Ukraine Bank – Pivdencom Bank Sat, 18 Sep 2021 01:21:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ukraine Bank – Pivdencom Bank 32 32 Durham prosecution faces hurdles in DC court Fri, 17 Sep 2021 17:13:03 +0000

It took less than five hours for the jury to acquit Craig after a two-and-a-half-week trial, with some jurors saying they suspected politics were at work in the decision to go after the Democratic lawyer for long time.

Sussmann’s case could produce similar sentiments. Prosecutors argue that Perkins Coie’s former partner – who left the cabinet on Thursday – was working for the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee at the time of a September 2016 meeting with the FBI’s top lawyer. According to the indictment, Sussmann lied to the office when he said he was not speaking to them on behalf of any clients.

The similarities go further, with both cases bringing up murky memories of an in-person meeting that was not recorded or transcribed, as well as questions about whether the defendants were acting on their own or on behalf of the accused. ‘other people who were running several times. million dollar legal bills.

The stakes in Sussmann’s case extend far beyond his own fortune: a conviction could back former President Donald Trump’s claims that the Russian investigation was illegitimate and politically motivated. Conversely, an acquittal would suggest that Durham’s investigation revealed little wrongdoing.

In a brief appearance in federal court in Washington on Friday, Sussmann pleaded not guilty through one of his attorneys and was released on $ 100,000 bail.

Sussmann’s attorneys declined to comment on parallels to Craig’s case or Friday’s proceedings. However, they argued in a statement Thursday that politics had infected the decision to indict Sussmann.

“Michael Sussmann was charged today because of politics, not facts,” defense attorneys Sean Berkowitz and Michael Bosworth said. “This case is the opposite of everything the Department of Justice is supposed to stand for. Mr. Sussmann will fight this baseless and politically inspired pursuit.

Sussmann’s attorneys did not expand on their politically motivated claims, but did suggest that Durham – a career prosecutor who was granted special advocate status last year by Attorney General Bill Barr – was complying with the Trump’s public demands that Durham’s probe into Trump’s origins -Russian investigation shows tangible results beyond guilty plea obtained last year by low-level FBI lawyer who admitted to tampering an email.

Despite the appointment of Durham’s special advocate, Attorney General Merrick Garland could have stopped Sussmann’s indictment. But that would have sparked a report to Congress and an inevitable political storm.

Former U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance said she suspected Garland had decided to rely on career prosecutors to decide whether or not to file the case.

“There were definitely actions that weighed in favor of allowing a career person to make billing decisions,” said Vance.

Vance also said she believed prosecutors might have a hard time getting a guilty verdict against Sussmann “unless the evidence in this case is much better than what has been reported.”

Vance called the charge “very difficult to understand, especially compared to other cases involving false statements in court or in Congress that the Department of Justice has passed on to prosecution.”

The Sussmann case revolves around an exchange with James Baker, the FBI general counsel at the time, at office headquarters. Baker took no notes, although an FBI colleague who did not attend the session wrote that Baker said Sussmann said he was not appearing on behalf of any client when relaying the information. on possible IT links between Trump and a Russian bank.

Craig’s accusation was largely based on his statements during a meeting with staff members of the Department of Justice’s Foreign Agent Registration Act unit in October 2013. The problem was work. by Craig on a report for the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice on the country’s handling of the trial of a former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko.

As more people attended the meeting, including two of Craig’s colleagues at law firm Skadden Arps, memories of what was said varied. One of Craig’s colleagues took notes, but no notes taken by government officials were ever found.

Some longtime legal analysts have said prosecutors may misjudge the strength of cases involving allegations of misrepresentation to government investigators.

“You can get angry if you think someone is lying to you, even if the evidence is weak,” said Stuart Taylor, former New York Times reporter, lawyer and friend of Craig.

Craig’s billing became something of an alibi during his trial. Prosecutors said it was obvious Craig Craig’s huge business was paid – largely by a Ukrainian oligarch – for the report, which motivated his work. The public relations effort included his willingness to preview the report for prominent New York Times reporter David Sanger and discussions with other reporters.

However, Craig argued at trial that he was protecting his own interests and those of his business – not his client – by reaching out to Sanger and others. To substantiate his claim, Craig said he did not charge Ukraine for time spent talking to Sanger or other reporters.

“Did you bill the Justice Department for the time you spent talking to reporters?” Asked defense lawyer William Taylor.

“No,” Craig said. “I was not working for Ukraine at the time.”

Sussmann’s case could spark a similar dispute. The grand jury indictment prepared by prosecutors in Durham argues that Sussmann billed the Clinton campaign for his discussion with Baker of the FBI, but Sussmann’s attorneys disputed this.

A more fundamental question surrounding the two cases is whether jurors will take a misrepresentation charge seriously in the absence of another accused crime.

During opening statements in the Craig case, Taylor drew a reprimand from the judge for seeking to play down the misrepresentation charge by telling jurors it “was not a case of theft, assault. or even corruption “.

Sussmann’s lawyers are already disputing Durham’s claims about the case, including the indictment’s suggestion that Sussmann intentionally relayed inaccurate or unreliable information in order to build an anti-Trump “narrative”.

“The special advocate appears to be using this indictment to advance a conspiracy theory that he has chosen not to actually charge,” Berkowitz and Bosworth wrote. “Stripped of its political bluster, innuendo and irrelevant detail, what is striking about the indictment allegations is the few that actually relate to the indictment that the special council chose to wear.

While the similarities are striking, there are some differences between the cases.

Although Craig was charged under the same misrepresentation law, he was technically not charged with making a false statement. Instead, prosecutors accused him of violating a part of the law that prohibits schemes to deceive the government.

