NEWSBRIEFS

First woman conductor at Bayreuth
Ukrainian-born maestra Oksana Lyniv became the first woman to conduct a production in the 145-year history of Germany’s renowned Bayreuth opera festival. Ms. Lyniv opened the festival on July 25 with the premiere of The Flying Dutchman, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband in the audience.

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Relationship of ‘paramount importance’
The current U.S. administration is eager to deepen and strengthen ties with Ukraine, as the two countries’ military relationship is of “paramount importance” for Kyiv’s goal of establishing a closer relationship with NATO, a senior State Department official has told RFE/RL.

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Attempt to block Tupytskiy rejected
Ukraine’s Supreme Court has overturned President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s decree annulling the appointment of Oleksandr Tupytskiy to the Constitutional Court. Mr. Tupytskiy’s lawyer, Oleksandr Leshchenko, informed Ukrayinska Pravda of the Supreme Court’s decision on July 14.

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Shevchenko coy on future
Ukraine national soccer team coach Andriy Shevchenko says it’s too early to say whether he will stay in his job after his team’s quarterfinal loss to England at the European Championship. Shevchenko said the team would return to Kyiv and assess its achievement of reaching the quarterfinals at the quadrennial tournament for the first time.

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Contingency aid ready if Russia attacks
The United States has prepared contingency military aid in the event of further Russian military incursions into Ukraine, the White House has said. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement on June 18 that recent U.S. media reports that the United States held back security assistance to Ukraine were “nonsense.”

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Zelenskyy wants clarity on NATO path
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on June 15 he wants a clear yes or no from U.S. President Joe Biden on giving Ukraine a plan to join the NATO military alliance. In a joint interview with Reuters, the Associated Press and Agence France-Press, Mr. Zelenskyy said he received assurances that Mr. Biden would not use Ukraine as a bargaining tool in his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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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.

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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.

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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 …

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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.