Ukraine Calling is a weekly roundup of what’s been happening in Ukraine, with a focus on a main story.
The week began with the arrival Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Ukraine for an official visit. His main message was, “The reason we’re here supporting Ukraine is not because Ukraine is a good friend to Canada and the Ukrainian people are good friends to us. It’s because the values and the principles they are fighting for are the values and principles that we stand for and we fight for.”
The charismatic Canadian leader travelled with his oldest son, Xavier, International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland, and a delegation of political, business, and community leaders.
After a gala reception at the Mystets’kyi Arsenal Gallery, where Trudeau allowed practically everyone to take selfies with him, he met with Ukraine’s President Poroshenko, Prime Minister Groysman, and other political leaders. He visited the Holodomor Museum, and the memorial to the ‘Heavenly Hundred’ killed in Kyiv’s Maidan at the tail end of the Euromaidan protests, and then travelled to the Yavoriv military base outside L’viv, where he met with Canadian servicemen who are training Ukrainians.
The highlight of the visit was the signing of the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement on July the 11th. We’ll bring you commentary on the agreement by Canada’s International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland (by phone), Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Canada Andriy Shevchenko, and expert analysis from Dr. Mykhailo Wynnyckyi, of the Kyiv Mohyla Business School.
The music piece of the week is Alan Dunia, by Faeton, the first band to play rock music in Crimean Tatar.
Later this month, the IMF Board of Directors is expected to consider disbursing the $1.7 billion loan which Ukraine needs to keep its economy on track. As a reminder to our listeners, the IMF suspended loans to Ukraine in October of 2015, because the country was not doing enough to combat corruption. To facilitate the resumption of lending, Ukraine’s President Poroshenko spoke by phone with IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde on July the 9th. An IMF technical mission visited Ukraine on July the 11th, and during this week Ukrainian Parliament passed a number of laws needed for the lending to resume. This will be the focus of next week’s show, and we hope to have an interview with Natalie Jaresko, who was instrumental in securing IMF funding to Ukraine when she was Prime Minister in 2015.
Tune in next weekend for a new episode of Ukraine Callin with Marta Dyczok in Kyiv.