Japan is urgently prepared to provide support to Ukraine with a loan of at least $100 million as a sign of support for it in the conditions of the buildup of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan said following a telephone conversation between Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Prime Minister Kishida informed that Japan is urgently prepared to provide support with a loan of at least $100 million based on the request of the Ukrainian side, and President Zelensky expressed deep gratitude for this,” the Japanese Foreign Ministry said in a report on the website after the February 15 conversation.
Japan has been paying close attention to the move to strengthen Russian troops around the Ukrainian border. Japan has consistently supported Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan said.
“The two leaders agreed to work together to ease tensions through diplomatic efforts,” the ministry said in the statement.
Ukraine and Turkey will reach an agreement on signing an agreement on a free trade area (FTA) in the next two days, President Volodymyr Zelensky has said.
“We are getting ready to give a powerful economic signal, to sign an FTA agreement with Turkey already within these two days. Our groups are working. I am sure that we will agree,” he said, speaking at the Verkhovna Rada on Tuesday.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has announced the success of infrastructure development in Ukraine, as well as digitalization, the press service of the president of Ukraine has reported.
“In these two and a half years, we have started the digitization of the state. We are number one in Europe today. And the Servant of the People party was involved in that as well,” the presidential press service quoted Zelensky as saying when speaking in Truskavets on Saturday, where a visiting session of the Servant of the People parliamentary faction was taking place.
Zelensky added that Ukraine is also the first in Europe in terms of road construction now. “Statistically, we build the most per month. Number one in Europe!” the President noted.
The Head of State also noted the liquidation of the State Architectural and Construction Inspectorate.
“So be a little proud of yourself and the difficult path. When we talk about land reform, there are many questions about how slow it is. But I believe that this is a challenge and a victory, on which I want to congratulate you,” the President said.
He noted that there are many challenges in the field of medicine in the country, which was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “But today I see a medical team. We have elected a minister, a committee is working, and we are ready for challenges,” Zelensky stressed.
The President also stressed that the Office of the President and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have done a lot for Ukraine’s international agency, and this is the most important victory this year.
“A lot yet not enough. Why not enough? I will explain. We do not have time to expect that we will be taken to the European Union: ‘let’s wait another five years.’ You know we have a war. I do not want to complain. I think we are powerful. And today our policy is ‘brazen’. And I am convinced that without a strong international policy, without such ‘boldness’ no one will see Ukraine’s steps forward,” he said.
In addition, the presidential press service noted that working groups with the participation of deputies and ministers (eight clusters) on the details of the Plan of Transformation of the country initiated by him in the following areas: military security and international relations; energy independence and “green” transformation, human capital, technological development and market transformations, infrastructure and local development, food hub, digital hub and rule of law.
“These clusters contain goals and KPIs for relevant areas until 2023, projects and reforms to be implemented, and laws to be enacted,” the message reads.
Decentralization in Ukraine is far from completion, considers the local government expert, director of the Practical Policy Program of the Institute of Political Education, Alexander Solontay.
“Today we are far from having a decentralized country, we have done only the first basic steps, but we are moving towards this”, – Solontay claimed in comments on features and problems of the decentralization process in Ukraine
on the Youtube channel “Club of Experts“.
In the expert’s opinion, now has arisen a situation in which the implemented reforms had led to greater autonomy of urban and rural communities. At the national level, however, politicians are chosen by a paternalistic population. These policies support communities’ autonomy on the one hand and, on the other, want the Centre to continue to provide guidance locally.
“From above, the mechanisms for interaction with autonomous communities have not yet been worked out. The politicians act in the old way – to pass laws, to direct an order, to allocate funds, and so on. It’s vertical management. How to manage in a new system, where the bottom is independent and the top has limited possibilities, authorities have not yet learned», – says the expert.
Solontay noted that in our environment, where the shadow economy and corruption have not been overcome, the law enforcement agencies are under-reformed and the local power is increasingly independent, a systemic crisis has arisen in interaction of Center and regions.
«Whatever situation would appear in the country, we are always condemned to conflict between authorities and local self-government», – the expert summarized.
According to political scientist Daniil Bogatyriov, in recent weeks, international relations are characterized by an escalation in confrontation between various centers of power.
According to the expert in international affairs, the beginning of not one, but two cold wars is characteristic of the current geopolitical situation in the world: between Russia and the United States in Eastern Europe and between China and the United States in Southeast Asia.
“For example, a recent meeting of the representatives of the U.S. Department State and the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Alaska only exacerbated contradictions between the countries. At the end of the meeting, unambiguous confrontational statements were made. The American side expressed to the Chinese one claims about the violation of human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the increasing pressure in Taiwan. The Chinese, in turn, pointed to the facts of human rights violations in the United States during the suppression of the BLM protest movement,” Bogatyriov said.
According to the political scientist, a similar level of confrontation has also been achieved between the United States and the Russian Federation.
“Today we see attempts to eliminate internal opposition in Russia and Belarus. Thus, the Russian authorities have launched a process to recognize the structure of Alexei Navalny (the Anti-Corruption Foundation) an extremist organization. It is no coincidence that the so-called conspiracy of the opposition intelligentsia has been uncovered in Belarus just now,” the expert said.
He noted that all these processes in the future may lead to the formation of the phenomenon of “large spaces” in various regions of the world, which will in fact be zones of direct influence of one or another large state.
“We are entering the world of “large spaces,” the world of zones of influence, where a cold war will flare up between them and in the future serious restrictions on the movement of citizens and any other cross-border activities are not ruled out. Such things will be possible only within the framework of their large space, that is, this will lead to the lowering of the very real “iron curtain,” as it was in the last cold war,” Bogatyriov summed up.
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Executive Director of the Ukrainian Institute of Politics Mykola Spiridonov has said, while commenting on the results of a sociology survey conducted by Active Group, that making peace in eastern Ukraine could be the only chance for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to complete his presidential tenure successfully.
“Everything has failed. The economy failed, the social policy failed, the foreign policy failed. If Zelensky managed to put an end to the war on the least acceptable terms, he could become a part of history as a successful president. Then everything I have just said about the economy and social policy would be forgotten in 50 years, while the end of the war would be written down in history with capital letters,” Spyrydonov said on the Expert Club YouTube channel.
The political expert said that the government tries to reach a compromise in the settlement of the military conflict in Donbas.
“Zelensky wishes to put an end to the war, but he is not familiar with the instruments. The president doubts. We can set as an example Sivokho, who was appointed and then dismissed under pressure of the nationalist forces,” the expert said.
According to the sociology poll, which was presented by Active Group and Expert Club at the Interfax-Ukraine News Agency on June 22, 2020, some 80% of Ukrainians said that the incumbent government is delaying the end of the war and doing nothing or doing not enough to finish it. Only 6% of respondents said that Zelensky’s team does the utmost under current conditions for this purpose.
The full video is available on the Expert Club YouTube channel: