Cooperation with the IMF and the shadow of Kolomoyskyi, opinion polling, COVID-19 and more – Weekly Update on Ukraine #13, 30 March – 5 April

Situation in the combat zone

Contrary to the commitments outlined by Minsk, Russia-backed militants kept firing upon the Ukrainian troops’ positions.

They fired from 122-mm and 152-mm artillery that was supposed to be withdrawn as per the Minsk agreements. They also fired from 82-mm and 120-mm mortars, weapons mounted on infantry fighting vehicles, grenade launchers, heavy machine guns and small arms. Ukrainian troops suppressed the hostile fire with patrol vehicles.

In the area of responsibility of the operational-tactic command “Pivnich” (North) Russia’s proxies used large-caliber artillery for the first time in a while, as well as mortars. On April 1 Ukrainian troops recorded a total of four attacks in the area.

In the morning on April 3 Russia-backed militants launched 43 mortar rounds of 82-mm caliber upon the Joint Forces’ positions outside Pavlopil. In the afternoon they fired from grenade launchers, heavy machine guns and small arms.

On April 4 Russia-backed militants fired upon the Joint Forces’ positions and shelled the residential area of Verkhnyotoretske with antitank grenade launchers. As a grenade exploded, a female local resident got a shrapnel injury to the leg. She was evacuated to the local hospital of Toretsk where she received the necessary medical assistance.

Cooperation with the IMF and the shadow of Kolomoyskyi: the fight for the banking law

Last week the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s Parliament) passed in the first reading the draft law no.2571-d on improvement of mechanisms regulating banking activities unofficially dubbed “anti-Kolomoyskyi” draft law.

The bill foresees that owners and former owners of banks whose rights were violated due to nationalization of financial institutions, can only get reimbursement in money. Even if the decision to remove a bank from the market is recognized illegal, it cannot provide grounds for its revocation or return of the bank to its former owner.

Adoption of the law in question is important for Ukraine, as it is also one of the International Monetary Fund’s conditions Ukraine needs to fulfil to continue cooperation.

Ahead of the second reading, opponents of the draft law submitted almost 6.000 amendments to be considered.

“We already got about 6.000 amendments to the banking law and, seeing the pace, the final number will hit 8.000-8.500 amendments,” commented Yaroslav Zheleznyak, MP of “Golos” faction, member of the committee on finance, tax and customs policy. “The text volume is hard to physically put together, so one should not expect the Committee meeting earlier than Wednesday,” the MP added.

Zheleznyak also explained that April 6 is the last day when amendments are accepted. It is quite possible that MPs will introduce 10.000 amendments to the draft law, which is an absolute record, the MP elaborated.

Opinion polling: Do Ukrainians approve of how authorities are tackling the coronavirus outbreak?

Two opinion polls held by the sociological group “Rating” on March 25-27 and on March 28-30 show that the absolute majority of respondents take the coronavirus outbreak in Ukraine as a real threat.

Compared to when the quarantine started, the number of respondents seeing the outbreak as a threat grew from 73 to 87 per cent.

Fifty-eight per cent of the interviewed consider the measures that authorities brought to combat the spread of coronavirus, being adequate. Twenty-eight per cent claim that the measures are too soft. Only six per cent are convinced that the quarantine measures are too harsh.

Almost 70 per cent consider the quarantine efficient, 25 per cent think it is not. Almost 80 per cent support the government’s decision to extend the quarantine until April 24, 2020.

Two thirds of respondents said they were employed when the quarantine started. Thirty-five per cent of them said they continue working as usual after restrictions came into force. Twenty-nine per cent work from home, 32 per cent took unpaid leave and four per cent lost their jobs.

Almost 80 per cent are worried that Ukraine will enter into a long-lasting economic crisis. Two thirds are worried about not being able to buy the medicine they might need. Almost half of respondents are worried about not being able to buy food (while 52 per cent are not worried). Only 25 per cent are concerned that they will have to cancel important events or travel, at the same time three-fourths are not concerned about that.

How Ukraine is fighting COVID-19

As of the morning of April 6, Ukraine has 1.319 cases of COVID-19, 38 people died and 28 recovered.

On April 6 a new set of measures introduced by a governmental provision came into force. It is now banned to stay in public places without wearing a mask or a respirator, carry no ID, stroll in parks or communal gardens, walk in a group of more than two people; persons over 60 must self-isolate for the duration of the quarantine.

Self-isolation is now compulsory not only for those who were diagnosed with COVID-19, were in contact with an infected person or returned from abroad, but also for persons over 60 years of age (except for those working at critical infrastructure facilities or involved in containing the spread of coronavirus).

If a healthy person on self-isolation cannot provide for themselves, they can go out wearing a mask and gloves to do the shopping or go to a pharmacy within a radius of two kilometers from the place of self-isolation. They are also allowed to walk their pets twice a day.For more details, follow Ukraine World’s live updates.