Craig also carried with him a reputation and a history that few Washington lawyers would be able to muster. At his trial, his lawyers bragged about their 74-year-old client’s half-century of work, including stints at registering African-American voters in the South during the civil rights movement. The judge allowed Craig to call four character witnesses, including a retired judge from Georgia who worked on anti-war efforts with Craig in the 1960s.

Sussmann, 57, has a solid reputation as a former federal prosecutor and cybersecurity expert, but he is unlikely to receive the support Craig had during his trial.

However, Sussmann has some advantages that Craig did not have. A DC jury is unlikely to view Sussmann’s clients – the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and a tech expert – as nefarious forces. Craig’s lucrative work for Ukraine, by contrast, was seen as reckless by some of his allies in human rights circles. and aligned him with figures like GOP lobbyist Paul Manafort.

Some lawyers watching the Sussmann saga have also compared it to the Justice Department’s lawsuits against former Sen. John Edwards for expenses of nearly $ 1 million that his supporters paid for a campaign videographer who is became pregnant with Edwards’ child following an extramarital affair.

This case was defended by a US Republican lawyer, George Holding, who brought charges against Edwards at the start of the Obama administration. Although many legal experts and former prosecutors viewed the case as flawed, dismissing the charges would have led to a political spectacle, much like the one that would have erupted if Garland had dismissed Durham’s proposed indictment against Sussmann. .

The Obama appointees ultimately approved the case against Edwards, but in a 2012 trial, a North Carolina jury was deadlocked on most of the charges. The Justice Department quickly decided not to proceed with a new trial.

Holding resigned shortly after Edwards’ indictment. Capitalizing on publicity, the former prosecutor ran for Congress and won the House election. He served four terms, but declined to stand for re-election last year.

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Ukrainian lawmakers pass bill to legalize crypto Fri, 17 Sep 2021 08:57:52 +0000

Ukraine Latest Country To Prepare For Cryptocurrencies As It Seeks To Grant Freedom To Crypto-Oriented Business And Exchanges

For some time, ambiguity has reigned over the legality of digital assets in Ukraine. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are in a gray area with no apparent law to define their status. However, as the Kyiv Post reports, the darkness seems to be coming to an end after Ukrainian lawmakers passed a bill to legalize cryptocurrencies. The bill also aims to regulate the cryptocurrency industry in the country.

“This law regulates the legal relations arising from the rotation of virtual assets in Ukraine, defines the rights and obligations of participants in the virtual asset market and the principles of state policy in the field of virtual assets. the bill reads.

Second reading of the crypto bill passed by a nearly unanimous vote with 276 supporters and just six lawmakers opposing it. The next stop for the bill is the office of President Volodymyr Zelensky. The niche of the Ukrainian crypto landscape will finally see some order if the president promulgates it.

Entities in the crypto industry will be able to operate freely, starting with international blockchain companies, which will be able to enter the country’s crypto scene. Companies will also be allowed to work directly with traditional banking institutions.

Crypto owners will also be among the beneficiaries of the law, if approved, according to Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation for IT Development Alex Bornyakov. The law will provide them with legal remedies and protection in the event that their property is stolen.

The deputy minister noted that the legislation would play a crucial role in stimulating growth within the Ukrainian crypto space. The bill means that Ukrainian entities could manage international crypto exchanges, as these institutions comply with registration procedures and reporting requirements.

The implementation of the bill will create the National Virtual Assets Regulatory Service (NVARS) responsible for licensing crypto companies in the European country. In addition, the Ministry of Digital Transformation will be responsible for overseeing the market, receiving assistance from the National Commission for Securities and Stock Markets and the National Bank of Ukraine in some cases.

It is important to note that consumers who can legally own crypto would not signify the authenticity of crypto as legal tender or a method of payment. The hryvnia, the national currency of Ukraine, will retain its sovereignty in these transactions.

However, even with the acceptance of Bitcoin in Ukraine, experts still fear that establishing too many regulations could put the brakes on the still-evolving crypto space and its associated activities.

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The 8 most notorious malware attacks of all time Thu, 16 Sep 2021 20:00:00 +0000

The first known computer virus, Brain, in 1986, developed by brothers Amjad and Basit Farooq Alvi of Pakistan, originated as an anti-hacking tool. However, not all malware since then has had ethical motives. Some have become important parts of history due to the sophistication of their codes, which continue to impress scholars to this day.

So what are the most notorious malware attacks that have changed the way we use and know computers?

What are the common types of malware attacks?

Hackers use 11 common types of malware attacks for the purpose of data theft and other illegal activities. Here are the common types that you are most likely to encounter.

  • Advertising software—Advertising-supported software that delivers unwanted and often malicious advertisements without user consent.
  • Ransomware—Encryption-based malware that disables access to user data with a ransom note.
  • Spyware—Secretly collects personal and sensitive information about a person or organization.
  • Trojans—Malware is often disguised as a legitimate tool designed to access user data.
  • Toward—Malicious computer worms typically spread copies of itself from computer to computer, often through victims’ email contacts.
  • Keyloggers—A powerful tool to steal user information by logging keystrokes on victims’ computers.
  • Rootkits—A secret computer program to give hackers remote access to a victim’s computer without being detected.

8 most notorious malware attacks of all time

most destructive malware attacks

Here are some of the worst malware attacks you need to know about. Because knowledge is your first line of defense.

1. Emotet, Trojan (2018): King of Malware

In 2021, law enforcement and judicial authorities disrupted what is billed as the world’s most dangerous malware, Emotet. It is a computer malware, detected for the first time in 2014 and which mainly targets banking and healthcare establishments.

