement of Ukraine in 1917-1920, Dr. Mykhailo Shkilnyk. The award is intended to recognize Ukrainians who distinguish themselves for moral, spiritual and ethical leadership. Previous recipients of the award include former Ukrainian dissident Yevhen Sverstiuk; Mustafa Dzhemilev, former chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people; and community activist Larissa Zalyvna. Bishop Borys Gudziak, President of UCU, said as he presented the award: “Anastasia Shkilnyk was a very noble woman.
In our last issue of 2017, we reported on the front page that the U.S. State Department had approved an export license for Ukraine to buy certain types of light weapons and small arms from U.S. manufacturers. That decision, announced to the public on December 20 (and to Congress a week earlier) came several months after the State Department and the Pentagon had proposed to the White House that the U.S. help Ukraine defend itself by providing lethal weapons. Two days later came updated news that the administration of President Donald Trump had approved a plan to provide lethal defensive weapons, including the Javelin anti-tank missiles that Ukraine had long sought. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on December 22 that the U.S. had decided to provide “enhanced defensive capabilities” to help Ukraine build its military long-term and deter further aggression. “U.S. assistance is entirely defensive in nature, and as we have always said, Ukraine is a sovereign country and has a right to defend itself,” she underscored.
Two years ago, on January 11, 2015, more than 40 global leaders, along with more than a million people in Paris (more than 3 million people across France), took part in the March of Unity. President Petro Poroshenko represented Ukraine in an act of solidarity to pay tribute to the murdered journalists of Charlie Hebdo in Paris and four people who were killed at Hyper Cacher, a Jewish supermarket, on January 7. The violence was the result of Charlie Hebdo publishing a cartoon image of the prophet Mohammed. Also attending the march were Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, President Francois Hollande of France, Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan, EU President Donald Tusk of Poland, Prime Minister Victor Orban of Hungary, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov, officials of the European Parliament and the European Commission. U.S. Ambassador to France Jane D. Hartley represented the United States during the march.