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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK: SEPTEMBER 16 – 20

Read about Donbas conflict and Steinmeier formula, Ukraine-Russia gas talks, land market of Ukraine and other important news of the week
22:30, 20 September 2019

112 Agency

About Donbas 

This week has been quite intense in terms of political discussions behind Donbas conflict. Ukraine, via the voice of President Zelensky claimed it would not agree to sign the agreement regarding the Steinmeier formula during the next session of Normandy Four. However, Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said quite the opposite. The public reaction to the government’s intentions to sign the deal (which may contain serious risks to deepen the conflict in Ukraine, instead of solving it) was an outrage. About a thousand people gathered for a peaceful rally, next to the building of the Presidential Office in Kyiv, demanding that the President decline the offer to accept Steinmeier formula as the way to solve the hostilities in Donbas.

Meanwhile, Russia is taking measures to accelerate the so-called "passportization" in the temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

UN Secretary-General Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric urged the donors to gather $52 million for the humanitarian aid to Donbas until winter 2019.

Since the beginning of the year, employees of Ukraine's State Emergency Service have detected and disposed of 44,555 explosive items; that number included 739 aviation bombs. 

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About gas talks

The trilateral talks on the supplies and transit of the Russian gas through Ukraine to the EU took place on September 19 in Brussels. Gas transit, direct supplies of gas were discussed at next trilateral talks.

It was reported that Russia was ready to resume direct gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine, - Russian energy minister.

Naftogaz Executive Director said Yuriy Vitrenko said Ukraine should continue to prepare for the stop of the gas transit to Europe from January 1, 2020.

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About land market in Ukraine and other bills

Prime Minister of Ukraine Oleksiy Honcharuk announced that land market in Ukraine would be opened on October 1, 2020. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that according to the market model the government is currently developing, only Ukrainians will be able to purchase land in Ukraine. Deputy Minister of Economy, Trade and Agriculture Taras Vysotsky excluded the possibility of purchase of the land by the Russian residents (as the state-aggressor). At the same time, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine Tymofiy Mylovanov said it was important to know who controls the Ukrainian land to launch the land market.

This week, the parliament also approved reform of prosecution bodies in Ukraine. In addition, Ukraine’s PM announced dismissal of State GeoCadastre leadership next week.

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About incident on Metro Bridge in Kyiv

On September 18, an unknown man stopped in the middle of the Metro bridge in Kyiv and threatened that he would blow it up. The law enforcers qualified case as the preparation for the terrorist act. It turned out that the perpetrator is 42-year-old citizen of Crimea Oleksiy Belko.

Later the law enforcers detained the bomber. Kyiv Police reported that Oleksiy Belko would not be charged with planning a terrorist act.

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About arson of Valeria Gontareva's house

On September 17, the house of ex-head of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Valeria Gontareva in Horenychi village, Kyiv region, was burned in the result of the arson.

Interior Minister of Ukraine Arsen Avakov stated that this incident is an unacceptable manifestation of the criminal pressure. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky called the arson of the house of Gontareva a gross offense.

National Police of Kyiv region opened the criminal proceeding due to deliberate destruction or damage to property by arson on the fire at the house of former NBU head. However, police do not exclude that Valeria Gontareva ordered the arson of her house.

In her turn, Gontareva called oligarch Igor Kolomoysky to be the main suspect in the organization of arson of her house.

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About anti-Russian sanctions

U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker stated that the U.S. intends to keep sanctions for the annexation of Crimea until Russia holds complete de-occupation of the peninsula.

Moreover, U.S. Charge d'Affairs in Ukraine William Taylor expressed the belief that anti-Russian sanctions are not enough to make Russia to leave Donbas or Crimea. Taylor underlined that there are more extended sanctions, which may be imposed against Russia by the international society.

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About sports

Ukrainian boxer Denys Berinchyk will defend his WBO international lightweight title against Mexican Patricio Lopez Moreno.

Shakhtar Donetsk and Manchester City played the group stage game in UEFA Champions League; the Citizens won 3-0. Meanwhile, another two Ukrainian teams played their fixtures in the Europa League. Dynamo Kyiv beat Malmö FF (1-0), and Oleksandriya FC lost to VfL Wolfsburg (3-1).

Ukraine remained 25th in the FIFA ranking of national football teams.

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