Emotet rose to fame in 2018 after infecting Fürstenfeldbruck hospital in Germany, forcing them to shut down 450 computers. That same year, the US Department of Homeland and Security identified it as one of the most destructive malware.

It spreads through Outlook Harvest, where the Trojan reads the emails from the victim’s computer and sends phishing emails containing a Word document to the victim’s contacts, giving the impression that the content comes from a reliable source.

2. WannaCry, Ransomware (2017)

wannacry ransomwre

Even someone who hasn’t been directly affected or is not up to date on cybersecurity has noticed WannaCry. In May 2017, a ransomware attack took the cyber world by storm targeting computers running Microsoft Windows.

With around 0.2 million victims and over 0.3 million computers infected, it was particularly controversial for its spread. Hackers reportedly used EternalBlue, a National Investigation Agency (NSA) exploit for old Windows systems stolen in 2016 and disclosed by The Shadow Broker group to carry out the attack.

Also read: What is ransomware and how to remove it?

Once infected, WannaCry encrypts the files on the PC hard drive, denying access to all system data. In return, the victim is forced to pay a ransom via Bitcoin to decrypt their data. In a major attack, a new variant forced Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to temporarily shut down its manufacturing facilities to control the spread in 2018.

3. Petya / NotPetya, Ransomware (2017)

In June 2017, the internet woke up to an enhanced ransomware attack that spread like wildfire, leaving affected systems unusable. Ransomware Petya (and its variant, NotPetya) uses the same EternalBlue exploit as WannaCry to remotely infect unsuspecting victims via an email phishing attack.

The malware first appeared in March 2016, but rose to prominence after targeting banking and other institutions, primarily in Ukraine and Russia, in 2017.

Related: 5 Sure Things That Will Get You Targeted By Ransomware

Petya is different from other ransomware variants as it targets Master Boot Record (MBR) in addition to system file encryption. Like all ransomware attacks, the user had to pay said amount in Bitcoin; however, the virus did not have a decryption code to restore data.

4. Stuxnet, Ver (2010)

In one of the most sophisticated and controversial cyber attacks of all time, Stuxnet, a malicious computer worm, is said to have targeted the Iranian nuclear facility. According to a NY Times report, this worm was developed through cooperation between the Israeli Secret Service and the US National Security Agency, although neither country has openly taken responsibility for it.

Stuxnet was originally designed to target Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) used to automate the electromechanical and machine process. It was also one of the first known cases of a computer program capable of breaking hardware.

Although Stuxnet was reportedly designed to expire in June 2012, since then other malware based on its code and characteristics has continued to wreak havoc in the industrial setup, suggesting that Frankenstein’s monster has spread to- beyond the control of the creator.

5. Zeus, Trojan Horse (2007)


Zeus, also known as Zbot, is a Trojan horse discovered in 2007 after the cyberattack on the US Department of Transportation. It uses the browser keystroke logging and form entry method to steal banking information.

A key ability of Zeus is to create a botnet made up of infected machines. In 2009, Zeus reportedly compromised more than 74,000 FTP accounts, including banking, government and private entities, such as Bank of America, NASA,, ABC, Oracle, Cisco, and Amazon. It had also infected 3.6 million PCs in the United States this year alone.

Even though the threat has diminished since the alleged retirement of the original creator of Zeus, the virus still lives in many variations based on its source code.

6. Storm Worm, Trojan Horse (2007)

As severe storms hit Europe in January 2007, thousands of users received a malicious email disguised as a weather report containing updates. As unsuspected victims opened email attachments, Storm Worm, a Trojan horse malware, spread to no less than a million computers in Europe and America.

Strom Worm is a misnomer, as it had the characteristics of a Trojan horse and a worm. Combining several layers of attacks, once infected it would download a bunch of executable files on affected systems.

These files have been used to perform a variety of functions, including stealing sensitive user information, distributing spam emails to spread malware, and initiating Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

After investigation, the origin of Strom Worm was traced to Russia, and the Russian Business Network is often credited with the attack. The group allegedly used the sophisticated botnet as a rental product against anti-spam websites, among others.

7. Mydoom, Ver (2004)

my destiny

Financially, Mydoom is known to be the worst and costliest virus outbreak in history, causing $ 38 billion in damage in 2004. After initial detection on January 26, 2004, it became the worm. fastest of all time, a record it holds even in 2021.

Mydoom targeted computers running Microsoft Windows, where infected systems created network openings, allowing it to be accessed remotely. The worm would scratch email addresses and spread the virus to the victim’s contacts.

The process would repeat itself for each infected system, eventually sending them into a botnet used to perform DDoS attacks.

8. SQL Slammer, Ver (2003)

By exploiting a buffer overflow vulnerability in Microsoft SQL Server 2000, the SQL Slammer worm caused DoS for many hosts, ultimately slowing down systems worldwide.

Considered the fastest-spreading computer malware in history, SQL Slammer, a 376-byte malicious code, relied on the buffer overflow bug to infect SQL servers and systems running an unpatched version of Microsoft SQL Server 2000.

Despite the scale of the attack, the damage was limited to the crash of SQL servers, crippling the Internet. This included the removal of Bank of America’s 13,000 ATMs and cell phone coverage outages affecting 27 million people. Because the code was not written to disk, infected systems were backed up and ready to go after a reboot.

Protect yourself from online threats

Malware attacks like Storm Worm and SQL Slammer have served as a double-edged sword. While they have shown the potential of cyber attacks, they have also led to improvements in online security.

Despite this, the basics of malware prevention have largely remained the same. Keep your computer and other devices up to date, use a non-administrative account if possible, don’t download pirated software or pirated content from shady sites, and use anti-virus software.

