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     2.2 ​Politics - misc
       The Zelenskiy administration has three key goals that will determine the priority of its foreign policy in 2021​, said Ihor Zhovkva, a deputy head in the President’s Office,. They are
(1) peace in a de-occupied Donbas,
(2) Crimea as part of the Ukrainian state, and (3) Ukraine as an active international player.
The administration’s top priority is maintaining and strengthening Ukraine’s international support, particularly its bilateral relations with its strategic partners, which include the US, France and Germany.
Ukraine’s parliament voted on December 4 to adopt a compensation package of up to UAH8,000 ($283) per small business ​that lost income from the November lockdown measures imposed by the government. It is available to those individual entrepreneurs who had their business open as of three months ago, paid the social security tax, had not liquidated their official status, and were not employed in a separate firm. The funds also apply to those employers who had to dismiss workers who were officially employed in the third quarter. Many of the qualifying businesses are from the service sector.
The Prosecutor General’s Office yesterday charged Oleksandr Tupytsky, chairman of the Constitutional Court, with bribing a witness to make him give false testimony on December 28​. The charge comes one week after Radio Svoboda posted audiotapes in which Tupytsky tried to dissuade a Donetsk businessman from testifying against another controversial judge, Viktor Tatkov.
Ukrainian President Zelenskiy signed the bill into law on December 23 renewing criminal responsibility for fraudulent electronic declarations and failing to submit a declaration altogether. Respective amendments will be made to the criminal code, the criminal procedural code and the law on preventing corruption. Recall, ​parliament approved on December 4​ the bill renewing criminal responsibility after the scandalous October 27 Constitutional Court ruling overturning the original regulation. The ruling undermined most of Ukraine’s anti-corruption infrastructure built in the last five years with IMF sponsorship. Western institutions have urged Ukraine’s leadership to approve new laws to restore the anti-corruption legislative foundation undermined by the ruling, lest the nation lose access to loans and even the EU visa-free regime.
Kyiv’s recently completed September-November was the warmest since local record keeping started in 1881,​ reports Ukrinform. “The calendar autumn is over but the meteorological winter has not come yet,” reports the Borys Sreznevskyi. Central Geophysical Observatory, located in southern Kyiv. “It will begin when the average daily air temperature starts steadily dropping below 0 °C.” Without any sharp freeze forecast, authorities have extended the Dnipro River shipping season for an unprecedented extra month, to Dec. 31.
Ukraine’s parliament voted last week to appoint three nominees to four vacant cabinet positions​. On December 17, it approved the controversial Serhiy Shkarlet as education and science minister with the minimum number of votes of 226 MPs. It also approved the candidacy of Roman Leschenko as head of the agriculture ministry, the entity that has been just spun off from the
  7​ UKRAINE Country Report​ January 2021 ​ ​

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