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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK: MARCH 9 – 13

Source : 112 Ukraine

Read about Donbas conflict, coronavirus pandemic and quarantine in Ukraine, MH17 case trial, oil prices, Crimea and other important events of the week
22:28, 13 March 2020

112 Agency

About Donbas conflict

This week, Ukrainians witnessed quite concerning developments in Donbas, as parties to the Minsk talks group agreed to create the advisory board agreed on the creation of an advisory board. It will comprise of representatives of Ukraine and self-proclaimed 'republics' of Donbas (ten from each, with the right for decisive vote), Germany, France and the OSCE (one from each, with the right for conciliatory vote). Russia now acts as an observer, not as participant in the process – thus, lifting from itself all responsibilities for the ongoing aggression against Ukraine. In fact, now Ukraine and the self-styled republics are now considered equal participants in the negotiation process. Besides, the respective document states the necessity of a comprehensive political solution to the conflict, however, it says nothing about the need of an immediate and stable ceasefire and living up to all security conditions that are necessary for the political process. 

At least three Ukrainian military servicemen deceased this week.

Workers of Ukraine's State Security Service (SBU) managed to prevent the case of illegal arms traffic in Luhansk region, namely in the area of Joint Forces Operation. The law enforcers detained two defendants at the checkpoint on Lysychansk-Bakhmut roadway, as they drove a van. The seized arsenal included three grenade launchers, a mounted machine gun, six heavy machine guns and almost 3,000 ammunition cartridges of various calibers.

The HQ of the Joint Forces Operation reported that a group of snipers of the regular Russian army came to Dombas; they appeared to be the cadets who arrived in the combat area to pass their "final exam". "The occupants wounded one of our defenders by the aiming fire. The injured soldier was provided with the necessary aid urgently. Such criminal activity was not left without a response. The Ukrainian military, using the permitted armament, destroyed the firing points of the enemy,” the message said.

Illegal armed formations of Russian militants attacked the residential area in Mariinka, Donetsk region. The local school students were evacuated to the bomb shelter. The armed gangs used small arms and grenade launchers.

 

About coronavirus and pandemic

The first fatality is confirmed in Ukraine; a 71-year-old woman, resident of Zhytomyr region, northern Ukraine succumbed to the disease. Another several cases of infection with Covid-19 are confirmed in this country; most recently, a student from Kremenchuk (Poltava region, central Ukraine) was hospitalized with a suspicion for the virus.

The National Security and Defense Council ruled that the state border of Ukraine will be closed for foreigners for two weeks. Earlier, Foreign Ministry urged the citizens to abstain from traveling abroad.

State leaders delay their visits to Ukraine in the view of the spreading coronavirus; that included Georgia’s Salome Zurabishvili and Lithuania’s Gitanas Nauseda.

Express tests for the Chinese coronavirus arrived in seven hospitals across the Ukrainian capital.

About MH17

On March 9, the trial in the case of Boeing 777 downed in July 2014 in Donbas and killing 298 men, women and children on board has begun. However, no one of the defendants appeared in court.

Besides, the court in case of downed Boeing MH17 named the main target of militants. Moreover, a Dutch trial of four men accused of shooting down flight MH17 six years ago has put the spotlight back on Russia's covert war in east Ukraine.

The prosecution asked to investigate Russia's possible manipulation of images. Moreover, lawyer Jerry Skinner filed the lawsuit against Russia and its President Vladimir Putin on behalf of 40 families of the relatives of the victims of the MH17 crash.

Meanwhile, the families of MH17 victims held the silent protest outside the Russian Embassy against Moscow’s lack of cooperation in the investigation into the downing of the passenger jet.

About Serhiy Sivokho

Serhiy Sivokho, the advisor to the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council on reintegration and restoration of Donbas, was attacked during the presentation of the National Platform for Reconciliation and Unity.

Sivokho received a stroke in his back and fell down to the floor.




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Such a reaction was caused by Sivokho’s statement on the presence of a hybrid war in Ukraine. Bodyguards helped him get out of the conference.

 

About economics

On Monday, March 9, oil prices decreased by over 30%. One collapse was followed by the next one - all world exchanges on this day showed the worst results since the 2008 global crisis. It started on March 6, when OPEC+ countries failed to reach a deal on oil production cuts. Due to the spread of Covid-19, and the growing concern of investors about lower demand for gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, world oil prices have fallen sharply.

The collapse in oil prices and the coronavirus epidemic have led to a sharp fall in the value of GDP warrants in Ukraine - by 9.2% and a rise in the yield of Eurobonds only by 1.1%.

On March 12, National Bank sold $350 million on interbank market to prevent hryvnia hike. It is believed that this kind of situation in the financial markets is driven by a psychological factor, primarily due to the spread of coronavirus in the world.

About Crimea and Crimean Tatars

This week, the issue of the water supply to annexed Crimea was raised once more. Permanent Representative of Ukraine in Crimea Anton Korynevych stated that the water supply is not feasible.

Concerning the prisoner swap, leader of Crimean Tatar people, MP Mustafa Dzhemilev stated that Crimean Tatars, included in the list for the possible future prisoners’ exchange, may refuse to participate in it if they will be swapped for ‘bandits’.

Meanwhile, four Crimean Tatars were detained after the searches by Russian security forces in Crimea.

About sports

Oleksandr Usyk and Dereck Chisora had their first face-off during the press conference that was held in London. The boxers were very composed and showed respect for each other.

Shakhtar Donetsk FC outplayed VfL Wolfsburg in its homeland. The Miners were able to snatch victory out of Wolfsburg’s hands in the second half of the match.

Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina triumphed at the WTA tournament in Monterrey, Mexico. She defeated Marie Bouzkova from the Czech Republic in 3 sets (7:5, 4:6, 6:4).

 

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