10 steps to follow when you discover malware on your computer

Getting malware on your computer is a huge security risk. Here’s what you can do to limit the damage if this happens.

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Former associate of Giuliani Igor Fruman guilty of campaign charge | Courts news Fri, 10 Sep 2021 18:57:10 +0000

Fruman and his partner Lev Parnas covered up an illegal donation of $ 325,000 to support Donald Trump’s re-election campaign in 2020.

Igor Fruman, who tried to find damaging information in Ukraine on then-US presidential candidate Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election, pleaded guilty on Friday to one count in a campaign finance case.

Fruman, 56, a former partner of former US President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, admitted at a hearing in US District Court in New York City to having solicited money from a national foreigner.

Fruman becomes the last person associated with Trump to face criminal charges. Eight others were charged or pleaded guilty to crimes including lying to Congress, obstructing justice, lying to the FBI, conspiracy, tampering with witnesses, and bank and tax fraud.

Belarus-born Fruman and his former business partner, Ukrainian-born businessman Lev Parnas, were accused in October 2019 of concealing an illegal donation of $ 325,000 to support Trump’s re-election campaign in 2020.

They and another defendant, Andrey Kukushkin, have also been accused of illegally using donations to American politicians from a Russian businessman to obtain legal licenses to distribute cannabis for recreational purposes.

Fruman’s plea relates to this endeavor. In a court statement, Fruman said he had considered making donations to Democratic and Republican officials in U.S. states where he wished to operate and sent a list of those officials to the foreign national.

“At that time, I had little experience with the rules around political donations,” Fruman said.

“But I generally understood that foreign nationals and individuals who are not US citizens were not allowed to make political donations in the United States.”

“I deeply regret my actions and apologize to the court and the United States government,” he added.

A federal prosecutor said $ 1 million was transferred as part of the scheme.

Lawyers for Parnas and Kukushkin did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Reuters news service.

Parnas and Kukushkin have pleaded not guilty and are due on October 12.

Former President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani met with Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC on September 20, 2019. [File: Aram Roston/Reuters]

Fruman’s plea does not include a cooperation agreement with prosecutors reviewing Giuliani’s transactions in Ukraine, including whether the former New York mayor violated lobbying laws while serving as personal attorney for Trump.

Giuliani had enlisted Fruman and Parnas to help uncover the filth on then-presidential candidate Biden and his son, Hunter.

Prosecutors said Fruman and Parnas also contributed to an effort to remove then-US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who Trump sacked in May 2019.

Giuliani has not been charged and has denied any wrongdoing.

Federal agents seized cell phones and computers during searches of his home and office in April.

Giuliani’s New York law license was suspended in June after a court ruled he lied, arguing that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

The case against Parnas included a charge that he convinced people to invest more than $ 2 million in a fraudulent insurance company, Fraud Guarantee, but prosecutors withdrew that charge last month from an act of charge amended.

A fourth defendant, David Correia, pleaded guilty to a fraud guarantee conspiracy charge and was sentenced in February to one year and one day in prison.

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Crypto market is a ‘development vector’ for nation’s digital economy, says Ukrainian president Tue, 07 Sep 2021 23:47:00 +0000

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed the importance of launching a legal digital asset market in his country during a working visit to the United States.

President Zelensky emphasizes importance of Ukrainian virtual asset market

Speaking to venture capital funds and accelerators in Silicon Valley, Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the opportunity to discuss prospects for IT sector development and innovations in Ukraine. In his opening speech for the event, quoted in a press release, the Ukrainian leader stressed that his country had made a “real breakthrough in the digital sphere” and a “huge step towards the creation of a digital state “over the past year.

Crypto market is a 'development vector' for nation's digital economy, says Ukrainian president

In a meeting with representatives of the Stellar Development Foundation, the president expressed the hope that in the near future, the institution will find more opportunities to expand its activities and its team as well as to possibly establish a training center. R&D in this Eastern European country. “After all, Ukraine is now the best pole of attraction with blockchain and crypto specialists in Europe,” Zelensky remarked, emphasizing again:

And one of the vectors for the development of Ukraine’s digital economy is the launch and development of an innovative legal market for virtual assets.

Earlier this year, Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation signed a memorandum of understanding with the foundation to support the Ukrainian government’s ongoing efforts to develop a legal framework for the country’s expanding crypto space. The agreement also covers Stellar’s participation in the construction of the Ukrainian national digital currency infrastructure.

Ukrainian Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov, who was part of the delegation, noted that Ukraine has one of the largest blockchain developer communities in the world and is striving to become an attractive jurisdiction for businesses. of local and foreign cryptography. He added that the country is also modernizing its payments market, which will allow the National Bank of Ukraine to issue the digital hryvnia.

The current Kiev administration has maintained a generally positive attitude towards the crypto and blockchain industry, but has yet to adopt comprehensive regulations for its activities. A recently revised virtual asset bill is expected to be passed by the end of this year.

In July, government officials and business representatives drew up a roadmap to transform Ukraine into a leader in cryptocurrency integration. A central element of the new strategy is the plan to develop the country’s virtual asset market over the next three years.

Do you expect Ukraine to become one of the top crypto-friendly destinations in Europe? Let us know in the comments section below.

Tags in this story

Crypto, Crypto Industry, Crypto Market, Crypto Space, Cryptocurrencies, Cryptocurrency, Development Vector, Digital Assets, Digital Currency, Digital Hryvnia, Event, Foundation, Kiev, Meeting, President, Roadmap, Stellar, Strategy &, United States, Ukraine, Ukrainian, Virtual Assets, Virtual Asset Market, Visit, Volodymyr Zelensky, Zelensky

Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. This is not a direct offer or the solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, nor a recommendation or endorsement of any product, service or business. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or allegedly caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, good or service mentioned in this article.

