On December 2, the Ukrainian State Agency for Infrastructure Projects (Ukrinfraproekt) announced that it had begun negotiations with state-owned China Airport Construction Group Corporation (CACC) to involve the company in the upgrade of several domestic airports across the country. The discussion reportedly has roots in a 2018 memorandum of cooperation signed by both parties.
In a separate but possibly related development, in November 2020, Ukrinfraproekt reportedly held meetings with ten domestic airports’ management teams to determine their development priorities for 2021. Specifically, the Ukrainian government is looking to upgrade Kherson, Cherkasy, Rivne, Vinnytsia, Uzhgorod, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi, Poltava, Odesa, and Dnipro airfields. It seems likely, but is unreported, that the negotiations with CACC would tie into these discussions.
During the signing of the original cooperation agreement between CACC and Ukrinfraproekt, it was declared that the agreement would mark the entry of Chinese commercial interest in Ukraine’s aviation industry. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government has also indicated that they are ready to resume talks with their Chinese counterparts to establish joint free trade zones in Ukraine.
On December 3, Taras Golub, Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister, noted that Chinese economic interest in Ukraine is growing. He drew a connection between this increase and the recent political instability in Belarus, which he said had prompted Chinese companies to consider leaving.