1. The United Kingdon maintains support for sanctions against Russia. We know that Russia interferes in the domestic democratic processes of other countries all the time, and Russia does so in order to undermine the meaning of democracy as well as to gain influence, and Brexit was something that they had a hand in as a way of weakening the European Union who have maintained and renewed sanctions against Russia for their aggression against Ukraine. Well, even post-Brexit UK is still holding firm on the sanctions policy, according to British Ambassador to Ukraine, Melinda Simmons. Quite correct. Russia has done nothing to earn sanctions relief.
2. Kyiv records 83 new cases of Coronavirus in the last 24 hours. It hasn’t gone away. It is not going to go away until the scientists come up with a breakthrough, so we have to live with it in this new kind of normal. As the capital is beginning to come back to life and people are meeting in trusted bubbles of small circles of acquaintances, remember to respect the space of other people, and wear a mask as a sign of respect for others when you interact with them. Hand washing and disinfectant stations are everywhere now, take advantage of them. Enjoy Kyiv safely as we finally move into the summer season.
3. Avakov resists calls for him to quit. Ukraine’s powerful Interior Minister is coming under public pressure to stand down from his post. The Kharkiv native whose net worth is estimated to be in the region of $100 million, has managed to shrug off previous calls for reseignation, even in the wake of a (recorded) scandal involving his son, government contracts for backpacks for the National Guard, and kickbacks. However, the Golos political party called for a rally outside Parliament a few days ago and it was well attended. However, President Zelenskyy is still standing by the man he inherited and shouldn’t naturally have a great deal of loyalty to.
4. The western Ukrainian city of Lviv was just awarded a gold medal for their environmental and social best practices from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The EBRD has long been one of Ukraine’s key partners and largest investors. They have worked together with the city of Lviv in developing a number of initiatives to help make the city as green as possible. As a result of the success of these projects, the city is predicted to save 360,000 tons of CO2 per year, which will have the same effect as either planting 5.9 million trees or taking 76,000 cars off the road. Sounds like an ideal place to visit given our presently limited travel opportunities!
5. Donald Trump is often dealing with the fallout from various self-inflicted issues, and even though he has his hands full at the moment with the number of deaths from COVID-19 and with the racial equality protests breaking out across the country, he still managed to find another way to add to his woes. With the US being the next country to host the G7 summit Trump thought, as the organiser, it would be fine for him to invite his buddy Vladimir Putin along too. His house, his rules, right? Only, no. Russia was expelled from what was the G8 because of their annexation and illegal occupation of Crimea, and Trump really should have polled the other G7 members ahead of extending that invitation. Both the UK and Canada have sternly rebuked the idea of Putin getting anywhere near the G7 anytime soon.