Hello from Kyiv,

As the weather gets worse and staying inside becomes a choice (in addition to being a quarantine necessity), we once again bring you the most entertaining and saddening news from last week.

Cool news:

  1. Ukraine became the ninth signatory of the NASA Artemis Accords, which set out principles for Moon and Mars missions and exploration.
  2. A pink diamond named after a Kyiv-born 20th Century ballet dancer was sold at Sotheby’s auction in Switzerland for $26.6 million.
  3. A Ukrainian women’s team of referees has for the first time in history worked during a UEFA Nations League football game.
  4. A Ukrainian fairy tale, “Rukavychka,” has been made into a cartoon with Japanese subtitles thanks to a collaboration between the Laputa Art Animation School and the Ukrainian Embassy in Japan.
  5. Seven cities in Ukraine (including one in the Kyiv region) have held the second round of mayoral elections on November 15. No major violations were found at the polling stations.

Uncool news:

  1. This past week, a record number of Ukraine’s high-profile officials were diagnosed with the coronavirus. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Head of the Presidential Office Andriy Yermak, the Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament Dmytro Razumkov, his deputy Ruslan Stefanchuk, and the Minister of Health Maksym Stepanov were all officially diagnosed. Additionally, the Minister for Reintegration Issues for the Temporarily Occupied Territories, Oleksiy Reznikov, was also diagnosed with COVID-19. The number of hospitalizations per number of cases in Ukraine has increased by 80% in October versus September.
  2. A taxi driver in Kyiv drove into a bus stop, killing 2 and injuring a further 2. According to preliminary information, he fell asleep while driving. The taxi driver is now in custody and faces up to 10 years in prison.
  3. A new report made by experts from Ukraine, Turkey, and other countries highlights the level of pollution in the Black Sea. According to it, the sea, which Ukrainians have access to in southern Ukraine, is considerably more polluted than its neighbouring Mediterranean Sea.
  4. 28% of polled Ukrainians said that they were prepared to move to the US or EU if they were granted citizenship there.
  5. Ukraine will be able to receive 8.5 million vaccines against the coronavirus in the second quarter of 2021. These will only cover 20% of the population, which will be people who work in high-risk environments. So it looks like all of us will need to continue being careful and smart with our socialisation and hygiene habits for a while.