The industrial sector is comparatively large in Ukraine. It is dominated by heavy engineering and chemical industries. The metal industry is important, and Ukraine is one of the world’s ten largest steel producers.
Many companies are militarily oriented. The machinery is outdated and the production consumes large amounts of energy.
When government subsidies were withdrawn and Ukraine was forced to pay world market prices for oil and higher prices for natural gas, industrial production fell dramatically during the 1990s. Only in the beginning of the 2000s did the development turn and production accelerated again, only to again suffer a decline caused by the conflict in the east from 2014.
The industrial sector consists of mines, iron, steel, oil and gas and chemical industries. Other industries manufacture building materials, textiles and food.
The engineering industry produces aircraft, cars, precision instruments and more. The defense-related industry employs one fifth of the workforce. Ukraine played an important role during the Soviet era in military electronics and shipbuilding, as well as the manufacture of missiles for nuclear weapons. Since 2010, more than 130 companies in various parts of the defense industry have joined the state-owned Ukroboronprom group, which has a total of up to 80,000 employees.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Ukraine. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
Military support from the United States
17th of June
US military support for Ukraine has resumed, with a first delivery worth $ 60 million. In 2019, President Trump chose to freeze a $ 400 million aid package, an element of a scandal in which Trump was accused of pressuring Ukraine for the purpose of finding compromising material about rival Joe Biden (see September 22, 2019 and January 16, 2020). Now that support is resumed, it has shrunk to $ 250 million approved by Congress. The United States is also ready to sell armor-breaking weapons to Ukraine.
Green light for crisis loans from the IMF
The IMF Board of Directors has given a sign of a loan package to Ukraine worth $ 5 billion. The aid is intended to be used against the corona crisis and $ 2.1 billion can be paid out immediately. The Bank emphasizes that further reforms are needed in Ukraine, which has adopted both a new banking law (see May 13) and a disputed law on ownership of agricultural land (see March 31).
Pandemic rules are eased
Rail traffic is reopened, after restrictions imposed on the covid-19 pandemic have gradually been eased. Only half of the seats on trains are sold, face masks and physical distances are offered, but also Kiev’s subway, shops, parks, dentists and beauty salons are open. At the end of May / June, Ukraine has nearly 25,000 known cases of infection and just over 700 deaths, quite a few compared to many other countries, but still worrying, as the country’s health care is underfunded.
Police force dissolves after abuse
The entire local police force in the city of Kaharlyk south of Kiev is dissolved following allegations of abuse. Among other things, one of the police officers must have raped and tortured a woman who was called as a witness. Two police officers have been arrested. The events are seen as examples of the difficulties in strengthening the rule of law in Ukraine, one of the priority objectives of Ukraine’s support from democratic states.
Infants stuck in Ukraine during the pandemic
More than a hundred infants born by surrogate mothers have remained in the country because parents who have signed agreements with surrogate mothers find it difficult to get to Ukraine when the borders are closed, says Ljudmyla Denisova, a human rights ombudsman. At a patient hotel in Kiev there are over 50 children, of which 36 are taken care of by the clinic staff because the parents who are going to pick up the children cannot complete the trip. The clinic has asked the Ukrainian government for help in resolving the situation. Ukraine allows surrogate maternity against payment, but many of the parent carers belong in Western countries where it is illegal, so they can not obtain legally valid documents from the home country that allows the recovery.
New banking law opens for loans from the IMF
Parliament adopts a new banking law which has been a requirement for Ukraine to receive support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF): If a bank goes bankrupt, its owners should not be able to recover the assets. The background to the requirement for a change of law is the case of the oligarch Ihor Kolomojskyj, whose PrivatBank was nationalized in 2016, when the bank was rescued by the state. (It happened during a period when large numbers of Ukrainian banks proved to be in poor condition and went bankrupt. A common problem was large loans to people in the banks’ ownership circle.). President Zelenskyj became famous through a TV channel owned by the same oligarchbut have since tried to distance themselves from the disputed magnate. The Bank of Ukraine has stressed that it would cost large sums for the state if the bank were to return to private ownership.
