About 150 Ukrainian citizens have applied to the Ukrainian embassy in Kazakhstan for assistance in repatriation, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Oleh Nikolenko said.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine cooperates with the Kazakh authorities and the governments of foreign states to protect the interests of Ukrainians in Kazakhstan. About 150 citizens have applied to the Ukrainian embassy for assistance in returning to their homeland. At the same time, due to the gradual stabilization of the security situation, some compatriots report changes in their plans and decide to stay on the territory of Kazakhstan,” Nikolenko told Interfax-Ukraine on Tuesday. According to him, international flights with Nur-Sultan have been fully restored, with the exception of some flights of European airlines. “Regular flights to Kyiv are planned for January 13 and 16, which our citizens can use,” the speaker said.
He pointed out that transport links are also being restored, including rail, between major Kazakhstani cities.
“The Ukrainian embassy has agreed with the Kazakh railway on the possibility of purchasing group tickets for Ukrainian citizens who wish to arrive in Nur-Sultan for a further flight to Kyiv. The diplomats also agreed with Air Astana on the possibility of free rebooking of tickets for canceled flights from Almaty to new flights from Nur-Sultan,” Nikolenko said.
He said that the Foreign Ministry recommends that Ukrainians who wish to use this option to check in advance the availability of seats and the dates of flights from Nur-Sultan.
“According to the Kazakh side, the Astana international airport is also ready to resume full-fledged work. The exact time of opening the airport will be announced additionally,” he said.
Nikolenko said that there are no Ukrainians among the victims or detainees during the recent events in Kazakhstan. The Embassy of Ukraine maintains regular contact with citizens, will continue to provide them with consular assistance and inform them about possible ways to leave the country.
International freight traffic with Kazakhstan is operating as normal, head of Ukrzaliznytsia Oleksandr Kamyshin has said.
“Now there are 219 Ukrainian freight cars in Kazakhstan. This is not a lot, about 0.1% of the total fleet of Ukrainian freight cars. Of these, 90 cars are owned by Ukrzaliznytsia and another 139 are private freight cars. All of them normally move through the KTZ (Kazakhstan Railways, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy) network and, I hope, will soon return to Ukraine in the same way, in a normal mode,” he wrote on Telegram.
He noted that the railways of Kazakhstan are an important partner for Ukrzaliznytsia.
“This is about 2 million tonnes of freight traffic per year, which is transported by rail between Kazakhstan and Ukraine. Almost half of the total freight traffic is Kazakh coal, which is now so necessary for Ukraine,” Kamyshin wrote.
According to him, the employees of KTZ ensure the stable operation of the railway in the current difficult circumstances.
“Freight traffic is working as usual. Confirmation of this is a freight train that left China on December 31 and arrived at TIS today. Interstate joints are operating normally. The dispatching office providing transportation activities operates around the clock. Passenger traffic is temporarily restricted in three western regions,” the head of Ukrzaliznytsia said.
Citizens of Ukraine are asked to refrain from traveling to Kazakhstan in connection with the introduction of a state of emergency in the period from January 5 to January 19, 2022, the Embassy of Ukraine in Kazakhstan said.
“In connection with the introduction of a state of emergency from January 5 to January 19, 2022 in Almaty, Almaty and Mangystau regions, we recommend that you refrain from arriving in Kazakhstan, and citizens in Kazakhstan should refrain from visiting crowded places during the state of emergency in the country,” the Embassy said on its Facebook page.
As reported, protest rallies against the sharp increase in prices for liquefied gas began in Kazakhstan in Zhanaozen (a city in Mangystau region in western Kazakhstan) on January 2. They then escalated into massive protests across the country with economic and political demands. On January 4, protesters clashed with security officials in Almaty.
President of the country Kassym-Jomart Tokayev introduced a state of emergency in Almaty, Mangystau and Almaty regions for the period until January 19 and a curfew, which will operate from 23:00 to 07:00.
On the morning of January 5, the government of Kazakhstan was dismissed.
DTEK Energy, amid low coal stocks at its TPPs’ warehouses, has begun importing thermal coal from Kazakhstan and is negotiating coal supplies from Poland and the United States, the company’s press service has said.
According to the press service, DTEK Energy is actively looking for opportunities to provide TPPs with additional imported coal.
“Despite the increased demand for coal on global markets, we are actually starting to import it. The first batch from Kazakhstan is already on its way. Next week we expect the start of coal supplies from Poland. We are also negotiating the supply of shiploads from the United States,” CEO of DTEK Energy Ildar Saleev said.
