Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of the State of Kyiv newsletters. While Ukraine hits unprecedented highs in terms of coronavirus patients with Friday showing a whopping 1,109 new cases (an absolute record for the country), we’re here to make your weeks a little brighter.

Here is our selection of cool and uncool stories from this week.

Cool:

  1. If you’re in Kyiv, you can now attend the indoor parts of restaurants and bars. From July 1-2, swimming pools and cinemas will open too. Though, cinemas can only sell 50% of their seats to allow some space between the visitors.
  2. Ukrainian McDonalds will ban plastic cups for cold drinks at its establishments moving onto paper cups instead. This step will reduce the monthly amount of plastics coming from its restaurants by 10 tonnes. 
  3. Kyiv’s famous Olimpiyskiy stadium will be open to anyone who wants to do sports there from June 28 until the end of September. The stadium is open from 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. The only condition is that visitors have masks and hand sanitisers on them.
  4. Crimean Tatar singer and Eurovision-2016 winner Jamala has starred in a new Netflix film “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” as herself.
    And staying on the Netflix topic, the petition to add Ukrainian dubbing or subtitles to films offered on the platform has gathered 50,000 signatures.
  5. A former physics teacher from the southern Mykolayiv region has created an electro car from a piano and motor scooter. The car’s body is made from an old piano’s plywood, while the wheels came from a Soviet scooter. The car has two engines and operates on gel batteries. There is no steering wheel but a joystick used for controlling the vehicle. The 73-year-old inventor, who is now retired, made this car for his grandchildren.

Uncool

  1. Serious floods are wrecking western Ukraine having destroyed thousands of homes in four regions. 165 villages and towns are currently underwater. 754 million hryvnias (over 25 million euros) have been allocated from state funds to help combat the consequences of the catastrophe.
  2. Left bank news: a blaze broke out in a 16-floor residential building in the Darnytsia neighbourhood, just meters away from the building that suffered a gas explosion a week ago on Sunday. Nobody was injured as a result of the fire, but a couple of flats had their facades marred.
  3. Novi Sanzhary v. 2: If you thought the February story with Ukrainians refusing to accept evacuees from China’s Wuhan amid the coronavirus outbreak there was weird, you’re in for another “treat.” As this situation was recreated in Kharkiv where an attempt took place to block a COVID-19 patient arriving at a hospital for treatment. The protesters were people who suffered from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident and are treated at the same hospital. Their reasoning for the protest was that having coronavirus patients in the same hospital creates risks for other patients’ health (despite hospital staff saying all measures were taken to create a safe environment). More than half of the hospital’s medical personnel  have quit their jobs too.
  4. Head of Servant of the People party Oleksandr Kornienko was heard making sexist comments about his female colleagues to the head of the Servant of the People faction, David Arakhamia. The comments included saying that one party member is a “total beauty” but has too much “tuning” (possibly meaning plastic surgery) and to a potential candidate to run for Mykolayiv mayor, Tetiana Dombrovska, as a “working lass that is like a pine tree for ship making” (yes, we don’t understand this either) 🤷🏻‍♀️ 
  5. But this was not the only blunder this week that came from a Servant of the People faction member. Halyna Treryakova used the phrase “low-quality children” when talking about unemployed parents who have kids. She also said that unemployed people should be sterilised. Halyna Tretyakova, who is to make things worse also the head of the parliamentary committee on social policy and veterans’ rights, did not seem to apologise for these comments to this day. Instead, when asked about resigning, she said she still has a lot of work to do in her position. 
  6. IKEA has been selling chairs made from illegally felled trees in Ukraine’s Carpathians. This is according to an investigation by a British NGO Earthsight that took 18 months to complete. Illegal logging is a massive problem in Ukraine.