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How Biden is expected to strengthen US-Ukraine ties during Zelenskyy’s visit Tue, 31 Aug 2021 14:42:00 +0000

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks at a press conference in Kiev, Ukraine, in May.

Efrem Lukatsky / AP

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Efrem Lukatsky / AP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks at a press conference in Kiev, Ukraine, in May.

Efrem Lukatsky / AP

William B. Taylor is a former United States Ambassador to Ukraine. David J. Kramer, former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor in the George W. Bush Administration, is Director of European and Eurasian Studies at the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs of Florida International University.

Almost lost amid the understandable focus on Afghanistan, the earthquake in Haiti and the resurgence of the pandemic is a critically important meeting scheduled to take place on Wednesday between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and President Biden. Zelenskyy’s visit to the White House will be the first by a Ukrainian leader in more than four years. It will be an opportunity for Biden to reiterate American support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression, its integration into the Euro-Atlantic community and its fight against corruption.

Zelenskyy’s predecessor, Petro Poroshenko, met former President Donald Trump in the Oval Office for a brief meeting in 2017. After Zelenskyy’s landslide victory over Poroshenko in 2019, Trump invited Zelenskyy to visit him – but the then became involved in US politics during the infamous July 2019 phone call, which led to Trump’s first impeachment.

Zelenskyy had to settle for an awkward meeting with Trump in New York two months later, and bilateral relations collapsed. It is a chance for the Biden administration to accelerate closer and deeper ties between the two countries.

The Biden administration’s record is uneven

So far, the Biden administration’s record on Ukraine has been uneven. Amid a build-up of the Russian military along the border with Ukraine and the Crimea, which Russia illegally occupied in 2014, the White House in April invited Putin to a summit and canceled plans in April. April to deploy two destroyers to the Black Sea for fear that such a move would provoke Moscow.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken paid a productive visit to Kiev in May, but this was followed by the administration’s decision to lift sanctions against an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin on a Russian gas pipeline project to transport gas. natural gas from Russia to Germany. Then, in a July meeting between Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the administration abandoned its efforts to block the completion of the pipeline, known as Nord Stream 2.

Russia currently depends on gas passing through Ukraine for its exports to Europe in an amount equal to what would be sent through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The current arrangement provides Ukraine with some $ 2 billion in costs. of transit and a leverage effect on a new Russian encroachment.

Biden invited Zelenskyy to Washington before leaving for his week-long trip to Europe in June, which included his one-on-one summit with Putin. The US and Ukrainian presidents have spoken to each other twice on the phone, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba visited Washington earlier this month and met with US administration officials and lawmakers.

Last week, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm led a presidential delegation to Kiev to inaugurate the Crimean Platform – to draw international attention to Russia’s continued illegal occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula and to celebrate the Ukraine independence day.

Russia and corruption topped the list

When Biden sits down with Zelenskyy, two questions will certainly dominate their discussions. The first is Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine, an existential and immediate threat, for which Kiev needs the United States in the ring with it. Ukrainians watched with dismay the hasty withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan. They need the United States’ help to counter Russian aggression and are desperate to hear President Biden reassure that the United States will stand firmly behind them.

The second problem is the critical and persistent problem of corruption – in which Ukraine is the main fighter, with the United States, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank firmly in its corner.

Since taking office, Zelenskyy has wanted to visit Washington, but he was also eager to meet Putin, believing that such a session could help resolve the crisis Putin triggered in 2014 when he illegally annexed Crimea and invaded the Ukrainian region of Donbass. Earlier this month, Zelenskyy indicated that plans were underway for a meeting with Putin.

A Zelenskyy-Putin sit-down, however, is unlikely to produce a satisfactory outcome. Putin recently published a long rant on the Kremlin website claiming that Ukraine and Russia are “one nation”. (Ukraine has been independent since 1991, although in past centuries parts of it were ruled by the Russian Empire). Putin also questioned the usefulness of meeting Zelenskyy “if he has placed his country under full foreign control and key issues for Ukraine are not decided in Kiev but in Washington and, to some extent, in Paris and Berlin? “

What the United States can do

Instead of placing any hopes in Putin, Zelenskyy should push the United States to get more involved in the negotiations to end the war in the Donbass. For the past seven years, Ukraine has negotiated with Russia – with the presence of Germany and France – in a futile attempt to force Russian forces out of Ukraine. The Russians have shown themselves to be totally uncooperative, content to keep their forces and their puppet “republics” on Ukrainian territory. In the process, Putin sought to undermine and destabilize Ukrainian sovereignty, while denying any responsibility for the conflict. Meanwhile, some 13,000 Ukrainians, including more than 3,000 civilians, have died in Donbass, and more than 1.5 million Ukrainians have been displaced. The United States should join the negotiations to strengthen Ukraine’s position and bring them to a successful conclusion.

At the same time, the Biden administration should rally support from its allies to step up sanctions against the Putin regime – in addition to those put in place in response to the Russian invasion of Crimea and Donbas – in order to increase the costs of the continued violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. .

In light of the recent Sea Breeze military exercise involving more than 30 Black Sea countries, which took place over Russian objections, Biden is expected to order the release of an additional $ 100 million in US security assistance to Ukraine . (On Friday, he authorized the Secretary of State to pay $ 60 million of that total to help Ukraine with “Defense Ministry defense items and services, as well as military education and training.” )

This aid, which the United States froze before Biden and Putin met, would add to a previously earmarked package of $ 275 million. Such help is needed now, before the fighting resumes, not in the midst of a crisis, when it is too late. The United States should also strengthen its naval presence and that of its NATO allies in the Black Sea.

