Hello from Kyiv,

This past week has been an interesting one, as Kyivans split into two groups: those who embraced the icy conditions, ice skated, and made fun videos and those who avoided going out at all costs lest they fall over and get injuries.

But more on the weather later – in our weekly recap of cool and uncool news.

Cool news:

  1. Ukrainian-born entrepreneur Vlada Lotkina is behind an American educational start-up that now has a couple of million users at 25 thousand schools. She said that the idea to develop ClassTag – a free platform that makes the communication between teachers and students’ parents easier – was born when her daughter went to school in New York, and Lotkina started receiving various handwritten notes from teachers. The company now has around 60 employees.
  2. Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko has initiated the process of including borshch – a Ukrainian beetroot soup – to Ukraine’s UNESCO cultural heritage. This isn’t about gastronomic identification, he said, it’s about “protecting an important cultural part of Ukraine.”
  3. The St. Andrew’s Church, a famous trademark church located atop of Kyiv’s St. Andrews Descent, has fully reopened after 11 years of renovation works (during five of which it was closed).
  4. Not just one, but two Ukrainian dishes have entered the Japanese market. Chicken Kyiv – a chicken cutlet with a garlicky oil sauce inside – is now available at the Japanese fast-food chain, Ministop. While a paste to make borshch, made in the western Ukrainian city of Lutsk, is now available at supermarkets.
  5. Nasty weather has turned Kyiv and other cities into ice rinks (see uncool news no. 2) – but some Ukrainians are “making the best of it”.

Uncool news:

  1. Uncool but important news: there will be a lockdown in Ukraine between January 8 and 24, both dates inclusive. During the lockdown, shopping, entertainment, and fitness centres won’t be operating, but hotels, flights, supermarkets, banks, pharmacies will be allowed to stay open. Additionally, cafes, restaurants, markets, and bars will have to close, other than for takeaway. Christmas markets and any other mass events won’t be permitted as well.
  2. Kyiv (and other Ukrainian cities) has had unusually icy weather after a rain on Thursday evening during sub-zero temperatures outside. 163 people got fall-related injuries in just one day, and 173 towns had full power cuts. Additionally, the number of car crashes had risen, and airports had to temporarily stop departures and arrivals.
  3. A teacher in the western Lviv region beat up her 11-year old student while his classmates were watching. After the video of the assault was spread online, the teacher was fired. The police are investigating the case.
  4. Russia claims that a Ukrainian pharma company in the eastern city of Kharkiv has started producing Russia’s unverified coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik-V. The company denies it.
  5. The number of reports to the police about domestic violence has increased almost twofold in the 10 months of 2020 versus the equivalent period in the previous year, the Ukrainian National Police has stated.