14:13 PM Friday, November 16, 2018 Thursday, July 26
Ukraine and US join forces against Nord Stream 2; Drought devastates Crimean harvest; 4 major agri businesses change hands; Slovenians build 11mw solar plant in Zhytomyr; Callpage secure $4.5m investment; Stranded passenger sues Wizz Air and wins.
image/svg+xml Kyiv Lutsk Rivne Zhytomyr Lviv Ternopil Khmelnytskyi Uzhgorod Chernivtsi Vinnytsia Chernigiv Sumy Kharkiv Poltava Cherkasy Kirovohrad Lugansk Dnipropetrovsk Donetsk Zaporizhzhia Mykolaiv Odesa Kherson Simferopol Sevastopol Ivano- Frankivsk

Ukraine and the United States will join forces to prevent construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, President Petro Poroshenko's press service has reported. "Our coordination is very important in preventing the construction of the Nord Stream 2, as a project that not only threatens the energy sphere of Ukraine and Europe, but also directly concerns geopolitical security," the presidential press service quoted Poroshenko as saying.

But construction of the German part of the pipeline has officially got underway, reports the German DW news agency. Yesterday evening, ships and crews began work on the ground docking station for Nord Stream 2 near Lubmin in the Greifswald Gulf. Firstly, pipe segments are being welded together before being stretched along an underground tunnel leading to the ground receiving station, as reported in German media and UNIAN.

Drought and an ongoing water crisis in Crimea has badly affected the peninsula's agricultural output, with grain yields down by about 500,000 tons. This figure is reported by Russian state media agency TASS, referencing data from the so-called Ministry of Agriculture of Crimea. The figures cannot be independently verified. Nonetheless, the stated decrease in Crimea's grain harvest will be of concern to observers, whether understated or not. "Grain harvesting in the Crimea is nearing completion, 95% of the acreage has already been harvested, 840,000 tons of grain have been harvested, due to the drought, the agrarians have not collected at least 500,000 tons," Crimean agrarian officials said in their statement to Russian state media.

At the same time, the volume of agricultural output in the Donetsk region has increased by about 10 percent. The increase is from January through June 2018, compared to the same period last year. Ukraine's eastern Donbas region that includes Donetsk and Luhansk has also been drought-affected this year, but hasn't been affected by mismanagement of water resources, unlike occupied Crimea.

Four major agribusiness companies change hands in deals worth USD $97.5 million. Atlantic Agro Holding ApSon, a leading crop farming and feed mill business was sold by its American and Danish shareholders to Eridon. Farm Invest Corporation, a major crop growing business was sold to LNZ-AGRO who also own the Lebedyn Seed Plant. The sellers were advised by EY Ukraine who over the past 12 months have also advised on the sale of Agro Invest Ukraine, a part of Serbian MK Group to a subsidiary of Kernel and the sale of Obolon Agro to Agroholding 2012 belonging to hypermarket network owners Epicentr.

Ukraine has already exported 1.5 million tons of grain crops this year, according to the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food. Almost 433,000 tons of wheat, 430,000 tons of barley, and 630,000 thousand tons of corn have been exported so far.

The Slovenian company Riko will construct an 11MW solar power station in the Ukrainian city of Zhytomyr, according to the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Ukraine, as reported by Ukrinform. "Riko won a tender for the performance of a set of works for the development of design estimates, as well as construction and installation works, for the establishment of a 10.79 / 9.35 MW solar power station in the city of Zhytomyr," the report reads.

Ukrainian start-up CallPage has attracted nearly USD $4.5 million in investment from three different Polish venture capital funds. Innovation Nest, Market One Capital and TDJ Pitango Ventures have invested, Polish media has reported. The CallPage start-up is a widget installed on sites that allows the quick connection of customer and merchant by phone call. The company was founded in 2015 by three Ukrainians - Rostyslav Knap, Andriy Tkachov and Serhiy Butko.

The Embassy of Austria in Ukraine supports President Poroshenko's decision to veto an anti-logging law. The embassy said that Ukraine should focus on complying with its international obligations. Poroshenko has said that he's supportive of strengthening criminal liability with regards to the illicit logging trade but doesn't want to damage commercial agreements with EU countries that need Ukrainian timber. "President Poroshenko’s veto of the introduction of an export ban on fire wood is important step to fulfill Ukrainian international obligations. Protecting forests, fighting illegal logging are shared goals, [but] export bans are not useful," the Austrian Embassy in Ukraine posted on Twitter.

When Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air stranded 100 Ukrainian passengers in London back in December 2017, only a handful of passengers decided to complain. Dozens of Ukrainian families were abandoned at London’s Luton Airport when the airline had to cancel their flight but would only offer alternative flights 10-days later, despite it being Christmas week in one of the world's most expensive cities. One passenger took the airline to court to recover the unused portion of their ticket plus costs using the airline claims company Air Advisor. Courts found that Wizz Air were within their rights to cancel the flight as Kyiv runways were closed due to snow. But they also said that the airline had been grossly negligent in their handling of the abandoned passengers. Yesterday, 217 days after the cancelled flight, Wizz Air has refunded the ticket cost and paid costs, as well as compensation to the customer that sued. If all the passengers had done the same it would have cost the airline around USD $50,000.

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