Washington should also grant Ukraine the status of a major non-NATO ally, which would give the country military and economic advantages and put it in the company of allies such as Australia, Israel, Japan and South Korea. He is at the forefront of democracy against a vengeful regime in Moscow, contributing to the security of Europe by potentially repelling even more Russian aggression.

In 2008, NATO promised Ukraine and Georgia that they would become members of the alliance, although no timeline is mentioned. Thirteen years later, the United States must reaffirm its support and pressure its European allies to honor this commitment, as long as Ukraine meets the criteria. The status of a major non-NATO ally would underscore US support for Ukraine’s eventual full NATO membership.

This will signal Putin that he does not have a de facto veto over Ukraine’s aspirations to join Euro-Atlantic institutions, which is especially important since Putin warned in the spring that Ukraine’s membership to NATO would be a “red line” for Russia.

Zelenskyy’s frustration with the lack of progress on NATO membership is understandable, but it would be premature to push for a membership action plan or outright invitation. ; the worst of all possibilities would be rejection by the alliance.

Zelenskyy also has work to do. As he began to fight corruption – last week he sanctioned two Ukrainians who collaborated with the Kremlin to try to affect the 2020 US presidential election – corrupt oligarchs have long been a drag on development economic and political economy of Ukraine. Left unchecked, corruption will weaken Ukraine and make it more vulnerable to Russian influence.

No person confirmed by the Senate has served as US ambassador to Ukraine since 2019, when Marie Yovanovich was unceremoniously sacked. President Biden is expected to appoint a qualified candidate as soon as possible to serve as the United States’ ambassador to Ukraine.

Biden is also expected to commit to a visit to Ukraine within the next 12 months. No US president has set foot on Ukrainian soil since President George W. Bush did so in April 2008. Biden was a regular visitor to Ukraine during his tenure as vice president and senator. A return trip as president would send a powerful signal of American support to Ukraine and its people, as well as to the Kremlin.

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Florida men fight over assets in Ukraine money laundering case Fri, 27 Aug 2021 20:44:00 +0000
Law360 (Aug 27, 2021, 4:44 p.m. EDT) – Two Florida men under investigation for alleged involvement in a multi-billion dollar international money laundering program said there was no law that kills their claim on a Kentucky skyscraper simply because the property has already been sold for cash.

In their request for oral argument on Thursday, Optima Ventures stakeholders Mordechai Korf and Uriel Laber insisted that their Article III status had not been changed by the sale of the building and that, if so, the court should allow them to file an amended claim. The United States decided to seize the skyscraper last year as part of an ongoing investigation into Optima shareholders for allegedly funneling billions …

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IMF offers Ukraine SDR 1.9 billion Tue, 24 Aug 2021 08:03:26 +0000

(MENAFN) The First Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), Kateryna Rozhkova, said on Facebook that Ukraine had secured 1.9 billion Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), or about 2.7 billion billion dollars, from the International Monetary Fund.

She noted: “Today, 1.9 billion SDR has been deposited into the account of Ukraine by the IMF! A great gift before independence day! Glory to Ukraine!

On July 8, the IMF Executive Board approved the proposal by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva for a new general SDR allocation equal to USD 650 billion – the largest allocation in IMF history – to meet long-standing international reserve needs in the worst disaster since The Great Depression. Georgieva pledged to present the new SDR allocation proposal to the IMF Governing Council for consideration and agreement. Given the size of the country’s quota (0.42%), the state can take around $ 2.73 billion.

Disclaimer: MENAFN provides the information “as is” without any warranty. We do not accept any responsibility for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this item, please contact the supplier above.

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FirstFT: US uses commercial airlines to help evacuate Kabul airport Sun, 22 Aug 2021 22:04:28 +0000

Updates on the global economy

Hello. This article is an on-site version of our FirstFT newsletter. Subscribe to our Asia, Europe / Africa or Americas edition to have it delivered straight to your inbox every morning of the week. You can reach us at

The Pentagon says it has ordered U.S. civilian airlines to help move Afghan refugees out of U.S. bases in the Middle East, as Western forces struggled to evacuate locals a week after the Taliban took control .

Lloyd Austin, U.S. Secretary of Defense, activated the Civilian Reserve Air Fleet to provide commercial aircraft in support of evacuation efforts from temporary shelters, allowing military aircraft to focus on flights to and from from Kabul International Airport.

U.S. carriers including American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta, United, Omni Air and Hawaiian Airlines will provide a combined total of 18 aircraft, the Pentagon said.

Thousands of Afghans eager to leave the country were still crowded around Kabul international airport yesterday, but were unable to enter the area controlled by US forces. A NATO official said at least 20 people had died in and around the airport in the past seven days.

  • What has changed in two decades? Since the Taliban lost control in 2001, fertility rates have plummeted, women’s education has increased, and mobile phone subscriptions have skyrocketed. Here are 10 charts that show how living conditions have improved in Afghanistan.

“The female voices that have blossomed over the past 20 years have yet to be celebrated”, written Enuma Okoro. Follow the latest news on Afghanistan on

Five other articles in the news

1. The Swedish Prime Minister will resign in November Stefan Lofven has unexpectedly announced that he will step down in three months, sparking political unrest ahead of next year’s election. Lofven has faced two major crises in his seven years in power – the 2015 refugee flows and the Covid-19 pandemic, in which Sweden’s lack of a formal lockdown made it an outlier.

