Hello,

We’re easing into the last month of summer. Here’s the news we have for you this week.

Cool news:

  1. Netflix will make its first film in Ukraine – The Last Mercenary. The action-comedy, starring none other than the martial arts legend Jean-Claude Van Damme, will tell the story of a “mysterious former secret service agent who must urgently return to France when his estranged son is falsely accused of arms and drug trafficking by the government.” One of the film’s producers is a Ukrainian, Vlad Riashyn.
  2. Some U.S. residents who are going to vote in the next presidential elections (currently scheduled for November 3, but Donald Trump is suggesting holding them later) will be able to do so in the Ukrainian language. This possibility has opened up for Cook County, which is in Illinois. Illinois’ seat, Chicago, has more than 46,000 native Ukrainians. Illinois will be the first state to add Ukrainian-language ballots to their voting process.
  3. The southern city of Odesa is constructing a wheelchair-friendly beach. These facilities will be made available on the beach called “Delfin” (“Dolphin”) with the use of private funds.
  4. Iran has agreed to pay Ukraine financial compensation for the downing of the PS752 flight over capital Tehran in January where 176 died including 11 Ukrainians. The size of the financial compensation is still being negotiated. Previously, the country suggested 68 thousand euros dollars to each Ukrainian family that lost a member. But Ukraine said that the sum needs to be higher.
  5. If you like ice cream and western Ukraine, this news is for you. A man in Lviv is making this cold dessert with unusual flavours, such as shrimps, dill, or lilacs. The ice cream is currently available at around 40 different establishments in Lviv, as well as the eco shop “Ptashok” in Ivano-Frankivsk.

Uncool:

  1. New record high number of coronavirus cases in Ukraine: July 29 saw 1197 newly established cases. Overall, July 29 to August 2 all had more than 1,000 new daily cases, which is another unprecedented occurrence for Ukraine.
  2. 33 Wagner group mercenaries have been detained in Belarus. Ukraine has now confirmed that 28 of them have taken part in the war in the Donbas. Ukraine will initiate a request for their extradition here. These arrests occurred shortly after Belarus President Lukashenko commented that “private military contractors” may be used to “destabilize” Belarus, and during a time where Lukashenko is preparing to crack down on opposition movements and journalists ahead of the planned presidential “election.”
  3. A host of government figures are breaking the Ukrainian road rules by speeding, driving on red lights, and using fake number plates (that allow them to evade fines and consequences of the violations). These perpetrators include President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s motorcade (that he earlier promised not to use), head of presidential office Andriy Yermak, interior minister Arsen Avakov, and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.
  4. Some more uncool changes in the National Bank of Ukraine. The central bank now dismissed Serhiy Kholod, the deputy head of the institution. This now practically gives the bank’s new head Kyrylo Shevchenko – who was instilled by President Zelenskyy himself – carte blanche to implement decisions, which may mean a crackdown on the bank’s independence.
  5. Remember the ceasefire we talked about starting in the previous newsletter? Yeah, that fell through within the first hour of it. Overall, 127 violations have been recorded in the first 4 days of it, according to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).