Archive for April, 2011

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Sticking with immigration – Ukraine toughens its laws on foreigners

April 30, 2011

Well dear readers, is this move to progress towards the EU road map for Visa free travel or is it for other reasons?

Interfax-Ukraine
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has signed a law of amendments to certain legislative acts of Ukraine on migration issues, which was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on April 5, 2011, taking into account the amendments earlier submitted by the head of state.

According to the presidential press service, decree No.3186-VI on amendments to certain legislative acts of Ukraine on migration issues was signed on Thursday.

On April 5, the Ukrainian parliament agreed with all proposals made by Yanukovych, and 301 lawmakers voted for the law on amendments to certain legislative acts of Ukraine on migration issues. In particular, the deputies agreed with the president’s proposals to include provisions in the text of the law that administrative liability does not arise if individuals do not come to a definite place of study or employment for good reason.

On January 13, 2011, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a law aimed at strengthening the fight against illegal migration and strengthening legal liability in the sphere of migration. On February 3, Yanukovych returned to parliament for reconsideration the law on amendments to certain legislative acts of Ukraine on migration issues.

According to the law adopted on January 13, “the entry of foreigners and stateless persons to Ukraine is not permitted in the interests of ensuring Ukraine’s security or public order if it is necessary to protect the rights and legitimate interests of Ukrainian citizens, protect their health and ensure environmental safety.”

Also, the entry to Ukraine may be denied if foreigners or stateless persons deliberately provide untrue information about themselves or fake or spoilt documents. In addition, the entry to Ukraine may be denied if there were facts of the violation by foreigners or stateless persons of Ukrainian legislation during their previous stay in Ukraine.

I can’t see anything too bad in these amendments and as far as the EU is concerned it would seem to be a step in the right direction to protect the eastern EU states from illegal migration and asylum seekers transiting Ukraine en route.

The only note of caution for Ukraine is that to be used as a buffer state by the EU relating to illegals and asylum seekers conveniently leaves Ukraine with these people’s human rights problems…..and another stick for the EU to beat Ukraine with when necessary.

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US and EU simplifying Visa system for Ukrainians

April 29, 2011

Well dear readers, if you happen to be Ukrainian there is some good news.

With effect from 20 April, those of you who have had a US Visa in the past 12 months no longer need to travel to Kyiv to be interviewed each time when getting a new US Visa.

US Visa

Interfax-Ukraine
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has said that the United States has unilaterally simplified its visa regime for Ukrainians, and citizens who obtained visas a year ago will not now have to be interviewed to obtain them again.

Ministry spokesperson Oleksandr Dykusarov said at a briefing on Wednesday that in order to implement the agreements reached after the third session of the United States-Ukraine Commission on Strategic Partnership, the heads of the consular services of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine had held a working meeting at the ministry on April 7 this year.

“In the context of the further liberalization of the visa regime and the deepening of interpersonal contacts, the U.S. side has announced its unilateral decision to cancel from April 20 this year for the citizens of Ukraine who have already received U.S. visas in the last 12 months the need to have an interview during further applications for several types of visas,” he said.

Dykusarov also noted that according to the statistics of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, “more than 10% of the total number of potential applicants” would qualify for this simplification.

 

Not to be out-done, the EU during the 5-6 May summit will further simplify the Visa system for Ukrainians from its current situation.
Interfax-Ukraine
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has said that Kyiv and Brussels will on May 5-6, 2011 begin talks on expanding the list of categories of Ukrainian citizens who will be given visas under a simplified procedure, ministry spokesperson Oleksandr Dykusarov has said.

“The first talks with the European Commission will be held in Brussels on May 5-6 this year on the introduction of amendments to the visa facilitation agreement between Ukraine and the EU,” he said at a briefing on Wednesday, adding that the issue concerns the extension of the list of categories of Ukrainian citizens who will qualify for simplified visa procedures.

 

Schengen Visa

That said, the removal of Visa’s for Ukrainian visiting the EU seems very likely in the next 12 months anyway.

Anyway, good news for all those who do not live in Kyiv as there will be less and less need to go to Kyiv for interviews.

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Political fallout over Chernobyl commemoration invitations

April 28, 2011

Well here is a dilemma.  25 years ago Chernobyl exploded and caused a massive environmental disaster.  Everyone knows this.  It also sits very near the Belarus border, which unless you live in these here parts may escape your attention.

Undoubtedly Belarus suffered greatly from the effects of Chernobyl just as Ukraine did.

It is therefore a delicate matter not to invite the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko,  to the 25th anniversary commemorations given the shared tragedy.  However invited he was not.

President Lukashenko - Belarus

Why was he not invited given that his nation shared the environmental and health fallout from Chernobyl?  The answer is that the EU President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso said he would not attend if the Belarusian President did.

Very difficult position for the leadership of Ukraine.  In effect do you snub the leader of a nation with whom you share a major tragedy and lasting legacy and welcome your future, or do you snub your future to share the pain of the past with a fellow sufferer?

The decision was made to look forwards and not back.  Thus Mr Barroso came to the Ukrainian nuclear safety meetings and Chernobyl commemorations and President Lukashenko was not invited.

This prompted the Belorussian President to state “Ask Yanukovych that question – why was the Belarusian President not at these events? You should ask them. Unfortunately the current leadership of Ukraine is a lousy one,” when asked why he wasn’t attending.

Not a statement to encourage interaction without your immediate neighbour.  That said, he saved his more pointed comments for Jose Manuel Barroso and the EU.  “On the subjects of bastards like Barroso and others – who is Barroso anyway? There was a Barroso in Portugal. But they kicked him out and put him to work in the European Commission. The last thing I want to know about European officials is who said this or that. There are thousands of them,” he added.

“They’re all crooks. So I don’t want to talk about any Barrosos or other bastards like that.”

So did Mr Barroso manipulate the Ukrainian leadership to choose between his attendance and that of President Lukashenko?  Looking at the fourth from bottom paragraph of this, it seems he did.

Mr Barosso

As benign as this incident really is, it would seem to be yet another pointer towards the EU future and not the ex-Soviet past.  Someone in Brussels no doubt considers this a major political victory.

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Look out for falling masonry when shopping in Odessa

April 27, 2011

Well dear readers, nobody was hurt, but it seems about 100m2 of ceiling fell down inside the Simya shopping centre in Odessa.

I will provide the link to the Interfax-Ukraine report so you can see for yourself what the Simya shopping centre does not look like.  Quite why the photograph is of the Opera House…..well…….

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Ukraine leads the way in atomic security…..according to the USA

April 27, 2011

Well dear readers, Ukraine leads the way in nuclear security according to Rose Gottermoeller, US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance.

She must have quite a large business card to fit that lot on me-thinks.

It is to be hoped she is right considering the rapid tour de force that Ukraine is now embarked upon to update the paperwork relating to the transportation of nuclear waste through Ukrainian territory in accordance with the IAEA regulations with the post Soviet states.

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Pharma in Ukraine

April 26, 2011

Well, not quite big pharma, but certainly a large pharmaceutical  company Nycomed are coming to Ukraine.  Nycomed have done a deal with Kusum Pharm Plant Ltd in Sumy to send the medicine Actovegin here for packaging.

Every little helps as far as the economy and jobs are concerned.

It would be good to read such stories every day wouldn’t it?

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More questions than answers

April 25, 2011

Well dear readers some statements raise more questions than answers.  Statements like this one for example.

Why only Zaporizhia and not Chernobyl, Rivne, or Mikolyiev?  Are the geological conditions far worse at Zaporizhia?  Is it a natural geological hazard or a man made one given the highly industrial nature of the location?

Interesting eh?

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