Stefan Lofven says he wants his party to be led by a new leader ahead of elections slated for September next year © Henrik Montgomery / TT / AFP / Getty

2. Merkel responds to Ukrainian concerns about Nord Stream 2 The pipeline, which will pump Russian gas to Western Europe through the Baltic Sea, is of particular concern to Kiev, which risks losing $ 2 billion in transit revenue if Moscow cuts off its supplies through Ukraine. “We are in favor of new sanctions if Russia uses this pipeline as a weapon,” the German chancellor told the Ukrainian president.

3. England looks to China and Russia Boris Johnson wants to focus on a longer-term approach to the Afghan crisis and recognizes that after the US withdrawal, China and Russia are now important players in the region. As Chairman of the G7, the British Prime Minister will hold talks which will include evacuation arrangements for Western nationals and Afghan citizens.

4. UK rejects industry visa application for EU truck drivers Ministers rejected industry calls to allow migrants from the EU to fill the significant void in the UK labor market for truck drivers. However, the UK government is ready to consider increasing training for Britons wishing to become carriers.

5. Climate models predict more frequent extremes of heat Heat waves will become longer and more intense if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. The impact could be particularly evident in the southern hemisphere, according to new modeling.

  • Read more: Humanity is on the brink of disaster. But with creative thinking and collective will, there may still be time to avert disaster, writes Kim Stanley Robinson.

Series of maps showing the number of additional days the temperature exceeds 35 ° C above the 1981-2010 average using the CMIP6 model.  Based on the highest emissions scenario (RCP 8.5), many regions will experience an increase of more than 100 days of extreme heat

Coronavirus digest

  • AstraZeneca will seek regulatory approval for its cocktail of antibodies after a study showed the drug significantly reduced the risk of developing symptomatic Covid-19.

  • Cinemas are hoping for a recovery after an “existential” crisis on a list of blockbusters delayed by Covid, like the latest James Bond film.

  • Global equities recorded their worst week since June, with fears of a slowing economic recovery and an impending cut in US stimulus measures weighing heavily on sentiment.

FTSE All World Index Weekly Performance Column Chart (%) Showing Global Equities Suffer Worst Week Since June

Tim Harford asks: are the Covid-19 regulations here to stay? register here for our Coronavirus Business Update bulletin.

The day to come

Vaccines All 16 and 17 year olds must receive their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine by today. UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the date would give teens two weeks to boost their immunity before the start of the school year.

Kamala harris The US Vice President arrived in Southeast Asia yesterday. Harris will meet with the President and Prime Minister of Singapore today and stop at Changi Naval Base. It will seek to strengthen relations with partners in a region dominated by China’s economic and political influence. (CNN)

What else do we read

Taiwanese ignore Chinese threat Over the past year, China has taken a more belligerent stance towards Taiwan, threatening to invade the territory if Taipei indefinitely refuses to submit. Patrols and military exercises have intensified, alarming the United States which has said that a Chinese attack on Taiwan could be launched within six years. But on the ground in Taiwan, there is no sign of panic.

How US payment groups got on the wrong side of India’s plans In India, 20 percent of the population does not have a bank account and only 3 percent have credit cards, creating huge opportunities for financial services. Indian policymakers have tried to make the economy less reliant on cash, but strict rules on data storage are faltering foreign companies in hopes of expanding in a fast-growing market.

Olympian Krystsina Tsimanouskaya recounts her escape After a dispute with Belarusian sports authorities, officials of the country’s repressive regime attempted to transport the 24-year-old sprinter on a plane returning from the Tokyo Olympics. Tsimanouskaya, helped by a translation app, fled Japan to seek refuge in Poland, where she now lives under 24-hour protection. Here’s what she told the FT about her escape.

“I was like, what should I do if I can’t find the police? Should I tear up my passport? Start running? ”She recalls.

High-profile rape allegations reignite China’s #MeToo movement An anti-harassment campaign faded until a pop star and a former director of Alibaba were publicly charged. But women’s rights activists have warned that the ruling Chinese Communist Party remains suspicious of mass feminist activism, which continues to suffer from censorship and nationalist attacks.

How Myanmar’s coup fueled an increase in drug trafficking Thai police have seized 1,000 kg of crystal methamphetamine as officials and analysts watch with concern on the rise in drug trafficking and addiction. They say the narcotics came from neighboring Myanmar, which has escalated into political chaos and civil conflict since the military takeover.

Tons column chart showing methamphetamine seizures on the rise in Southeast Asia

To travel

Five aqua-adventures Jaguar spotting in the Peruvian Amazon, heliskiing in Greenland, extreme fly fishing in Patagonia, or just chilling off Paxos: wherever you do, do it from a boat.

The boat

The boat “Halas 71” will retrace more than three millennia of Turkish history, including the Blue Mosque in Istanbul

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Due diligence – The best stories from the world of corporate finance. register here

Moral money – Our essential newsletter on socially responsible business, sustainable finance and more. register here

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In fertile Ukraine, a 20-year freeze on the sale of agricultural land is lifted – with uncertain consequences Sun, 22 Aug 2021 13:38:48 +0000

HRYSHCHYNTSI, Ukraine – For small farmers in Ukraine, a traditional ‘breadbasket’ that has some of the richest soils in the world, there is something new under the sun this summer: They can sell their land if they wish.

Liliya Sytnyk does not.

Like many of her neighbors in this village of 600 people in the central Cherkassy region 125 kilometers (77 miles) south of Kiev, an area known as the Sunflower Belt, she plans to retain her inherited land – despite the new legislation that came into effect on July 1, ending a two-decade moratorium on the sale and purchase of a total of 42.7 million hectares (103 million acres) of fertile farmland in Ukraine.

