Russian occupants allowed new blatant violations of Minsk agreements and the ceasefire mode in Donbas. On February 18, they launched attacks on Ukrainian strongholds in several inhabited localities, including Zolote, where the opposing forces should be disengaged. Maksym Khytailov from the 72nd Detached Mechanized Brigade of Ukraine’s Armed Forces was killed in action, as the enemy launched heavy artillery and mortar strikes. The Ukrainian forces returned fire, making the adversaries retreat and take casualties as well.
Later, OSCE spotted a Russian reconnaissance aircraft over Donbas.
Vadym Skibitsky, the representative of the Main Department of Intelligence of Ukraine's Defense Ministry reported that the current military potential of the Russian Federation near the border with Ukraine grew threefold.
The international community, specifically, the German and the U.S. governments blamed Russia for breaching Minsk agreements once again.
This year's plan of the United Nations' humanitarian response in eastern Ukraine will require 158 million dollars; the sum is supposed to be enough to cover the needs of two million civilians residing in the occupied areas of eastern Ukraine. Rosemary DiCarlo, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs said so on the UN Security Council session
Meanwhile, Vadym Prystaiko, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine said Kyiv is ready for a dialogue with the representatives of the temporarily occupied Donbas; but it's not going to happen if Russian mercenaries are the ones to represent these self-styled "republics".
Coronavirus, evacuation, quarantine: Ukraine's style
At the beginning of the week it was reported that Ukraine is going to deliver Ukrainian citizens from Wuhan due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak on the territory of Hubei Province, China. People with symptoms of coronavirus will not be allowed to enter the board of the plane, which evacuates the citizens of Ukraine from Wuhan, Deputy Healthcare Minister Viktor Lyashko reported.
However, many ordinary Ukrainians in the fear of infecting with COVID-2019 began blocking roads to prevent the hospitalization of evacuees on their towns: Obukhiv, Ternopil, Lviv. But the tensions came to the peak in Novi Sanzhary, Poltava region, on February 20 (on the 6th anniversary of the Heavenly Hundred, by the way), where protesters clashed with Ukrainian police, burned fires, threw stones into the busses with the evacuees.
Now the situation in Novi Sanzhary:
- 45 Ukrainians, 27 citizens of Argentina, 1 Israeli evacuated and hospitalized for observation in Novi Sanzhary;
- 24 protesters detained for protests, none of them is a local citizen.
There's another story - with a Ukrainian left with dog in Wuhan. She published her phone talk with Zelensky.
Land sale market bill: tons of amendments
This week, Ukrainian parliament considered 1049 amendments to draft law on land market. The bill undergoes a second reading. Earlier, Davyd Arakhamia, chairman of the Servant of the People’s parliamentary faction claimed that the final vote on the land market bill will take place in April 2020.
Heavenly Hundred: Six years later
Ukrainians commemorate the deceased Euromaidan activists and law enforcers who lost their lives during the Revolution of Dignity in 2014. 48 protesters were gunned down by the government-hired snipers in the very heart of Kyiv on February 20, 2014. About 80 more were wounded. Four servicemen of Berkut riot police were killed as well. As the investigation unfurled, five ex-fighters of Berkut were taken into custody. On December 29, 2019, all five were passed to Russian-occupied Donbas within the exchange campaign. Later, two of the defendants returned to Ukraine. No charges were ilfted off them. The Berkut fighters deny their guilt.
President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife Olena paid tribute to the Heavenly Hundred; they laid flowers to the memorial on Instytutska Street, where the protesters were shot dead.
Maksym Buzhansky, the MP from the Servant of the People party, refused to join his colleagues in the Parliament when all paid a tribute with a minute of silence for the Heavenly Hundred heroes. After the outrageous reaction in the social networks, he explained that the Parliament’s Deputy Speaker offered to honor the memory of a certain category of victims, and he stood against such an approach.
Political prisoners - Semena returns
On February 18, Ukrainian journalist Mykola Semena returned to Ukraine. He was sentenced in annexed Crimea for ‘support of terrorism’ in 2017.
Moreover, Ukrainian political prisoner Oleksiy Stogniy is back in Kyiv. In 2016, so-called Crimean court convicted him in the ‘Ukrainian saboteurs’ case.
Besides, the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers has established a Joint Commission on political prisoners held captive in the Russian Federation.
IMF mission arrives in Ukraine
On February 20, the group of experts of the International Monetary Fund headed by Ron van Rooden has started its work in Kyiv.
Besides, Permanent IMF Representative in Ukraine Gosta Ljungman provided three scenarios of Ukraine's possible development over the next 20 years. He also noted that Ukraine was included in the list of countries, which economies went down during the period 1990-2017.
Shakhtar Donetsk FC was able to start a new season with a victory over SL Benfica. The Miners displayed impressive performance, defeating their Spanish counterparts with a 2:1 score.
Elina Svitolina lost in her first match of the WTA Premier tournament. Ukraine’s first racket faced American Jennifer Brady in a one-sided match in which she was able to score only three points in two sets.
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk represented World Team in NBA Rising Stars game. Ukrainian athlete scored two three-pointers and made four picks.