Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili has said that, as soon as it becomes possible, she will pay a visit to Ukraine, as an earlier visit was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am prepared as soon as the time is right to pay a visit, which has long been postponed over COVID-19 and not only because of it. I will try to restore our relations on a basis that matches the traditionally friendly ties between our two countries,” Zourabichvili said at a press conference in Tbilisi on Friday.
Georgia and Ukraine are bound by a course toward integration into NATO and the European Union and by joint projects in the Black Sea with their European partners, and any attempts to weaken this partnership would negatively affect the European integration of both countries, she said.
At the same time, Zourabichvili mentioned recent remarks by Mikheil Saakashvili, a former Georgian president who currently serves as the head of the Executive Committee of the Ukrainian National Reform Council, who has said he does not recognize the incumbent Georgian government as legitimate.
“A provocative tone addressed to the Georgian government by a foreign citizen working for a foreign government harms our bilateral relations,” Zourabichvili said.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry recalled its ambassador from Kyiv in May, after Saakashvili was appointed head of the National Reform Council’s Executive Committee.
Tbilisi interpreted Saakashvili’s negative remarks about the Georgian government as interference in Georgia’s internal affairs.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova with EUR 55 million through ProCredit Bank in the respective countries to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) within mitigating the effects of the economic shock, the EIB’s website reports.
“As part of the overall response to COVID-19, the operation will support the financial intermediaries with temporary emergency measures to facilitate the provision of liquidity to SMEs and midcaps and thereby contribute to mitigating the impact of the economic shock,” the report says.
ProCredit Bank in Ukraine was founded in 2001. At the beginning of 2020, its sole shareholder was ProCredit Holding (100% of the shares).
According to the National Bank of Ukraine, as of May 1, 2020 ProCredit Bank ranked 14th among 75 banks operating in the country in terms of total assets (UAH 25.646 billion).
SkyUp Airlines (Kyiv) plans to resume flights to Georgia and Albania from July 1, 2020, and to other countries stipulated by the schedule before lockdown is introduced from July 15, if cancellation of entry bans is carried out according to preliminary arrangements between countries.
According to the company’s press release on Saturday, June 20, passengers are advised to review the requirements for entering the country of destination and the rules for returning to Ukraine before purchasing a ticket, as well as make sure that they have all the necessary approvals for the trip.
“If a passenger purchases a ticket to a country, rules of entry into which the passenger cannot comply with, the refund for an unused air ticket will be carried out according to the fare, but can last up to six months,” SkyUp said.
According to the airline’s data, since March 2020, SkyUp Airlines has received about 286,000 applications regarding compensation for tickets that were not used through the flight ban. However, passengers have already received EUR 13,186 and UAH 1.9 million of reimbursements, while some 4,700 passengers have issued promotional codes for a total of UAH 38.1 million.
The company also said that since the beginning of lockdown, their support service has been operating in the overloaded mode, that is, during all that time up to 13,000 applications were received daily. Therefore, due to the fact that it was physically impossible to process all of them within the period of three to five days, as under normal conditions, the time for feedback increased.
In order to resolve this issue, SkyUp is introducing the application processing automated system. This means that the passenger, after registering on the airline’s website in a personal online account, will be able to independently choose the type of reimbursement that suits him, and passengers who have previously applied for a refund, according to their wish, change the status of the application for a promotional code or transfer dates if, on a previously submitted application, a refund invoice has not been issued yet. Functionality will be available approximately in three weeks.
“The introduction of lockdown at the international level significantly affected the aviation in general, and SkyUp is no exception in this global crisis of air transportation. For us and for many airlines as well, that period made it impossible to fully perform operational activities. Therefore, we have neither the opportunity nor the economic means in order to immediately refund to all people who made the request. We understand the wish of passengers to return their funds as soon as possible. Now we need to be patient, because this process will take longer than usual. We will return the funds gradually,” the airline’s press service said, citing Director General of SkyUp Airlines Yevhen Khainatsky.
The foreign ministers of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova have addressed the European Union together regarding the importance of support for the Eastern Partnership, according to the press service of the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine.
“On the margins of the Munich Security Conference the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova have signed a joint letter to the Members of the European Commission regarding importance of relevant financial support for the Eastern Partnership in the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027 that is currently being shaped by the EU institutions,” reads the statement.
The ministers called on the EU to take into account within its strategic budgetary planning for the next seven years the scale and ambitions of the reforms, which are being implemented and planned by Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova in the process of their European integration.
“The joint address of the Ministers is another sign of unity of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova in their approaches to future development of the Eastern Partnership, based on the differentiation principle, as well as to the idea of enhanced dialogue in the EU+3 Associated Partners format,” reads the statement.
Nova Poshta Moldova through January-June 2019 doubled a number of deliveries compared to the same period in 2018, Nova Poshta Georgia saw 32% rise in the similar indicator, Nova Poshta Group of Companies reported on its website.
According to the group, its offices in Moldova and Georgia managed to increase a number of processed deliveries and to shorten the terms of delivery thanks to launch of deliveries in any part of the country, delivery speed-up and attraction of the new large business clients.
“Fast and reliable delivery in Moldova favors development of the local online stores since the customers started to arrange online orders…As in Ukraine, one of the key segments of Nova Poshta in Moldova is e-commerce, a developing market with free niches. Therefore, the task of Nova Poshta Moldova is to create an effective logistics infrastructure mean to facilitate the development of e-commerce,” Nova Poshta International Operations Director Aliona Stepina said.
She said Georgia’s complex landscape and geography are such that not all the logistics companies operating in this country are ready to deliver parcels and cargo to remote mountain settlements. Meanwhile, Nova Poshta Georgia managed to ensure delivery to each client, which became an important competitive advantage and allowed the company to enter the top three market leaders and improve the quality of work with business clients.
The group stressed that the companies in both states continue to expand the list of the services both for domestic deliveries, as well as for international destinations, will introduce digital-tools, which have already proved to be effective in Ukraine.
Nova Poshta Moldova and Nova Poshta Georgia are parts of Nova Poshta Group.
Nova Poshta, founded in 2001, is the leader in the local delivery market. The company’s network consists of more than 3,300 offices throughout Ukraine.
Ukraine and Georgia could create a medical tourism cluster to promote medical services in the markets of Eastern countries, in particular, China, Paata Ratiani, the head of the Georgian Medical Tourism Council, has said.
“Georgia, together with Ukraine, can open some directions in China, open a joint clinic, or Ukrainian and Georgian clinics can be combined into one cluster,” he said.
According to Ratiani, such a cluster can be formed together with the Ukrainian Association of Medical Tourism, as well as with individual clinics.
“We can occupy our niche in all directions. Most importantly, we should work together and develop precisely those directions that have an advantage in their region. In this case, the flow of medical tourists will be enough for both Ukraine and Georgia,” the expert said.
Commenting on the development of medical tourism in Georgia, he said that in order to attract foreign patients, six large private clinics in his country created the Medical Tourism Council.
“Georgian private clinics teamed up to make Georgia a regional hub for medical tourism,” he said.