Hello,

This week, a host of strange things have been happening all over Ukraine, including – most notably – the two hostage-taking situations in the western city of Lutsk and the central city of Poltava. And, in the name of the newsletter’s title, we also look at the biggest headlines from Kyiv.

Cool news:

  1. 39 countries currently allow visits from Ukrainian tourists. The latest 13 countries that have opened up borders for Ukraine are Bulgaria, Slovenia, the Maldives, United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Antigua and Barbuda, Ecuador, Jamaica, Cambodia, Comoros Islands, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia.Turkey, Serbia, Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Belarus, United Kingdom, USA, Mexico, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somali, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Seychelles, Bahamas, Lebanon, and a few other countries remain open for Ukraine, too.

    Please check the specific rules for entering the country before you buy tickets or fly into it.

  2. Ukraine has finally managed to sell its Eurobonds, earning 2 billion US dollars. The first attempt to sell them failed after the then-head of the National Bank, Yakiv Smoliy, announced his resignation due to alleged political pressure resulting in the government cancelling the offer.
  3. Peace may be closer now as the members of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk agree on an “enhanced ceasefire” from July 27. Though, it is worth adding that a number of previous ceasefires that have been agreed on have failed with the Russia-led separatists’ repeated violations.
  4. Photographers in the southern city of Odesa have managed to capture the NEOWISE comet.
  5. Thanks to a pensioner in the eastern Kharkiv region, 400 kilograms of used batteries have been collected and sent to Romania for recycling.

Uncool news:

  1. Two lawmakers from the ruling Servant of the People faction have registered a bill that prohibits “propaganda of homosexuality and transgenderism,” much like Russia’s existing laws do.
  2. Left bank news: 15 communal bikes were vandalised in Troyeshchyna neighbourhood.
  3. Volunteer and head of Kyiv-based “Dim Myloserdia” (“House of Mercy”) charity, which helped the homeless, was found dead in a rented flat in Kyiv. Police say that there are no signs of foul play, but friends and acquaintances of Oleksiy Kuchapin believe his death might have something to do with his activities, as the police were “against Kuchapin helping the homeless.”
  4. A man in the Odesa region topped up his mobile phone account with the same 200 hryvnia note 44 times by using a thin string and a terminal machine. He was detained and now faces up to 8 years in prison.
  5. Fortunately, terrorism is very rare in central or western Ukraine. But this week saw not one, but two hostage-taking situations. Firstly, on Tuesday, a man with anarchist views (or “anti-system,” as he himself referred to them) took 13 people on a bus in Lutsk as hostages and held them for 12 hours. Nobody was injured and the man is now in custody awaiting his sentence. Then there was the situation in Poltava with another man taking a police officer as hostage and driving into an unknown direction. The man then released his hostage, left the car, and ran into a forest. He is still being searched for and aviation is being used to facilitate the search.