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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 255:

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
Gas Deal Reached, But Some Details Disputed

RFE/RL is also reporting that a gas deal has been reached, but they are reporting a totally different price than what ITAR-TASS reported earlier:

On October 30, ahead of a second day of negotiations in Brussels, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said payment for previous gas deliveries worth $1.45 billion will be paid soon after the protocol is signed.

He said the remaining $1.65 billion debt would be paid by year end.

Yatsenyuk said the price for up front payments would be lowered from $385 per 1,000 cubic meters to $378 this year and $365 next year.

As we reported a little while ago, TASS is reporting that Yatsenyuk only agreed to pay $268 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas, far less than the figures reported by RFE/RL, but still less than the $485 Gazprom wanted to charge back in April.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine's Economy Shrinks Less Than Some Predicted

Ukraine's economy was in tough shape before the revolution in February, which is one of the drivers of the Euromaidan protests in the first place. Since then Ukraine has had to deal with political instability, war, and great uncertainty about their supply of natural gas.

But Kyiv Post is running an analysis right now which suggests that losses in the third quarter of this year have been less severe than some analysts predicted:

Figures released by the State Statistics Service on Oct. 30 reveal that the 45-million nation's economic decline in the third quarter was 5.1 percent in year-on-year terms, compared to 4.6 percent in the second quarter, amid war with Russia in the easternmost oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Taking the third quarter separately, it experienced a 2.1 percent contraction over the second quarter. Performance of the Crimean economy is no longer in the statistics since Kyiv lost the peninsula to the Russian Federation in March.

The International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C. expects Ukraine's gross domestic product to drop by 6.5 percent this year and to grow 1 percent in 2015, while the National Bank of Ukraine foresees 2014 contraction to be at 8.3 percent.

Analyst Timothy Ash of South Africa's Standard Bank said the forecasts might be reviewed as third quarter figures are better than expected. He called the 5.1 percent drop in GDP the "equivalent to growth in the Ukrainian context" in an e-mailed statement to investors.

Read the entire analysis here.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
'Apparently We Have a Deal'

Reuters is now optimistic that a Ukrainian/Russian has deal has been reached:

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, in a passing comment during formal remarks ahead of his departure from office on Friday, said: "Apparently we have a deal."

Andriy Kobolev, head of Ukraine's state-run gas company Naftogaz, said: "Today there is a chance of an 'interim winter package' being signed in trilateral format. A high probability."

A source familiar with the Russian negotiators' movements told Reuters that Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Alexei Miller, the head of state gas firm Gazprom, were flying back.

Russia's Itar-Tass news agency quoted a source saying their return "allows us to hope that an agreement will be concluded".

Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Ukraine's Prime Minister, announced at a meeting today that Ukraine will pay $268 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas which has already been supplied, significantly cheaper than the $485 Gazprom wanted to charge Ukraine back in April. ITAR-TASS reports:

“We are ready to pay the price of $268 for the already supplied gas,” he said, adding that Kiev had funds for that in the amount of $3.1 billion.

“We will pay $1.450 billion right after the signing of the trilateral protocol between Ukraine, Russia and the EU, and $1.650 billion more by the end of the year,” the prime minister concluded.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Simon Ostrovsky Reports On Elections Near The War's Frontline

Reporter Simon Ostrovsky has made this report about the elections from one of the towns closest to the fighting:

On October 26, parliamentary elections were held in much of Ukraine — including long-embattled areas in the east. Wary of interference from separatists, armed guards manned polling stations and escorted completed ballots to ensure their safety. Turnout in the region was low, however, as residents appeared reluctant to vote. And in the rebel-held Donetsk People's Republic, elections weren't held at all — on November 2, pro-Russia separatists there will hold their own elections in hopes of legitimizing their self-proclaimed republic.

VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky spent Election Day visiting candidates, polling stations, and an electoral commission to find out how the political process was progressing amid the heightened levels of tension.


The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Fighting, Shelling, Casualties, And Tensions All On The Rise

If you closely follow The Interpreter you should by now note a trend -- for several weeks things were getting less tense and there was less fighting, less shelling, fewer casualties, and decreased tensions between Moscow and Kiev as a result. No, the conflict has never been truly frozen, and the ceasefire has never been fully implemented, but all signs indicated that things were at least getting better ahead of Ukraine's elections.

Since Sunday's election that trend is now over, and each day brings more alarming headlines. Below are the tweets from the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, the summary of their morning press conference:

7 dead and 11 wounded? This represents a significant escalation in casualties in less than one week.
As we reported below, the self-appointed Prime Minister of the self-declared 'People's Republic of Donetsk' has announced his intentions to retake Mariupol from the Ukrainian military.

Earlier today we also verified the location of a video which claims to show Grad rockets belonging to Russian-backed separatists.

The bottom line: The ceasefire in Ukraine has always been strained and frequently broken, but now, even though it's not making headlines internationally, the ceasefire could be in danger of completely shattering.

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