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Scoop of the day: Zelenskyy's presser, "Derkach's tapes"

Scoop of the day: Zelenskyy's presser, "Derkach's tapes"

Zelenskyy's presser

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said at a news conference that he will push for a solution to the Donbas war through the Minsk agreements. "I gave myself several more months to put pressure and find a diplomat way out of the situation in line with the Minsk agreements," he said, adding that Ukraine has "Plan B and Plan C" but he would not want to use them.

Zelenskyy has confirmed that he wants local elections to take place all over Ukraine, including occupied Donbas, this autumn.

He suggested that one presidential tenure may not be enough, therefore he may consider running again. Earlier, he used to say that one tenure would be enough for him.

Zelenskyy has said that he has no complaints about Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, praising his coronavirus policy. He also praised his childhood friend Ivan Bakanov as "the most honest head" of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in independent Ukraine.

According to Zelenskyy, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma plans to step down as head of the Ukrainian delegation to the trilateral contact group on Donbas.

Coronavirus

There have been 19,230 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Ukraine, including 564 deaths and 5,955 recoveries by the morning of 21 May.

The Cabinet of Ministers has introduced adaptive quarantine from 22 May to 22 June. Restrictions will be softened every 10 days if certain criteria are met.

Not all the regions meet the requirements to the introduction of the second phase of lockdown easing, the acting head of the Public Health Centre, Ihor Kuzin, has told LB.ua. Currently, Sumy, Ternopil, Kharkiv, Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, Ivano-Frankivsk and Kyiv regions are entitled to lifting the restrictions.

Parliament has cancelled its sessions planned for 21-22 May after Fatherland MP Oleh Meydych tested positive for coronavirus.

The USA has increased coronavirus assistance to Ukraine up to $15.5, according to Ukraine's embassy to the USA.

The Cabinet of Ministers has spoken in favour of resuming the operation of border checkpoints and passenger communication with the EU and Moldova. The government will discuss air communication after 15 June.

Health Ministry

Health Minister Maksym Stepanov has rejected all candidates for head of the National Health Service, who ran in the competition.

The Health Ministry has unblocked the system of procurement for medicines and medical goods.

Donbas

Ukraine is initiating an extraordinary meeting of the trilateral contact group on a Donbas settlement after the Ukrainian Armed Forces were falsely accused of shelling energy facilities in militant-controlled parts of Luhansk Region.

The chieftains of the self-proclaimed separatist Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics have said they are putting their troops on combat alert after a powerline "feeding critical infrastructure facilities" was damaged by shelling on 16 May.

One Ukrainian serviceman was wounded today as pro-Russian militants carried out 14 attacks in Donbas. Militants used 120-mm and 82-mm mortars banned by the Minsk agreements.

The Prosecutor-General's Office (PGO) is planning to send the evidence of crimes committed by Igor Girkin (Strelkov), the Russian former military intelligence officer who led the seizure of Slovyansk in April 2014, to the International Criminal Court. A source in the PGO told LB.ua that the video recording of Dmytro Hordon's scandalous interview with Girkin will be included in the files.

Relations with USA

Former President Petro Poroshenko has said that the so-called "Derkach's tapes" are a special operation against Ukraine's strategic relations with the USA. He described the recording as "fake". Earlier, Andriy Derkach said that he had sent recordings allegedly confirming that Barack Obama's Vice President Joseph Biden put pressure on Poroshenko. Poroshenko denied the allegations. Biden's office said that the tapes were "heavily edited" and that it was "still a nothingburger that landed with a thud". 

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