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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine Liveblog Day 219

Publication: Ukraine Liveblogs
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Video Shows Separatists Using Drones to Target Donetsk Airport With Mortars

This video is titled "New Weaponry in the Service of the Novorossiya Militia" and shows a group of men using a small drone to better target the Donetsk International Airport. The distinctive look of the airport matches satellite mapping software and leaves little doubt that this is Donetsk Airport (map), held by the Ukrainian government. Though the date should be considered unconfirmed, the video description says it is from mid-September and was provided by the militias.

The current ceasefire agreement strictly precludes these kind of attacks, so this video, if the date can be confirmed, is confirmation of what we already know -- Russian-backed separatists are in clear violation of the ceasefire.
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine May Need 3-4 Times More Exergency Cash Than Current IMF Forecast

Lubomir Mitov, chief Europe economist for the Institute of International Finance, is warning that even with the current IMF loan, Ukraine may need three to four times more emergency cash than the IMF has forecast due to the continued war, the weak currency, and other financial losses. Wall Street Journal reports:

The IMF earlier this month said the country needs at least $3.5 billion more than originally planned to keep it afloat through the end of next year. That amount could rise to $19 billion if the civil war continues, the fund said. That’s on top of the $30 billion global bailout program the IMF is already spearheading.

But Mr. Mitov, who recently returned from the war-torn country, says the needs are far larger than the IMF’s public assessment.

The IIF expects the economy will contract at a double-digit pace this year, down from its previous estimate for an 8% contraction, based on the presumption of a prolonged stalemate with the separatists. He estimates Kiev’s budget deficit will hit 12% this year and banking recapitalization needs are likely to be more urgent and much larger than the $4 billion detailed by government officials. Major Ukrainian manufacturing infrastructure is damaged or offline, Kiev’s budget is suffering from weak revenues and rising military costs and the country’s devalued currency is still wreaking havoc on the financial system.

All that means the IMF will likely be forced to overhaul its bailout in the near-term, he said, with initial talks are expected at the upcoming IMF meetings in Washington next month.

Ukraine is balancing a main condition of the IMF bailout, the reduction of the deficit, while simultaneously increasing military spending and trying to reform its government.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine's Currency Gains After Reaching All-Time Low

At the end of yesterday's trading session the Ukrainian Hryvnia had reached an all-time low against the US dollar, trading on the interbank market at HR 15 per dollar and marking a 46% devaluation since the start of the year (the central bank's exchange rate was 13.5 HR per dollar).

Kyiv Post reports that many in the Ukrainian government believe that the Hryvnia should be recovering, but panic and speculation may be driving down the currency's value:

"If you ask a college sophomore with major in economics, he'll tell you that (the hryvnia) rate should be strengthening," said Arseniy Yatsenyuk, country's prime minister who led the central bank in 2004-2005. "I have no other explanation, but a panic on one side and speculations on the other."

For the past three months, $14.2 billion were sold on the interbank market, where commercial banks buy and sell the currencies in order to achieve profits.

President Petro Poroshenko held an urgent meeting with Yatsenyuk and Valeriya Gontareva, head of National Bank, on Sept. 23, while the heads of 40 largest banks meet each Wednesday to discuss a strategy for calming down the panic mood.

"My recommendation is not to buy dollars right now," said Oleksandr Dubilet, who manages country's largest bank Pryvat with $15.1 billion in assets. The market is psychologically overreacting, according to him.

Kyiv Post also points out that long term problems also remain, since Naftogaz, Ukraine's largest energy company, will have to sell hryvnias in order to buy dollars to pat it's $1.6 billion eurobond.

The good news is that the hryvnia appears to be rebounding for its all-time low today:

The hryvnia exchange rate in the interbank currency market strengthened by UAH 1.05 to 13.70 UAH/USD on Wednesday, after falling by 25 kopecks on Tuesday, currency exchange market players told Ukrainian News.
According to them, the hryvnia rate fluctuated in the range of 14.50-14.95 UAH/USD at the start of trading, the quotations fell to 13.75-14.30 UAH/USD by 11:50, and to 12.90-13.70 UAH/USD by the end of trading.

According to participants in the currency market, most of the transactions were concluded at an exchange rate close to 13.70 UAH/USD.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Shelling Reported In Donetsk Right Now
There are numerous reports once again this evening of shelling in Donetsk, where the Russian-backed occupiers are fighting to push Ukrainian troops out of the ruined airport on the northern edge of the city.
Ukraine's Channel 5 has been running this video today:
What could be occasional gunfire or explosions can be heard on the Ruptly livestream, though in the distance. While Ruptly claims "neither side is currently in control of the airport" that is not accurate, as Ukrainian government troops still control the airport:
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russia Preparing a Fourth Aid Convoy For Eastern Ukraine

When Russia sent the first aid convoy to Lugansk it broke all of its agreements with Ukraine and the International Committee of the Red Cross in the process. Moscow did not even seek the permission of Ukraine or the international community for the next two aid convoys, and now Russia has announced that it is preparing a fourth aid convoy for Ukraine.

Today Russian Deputy Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Stepanov announced that a fourth convoy would travel to not only Lugansk but also Donetsk. Interfax-Ukraine reports:

The previous humanitarian convoy aid for residents of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions arrived in Donbas on September 20, he recalled. "This is over 2,000 tonnes of aid, mainly foodstuffs and essentials. In addition, we sent there over 600 power generators," Stepanov said.

Now the Emergency Situations Ministry is focusing on the forthcoming winter, so the next aid will be formed accordingly, he said. "We have already conducted an expert appraisal of the readiness for winter along with representatives from the Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics and gave them our recommendations. We are now continuing this work. We will be forming the humanitarian cargo with the forthcoming winter in mind," Stepanov said.

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