Escalation in Donbas
The “ceasefire” in Donbas seems to be no more, in terms of the daily numbers of attacks on Ukrainian positions. OSCE SMM reports dozens of explosions and other breaches of the truce in combat zone.
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency William Burns considers the accumulation of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border as a basis for the Russian intrusion into Ukraine.
National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine gathered to discuss the challenges at hand, including the ongoing tensions in Donbas. President Zelensky avoided sharing any details about the meeting.
On April 16, the head of the state came to Paris to negotiate this matter with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. Office of the French President expressed concerns, saying that Ukraine’s sovereignty was in danger.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden called his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin to discuss the same question, among others. The American leader offered Putin to hold a summit in a third country; however, the White House noted that such action does not mean Washington would abandon the sanctions policy against Moscow.
G7 foreign ministers and the High Representative of the European Union called on Russia to stop provocations on border with Ukraine and stated that large-scale troop movements, without prior notification, represent threatening and destabilising activities. The statement was published on website of the EU Delegation in Ukraine. A similar statement came from Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO Secretary General.
A civilian resident died in the attack that took place in Donetsk on Wednesday. The shelling that took his life also damaged the house he lived in, and another house on the same street.
On Friday, Ukraine has received the first batch of the Pfizer vaccine. Ukraine’s Sanitary Doctor revealed categories of citizens who would receive Pfizer vaccine first. Besides, this week, vaccination with CoronaVac drug started in Ukraine.
Moreover, strict quarantine was extended in Kyiv until April 30. However, all-Ukrainian quarantine not to be introduced. Meanwhile, it was noted that the implementation of vaccination passports in Ukraine will begin after most citizens can have access to vaccines.
This week, the European Commission will not extend contracts with the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson companies that produce vaccines against coronavirus. Besides, Denmark became the first country to stop using AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine.
Situation in Crimea
Russia has been increasing its military presence in Crimea. It appears that the total number exceeded 31,000 servicemen with combat vehicles and aircraft. Representative of the US mission to the OSCE Courtney Austrian said so on April 14.
Considering the tension, the U.S. thought of sending its warships to the Black Sea. However, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Ryabkov warned Washington to stay away from Crimea, calling such move “a provocation”. Eventually, the Americans changed their mind, and no vessels were deployed.
On Wednesday, on the eve of the expected arrival of the U.S. vessels, the Russian Black Sea Fleet conducted naval drills, during which the troops trained to shoot the above-water and air targets. Meanwhile, Armed Forces of Ukraine practiced in rebuking the attack of enemy tanks and infantry near the border with Crime, which is annexed by Russia.
Ukraine and United States
At the beginning of the week, the U.S. sent two missile destroyers Donald Cook and Roosevelt to the Black Sea. However, later, the U.S. canceled the deployment of the vessels.
CIA Director William Burns considered the accumulation of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border as a basis for the Russian intrusion into Ukraine.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin stated America would continue to provide military support to Ukraine in accordance with its needs. Commander of U.S. European Command Tod D. Wolters stated NATO is able to offer rebuff to Russia in case anti-Ukrainian aggression.
U.S. State Secretary Anthony Blinken warned that America would react if Russia acts aggressively against Ukraine. Besides, Blinken and Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba discussed all aspects of the Russian escalation. Later, Blinken discussed the situation on the eastern border of Ukraine with his counterparts from France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom today in Brussels, Belgium.
Besides, U.S. President Joe Biden called his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin. Later, Jen Psaki stated that planning of the meeting of presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, which is being arranged by the White House does not mean Washington abandons the sanctions policy against Moscow.
Later, U.S. President Joe Biden signed a decree imposing new sanctions on Russia. In particular, sanctions are imposed on 32 legal entities and individuals who made attempts on orders by the Russian government to influence the U.S. presidential election in 2020, as well as other acts of misinformation and interference.
Liquidation of District Administrative Court of Kyiv
It became known that the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky plans to eliminate the District Administrative Court of Kyiv. The Office of the President claims that the respective draft law has been submitted for the Parliament's consideration, but there's still no sign of it in the digital system.
And on April 14, the text of the draft law No. 5369 by President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared on the website of the Ukrainian Parliament. The document provides for the liquidation of the District administrative court of Kyiv.
Then, the ambassadors of the G7 countries supported the initiative of President Volodymyr Zelensky to liquidate the District Administrative Court of Kyiv.
National Security and Defense Council