• The number of passengers are trains between Ukraine and Europe is up eightfold this year, compared to the first seven months of last year. From January to July, Ukrzaliznytsia carried 138,500 passengers Ukraine-EU-Ukraine. By contrast, ridership on trains to Russia has plunged to 1.1 million for January to July. If 2 million are carried this year, it would be 20 percent of levels in 2013. There are no air flights between Ukraine and Russia. There are flights from Ukraine to dozens of European cities.
• By mid-August, 3.1 million tourists have visited Kherson region since May 1, more than the number of tourists visiting its southern neighbor Crimea, which was annexed by Russia three years ago. Andriy Hordeyev, head of the regional government told Ukrinform: “Putin reported that 2.5 million tourists visited Crimea, and we already have 3.1 million.” Since annexation, the number of mainland Ukrainians visiting Crimea has dropped from 4 million to 200,000 today.
• Next year, the nation’s road repair budget will increase by 50 percent, to over $1 billion, President Petro Poroshenko said while opening a repaired bridge across the Seversky Donets River in Izium, Kharkiv region. He said that this year’s road repair budget is double last year’s level.
• During the first half of this year in Ukraine, more renewable energy plants were commissioned – 126.5 MW -- than during all of last year – 121 MW, according to the State Department of Energy Efficiency. So far this year, most new projects are solar --118.1 MW. Biogas accounts for 5.5 MW. Small hydro accounts for 2.9 MW.
• The State Property Fund has received one bid for today’s auction to sell 25 percent of Sumyoblenergo. Auctions to sell 25% of shares in Odesaoblenergo and Donbasenergo were cancelled this week due to a lack of bids. In auctions over the last week, Ornex, part of SCM Group, purchased 25% shares in Zakhidenergo, in Kyivenergo and in Donetskoblenergo.
• Ukrnafta, Ukraine’s largest oil producer, will cuts in investment program by $500 million and layoff up to 1,500 employees because of the government’s non renewal of nine oil and gas production licenses. Ukrnafta owes about $500 million in back taxes, according to the State Fiscal Service. Naftogaz of Ukraine owns 50% + 1 share of Ukrnafta, and a group of companies tied to former PrivatBank owners, Igor Kolomoisky and Genadiy Bogolyubov, own about 42% of shares.
• During the first half of this year, Ukraine cut Russia’s share of nuclear fuel supplies from 58 percent to 49 percent. The rest of Ukraine’s nuclear fuel comes from a Westinghouse plant in Sweden. For security reasons, Energoatom is working to cut purchases from Russia. This year Russian fuel costs $1.3 million per ton, 65 percent more than fuel from Sweden.
• Ukrzaliznytsya, the state railroad, will hold a tender in October for 2,755 ‘gondola’ cars for hauling coal. The contract is estimated to be worth around $115 million. The railroad is trying to catch up on years of deferred maintenance and purchases.
• Russia annually supplies about 10 million tons of coal to Ukraine and expects to keep this market, Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky told reporters in Moscow. Yanovsky was commenting on the first shipment to Ukraine of coal from the United States. Ukraine’s Centerenergo has contracted Xcoal Energy & Resources of Pennsylvania to about 700 thousand tons of anthracite coal by the end of this year.
• In a signal to the Rada and to the IMF, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said he is confident that the Rada will support pension changes demanded by the International Monetary Fund in return for a new loan tranche, estimated to be at $1 billion. On July 13, the parliament voted for the reform package at first reading.
For comments or story tips, please contact UBJ Editor in Chief James Brooke at email@example.com