Author Archives: RomanInUkraine

Special Update: Western Media Reports that Russia has Withdrawn 10,000 Troops from the Ukrainian Border are Inaccurate

Western misreporting about these exercises likely began in a misleading Reuters headline. Independent Russian news outlet Interfax accurately reported that 10,000 SMD troops finished exercises and returned “from the field” to their permanent bases.[3] Reuters inaccurately quoted Interfax’s report with the headline, “More than 10,000 Russian troops returning to bases after drills near Ukraine [emphasis added] -Interfax.”[4] Interfax did not characterize the 10,000 troops as exercising “near Ukraine,” did not characterize the SMD report as being a drawdown, and listed the locations where the exercises occurred across southern Russia and the Caucuses. Other Western media outlets ran with Reuters’ characterization of the 10,000 troops withdrawing from “near Ukraine,” amplifying an inaccurate perception of Russia recently reducing its force posture near Ukraine.

Russia likely has not decreased its force posture around Ukraine.

http://www.iswresearch.org/2021/12/special-update-western-media-reports.html

Threat of War?

ABC: The US embassy in Ukraine is seeking additional security staff to temporarily fill in next month, as the “permanent staff continue Emergency Preparations in case of Authorized or Ordered Departure”

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Kyiv: Russia does not have enough troops on Ukrainian borders for a full-scale invasion

Russia continues to move troops near Ukrainian borders and territories of the Donbas which are not under Ukraine’s control, but this is not sufficient. Russia would need to have three to five times more troops for a full-scale invasion, said Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov in an interview with the Current Time.

At the same time, he stressed that the threat of an invasion still exists.

“Of course, there is a constant threat for us. We have been living with this threat for seven years, and it is not news to us that Russian troops are located on the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. It is they who are waging war against our country,” he said.

Danilov added that the most dangerous areas at present are Mariupol and other places in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The NSDC Secretary also believes that Russia’s main goal was direct negotiations with the United States, and the Kremlin has achieved it.

“We will watch how events will develop now that Russia has given the actual ultimatum to the United States and the NATO countries, ” he said.

Danilov also believes that Putin wants to “reinforce” Russia’s seizure of Crimea, to show that Ukraine has ceased to exist within its current borders.

http://uawire.org/kyiv-russia-does-not-have-enough-troops-on-ukrainian-borders-for-a-full-scale-invasion#

Fatherhood Moments

Marichka must have seen people blowing their noses. Several times she held a tissue to her face and sputtered her lips, making a sound similar to blowing ones nose.

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Marchika gave me a toy, a sort of blob of rubber in the vague shape of an animal, then she pointed up and started making sounds, wanting something. I thought maybe she wanted the magnets fixed to pole, so I offered them, but she kept gesticulating. My wife explained it. I threw the blob to the ceiling and it stuck with a splat. Marichka laughed. Then the pushed a chair over, pointed up and started gesticulating again. That’s the game. I climbed up, peeled the blog off the ceiling and stepped down. Marichka refused to take it, but insisted I throw it again.

Christmas Eve at the Bear Sanctuary

For Catholic Christmas eve, we went to see Saint Nicholas at the bear sanctuary near Lviv. It was a beautiful evening, with snow falling gently the whole time.

I believe Saint Nicholas was a priest. He was a remarkable listener, and his conversation with my son was fascinating. He advised him to avoid fries and candy and to eat potatoes and borshch and salo (a Ukrainian lard dish), and other good Galician Ukrainian food. Though at the end of it, he gave a bag of candies as a gift.

My son answered a question about our Christmas decorations – that they’re mostly on the stairs that go up to the room where his dad (me) works. When Saint Nicholas asked for more detail, Danny struggled with an explanation a bit, and then waved his had dismissively and said “you’ll see when you visit”.

My son told him in great detail how he doesn’t go to nursery school because they made him put on a costume there, and he didn’t like that, and after that his mother allowed him to stop going. I didn’t think my son remembered that in such detail.

He also explained to Saint Nicholas that after people die they go to live with God for a while, but he thinks they then come back to live another life. He’s asked about dying since we visited a historic cemetery where a relative of mine was doing restoration work on historic grave monuments and chapels, and perhaps also since reading Charlotte’s Web.

Saint Nicholas told him he always brings gifts, and that people sometimes talk about him bringing switches to bad children, but that that has yet to happen.

After a long and engaging conversation, my son looked at me and said, “I’m bored.” As we left, there was a single family waiting to enter the cabin. Their child saw Saint Nicholas and let out a scream.