Strong interests slow down the president
President Zelenskyj asks his new adviser Micheil Saakashvili to take action against corruption and pension reform. Since Parliament slowed down Zelenskyj’s plans to give Saakshvili a position in the government, the ex-governor is instead assigned to chair a reform commission. The fact that the elected officials opposed Zelenskyj’s plans for the appointment is interpreted as the president may also find it difficult to gather support for parts of his policy. Also in Zelenskyj’s ruling party The people’s servants (as in previous power groups in Ukraine) there are links to oligarchs. The members can be expected to be unwilling to support proposals that will reduce corruption or increase competition. A current example concerns the banking market, where a bill is being considered.
Clear sign for guest work in Finland
Ukrainians will, despite travel stops and quarantine rules, be allowed to travel to Finland for seasonal work in agriculture, reports the magazine Maaseudun tulevaisuus (Rural Future). In most EU countries, much of the seasonal work is carried out by labor from Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians guest work in countries where farm workers can earn up to four times as much as at home during the summer months. Special permit for charter flights is one of the solutions that can now become relevant after the clear sign given by the Government of Ukraine.
Saakashvili becomes an adviser
Micheil Saakashvili, former president of Georgia and then governor of Odessa, has reappeared on the political scene. President Zelenskyj suggests that Saakashvili should become Deputy Prime Minister and enter into Ukraine’s negotiations on loans from the IMF. But Ukraine’s parliament is unwilling to approve Saakashvili in that capacity. Saakashvili is contentious both in Ukraine and in his home country, where he is accused of crimes. He himself claims that the charges are politically based. On May 7, Saakashvili was appointed as a consultant in Ukraine, and the following day Georgia calls her ambassador from Kiev for consultations. During Saakashvili, Georgia turned to Western-friendly politics and managed to attract foreign investment, but Georgia also ended up at war with Russia.
Prison exchange with rebels
The Ukrainian government and the Russian-backed separatists in the east exchange prisoners. Twenty people who have been held captive in the eastern rebel caves are handed over to the government and the separatists receive 14 prisoners in exchange. When the prison exchange was published the week before, the goal was for it to be carried out before the Orthodox Easter celebration, but the prisoners must still expect to follow quarantine rules with reference to the risk of coronary infection.
Darker state budget adopted
Parliament approves a revised state budget. The forecast of growth of 3.3 percent during the year has been changed so that it is now estimated that Ukraine’s economy will shrink by 3.9 percent in 2020. A triple budget deficit corresponding to 7.5 percent of GDP must be financed with new loans (including loans expected from the IMF, see December 7, 2019). A special fund for anti-coronary measures is set up. To calm the new conditions ashore, analysts believe that Ukraine will be forced to raise taxes and cut down on some planned government initiatives, including construction and energy contracts.
Forest fire near Chernobyl
Firefighters have, according to Ukrainian authorities, managed to gain control of a forest fire that for about ten days did not crash far from the wrecked Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Environmental activists say that one of the firefighters reached as close to the encapsulated reactor as just over a kilometer. The fire has been fought by 400 firefighters with water bombing from the helicopter and one person has been arrested on suspicion of causing the fire. The power plant and the nearby town of Pripjat are located in a zone that has been canceled due to the radiation risk since the 1986 disaster.
Quarantine monastery after death
Two monks in an enriched Orthodox monastery have died in the covid-19 viral disease. Nearly 100 cases of illness among the more than 250 residents of the monastery have been confirmed, according to Kiev’s mayor Vitalij Klytjko. The monastery on the river Dnieper, which belongs to the Orthodox Church attached to the Moscow Patriarchate, is quarantined. Metropolitan Pavel, who heads the monastery, in March urged religious cousins to “hurry to the church and embrace each other”, but he has later re-evaluated the corona pandemic and called it “the 21st century plague”. Before the Orthodox Easter, the mayor has banned the traditional celebrations of the weekend celebrations.
