The OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine has published a collection of leaflets and publications on chemical security risks to help civilians take care of their safety in the conditions of ongoing hostilities.
“Military campaigns in such an industrialized country as Ukraine bear serious risks of incidents with the release of toxic chemicals, endangering people and the environment. Interruptions in work of enterprises, targeted or accidental hits of industrial facilities in the course of combat or as a result of air and rocket strikes – these factors increase chemical security risks immensely,” said Ambassador Henrik Villadsen, the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine.
An assessment produced by Ukrainian State Emergency Service in 2018, mentioned that 655 facilities across the country stored more than 216,000 tons of dangerous chemicals. Research on the environmental impact of hostilities in Donbas, performed with the support of the OSCE Project Co-ordinator, highlighted severe chemical security concerns, as more than 500 major interruptions of work for enterprises in the eastern part of Ukraine were recorded between 2014 and 2017.
The awareness-raising materials include a leaflet, “Chemical Incidents. Leaflet on Risks and Safety Measures” that provides generalized guidance on safety measures related to accidents with toxic substances. Four other leaflets contain specific guidance for occasions of release or spills of most widespread chemicals – ammonia, mercury, chlorine and nitric acid. They also contain practical advice on administering medical assistance in such cases. In addition, the Co-ordinator is organizing a webinar for journalists to help them better understand the risks in this context.
The collection also contains publications, created specifically for the training of emergency response personnel, which will also be the basis for further production of awareness-raising materials and as a useful source of information for local authorities and other civilian services in planning measures in response to possible emergencies.
These materials, updated according to the recent developments, were developed by the OSCE Project Co-ordinator with the financial support of the European Union, United States of America, and Germany as one of the project’s activities aimed at enhancing chemical safety and security in Ukraine.
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The decision of the Supreme Court to refuse the Ostchem Holding Limited company of Dmytro Firtash to comply with the decision of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce to recover over $300 million from Odesa-Port Side Plant for gas supplies causes mixed feelings and bears risks of consequences, Minister of Justice Denis Maliuska has said.
“The decision was also a surprise for me… On the one hand, as a citizen, I am glad that the funds will not be recovered from the state-owned enterprise, and on the other hand, the argumentation and how it looks in terms of possible consequences, perhaps this is not yet the end of the story, risks remain,” he said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
Commenting on commercial arbitrations against Ukraine in general, Maliuska said that he does not see the danger of making any critical decisions regarding Ukraine this year.
As reported, in 2016, the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce decided to recover $250 million from Odesa-Port Side Plant in favor of Ostchem Holding Limited for the gas that the company supplied to the plant in 2013.
In March 2017, by a decision of the Yuzhny City Court, this decision was legalized on the territory of Ukraine. The validity of this decision was also recognized by the Court of Appeal of Odesa region. In July 2018, the Supreme Court reversed those decisions.
Again, Ostchem was able to achieve a positive decision for itself in the Kyiv Court of Appeal in April 2019. According to a document published in the unified register of court decisions, Odesa-Port Side Plant, in accordance with the decision of the Stockholm tribunal, had to pay Ostchem almost $193.3 million in principal and $58 million in fines.
The plant objected to the ruling made by the Ukrainian court, noting that the company had been stopped since the middle of 2018 and the implementation of the decision of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce would lead to bankruptcy and threats of a man-made and environmental disaster. In addition, the State Property Fund said that the contracts signed by plant and Ostchem are void. Odesa-Port Side Plant and the State Property Fund filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, which satisfied it in June 2021 and finally refused Ostchem to comply with the decision of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce to recover over $300 million from the plant.
Ostchem has not yet announced what action it has taken or will take following the Supreme Court’s verdict.
NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy in a letter sent to the government at the beginning of this year warned of the risks of balancing the gas transmission system (GTS) of Ukraine in the current heating season, which, according to the company, are associated with the problems of forming sufficient natural gas resources for these purposes by Gas Transmission System Operator Ukraine (GTSOU).
In a copy of the document available to the Interfax-Ukraine agency, Naftogaz notes that, according to the law on the natural gas market, GTSOU must purchase gas for these purposes “in a non-discriminatory and transparent manner and on market conditions.”
It notes that the current legislation in no way imposes on the participants in the natural gas market, in particular on Naftogaz, the obligation to provide the balancing service to GTSOU.
According to Naftogaz, GTSOU did not provide, as provided for by European rules, the possibility of trading gas for the needs of balancing the system on liquid exchanges or on its own trading platform.
Naftogaz recalled that the contract between GTSOU and the subsidiary of Naftogaz, Naftogaz Trading gas supply company LLC, on the provision of balancing services by the latter expires on January 19, 2022, and a new similar tender in December 2021 failed due to insufficient interest from market participants in the conditions proposed by GTSOU.
Naftogaz informs that it does not see an opportunity to participate in a new tender for the purchase of balancing services by GTSOU for 2022. According to Naftogaz, the GTS operator, by purchasing the balancing service from Naftogaz, actually resells it to gas market entities (primarily Naftogaz) and receives super profits.
The volume of reinsurance of risks by Ukrainian insurers in Austria in January-March 2019 tripled to UAH 168.5 million and accounted for 21.5% of the total reinsurance abroad, according to the website of the National Commission for the State Regulation of the Financial Services Market.
According to the regulator, reinsurance in Switzerland decreased by 4.9 times, to UAH 54.1 million. The reduction of Switzerland’s share in the total reinsurance of Ukrainian risks abroad decreased to 6.9% in Q1, 2019 from 31.3% in Q1, 2018.
The share of reinsurance in Germany increased from 13.9% to 21.3% (UAH 167.6 million), Great Britain from 15.5% to 18.4% (UAH 144.8 million), in Poland decreased from 11.5% to 10.2% (UAH 79.9 million), France increased from 3.4% to 5.4% (UAH 42.5 million).
According to the regulator, outgoing reinsurance operations in the first quarter of 2019 rose by 2.2%, to UAH 4.433 billion due to the increase in domestic reinsurance by 4.5%, to UAH 3.658 billion. At the same time, reinsurance of non-residents declined by 7.6%, to UAH 785 million.