Later we saw the man who’d dressed as Saint Nicholas in the cafe, and he told me that I have a great son, that angels are speaking through him, and that it’s encouraging for him to know such people exist.

We gifted a shopping bag full of fruit and a crate of eggs to the sanctuary. We went on a tour of the sanctuary that included their kitchen and veterinary room. They have 29 bears, and capacity for 30. These are bears who’ve been kept in captivity and are unfit for release in the wild. They sterilize them, because even their children who would be without examples of surviving in the wild, would be unfit for release. Apparently there are about 250 wild bears in Ukraine, and the same number in captivity.

The sanctuary has an ingenious system of gates between the different plots of land, and tunnels, so that any bear can be led to any part of the sanctuary with no need for tranquilizers and transport.

The tour took us right to the door of a cage where two bears were lying in hay and not quite sleeping – they lifted their heads to look at us, just a meter or so away. Some bears apparently prefer to sleep in these little rooms rather than outside. They let them decide.

In other part of the sanctuary there were four playful cubs. Apparently the three new arrivals had only just accepted the other cub who’d been there longer and started socializing with him. They were as lively as our guide as ever seen them. They converged on a snowball our guide threw over the fence. He gave a snowball for my son to throw as well, explaining that they’re so excited about it because they think it’s food. About ten minutes later, my son asked if he could have an apple to throw over of the fence so that the bears wouldn’t be mad at him for tricking them. Bless his heart. The guide explained that they weren’t upset, and in fact they probably enjoyed the game.

T-shirts

1. American Gothic Replica with faces of Ukrainian poets Taras Shevchenko and Lecia Ukrajinka.

2. Replica of the video game cover art for “Doom” with a play on words from a famous Shevchenko poem: “Doomy moyi doomy, Lyxo meni z vamy.” The lines translate to “Thought, my thought, it’s difficult with you.”

MobyGames.com

Daily headlines from www.UBN.news

See www.UBN.news for more.

The United Kingdom has allocated an additional £1 bln to support Ukraine. The funds will be used to support investments, trade, and security. The announcement was made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, who is on a visit to the United Kingdom at the invitation of his British counterpart Liz Truss. During this visit, the UK officially confirmed the increase in funding for Ukraine by £1 bln to the amount of £3.5 bln. Kuleba said that the allocated funds will be used for projects in infrastructure, healthcare and clean energy.
Politics

The US imposed no sanctions against Nord Stream-2, but might allocate $300 mln for Ukraine. Whilst the draft U.S. Defense Budget for the fiscal year 2022 (NDAA) does not include proposals for sanctions against Russia’s Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, which Republican senators have been advocating. The compromise draft budget includes $300 mln to support Ukraine, which is $50 mln more than President Biden requested, including $75 mln for lethal weapons, reported Politico.
Infrastructure

Ukraine will invest UAH 142 bln in infrastructure development. In 2022, UAH 141.8 bln ($5.22 bln) will be allocated for the construction and maintenance of state and local roads and the modernization of railways, airports, and river transport said the Deputy Finance Minister, Oleksandr Kava. In addition to this investment, funds will also be provided to construct and reconstruct bridges. In particular, the Zaporizhzhya Bridge and the left-bank exit from the Darnytskyi Bridge in Kyiv. The construction of a new bridge in Kremenchuk will also go ahead.
Agro

The price of farmland increases an average by 217%. The price of plots at electronic land auctions is growing by an average of 217%, said the Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food, Roman Leshchenko. He noted that the transparency of land relations is ensured through land auctions in the electronic system Prozorro.Sales. To date, 1,542 auctions have been announced, and 8,000 hectares of land plots in various regions of Ukraine with a total value of UAH 570 mln ($21 mln) have been put up for lease or alienation. The minister said that the price per hectare grew by 217%, with an average price of almost UAH 40,000 ($1470).
Agro

Ukraine will change the algorithm of automatic land valuation. The State Property Fund of Ukraine (SPFU) will soon introduce changes in the service of automated land valuation. This will avoid the overstatement of the estimated value of the land. “We plan to use more average values, which will prevent cases of unreasonable overestimation of the estimated value and, accordingly, tax payments that occur today,” said the First Deputy Head of the State Geocadastre, Anatoly Miroshnichenko. He added that information on special permits for subsoil use and land composition of land plots is available through the Public Cadastral Map and in extracts from the State Land Cadastre.
Investments

A new $15M VC fund has launched in Ukraine. The new VC fund called SID Venture Partners I has launched in Ukraine. The trust fund is valued at $15 mln. Its focus is on early-stage funding of the projects with Ukrainian founders. The fund is managed by 9 representatives of the Ukrainian IT industry and combines the efforts of 3 companies. Sigma Software, Ideasoft, and Datrics to create a synergy of service and product business. The fund will focus on Ukrainian tech startups, preferring projects in deeptech, b2b, blockchain, fintech, and the automotive industry.
Privatization

Ust-Danube commercial seaport to be privatized. The State Property Fund (SPF) of Ukraine intends to privatize the Ust-Danube Commercial Sea Port State Enterprise in the first quarter of 2022, reported Interfax. The Fund noted that after including the single property complex of the State Enterprise “Ust-Danube Commercial Sea Port” in the list of small privatization objects, an inventory of the company’s property was carried out.
Infrastructure

The first autobahn in Ukraine will be built in 2022. The autobahn will be between the Polish city of Krakow to Brody and Rivne. The length is 280 kilometers, and traveling time is expected to be reduced from 4 hours 20 minutes to 2.5 hours. The autobahn will be designed for a speed of 130 kilometers per hour, and the project will be implemented in three stages. The autobahn from the Polish border will be a part of the road to Kyiv, said Denys Shmygal during the Ukrainian-Croatian business forum.
Infrastructure

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will invest $50 mln to develop industrial and logistics real estate in Ukraine. The EBRD will finance Dragon Capital Investments Ltd in its development and management of industrial and logistics real estate. The decision to allocate funding to the EBRD Board of Directors will be made on January 12, 2022.
Economy

Ukraine abolished 35% duty on the imports of Belarusian MAZ vehicles. The Interdepartmental Commission on International Trade (ITC) has abolished a special duty on imports of buses, trucks, and special cars from Belarus in the amount of 35% of the customs value, which came into force in May 2 of this year.
Tech

YouTube launches Shorts Fund in Ukraine to support short video authors. The Minister of Digital Transformation, Mikhail Fedorov, met with the Google team in Washington earlier this year to discuss the inclusion of Ukraine in the YouTube Shorts program. The launch of the Shorts Fund means that starting in December, Ukrainian content makers will be able to receive funding for short videos that will become popular on the social network.
Tech

Ukrainian MedTech startup DrugCard has raised €255,000 from Think Bigger Capital and Farmak. DrugCard is a platform for automatic monitoring of medical literature. The product helps pharmaceutical companies reduce costs, optimize routine processes, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements in pharmacovigilance. During the two years, the pharmaceutical company Farmak met more than 80 startups in the field of medical technology and related fields and invested more than $ 500,000, reported ain.ua
Privatization

Distillery in the Lviv region sold 16 times more than the starting price. At the privatization auction for the sale of property of Vuzlivsky MTD in the Lviv region, the price increased from the starting UAH 21 mln ($772,000) to UAH 333 mln ($12.2 mln), (Prozorro.Sale). The distillery is located in Radekhiv, which is in the Lviv region. A total of 7 companies took part in the bidding. The proposed UAH 333 million is the highest price among all privatized distilleries in Ukraine.
Economy

The share of new cars in the Ukrainian electric car market is growing. In November 2021, 905 battery-powered vehicles were added to Ukraine’s fleet, 76% more than in November last year, reported Ukravtoprom. The most popular passenger electric car is the Nissan Leaf, next is the Tesla Model, and Chevrolet Bolt. Of the 57 commercial electric vehicles that received Ukrainian license plates in November, 44 were Renault Kangoo. In just eleven months since the beginning of the year, 7.9 thousand cars powered by rechargeable power sources have passed the first registration in Ukraine, 16% more than in 2020.
Tourism

Medical tourism in Ukraine to recover in 2022. From 2017 to 2019, the number of foreigners receiving treatment and diagnosis in Ukraine has doubled, reported Interfax. “Statistics speak for themselves: both trends and demand for medical services in Ukraine will only grow, despite even a temporary timeout due to pandemic”, said Bogdan Zadorizhny, surgeon-oncologist of Spizhenko Clinic.
Editor’s note: Many travelers come to Ukraine for medical tourism. It is a trend that has been popular for the past 3-5 years. One US student shared his experience visiting Ukraine as a tourist and decided to have some dental work. He spent $700 on visits to the dentist in Kyiv, whilst in NYC the price would have been around $5000. You will say that medical insurance could cover dental expenses. However, the average cost of Medical Insurance in NYC is at least $400-$500 per month. The quality of medical treatment in Ukraine is rising, along with the number of medical tourists. Maybe Ukraine can develop this business following the Thai model where you see international standard medical facilities serving both residents and ex-pats in the South East Asian region. Best Regards, UBN Editorial Board.