Yes for sale of agricultural land
Parliament approves a controversial legislative amendment that makes it possible to sell agricultural land; 259 members (in face masks and gloves due to the corona pandemic) are voting for the new law, which must also be signed by President Zelenskyj in order to take effect. According to the latest version of the law text, land should be able to change owners from July 1, 2021, but Zelenskyj has also promised a referendum on the subject. The change in law will make it easier for Ukraine to lift support from the IMF (see November 13, 2019 and April 3, 2017).
EU support against the corona crisis
As part of the EU’s response to the global corona crisis, a support package is promised to the six so-called Eastern Partnership countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. The support includes a total of EUR 140 million for immediate healthcare needs, and in addition EUR 700 million is redistributed so that the money can be used to counter severe societal effects of the crisis. The planned activities are in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Minister of Health is replaced
Maxim Stepanov is approved by Parliament as a new minister responsible for health care. The representative has only had his assignment since March 4, and it is not clear why he has already been replaced (see March 4).
Rules against covid-19 are tightened
Measures against the spread of infection are tightened, when three deaths and 73 cases of covid-19 disease have been confirmed in Ukraine. Most of the cases are in Kiev and public transport is now reserved for people who work in socially important activities such as care, ordering power and food distribution. On the same day, a plane from China landed with, among other things, test equipment and protective clothing for healthcare in Ukraine, and more freight is expected. Several corona-affected countries in Eastern and Central Europe are reported to have been able to place orders to China and South Korea on the manufacture of medical equipment.
Power take to limit coronary infection
Ukraine limits opening hours in stores and bars, and organizes events with more than ten participants to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The subway in the three largest cities is closed. Schools have been closed since before and only Ukrainian citizens will be admitted into the country. Few cases of illness and occasional deaths are known, but the spread of infection is of concern to the public. In February, buses with people evacuated from China were attacked by a crowd near Poltava where the evacuees would be quarantined at a health resort. 24 Ukrainians and 27 citizens of other countries were on the buses, which had to be protected by military. According to the Ukrainian Security Service, the crowd had been hit by a counterfeit email from the Ministry of Health claiming that they evacuated illness in covid-19.
Trial against designated for shooting
In the Netherlands, a trial is opened against four men who were identified as responsible for a Malaysian airliner being shot down over Ukraine in 2014 with 298 fatalities as a result. None of the four (three Russians and one Ukrainian) have been found or arrested, but one of the accused Russians has a defender in place (see June 19, 2019). Investigators claim that there is evidence that the robot used by Prorian rebels in Ukraine came from a Russian military base. Two weeks after the trial (which takes place in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic), the court decides that the negotiations will resume in June 2020.
Renovation in the government
4th of March
Denys Sjmyhal approved as new prime minister in a vote in parliament. since Oleksij Gontjaruk (Hontjaruk) left the post. President Zelenskyj is reportedly for a time dissatisfied with the way Ukraine’s economy is being managed. The finance, foreign and defense ministers are also replaced. New Finance Minister becomes Ihor Umanskyj, while Dmytro Kuleba becomes Foreign Minister and Andrij Taran takes charge of the Defense Force.
Annual resistance day against Crimean loss
On February 26, every year, Ukraine will from now on pay attention to the resistance to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, President Zelenskyj announces. On February 26, 2014, Crimean people gathered in the city of Simferopol to manifest their continued support for belonging to Ukraine. The days before, men in anonymous uniforms had taken over military bases and surrounded government buildings in Crimea. These “little green men” were later identified as Russian special forces.
Flaming violence in Luhansk
Separatists in the rebel cave Luhansk open fire with, among other things, artillery grenades against some of the positions of the Ukrainian army. A soldier dies and six are injured. Since Russia supports and equips the separatists, the event is perceived as a demonstration of power by the Russian side against the Ukrainian government. The purpose could be to make Ukraine more likely to accept Russian demands in the contacts that are made to resolve the Donbas conflict.
