A political spring for Ukraine?

There’s hardly a dull moment in Ukrainian politics, whether domestic or international. And, so far, this month has been no exception. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy seems to have been politically reinvigorated, some are even saying “re-born,” and for the moment his opponents seem at a loss over how to respond.

Mikheil Saakashvili’s activity strains Georgian-Ukrainian relations

On March 5, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy removed the head of the Executive Committee on Reforms, Mikheil Saakashvili, from his position on the Coordination Council for Urban Planning. The Presidential Office provided no explanation for this sudden decision (Sova, March 5). Mr. Zelenskyy had appointed Mr. Saakashvili – the former president of Georgia and one-time governor of Ukraine’s Odessa Oblast – as head of the Ukrainian Executive Committee on Reforms back in May 2020 (RBC, May 7, 2020).

Ratings, Russia, reforms: what is driving Zelenskyy’s moves against Medvedchuk?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy got heads turning last month when his administration imposed what it described as sanctions against individuals and entities with strong ties to Russia, including three television stations and an influential tycoon who is close to President Vladimir Putin, in a surprise show of force.

Ukraine, EU locked in clash of cultures and values

The Ukrainian government concluded a series of agreements and held important discussions with European Union officials during Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal’s February 9-11 visit to Brussels, where he co-chaired the seventh meeting of the Ukraine-EU Association Council (UNIAN, February 13).

More contentious issues surface between Kyiv and Moscow in the Minsk Contact Group

The latest session of the Minsk Contact Group (see EDM, February 18) lifted a curtain’s corner on several disputed issues that had not been publicly aired thus far. The Ukrainian delegation had raised these issues in a position paper within the Minsk Group in November 2020 (see below) but refrained from unveiling them outside this forum until now.

Reforming territorial defense in Ukraine: danger in delay

Late last year, on December 16, the Ukrainian parliament took up a new draft bill (No. 4504) on territorial defense (Rada.gov.ua, December 16, 2020). The proposed legislation, written by a group of lawmakers headed by Andrii Sharaskin, is based on recommendations from domestic experts as well as foreign advisors on how to reform Ukraine’s outdated system of territorial defense (TD).

The political struggle in Kyiv heats up

The battles at the heart of Ukraine’s political and interconnected economic systems are intensifying. The stakes are being raised and clearly the knives are out.

In this situation where, as is usual in the Ukrainian context, so much happens behind the scenes and transparency is not a given, it is important to try and make sense of what is seen and what can be gauged.