EU court annuls decision on Yanukovych The General Court of the European Union has annulled the bloc’s 2019 decision to extend asset freezes imposed on former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his son Oleksandr over the alleged embezzlement of Ukrainian state funds and assets. The Luxembourg-based court ruled on June 9 that the European Council “failed to demonstrate that the rights of the defense and the right to effective judicial protection were respected in the criminal proceedings” by the Ukrainian authorities.
Lawmakers urged to adopt ‘anti-oligarch’ law Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged parliament on June 2 to adopt a proposed law he said would curb the influence of ‘oligarchs,’ or politically powerful business figures who have dominated the country for decades. The text has not been released, but the authorities say the bill will include a definition of oligarchs that applies to a small number of wealthy businessmen, and restrict their ability to shape policy.
Ukraine disappointed over NATO progress Ukraine has decried the lack of progress in NATO’s “open-door” policy to Ukrainian membership and said it could not comprehend why it wasn’t invited to the bloc’s summit next month. NATO meets on June 14 in Brussels in a push to improve transatlantic ties under U.S. President Joe Biden amid growing tensions with Russia. “We understand the desire of the allies to hold a closed summit …
Kyiv would ‘gladly’ swap Medvedchuk A top Ukrainian official did not exclude the possibility of a prisoner swap with Russia if a Kyiv court convicts a Kremlin-leaning politician of treason. Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, said in a TV interview that Kyiv would “gladly” hand over lawmaker Viktor Medvedchuk to Moscow in exchange for Ukrainians held in Russian prisons if the opportunity arises.
World Bank approves $90 million loan The World Bank has approved a $90 million project to help Ukraine’s health sector respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The international financial institution announced the loan on May 11, saying the project will help Ukraine buy COVID-19 vaccines and improve infrastructure for vaccine storage and logistics.
G-7 seeks to counter ‘irresponsible’ behavior The G-7 has wrapped up its first in-person meeting in more than two years with a pledge to bolster collective efforts to counter Russia’s “irresponsible and destabilizing” behavior, but offered little concrete action aside from expressing support for Ukraine.
Ukraine’s government has replaced the head of Naftogaz, the country’s largest oil and gas company, after it posted a loss of nearly $700 million last year. The government’s press service said on April 28 that Andriy Kobolyev was dismissed from the post and acting Energy Minister Yuriy Vitrenko will take over the state-owned giant due to “unsatisfactory” results of the company’s operations in 2020. Deputy Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko will replace Mr. Vitrenko, the press service said. Earlier in the day, a lawmaker representing the ruling Servant of the People party, Olha Vasylevska-Smahlyuk, wrote on Telegram that the government fired Mr. Kobolyev “at last.”
The Czech national unit to combat organized crime has detained at least five Czechs suspected of planning to travel to eastern Ukraine to fight alongside Russia-backed separatists against a backdrop of rising tensions between Prague and Moscow. Investigators from the state prosecutor’s office suspect the five of preparing to join a militant group that calls itself the Donetsk People’s Republic, which opposes Kyiv and controls part of eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, Czech state prosecutor Martin Bily said on April 21. Earlier reports suggested that around 20 people had been detained in the overnight operation by the NCOZ, a police unit to counter terrorism and extremism.
Kyiv extends COVID lockdown The Ukrainian capital Kyiv will remain on lockdown until April 30 as the daily number of new coronavirus cases and coronavirus-related deaths continues to climb. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko announced the decision in a televised briefing on April 14, saying there was “no other choice, otherwise the medical system would not be able to cope with a further rise in the number of patients, otherwise there will be even more deaths.”
Ten charged over downing of airliner Iran says it has charged 10 officials over the crash of a Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) jet that was shot down last year, killing all 176 people on board. Gholam Abbas Torki, the former military prosecutor for Tehran Province, said on April 6 that the 10 have been “brought to responsibility” and will face trial to determine “the necessary conclusions” over the incident in January 2020, the semiofficial ISNA news agency reported.