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Scoop of the day: Cherkasy jumps the gun by easing lockdown

Scoop of the day: Cherkasy jumps the gun by easing lockdown

Coronavirus policy

Ukraine is preparing to gradually soften the Covid-19 quarantine restrictions, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has said. Food markets may open as of 1 May, provided they meet sanitary norms. The first phase of major easing is tentatively scheduled to begin on 11 May.

Cherkasy mayor Anatoliy Bondarenko has come under fire from the central government after the city decided to relax some quarantine rules ahead of the nationwide schedule. President Volodymyr Zelensky accused him of seeking to score political points, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov promised tough reaction while Health Minister Maksym Stepanov accused the Cherkasy authorities of threatening the lives of local residents.

The mayor, however, stood his ground, saying that it was safe to loosen up the restrictions and that he was not afraid of law enforcers. "I can't explain city residents why dozens, if not thousands, can spend time in a big hypermarket but cannot enter a small construction store and buy paint," he said.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Ukraine has reached 10,861, including 272 lethal cases and 1,413 recoveries.

Economy

The World Bank has approved $150m in additional financing for the Social Safety Nets Modernization Project, to enhance and improve social assistance for low-income families in Ukraine.

Several thousand seasonal workers from Ukraine will be able to go abroad shortly, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Vadym Prystayko, according to Yevropeyska Pravda. There will be charter flights for them organised by Ukrainian airlines.

Donbas

Two Ukrainian servicemen were wounded as a result of 13 attacks by pro-Russian militants, according to the Joint Forces Operation HQ.

Foreign affairs

Jack Devine, a 30-year veteran of the CIA and its former Acting Deputy Director of Operations, has said in an interview with LB.ua: "Each year Putin becomes stronger and stronger in terms of control. You can look at the Russian Constitution and have questions about different aspects of it, but basically, Putin will be around for as long as he's healthy and wishes to be. He has pretty well consolidated his position." Devine does not expect Russia to give up the territories it seized in Ukraine.

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