According to the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine, coal stocks in the warehouses of thermal power plants of five power generating companies (DTEK Dniproenergo, DTEK Zakhidenergo, DTEK Skhidenergo, Centrenergo and Donbasenergo) as of Wednesday morning dropped to 754,000 tonnes, which is almost 500,000 tonnes less than the accumulation schedule approved by the ministry on August 11 (1.237 million tonnes).
The founder and majority shareholder of the Ukrainian agricultural holding KSG Agro Serhiy Kasianov plans to build a pig-breeding complex in Kazakhstan for 200,000 heads, investments will amount to $50 million, the press service of the company told Interfax-Ukraine on Thursday.
“Kazakhstan has an advantageous geographical position, a land border with China. There is no African swine fever, which today is the main obstacle for many countries in the world to export pork to the Chinese market. There is a great interest of the government of Kazakhstan in supporting and creating conditions for such a project, but there are no people with experience in creating such enterprises from scratch. KSG Agro has both qualified personnel and experience in raising purebred pigs,” the press service of the company quoted Kasianov as saying.
The press service of the agricultural holding said that the Swiss companies participating in the project will supply technologies and animals of Swiss genetics to Kazakhstan. In particular, one of the investors is KS Genetic (Switzerland), which is chaired by Filippo Lombardi, ex-chairman of the Council of States of Switzerland.
The project of the livestock complex includes two sow farms with 4,000 sows each, which will make it possible to keep 200,000 heads of pigs per year, as well as a feed mill. The annual design production capacity is about 20,000 tonnes of meat.
According to Kasianov, the prospective markets for the products are China, Vietnam and South Korea.
The press service of KSG Agro said that it is not yet planned to attract credit or own funds of the Ukrainian agricultural holding for the implementation of the Kazakh project.
Currently, negotiations are underway with a number of potential investors on financial participation in the Kazakh project. The issue of attracting investors to the charter capital of KSG Agro for the development of the company’s meat processing facilities and its entry into new markets for finished products of the livestock industry is also being discussed.
Kaspi Pay, a 100% subsidiary of Kazakhstan’s Kaspi.kz JSC, has signed a sale and purchase agreement for 100% of Portmone Group, an independent provider of payment and money transfer services in Ukraine, which is majority owned by Europe Virgin Fund (EVF).
“The acquisition of Portmone puts our Payments Platform in a strong position to end into Ukraine,” according to Kaspi’s semi-annual report on the London Stock Exchange.
According to the report, subject to anti-monopoly approval in Ukraine and Kazakhstan and approval by the National Bank of Ukraine, this transaction is expected to complete in the final quarter of 2021. The report said that upon successful closing the acquisition of Portmone also gives Kaspi.kz a payments license and Visa and Mastercard accreditation in Ukraine. In the medium-term, Ukraine can also become an important source of IT talent and a development hub for Kaspi.kz.
It is noted that Ukraine is characterized by high cash penetration (44% cash withdrawals), low e-commerce penetration at 8% of retail, low unsecured consumer lending at less than 4.5% of GDP and over 70% smartphone penetration.
Oleh Gorokhovskyi, the co-founder of virtual monobank serving over 3 million clients, predicted on Facebook that the new owner of Portmone would increase competition in the market.
“Kaspi is a global fintech star. The company’s valuation has doubled since the recent IPO and is already $13 billion. I love strong competitors. They are very motivating and mobilize the team,” Gorokhovskyi said.
At the same time, he doubted Kaspi’s ability to gain leadership in the Ukrainian market.
“In payments, they will have to compete with completely free payments from mono. In acquiring, in which they are strong in Kazakhstan, they will have to learn all the charms of government interference with the regulation of this market and compete not only with us and Privat, but also with Apple and Google Pay. Even in Kazakhstan, they got a marketplace – in Ukraine, this will also be difficult,” the co-founder of monobank said.
EVF, a regional private equity fund organized by Dragon Capital in 2010, acquired a majority stake in Portmone. The fund’s participants were Dragon Capital, EBRD, the Swiss sovereign wealth fund Obviam, the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank and other investors.
Kaspi.kz operates on three platforms – marketplace, fintech platform and payment system. The company’s shareholders are Baring Vostok funds – 28.82%, Vyacheslav Kim – 23.25%, and Mikhail Lomtadze – 22.44%.