• On Sunday, the first day of the visa-free regime with the Schengen zone, 1,894 Ukrainians traveled to the EU without visas, the State Border Services reported. Of this group, 78% went by automobile, and 22% went by airplane. Poland was the top destination, accounting for 63% of visa-free travelers. About five citizens were denied entry, largely for previous violations.
•Over 20,000 new biometric passports are being issued in Ukraine every day, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov tild Ukrinform. He attributed this high level, a record, to Ukrainians’ habit of delaying to the last minute.
• Ukraine and the EU have agreed to align their aviation safety standards, ruaviainsider.com reported. This move follows a certification agreementbetween the European Commission and State Aviation Administration of Ukraine set up on 16 January this year.
• Russian citizens may soon need biometric passports to visit Ukraine, Interfax-Ukraine reported. According to Iryna Gerashchenko, First Deputy Parliamentary Speaker, biometric passports will enable Ukraine to identify Russian citizens who illegally entered Crimea and Donbas.
• Lithuania will help Ukraine block initiatives on expanding the Nord Stream gas pipeline connecting Russia and Germany, the Baltic Times reported. The proposed gas pipeline would diminish Ukraine’s importance as a transit country.
• Ukraine and Russia are both expecting bumper wheat crops this season, producer.com reported. According to the website, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting 67 million tons of Russian wheat, and 25 million tons of Ukrainian wheat.
• Ukraine exported 3,271 tons of cheese in January-March 2017, 22,7% higher than in the same period last year, Interfax Ukraine reported. The rise in exports correlates with a 48.5% rise in monetary terms, to $11.35 million.
• Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have become the major oil suppliers to Ukraine. According to trend.az, Azerbaijan accounts for 83.4% of Ukraine’s oil imports, and Kazakhstan – 12.6%.
• A Canadian company broke ground on a solar panel project in Nikopol on Friday, the Ukrainian league of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs reported. TIU Canada Ltd. opened the 10-megawatt solar energy plant at Nikopol Ferroalloy plant.
• In the latest easing of currency controls, the National Bank of Ukraine has eased regulations on legal entities investing abroad, Interfax-Ukraine reported. Businesses may now invest up to $2 million under one currency license for one calendar year, up from $50,000 previously.
• Around $11.48 billion in cash circulates in Ukraine outside the Ukrainian banking system. Yakov Smolii, acting Head of the National Bank of Ukraine, told Unian this issue increases the burden on his bank and feeds the shadow economy.
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