Contactless payments gain momentum in Ukraine’s public transport

As part of its global strategy to extend its reach and develop mobile ticketing services, Mastercard has just made available a new contactless payment service in the subway of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.

The new technology, dubbed “MetroPass,” transforms bank cards into subway travel cards with pre-paid billing plans for a limited or unlimited number of rides and even discounts.

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Why Ukraine said ‘Nyet’ to Russian social networks

When Ukrainian government took the decision to ban the use of Russian internet services such as the Yandex search engine and the social network Vkontakte, it looked like another example of the country’s propensity to ape Russia’s own worst practices even while it talks about joining the European fold.

But the ban is part of a broader debate in the West about whether such platforms are media companies or impartial middlemen, writes Leonid Bershidsky of Bloomberg.

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Electric cars are getting more traction in Ukraine

The number of electric cars registered in Ukraine has surged significantly for the past year. As of March 31, 2017, there were 2,846 such vehicles, up from 693 in 2016, reports local online publication Epravda, citing data provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Electric cars are mostly concentrated in the biggest Ukrainian cities and their surrounding areas.

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Auchan launches online sales in Ukraine

French retailer Auchan has started selling non-food goods via its Ukrainian online store launched last month. These include household, garden and pets goods, as well as apparel.

So far, delivery service is available in Kyiv (Kiev) and Kyiv region for 59 and 69 hryvnias ($2.2 and $2.6 respectively at the current exchange rate). Both cash and bank card payments are accepted.

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Ukraine bans leading Russian Internet sites

Confirming that the relations between Ukraine and Russia are currently at their lowest, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko yesterday signed a decree applying sanctions to 468 legal entities and 1,228 individuals from Russia.

Among the targeted organizations are the two leading Russian Internet groups — Yandex and Mail.Ru Group — the services of which will be made inaccessible from Ukraine.

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Drones, high-tech cars and a helicopter serve the Ukrainian police

For the first time in their history, Ukraine’s policemen can now use high-tech automobiles, drones and a helicopter in their everyday operations. The news was reported in early May by the National Police of Ukraine.

The new equipment helps police officers identify wrongdoings and send live video streams directly to the control centers.

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Kyiv event awards best Ukrainian e-commerce companies

The fifth edition of the Ukrainian E-commerce Awards, the annual ceremony to honor top Ukrainian e-commerce players, was held last month in Kyiv (Kiev).

Over 200 Internet projects participated in the contest. The winning companies were chosen by online vote by some 10,000 customers among a list of companies pre-selected by the jury.

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US-Ukrainian Grammarly secures $110 million from top international investors

Grammarly, a San Francisco-based startup with Ukrainian roots,  has just raised $110 million in growth equity funding at an undisclosed valuation. The round was led by General Catalyst with participation from Breyer Capital, IVP, SignalFire, and Spark Capital.

The company was founded in 2009 by Kyiv natives Aleksey Shevchenko and Maksim Litvin. Its AI-powered software helps people improve writing, monitoring errors in grammar and syntax, as well as incorrect speech constructions in real time.

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New public-private agency to incubate defense technologies in Ukraine

Last month saw the launch of the Innovations Development Platform (IDP),  Ukraine’s first agency dedicated to the incubation and development of innovative defense projects.

Inspired by Israel’s Chief Scientist’s Office, this public-private partnership initiative aims to bring together developers, experts and investors “to develop innovations for the Ukrainian army and foreign partners in transparent commercial conditions.”

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Interactive toys, cardio device and audio transmitter honored at Vernadsky Challenge

In late April the third edition of international engineering startup competition Vernadsky Challenge was held in Dnipro (a city of central Ukraine formerly known as Dnipropetrovsk).

Out of 230 applicants, ten projects were selected as finalists. The four most promising projects shared two million hryvnias in grants (roughly $75,000 at the current exchange rate).

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