Ukraine's SBU said on Friday night they had stopped an attempted cyber attack against an important chlorine distribution plant in Dnipropetrovsk. Security officials said they thwarted an attack on network equipment belonging to LLC Aulska – a company that distributes chlorine to clean water and treat sewage. Hackers attempted to upload VPNFilter malware into systems. "Specialists from our server security service established that systems had deliberately been infected by malware originating from Russia," the SBU said in a statement on their Facebook page.
In related news, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has approved an action plan for 2018 to improve cyber-security for Ukraine. Against the backdrop of conflict in Donbas, Ukraine has become a cyber-security front line, experts have said. Frequent attacks on Ukrainian networks amount to a “massive, coordinated cyber invasion,” one analyst recently told the UBJ. But the challenge for Ukraine also presents interesting opportunities for the private sector. "Cyber-security is currently one of the most important areas of private-public partnership," said one Swedish IT executive visiting Kyiv for a conference. It's understood that improving private-public partnerships are an important part of Ukraine's improved cyber-security strategy -- Kyiv looks to wean itself off of support from the U.S. Military and State Department and be more reliant on Ukrainian tech expertise, a source familiar tells the UBJ.
Ukraine and France have signed an agreement that sees Ukraine acquire 55 Airbus helicopters from the French company. French banks and the French treasury will cover 85 percent of the EUR 555 million acquisition, but only four of the helicopters will be delivered this year, French media report. The helicopters will be used by for state aviation security and protection, according to government statements. The deal was signed in Kyiv this Saturday in a ceremony attended by the Prime Minister, Interior Minister and the French Ambassador to Ukraine. The deal has been marked by some controversy, with some politicians and commentators here in Ukraine saying that the contract should've gone to a Ukrainian aerospace company in order to protect Ukrainian jobs and get better value for money.
The Kyiv city administration has approved the first stage of construction for a new Syretsko-Pecherskaya metro line to the city's outer Vinogradar district, beyond Podil. Planners have said, as reported in Ukrainian media, that the first stages of construction will take three years and cost an estimated USD $240 million. The project will initially involve laying new track over 3.7 kilometers and building two brand new stations: Mostitskaya and Prospect Pravda. Three Ukrainian companies have already registered for the construction tender through ProZorro: Interbudtonel, Kyivmetrostroy and Construction Company Adamant.
No update on $2 billion Chinese-funded metro line for Kyiv, since deal was inked in November 2017. Sources familiar with the deal say that parties are undertaking due diligence and that an update on the deal can be expected soon. China Railway International will build a new 20 kilometer line that links Kyiv's residential district of Troyeschyna with the central business district. Chinese loans will cover 85 percent of the $2 billion cost. The majority shareholder China Railway International is state-owned China Railway Engineering Corporation, the largest construction company in the world.
The ICU investment group has acquired Transgarent-Ukraine, a subsidiary of the Russian FESCO group's railway operator Firm Transgarant LLC. The deal was made through Cyprus Aina Management Ltd, reports Interfax Ukraine.
Ukraine's only producer of zinc-oxide (ZnO) is up for sale, according to the broker managing the deal. The UKRZINC chemical and metallurgical plant in Bila Tserkva, just outside Kyiv, is up for sale for USD $3 million, says the broker. The facility currently produces 350 tons of zinc oxide per month or around 4000 tons per year, according to the company website. The factory's facilities, spread over 1.2 hectares, include multiple furnaces, railway access, a power substation, and 600 square meters of office space. The company didn't respond to a request for comment.
Parliament here has passed the first reading of a bill to strengthen control on movement and use of foreign-registered vehicles. Some car manufacturers here in Ukraine are critical of the amount of foreign vehicles that are able to cross into the country. Car manufacturing in Ukraine is on the road to recovery, but some executives in the sector point to an influx of foreign vehicles into Ukraine as stifling recovery. “Unfortunately it's still cheaper to go to the EU and buy a used car,” said one manufacturing executive in a recent interview with the UBJ. “We have to control the influx of foreign-plated vehicles into Ukraine if our own manufacturing and retail is to continue recovering,” he added. “In Moldova, for example, there are strict controls on allowing imports – this is important because many foreign vehicles coming into Ukraine don't pay tax and this is lost revenue to our industry and to the state.”
Russian hackers rely on Bitcoin to finance their hacking activities, federal prosecutors in the United States have said. Twelve Russians were indicted on Friday for conspiracy to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. The hackers used bitcoin to finance their operations, CBS News reported. “They did the same thing in Ukraine,” said an expert cited in the CBS report. "In fact, the Russians probably used Ukraine as a testing ground before the cyber attacks on the United States.”
Odesa continues to present investment opportunities for foreign investors, regardless of the size of their budget. According to an agent in Kyiv who brokers international mergers and acquisitions, container terminals, transportation hubs and warehouses are for sale throughout Ukraine's south-eastern Odessa region. In one such example, a 50 percent equity stake in a large container terminal is currently up for sale to an international investor for USD $3.2 million.
In the latest update from the ongoing Ukraine-Ryanair saga, Kyiv Boryspil Airport and the Irish low-cost air carrier have "agreed" on a schedule of flights. Ukrainians and foreigners will be able to fly from Kyiv and Lviv to 220 international destinations starting from this autumn, UNIAN reports. “Airport Boryspil, which was recently recognized as one of the best airports in Europe in terms of its growth, has agreed all service slots with Ryanair, and starting autumn, Ukrainians and foreigners will be able to fly from Kyiv and Lviv to about 20 destinations for fabulous prices, ultra-low for Ukraine. Ukraine is open to the world and the world is open for Ukraine,” writes Ukraine's Minister for Infrastructure, Volodymyr Omelyan on Facebook.