Ukraine has launched an alternative transit route to China, which is called new “Silk Road”.

The first container train, which will travel on the new route bypassing Russia has started a trial trip from Ilyichevsk.

The train will pass through Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. The route includes ferry lines in the Black and Caspian Seas.

Prospects for the development of a new transit route was analyzed on the radio station “Voice of the Capital” by the head of the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting Igor Burakovsky. He is sure that it is not worth waiting for economic breakthrough after launching the new route.

The paper is a result of a common effort of experts coming from Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Germany. It is based on expert discussions on minority issues and construction of inclusive society, organized by the Institute for European Politics and Reforms (Moldova) and the Institute of World Policy(Ukraine) in Chisinau and Kiev.

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The availability of powerful military capabilities is a deterrent factor for the aggressor, it doesn’t necessarily mean a start of a real millitary operation. The very fact that the aggressor can get a decent response, has a significant impact on his plans.

Millitary response to actions that violate the law is the only mean understandable for Russia. This was stated by the Co-director of Foreign Relations and International Security Programmes of the Razumkov Centre, Oleksiy Melnyk on the air of Radio Svoboda, commenting on the possibility of prolongation of the Minsk II in 2016 or search for new formats of the conflict settlement in the Donbas.

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As mentioned in the article by Alexander Cheban, the Iranian nuclear program has been a long time in the international spotlight. There were real fears that Iran could develop nuclear weapons, and this would lead to catastrophic consequences in the Middle East and the world at large. That is why the agreement with Iran to restrict its nuclear program is perceived as a pleasant surprise, claiming the status of a historical event.

The article also highlights positive and negative consequences of the agreement for Ukraine and provides practical recommendations.

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The situation around the debt of Ukraine to Russia is paradoxical, says Igor Burakovsky, director of the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting. The lender, which created problems for Ukraine now demands the return of $ 3 billion. The problems of the Ukrainian economy in one way or another are related to the annexation of the Crimea and the war in the east, the expert added.

According to Mr. Burakovsky, the return or non-return of $ 3 billion Russian loan until 20 December will not be critical for the continuation of cooperation between Ukraine and the IMF.

Oleksiy Melnyk, Co-director of Foreign Relations and International Security Programmes of the Razumkov Centre, presented his observations about the visit of Joe Biden, Vice-Pressident of the USA, to Ukraine. 

Following the expert, the most serious and not very pleasant message for the Ukrainian politics given by Joe Biden is obvious concern about the level of corruption in Ukraine and the lack of progress in the fight against it.

“As to foreign policy aspects, it is extremely important that Biden, unlike many Ukrainian and European politicians, quite objectively assessed the situation and key issues in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine,” emphasized Mr. Melnyk.

Oleksiy Haran, a leading analyst of the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, has expressed his expert opinion about Joe Biden`s, Vice-president of the USA,visit to Ukraine in the article “Biden and Company. Why the USA pushes  Kyiv” . Expert analyzes what can Ukraine expect from such a visit.

Following Oleksiy Haran, it will be a new stimulus to the reforms and support in the fight against Russian agression in Donbas and Crimea. Joe Biden met with the representatives of civil society and young politicians before meeting the President Poroshenko and Prime-minister Yatsenyuk, and it is a big signal. The activists of civil society have probably brought up questions of corruption and the slow speed of reforms. These topics will, apparently, be also discussed with the government.

The experts of the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation have released analytical material “Under-Blockade” or the Consequences of the Strategy Disordnance regarding the Occuped Crimea”.

On the evening of November 20, as a result of the blasting of high-voltage lines in the Kherson oblast electricity supply to the occupied territory of Crimea were completely cut off, summarize the experts last week events. The “Ukrenergo” national electricity company noted that the damages to electrical power lines were probably due to the use of explosive substances. The police have already filed four criminal cases on the fact of sabotage. Meanwhile, the activists of the product blockade of Crimea in the Kherson oblast are impeding the work of the repair crew of “Ukrenergo” at locations of electrical power supply damage and are putting forth political demands to the occupation authorities of Crimea regarding the release of political prisoners as a condition for the renewal of electricity supply.

Sergiy Solodkyy, First Deputy Director of the Institute of World Policy (IWP), and Vitaly Sharlay, expert of the Reanimation Package of Reforms prepared an analytical brief “How Could the EU Accelerate Reforms in Ukraine?”.

Oleksa Stepanyuk, a research fellow of the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting (IER), has analyzed possible outcomes of the Russian food embargo for Ukraine.

From 1st January 2016, Russian Federation introduces new sanctions against Ukraine and Free Trade Area might partially be restricted, too. According to the Ukrainian government estimations, it might bring around 600 mln USD loss for the Ukrainian economy.

Oleksa Stepanyuk considers this number overly pessimistic, so he re-calculates it taking into account: 

1)  list of “products under sanction” whose export would be banned as of 1.01.2016;

2)  price of these products which were exported to Russia during January-September 2015;