“I would prefer to transfer the property to my children and grandchildren,” said Sytnyk, 61, a subsistence farmer who rents 1 hectare from a neighboring poultry farmer, the largest in the country. “It is our heritage, our wealth.”

Lyudmyla Borkinets, who grows what she and her husband need for a living and leases around five hectares from the same poultry giant, also has no plans to sell.

Lyudmyla Borkinets shows a field she cultivates in the village of Hryshchyntsi, in central Ukraine.

But she hopes buyers in the region will be small-scale farmers whose business could help generate a thriving local micro-economy with local seed and fertilizer suppliers, and on a larger scale, help stem the disappearance of crops. rural communities in the country.

Borkinets, 63, said that “big farms” – those that cultivate more than 20,000 hectares – “do not register their businesses in the communities in which they operate, so their tax dollars are not used. to improve our villages. ”And, she added,“ their trucks are damaging our roads and they are not helping to repair or build new ones ”.

His hopes of seeing prosperous rural communities align with one of the goals of the reform that has been brewing for years: to create incentives in what, until July 1, was one of the few countries in the world that did not had not authorized the sale of agricultural land.

Lower returns

Since 2001, some 7 million owners of agricultural land in Ukraine had not been able to use their property as collateral to buy or rent machinery, buy quality seeds, store grain in silos and invest in new technologies.

Reform advocates say the status quo has been a strong deterrent to farming, discouraging investment and keeping Ukraine’s farm yields significantly lower than in the European Union and the United States.

Forbidden to buy and sell, many Ukrainians who became owners of their land in the mid-1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union had no choice but to rely on agriculture subsistence while renting what was left to larger farms.

In the past, these leases averaged around $ 150 per hectare per year, said Denys Bashlyk, who runs the Land Club, a consultancy that facilitates the purchase or lease of farmland as a source of residual income.

Ideally, the change could give a big boost to farmers, landowners and the country as a whole.

“Land reform that truly empowers owners and users to take control of their land can be transformative,” wrote Arup Banerji, World Bank regional director for Eastern Europe, in an opinion piece. in 2020.

“For landowners who are currently renting out their land, this could bring in up to $ 3 billion each year. For rural residents and small farmers, this can create some $ 24 billion in guaranteed assets that allow them to invest in irrigation, horticulture or small non-farm businesses. And for local communities and local governments, it can provide an income stream of up to $ 2 billion per year to improve the lives of Ukrainians, ”Banerji wrote.

Sunflower stems are starting to grow in the village of Trypillia in the Kiev region.

Sunflower stems are starting to grow in the village of Trypillia in the Kiev region.

Citing calculations by the World Bank, he wrote that “for Ukraine as a whole, this can add permanently almost a percentage point per year to economic growth”.

An April 2021 report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is one of Ukraine’s largest foreign lenders and made lifting the moratorium a condition of its latest loan package, predicted that economic output could increase from 6% to over 12% over the next decade, depending on the quality of reform implementation.

Home to about a quarter of the earth’s fertile “black earth” soils, Ukraine is the world’s largest producer of sunflower oil and the fourth largest producer of corn. Along with soybeans, sunflowers and corn are among the main crops grown in the Sunflower Belt, which stretches from Kharkiv in the east to the Ternopil region in the west.

Contentious reform

About 30 percent of the country’s estimated population of 43.6 million live in rural areas, according to official statistics. The agriculture industry employs more than 14 percent of the workforce, according to data from the US Department of Commerce and the World Bank.

Agriculture accounts for nearly 10 percent of the economy and is its main export. The agricultural land market created by the reform encompasses a territory larger than Italy or California.

A windmill no longer works in the town of Kaniv in the Cherakasy region

A windmill no longer works in the town of Kaniv in the Cherakasy region

Since July 1, Ukrainians – and not foreigners – can buy and sell up to 100 hectares. From 2024, Ukrainian legal persons will be eligible for transactions covering up to 10,000 hectares.

One of the bones of contention surrounding the reform is whether foreigners should be allowed to buy land. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said he plans to put the question to the people in a national referendum, but the result of such a vote seems almost certain: more than 80% of Ukrainians are against it, according to a poll by opinion led by the Kyiv International. Institute of Sociology in June.

Since the moratorium was imposed in 2001, politicians have used the subject as a tool for manipulation, according to Alex Lissitsa, president of the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club, an agricultural industry advocacy group.

This is a particularly sensitive issue in Ukraine, where the forced collectivization and deadly famine blamed on Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and his government looms large in historical memory, and “the issue has been politicized,” Lissitsa said.

During this time, the Ukrainians began to buy and sell agricultural land. Between July 1 and August 10, more than 5,000 agreements were registered and more than 10,000 hectares sold.

However, for the great farmer Kateryna Rybachenko, managing director of Agro-Region – a 40,000 hectare farm that spans four regions in the north where seeds and grains are grown – little will change just yet. .

Due to the two-decade moratorium, in many parts of the country land tenants have become monopolies, leasing most or all of the land on offer, and little demand from other market players is expected, she declared.

As a result, “few people want to sell their land,” Rybachenko said.

Another potential obstacle to an effective system is land disputes.

Only about 73 percent of the country’s farmland has been mapped, leaving many borders unexplored and unclear, said Bashlyk, former head of the government’s mapping and cadastral service.

“It is too early to say whether these communities will prosper after the reform,” Olena Shtefan, who heads the group of 24 villages including Hryshchyntsi, told RFE / RL.

For now, at least, villages are like millions of small towns around the world to many who grew up there: places of escape.

According to Borkinets, Hryshchyntsi saw 10 people graduate from high school this year.

“And the vast majority leave the village to study” in the district headquarters, the regional capital of Cherkassy, ​​or Kiev, she said.

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