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Russia's war against Ukraine
What we’re watching: The NATO-Russia Council meeting today, Jan. 12.
US Republicans draft bill to designate Ukraine a ‘NATO Plus’ state, sanction Russia. A new bill that’s reportedly soon to be introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives advocates for the U.S. to increase military funding to Ukraine and implement strict measures against Russia immediately.
Russia positions attack aircraft near Ukrainian border. The New York Times reported that Russia has brought additional aircraft including attack and transport helicopters, as well as attack fighter jets, to the Ukrainian border. The move “would be a critical Russian advantage,” should Russia decide to invade Ukraine.
Russia to conduct military exercises along Ukrainian border. The country’s Defense Ministry said on Jan. 11 that 3,000 troops and 300 military vehicles would be sent to Russia’s Voronezh, Belgorod and Bryansk oblasts.
Ukraine receives $450 million in foreign defense aid in 2021. Amid Russia’s ongoing war, Ukraine received a total of nearly $450 million in defense assistance last year, mainly from the U.S., UK, Lithuania, and Latvia.
US quietly authorizes $200 million aid to Ukraine. CNN reported, citing anonymous sources, that U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration approved an additional $200 million in military assistance to Ukraine in late December without making it public. The same month, Biden signed into force a 2022 defense bill, which includes $300 million in military aid to Ukraine.
Military chief says his forces would defend Ukraine “until the last drop of blood.” Lieutenant General Valeriy Zaluzhny urged people to keep calm about the threats of a larger Russian invasion. He told British channel Sky News that “our armed forces have been at war for eight years. They carry out military operations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions and are ready to conduct them in other regions."
Pandemic in Ukraine
Ukraine to consider vaccination of children over 5 years old. Chief State Sanitary Doctor Ihor Kuzin revealed that the Ministry of Health is considering allowing children over the age of 5 to receive the Covid-19 vaccine starting April. In an interview with BBC Ukraine, Kuzin said that other countries that implemented vaccination for children have shown a reduction in the severity of symptoms related to the disease.
Health Ministry predicts new wave of Covid-19 to peak in February. Chief State Sanitary Doctor Ihor Kuzin said that the wave will start in late January and decline in March-April. The forecast suggests a lot more cases of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant by next month.
Head of hospital in Rivne Oblast faces prison for misspending Covid funds. The 47-year-old doctor is said to have fraudulently signed orders that allocated Hr 437,000 of frontline workers’ remuneration to medical staff who weren’t dealing with Covid-19 patients. The official will face imprisonment of 3-6 years for the alleged misconduct.
Ukraine to increase law enforcement officers’ salaries by 10% starting February. Hr 2.8 billion ($104 million) has been allocated to the state budget for 2022 for this purpose, Ukraine's interior minister Denys Monastyrsky said. The salary increase covers all law enforcement agencies from police officers, border guards, rescue services to employees of the migration service.
Ukraine produced 5% more electricity in 2021 despite coal shortage. According to statistics published by the Energy Ministry on Jan. 11, the increase was driven by a 38% increase in hydropower output, a 15% increase from renewables and a 13% increase from nuclear power plants. The share of electricity produced by coal-fired plants however, dropped from 36% in 2020 to 29% in 2021.
Registration of electric cars continues to grow in Ukraine. A total of 8,541 new and used electric vehicles were registered in 2021, an almost 20% increase compared to 2020, according to the Federation of Automotive Employers. Used vehicles outnumbered new ones seven to one.
Ukrainian State-Owned Enterprises Weekly – Special issue: Top 2022 events to watch. The team at the Ukrainian State-Owned Enterprises Weekly digest lists the top seven events to look forward to in corporate governance at SOEs and privatization.
Region: Kazakhstan protests
About 9,900 people arrested by Kazakh authorities, according to the country’s Interior Ministry. The Kazakh government has launched a major crackdown on protesters after regaining control over the country. A total of 164 people, including protesters and at least 18 government troops, have been killed during the uprising, according to official estimates.
Kazakh authorities unlawfully use a UN peacekeeping unit to quell protests.The United Nations says that it did not authorize the use of Kazakhstan’s Kazbat UN peacekeeping unit during the anti-government uprising. Soldiers with UN uniforms in Almaty were spotted in photos published by the Associated Press. The Kazakh government confirmed deploying the unit for protecting strategic facilities.