Criticized Chief of Staff is replaced
President Zelenskyj’s chief of staff is replaced. Already when Andrij Bohdan was appointed in 2019, it was commented on as possible corruption of friendship. Bohdan was seen as a related oligarch, Ihor Kolomojskyj (also the owner of the TV channel that made Zelenskyj himself famous). Bohdan had also served under the Moscow-friendly former President Yanukovych, who in 2014 was ousted from power by a popular wave of protest.
Insult focuses on low pensions
A party friend of President Zelenskyj has become Ukraine’s big snack ice and caused a government intervention, while shedding light on the conditions for the country’s pensioners. When a 66-year-old woman complained via a telephone alarm on January 31 that her pension of 2,000 hryvnia (SEK 765) was not enough for the gas bill, 25-year-old parliamentarian Jevhen Brahar replied that she could sell her dog. He has been forced to apologize, but the clumsy comments are accelerating Ukraine’s joke. An example: “Cards or cash? No, I have an elite dog.”
WTO support for Ukraine in the case against Russia
Ukraine wins the majority of a goal against Russia in the WTO. The case is one of the last to be dealt with in the WTO’s Appellate Chamber since the blocking operation of the United States. With its decision, the panel amends a previous WTO strike (see July 30, 2018). The target, which was raised by Ukraine after Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, is about Ukrainian exports of railway equipment. According to Ukraine, Russia stopped imports of such equipment in violation of trade agreements.
Investors get their own “nanny”
Foreign investors who can imagine investing money in Ukraine should receive an “investment nanny”, Prime Minister Gontjaruk announces in connection with the economic world elite WEF meeting in Davos. To be eligible for one’s own contact person in the state, one must be ready to invest $ 100 million in Ukraine.
Census without rebel piano
Ukraine’s population has declined by a quarter since 2001, judging by a recent census. According to it, the country has 37.3 million inhabitants. One explanation is emigration, but it is also true that the census has not been possible in the separatist-controlled areas in the east or in the Crimea-annexed peninsula of Russia. In Crimea, before the Russian annexation in 2014, there were two million inhabitants, while the total population of enclaves Donetsk and Luhansk was about six million. As of the last census, conducted in 2001, Ukraine had 48.5 million inhabitants. Based on data from the border authorities, 6.3 million Ukrainians emigrated between 2002 and 2017, most to Poland or Russia.
Investigations in the traces of Trump Trump
Ukrainian authorities are launching an investigation to show whether US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was subjected to illegal cancellation in Ukraine. Such accusations are one of the elements of a US judicial process that is ongoing in the United States against President Trump and is ultimately about Trump looking for compromising material against his political rival Joe Biden (see September 22, 2019). If illegal eavesdropping has occurred on the territory of Ukraine, then Ukraine can not have compassion on it, the Ministry of the Interior points out. This has given rise to yet another investigation in Ukraine, of the infringement of the energy company Burma’s internet site. On the same day, accountants in the US Congress announce their conclusion that the White House violated the 2019 law by freezing the payment of promised military aid to Ukraine in order to persuade the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden.
Iran admits accidental shooting
After several days of denials, Iran’s state leadership admits that the January 8 air disaster outside Tehran was caused by Iranian air defense fire. The concession is made with deep apologies, but also with accusations against the United States for causing the war threat that puts the nerves in decline. (One week after the disaster, the New York Times publishes a movie taken from a nearby rooftop; the movie indicates that the plane was hit by two robots.) Inside and outside Iran, criticism is also sharp that civilian air traffic had not been stopped in the dangerous location which prevailed. Ukrainian personnel have been given access to the strike site and Iran has promised to cooperate on the accident investigation.
Ukrainian plane crashes in Iran
A Ukrainian-backed aircraft crashes shortly after takeoff from Tehran and all 176 on board die. Among the passengers were other Iranians, Canadians and Swedes while the crew was Ukrainian. The plane was only a few years old, of a model common in the world. Authorities in Ukraine and Iran are investigating the crash. Since the manufacturer Boeing is American, transportation authorities in the United States would also be expected to be involved, but the fact that Iran is under US sanctions could affect the management of the disaster.