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Scoop of the weekend: Munich Security Conference, Russian arrest of Ukrainian fishermen

Scoop of the weekend: Munich Security Conference, Russian arrest of Ukrainian fishermen

Munich

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said at the Munich Security Conference that he wants local elections to be held in the autumn all over the country, including the occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and Crimea, provided there are security guarantees, they are held under Ukrainian legislation and the Ukrainian authorities have full control over the entire border. 

He criticized the brief appearance of a plan for Donbas settlement, called “Twelve steps toward greater security in Ukraine and the Euro-Atlantic Region”, as the one made “behind Ukraine’s back”. In particular, it advocates the softening of sanctions against Russia and its deeper involvement in Donbas efforts.

Zelenskyy also invited Donald Trump to visit Ukraine “to start our relations from scratch”.

Ukraine hopes that a new large-scale prisoner exchange will take place before the next meeting of the Normandy Four leaders, Foreign Minister Vadym Prystayko has said after the Ukrainian lunch at the Munich Security Conference. According to him, the president expects “up to 200 people” to be exchanged.

Ex-President Petro Poroshenko has said in Munich that the fact that the incumbent Ukrainian authorities have no strategy on Donbas means that there is no alternative to the Minsk agreements. He told Gazeta Wyborcza that the “fifth column” is one of the key threats to Ukraine as it seeks “to produce chaos in the country to plant an opinion that Russia is nothing to be afraid of”. He added that another threat is the “erosion of international solidarity with Ukraine”.

Russia

On 15 February, the Russian FSB detained four Ukrainian fishermen on a small boat on suspicion of poaching in the Sea of Azov. They were brought to the Russia-controlled Crimean port of Kerch and arrested for 10 days. Ukraine opened two criminal cases, on the illegal imprisonment or abduction of a person and on the seizure or theft of a transport vehicle.

According to MP Pavlo Melnyk, the fishermen are residents of the village of Raynivka in Zaporizhzhya Region. Tentatively, their names are Serhiy Hoha, Oleksiy Ivanov, Vasyl Tyurkedzhy and Maksym Terekhov.

Coronavirus

The Ukrainian Health Ministry plans to evacuate 58 people from China’s Wuhan, including 11 foreigners, on 19 February. These are healthy people who agreed to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

UIA crash probe

Oleksandr Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, went on a working trip to Iran to “discuss problems in the investigation of the Ukraine International Airlines air crash”. The passenger plane was shot down upon takeoff close to Tehran on 8 January.

Earlier, the Iranian foreign minister said that Tehran would not give the flight recorders of the crashed UIA Boeing to other countries.

Servant of the People

The pro-presidential Servant of the People party plans to launch its own web channel Sluga TV in March, the deputy head of its faction, Yevheniya Kravchuk, said. The studio will be based in the Parkovyy conference and exhibition hall, which the party plans to use as its official office. She added that the party would also publish its own newspaper whose first edition will be ready next week.

At its congress on 15 February, the party approved the composition of its High Council: MP Yevheniya Kravchuk, Oleksandr Kachura, Vadym Halyychuk, Roman Hryshchuk, Olha Koval, Anatoliu Ostapenko, Artem Kultenko and Serhiy Kostryychuk.

Crime

The Kyiv police have detained Zaporizhzhya crime boss Yevhen Anisimov, who was been on an international wanted list for six years. He is suspected of extortion and illegal handling of arms among other crimes.

A policeman off duty, who was presumably driving under the influence, hit two pedestrians at a crossing in Brovary, Kyiv Region. One of the pedestrians was killed and the other taken to a hospital.

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