Earlier this week, military actions in this region resulted in some damage to the water pipeline in Donetsk region. The water losses increased at the water pipe “Horlivka-Toretsk” and the water supply at Horlivka Filter Station #2 was stopped.
UN Monitoring Mission reported that 14 civilians lost their lives in the ongoing conflict. 36 more were injured.
Ukraine offered Russia to exchange hostages on January 5, 2019. Ukraine passed the OSCE the proposal to pardon and pass 72 pro-Kremlin separatists in exchange for 19 Ukrainian hostages held in the occupied territories. Kyiv is also ready to pass Russia 22 citizens, detained in judged in Ukraine. In exchange, the Ukrainian side urges the Kremlin to release and send 22 political prisoners back to Ukraine.
About Azov and Ukrainian sailors
A rally was held in Kyiv in support of Ukrainian sailors captured by Russia’s FSB in the Kerch Strait on November 25. Earlier, Poroshenko said Putin avoided dialogue with Ukraine, he can't justify capture of Ukrainian sailors.
On December 18, one Ukrainian sailor Tsybizov declared himself prisoner of war. And on December 21, 15 of 24 captured Ukrainian sailors claimed to be POWs. Whereas, Crimean "court" refuses to provide translator for Ukrainian sailor Volodymyr Varimeza.
The Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council Oleksandr Turchynov stated that the new missile systems would help Ukraine to defend in sea waters and would also help to destroy the Kerch Bridge. At the same time, Ukraine's Defense Minister Poltorak said it was their priority to create the new naval base in the Sea of Azov.
Red Cross asked Russia to provide access to the Ukrainian sailors.
Putin said that Russia would not take unilateral actions in Azov. However, Russia refused from the exchange of captives by the end of this year. Moreover, Putin also said the exchange of Ukrainian sailors is possible only after closure of criminal case.
About Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew congratulated and blessed Ukraine, and the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate excommunicated two of their priests who dared to participate in the Assembly.
Later on Thursday, Ukrainian Parliament bound churches with center in aggressor state to say that in their names. The tensions in the controversial decision won the field and the fight occurred in Ukraine's Parliament after adoption of "church law".
About Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia
On December 17, Ukrainian political prisoner detained in Russia Roman Sushchenko spoke of the conditions at remand center in Russia, where he was recently transferred. In its turn, Ukraine asked Russia to improve the detention conditions for Sushchenko.
Another political prisoner detained in Russia Stanyslav Klykh intends to begin the hunger strike again, despite the deterioration of his health condition and suspicion of cancer.
Besides, Crimean Tatar activist Edem Bekirov, whose condition was claimed to be critical, is not provided with the medical assistance in his cell. Meanwhile, the EU expects Russia to release Edem Bekirov.
Moreover, the European Court for Human Rights urged Russia to provide information about the health conditions of Pavlo Gryb, the Ukrainian political prisoner.
About IMF tranche for Ukraine
This week, International Monetary Fund approves stand-by program of financial assistance for Ukraine It is accounted for 14 months-long period.
On December 20, the IMF published the full text of the Memorandum on the economy and fiscal policy within the new program for 2018-2020, which contains directions of Ukraine’s work in the monetary and currency policy, fiscal policy and policy of the energy and finance sectors.
This Friday, Ukraine received the first tranche by the new cooperation program with the IMF under the conditions of Stand-By Arrangement (SBA), which the IMF Council adopted on December 18, 2018.
About Trilateral Contact Group
On December 19, Iryna Gerashchenko, Ukraine’s representative to the humanitarian subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group, informed that no progress has been made in the question of the release of the hostages and political prisoners at the Trilateral Contact Group meeting in Minsk.
On the same day, Gerashchenko stated that it was appropriate to move the talks from Minsk to Astana, Kazakhstan.
This week, the representative of Ukraine at the Trilateral Contact Group on Donbas Yevhen Marchuk named the issues of the negotiations for the next session, among which are illegal “elections” in occupied Donbas. Marchuk also stated that Russia refused from the exchange of captives by the end of 2018.
Ukraine, in its turn, Ukraine offered Russia to exchange hostages on January 5, 2019.
About Russian aggression and sanctions
On December 19, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko and U.S. Special Envoy Kurt Volker discussed the consequences of the Russian aggression in the waters of the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov and stressed the necessity of powerful response for this aggression.
About boxing: Usyk, Gvozdyk and Stevenson
Ukraine’s undefeated absolute heavyweight champion of the world Oleksandr Usyk reaps the rewards for his hard work this year. ESPN channel awarded him the title of the best boxer of the passing year. Rafael's Fighter of the Year award became the symbol of Usyk's great success in 2018. As is known, during the year, the Ukrainian fought in three bouts, winning all of them. In March, he defeated Latvian Mairis Briedis and took his WBC champion's belt. Then, in summer, Usyk outmatched Russia's Murat Gassiev in the final of WBSS tournament; beating his opponent, the Ukrainian became the fourth boxer of all time to claim all four champion belts in the professional boxing (WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF).
Another boxer’s year winds up in a way that leaves his fans praying for his good health. Canadian fighter Adonis Stevenson, who stood against with the Ukrainian Oleksandr Gvozdyk for champion’s title in light heavyweight (up to 79,38 kg) under WBC version regained conscience after an induced coma.