NEWSBRIEFS

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.

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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.

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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.

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Head of Naftogaz replaced

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.”