Ukraine. The year began with conflict over Russia’s gas supplies. Before the turn of the year, Russian state Gazprom had demanded higher prices from a number of former Soviet states and most of Ukraine, which would pay US $ 230 for 1,000 m 3instead of the previously subsidized price of $ 50. When the increase came into effect at New Year, there was no agreement, and Gazprom stopped deliveries. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Ukraine include Independence Day (August 24) and New Year (January 1). Ukraine remained without gas while deliveries continued in transit lines through the country to other states. When the amount of gas also fell in these lines, a war of words broke out between Russia and Ukraine about who was to blame. The conflict received much attention in the EU. The Kremlin was accused of using the energy as a political pressure vehicle against neighboring countries that, like Ukraine, are applying to the EU and NATO. Such suspicions were reinforced by the fact that Moscow’s allied Belarus was offered continued subsidies. After hard negotiations, Russia and Ukraine reached a temporary compromise, where Ukraine was able to buy both expensive Russian gas and cheaper from, among other things. Turkmenistan.3 gas. The government was criticized for the settlement and lost a vote of no confidence in Parliament. Behind the distrust was former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was dismissed by President Viktor Yushchenko the year before. She was determined to strengthen her position before the parliamentary elections in March. However, Prime Minister Yuriy Jechanurov refused to resign after the mistrust.
The March election became a revenge for the loser in the presidential election just over a year earlier, Viktor Yanukovych. His Regions Party took over 32% of the vote, while President Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine remained at just under 14%. Julia Tymoshenko’s party block got just over 22%. Assessors saw the election as a dissatisfaction with the leader of the Orange Revolution, who has failed to improve the economy since coming to power. It was very difficult to form a new government coalition. The contradictions were great between the three leading parties, and no one wanted to rule with any of the others. Yushchenko’s party worked for a long time to recreate the tripartite coalition that was dissolved six months earlier: Our Ukraine, the Tymoshenko Bloc and the Socialist Party. Despite difficult contradictions, it seemed to succeed after a few months. But then the opposition blocked the parliamentary session that would elect Tymoshenko to be prime minister. She was never elected. The Socialist Party broke the agreement, and with the support of the Regions Party and the Communist Party, the Socialists got their party leader Oleksander Moroz appointed President in Parliament. The new cooperation led to a new coalition, in which Yanukovych was appointed head of government in August. President Yushchenko, for the longest time, tried to prevent this, but eventually bowed to Parliament’s majority. Yushchenko’s party Our Ukraine also joined the coalition, but the conflicts there became too great and in October the party left the government.
In October, Yanukovych succeeded in establishing a new gas supply agreement with Russia. The price of US $ 130 per 1,000 m 3 was considered advantageous in relation to Russia’s initial requirements. The success was attributed to Yanukovych, who is not as western-oriented as Yushchenko and strives for better relations with Moscow.
In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin came to Ukraine on his first visit since Western-friendly Viktor Yushchenko took office. The meeting was successful. The relationship between the two leaders and the two countries seemed to improve substantially one year after the bitter conflict over gas prices.
Ukraine closes after Christmas
After the Orthodox Christmas (at the height of the thirteenth weekend in 2021), a two-week shutdown of society awaits, announces premiere Denys Sjmyhal. The aim is to try to limit the corona pandemic. “Let’s call it winter vacation for safety reasons,” he said during a government meeting. Public transport and food trade are allowed to operate normally, but gyms and swimming pools are closed, as are all schools except preschools, and restaurants are not allowed to have seated guests. A total of 14,200 deaths have been confirmed in Ukraine.
UN demands for Russian retreat from Crimea
The UN General Assembly adopts a resolution demanding that Russia’s occupation of the Crimean peninsula end without delay. The resolution is not binding, but still has political weight. Behind it are Western countries, including Turkey. 63 countries vote in favor of the resolution and 17 against, while 62 abstain.
President corona infected
President Zelensky has been found to carry the pandemic virus sars-cov-2. He leaves the message himself and says that he does not feel ill, but is later cared for in hospital for a few days. During the autumn, the spread of infection picked up speed again in Ukraine, as well as in other European countries. A couple of days earlier, the highest number of new infections so far has been reported: 10,746 people. A total of 9,422 deaths have been confirmed, according to statistics compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the United States. For a week, anyone who does not wear a face mask in a public place risks a fine.
Stop for transparency in declarations
The reactions are sharp when the Constitutional Court announces that a number of laws aimed at corruption are contrary to the Constitution. Among the rejected laws, there is one that provides insight into executives’ tax returns. The National Anti-Corruption Authority can thus not examine such suspicions against, for example, ministers, members of parliament and mayors via declarations. In recent years, both popular protests and lenders in the Western world have called for action against corruption, but several of the planned measures have proved difficult to implement (see 26 February 2019). President Zelenskyj responds by urging Parliament to dissolve the Constitutional Court and prepare amendments to the law that will facilitate action against corruption.
Headwind for the President’s party
Things are going badly for President Zelenskyj and his party, the People’s Servants, in the municipal and mayoral elections. The party wins only four of 22 regions and does not take home the top positions in any of the major cities, which in many cases are won by local parties. In addition, both pro-European and pro-Russian parties receive greater support than the president’s party in a number of municipalities. Turnout is low, only 36 percent. The fact that the governing party has a weak position at local and regional level means that it can be difficult to carry out government policy. In many places, local authorities oppose restrictions imposed by the corona pandemic.
Survey and local elections on the same day
A national survey will be conducted on government policy, President Zelensky announces. The opinion poll with five questions will take place on October 25, the same day as the municipal and mayoral elections are held. According to the latest credible survey of party sympathies, conducted by the rating institute Rating in the first week of October, Zelenskyj’s party People’s Servants has the support of 17 percent of voters who intend to vote. This means that the party is still the most popular, even if the figures are not close to the result in the 2019 parliamentary elections (over 54 percent support). Societal restrictions intended to stop the spread of coronavirus are believed to have led to declining popularity for the ruling party. The survey is perceived as a way to get sympathizers of the People’s Servants to go to the polls and there are critics who claim that it violates the election law.
Agreement on London co – operation after Brexit
President Zelensky visits London and an agreement is reached on contacts between Ukraine and the United Kingdom after Brexit, when trade and other matters with Ukraine are no longer covered by agreements with the EU. According to the British Prime Minister’s Office, the stated aim is to counteract harmful Russian influence. From the British side, it is emphasized that British forces have trained 18,000 Ukrainian soldiers since 2015 and that training efforts for the navy continue.
Grenades exacerbate forest fires
A forest fire raging near the front between the government army and separatist forces in the east has caused nine deaths and threatens more than 20 villages, according to the rescue service. Undetonated grenades are also said to increase the risks in the area (see also July 7).