(2017) Declining use of Russian in post-Soviet states

Russian has lost more ground than any other language over the past 20 years as newly independent former Soviet states have attempted to assert their linguistic sovereignty.

The fading influence of the tongue highlights the fading influence of Moscow amid efforts by Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, to reassert the former superpower’s importance on the world stage with its military interventions in Ukraine and Syria.

The use of Russian has retreated fastest in Kazakhstan, where in 2016 just 20.7 per cent of people said they typically spoke Russian at home, compared with 33.7 per cent in 1994, according to data from national censuses and the UN, collated by Euromonitor International, a research group.

The findings come in the week that Nursultan Nazarbayev, president of Kazakhstan, said the central Asian country would convert the Kazakh alphabet to Latin script, arguing that the transition to a Russian-style Cyrillic script in 1940 was motivated by “political reasons”.

Estonia and Latvia, two of the three former Soviet Baltic states, have each seen drops of about 10 percentage points in the proportion of their population citing Russian as their first language since 1994, with Russian speakers in Latvia falling from 40.5 per cent to 29.8 per cent, and those in Estonia from 33.3 per cent to 23.4 per cent, as the first chart shows.

https://www.ft.com/content/c42fbd1c-1e08-11e7-b7d3-163f5a7f229c

Lockdowns in Ukraine

So, there are still stringent, business-destroying (and health destroying) measures in place in Ukraine, but as is common, I think, in post-communist societies, enforcement is lax. Most stores, and even shopping centers fail to check people’s certificates. I recently went to a shopping mall in Kyiv and only one of about six stores asked for it. The guard at the entrance seemed to only be spot checking.

I also know many people who’ve gotten fake vaccine certificates. I don’t like this, as it’s better to fight the lie than become a part of it. But we do what we must to survive.

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MUST SEE compilation of Doctors commenting on the “epidemic” and the experimental gene therapy which they’re calling a “vaccine.”

British Funeral Director Offers his Observations

The Obvious Hypocrisy of our “Leaders”



Does the shot alter your DNA? Forbes changes headline twice in 8 hours.

Grammarly Founders Become Billionaires From Fixing Your Sloppy Writing

A $200 million investment round announced last week by popular grammar checking tool Grammarly didn’t just catapult the company’s value to $13 billion, but minted billionaires out of two of its founders: Max Lytvyn and Alex Shevchenko. The Ukrainian-born entrepreneurs, who started the automated writing assistant in 2009 with the help of programmer Dmytro Lider, are now worth at least $4 billion each thanks to the recent funding, Forbes estimates.

About 22% of Grammarly is owned by the investors involved in its two funding rounds in 2019 and 2021, according to data collected by Pitchbook. Meanwhile, Lider, the third co-founder, holds onto a stake of just 1%, a company spokesperson previously told Forbes Ukraine, a licensed edition of Forbes. That leaves Lytvyn and Shevchenko with an estimated 35% each of Grammarly’s equity, worth roughly $4 billion apiece after taking into account Forbes’ discount for private companies. A source familiar with the business confirmed these numbers.

Grammarly disputes Forbes’ estimates but has not provided any evidence to support a different valuation of its cofounders. “Grammarly is a private company and does not disclose company ownership distribution or figures,” the company’s communications head Senka Hadzimuratovic said in an email.

The San Francisco-based company was launched over a decade ago under the quickly abandoned name Sentenceworks as a subscription-based product aimed at helping students with their grammar and spelling. It has since evolved away from its sole focus on education and opened up access to its intelligence-driven grammar checker, which can be used to easily weed out the errors in emails, documents and more. The company has also released spin-off products like Grammarly for Business, an edition of its grammar checker for corporate use which boasts big-name clients like Zoom, Cisco, Dell and Expedia.

. . . .

This isn’t the only company Lytvyn and Shevchenko have started together. The pair, who met while attending the International Christian University in Ukraine, say the idea for Grammarly actually came from their previous venture, MyDropBox, which dates back to their college days.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jemimamcevoy/2021/11/23/grammarly-founders-become-billionaires-from-fixing-your-sloppy-writing/