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Weekend news round-up

January 24, 2022 8:34 amby TheKyivIndependent
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Former Ukrainian MP and leader of the pro-Russian Nashi party Yevhen Maruyev is reportedly a candidate to lead a Russian-installed government in Ukraine. He denies it. (nashi.ua)

Editor’s Note: The following is the latest edition of the Kyiv Independent’s newsletter, Ukraine Daily. If you would like to receive news about Ukraine in your mailbox six days a week subscribe here. It’s free.

Russia’s war against Ukraine

UK government accuses Kremlin of seeking to install pro-Russian leadership in Ukraine in a statement on Jan. 22. Former Ukrainian pro-Russian lawmaker Yevhen Murayev, owner of Nash TV channel, is “being considered as a potential candidate” to lead the puppet pro-Russian government, according to the report. “We will not tolerate the Kremlin plot to install pro-Russian leadership in Ukraine,” U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Jan. 23. Murayev denied that he was aware of such plans.

Read the full story: Who is Murayev, the man UK exposes as potential leader of Kremlin’s coup

US authorizes departure of non-essential employees, diplomats’ family members from Kyiv embassy, citing potential Russian military escalation. On Jan. 23, the U.S. State Department issued a statement authorizing the voluntary departure of U.S. direct employees and ordered the departure of eligible family members of embassy staff, citing the threat of Russia’s “significant military action against Ukraine.” The State Department advised all U.S. citizens to leave the country.

UK unlikely to send troops to Ukraine. Nevertheless, the U.K. is willing to participate in joint training programs, said Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab. The statement was made as a response to Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine's ambassador to the U.K., who claimed that Ukraine would seek the deployment of British troops in the case of a full-scale Russian invasion. 

Austria supports imposing sanctions on Russia, as long as they don’t touch gas transitAccording to Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, if Russian troops move further into Ukraine, broad economic and financial sanctions will be imposed. "In the event of an escalation, the answer will be very clear, unambiguous and quick," he said. However, the foreign minister added that Europe is dependent on Russian gas and that problem can’t be solved overnight.

German navy chief says Crimea ‘will never come back’ to Ukraine, resigns the next day. Kay-Achim Schoenbach also called for giving Russian President Vladimir Putin "the respect that he deserves" and said that Germany needs Russia as an ally against China. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry demanded a refutation of his pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Schoenbach then apologized and resigned, while the German Defense Ministry said his words do not reflect the country's official position.

Head of Bavaria says Russia is a ‘great power,’ can’t imagine giving arms to Ukraine. A day after the German navy chief was forced to resign for his pro-Kremlin comments, Minister-President of Bavaria Markus Soder made similar remarks. Head of Germany’s most populous region, Soder told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that Ukraine won’t join NATO in the near future and that he is against giving arms to Ukraine. He also complimented Russia by saying that the country is a “great power” and not an enemy of Europe. 

National

Contest for judicial body starts as part of judicial reform. A selection panel has launched its contest for jobs at the High Qualification Commission, a key judicial body. On Jan. 21, the selection panel for the Commission held an official meeting and announced that candidates could apply for commission jobs starting Feb. 4 through March 4. Canadian judge Ted Zarzeczny was elected as the selection panel’s head.

Defense Ministry alters women's list of professions eligible for military registration. The document, which previously included over 100 jobs that fell under the conscription category, has now been reduced to 20. The ministry submitted the new draft amid widespread criticism of the initial version.

Taras Melnyk, co-founder of "Chervona Ruta" music festival, dies at 68. The festival has been held in Chernivtsi since 1989. It focuseson Ukrainian musicians and bands. The name comes from “Chervona Ruta,” a popular Ukrainian song written by Volodymyr Ivasyuk in 1968 and considered one of the most popular songs in the country.

Business

PM Shmyhal: Industrial parks could bring Ukraine $2.5 billion in investment. The government is planning to build infrastructure for 25 industrial parks in the next three years. The construction is set to start next week, according to the prime minister.

Glovo acquires Ukrainian grocery delivery service Zakaz.ua. The companies didn’t disclose the acquisition cost, but according to experts’ estimates, the price didn’t exceed $50 million. The deal was reportedly signed on Jan. 21. Spanish tech giant Glovo paid the founders of the Ukrainian company in shares and cash.

Opinion

Andrew Fink: Putin’s anti-democratic crusade. Fink writes that “if Russia’s leaders are true believers in their own propaganda, then there is no persuading them to relent, no chance to win them over with transparency and negotiations; they are self-righteous maniacs on a deranged crusade to “liberate” free peoples.”

Mychailo Wynnyckyj: Ukrainian voices are missing from the drama over Ukraine’s future. Wynnyckyj writes that “the international community now needs to recognize that there is no convenient middle ground between the Russian and Ukrainian positions.

Region

Kyrgyz journalist arrested after exposing top-level corruption. Kyrgyz investigative journalist Bolot Temirov was arrested on Jan. 22, days after publishing exposes on allies of President Sadyr Zhaparov. He is facing drug charges, which he says are falsified. He was released on Jan. 23 following protests.

On Jan. 20, Temirov published an investigation exposing alleged corruption by relatives of Kamchybek Tashiyev, head of Kyrgyzstan’s State National Security Committee. A company owned by Tashiyev’s nephew allegedly earned 37 million Kyrgyzstani som ($460,000) from just one deal as an intermediary for state oil and gas firm Kyrgyzneftegaz.