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Scoop of the day: Ukraine recalls ambassador to Belarus for consultations

Scoop of the day: Ukraine recalls ambassador to Belarus for consultations

Belarus

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has recalled Ukraine's ambassador to Belarus, Ihor Kyzym, for consultations to Kyiv following Minsk's decision to send 32 members of the Wagner private military company to Russia despite Ukraine's extradition request. "This step undermined trust between our countries and served a hard blow to our bilateral relations," he said, describing Minsk's actions as "unacceptable". Kuleba noted that it was the first time the Ukrainian ambassador to Belarus got recalled for consultations. He advised Ukrainians against visiting Belarus.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has held an in-camera meeting with intelligence and law-enforcement chiefs and heads of some regional state administrations due to a drastic exacerbation of the situation in Belarus, which may "significantly affect Ukraine". They analysed various scenarios of developments in Belarus and their potential effect on Ukraine.

The Kyiv city state administration has hoisted the Belarusian national white-red-white flag in solidarity with Belarusians protesting against election fraud, mayor Vitaliy Klitschko has said on Telegram. "Long live Belarus," he added.

Coronavirus

Ukraine has registered 1,464 new cases by the morning of 17 August. The total count has thus reached 92,820 cases, including 48,164 recoveries and 2,089 fatalities.

Local elections scheduled for 25 October may not take place if half of the country ends up in the red coronavirus zone, Chief Sanitarian Officer Viktor Lyashko has told Ukrayina 24 TV.

Donbas

The 27 July ceasefire has "overall" been holding for the fourth week straight, the National Security and Defence Council has concluded. Violations have not been systemic, it added.

Economy

The American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine has called for fair treatment of international investors in Ukraine. "Currently, two groups of international tobacco companies have already submitted notifications to Ukraine to defend their rights as foreign investors in arbitration. Another two companies are considering submitting such notifications in the nearest future," it said. The AmCham urged Ukraine’s Government to respond appropriately to the notice of the investment dispute with the state of Ukraine initiated by international investors from the USA, Great Britain, Switzerland and the Netherlands regarding the AMCU decision and to impartially consider the issue in compliance with Ukrainian legislation and international agreements.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vetoed bill No 3640 on the moratorium on foreclosure under loans in foreign currency. Earlier, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) called on MPs not to support the bill tabled by MP Oleksandr Dubinskyy because it prevents banks from regulating problematic debts under 44,000 loan agreements worth 29bn hryvnyas.

Crime

A car used by the Schemes investigative project of Radio Liberty and UA:First was set on fire in Brovary in the early hours of 17 July. Police opened a criminal case.

President Zelenskyy said that the freedom of speech is the foundation of any democratic country and "journalism can never be a reason for persecution". "I've been through all this, I know how it is, and I will never allow any criticism of the government to entail persecution or intimidation during my presidency, "he said.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has held an off-record meeting with the Kyiv bureau chief of Radio Liberty Inna Kuznetsova, police and investigators regarding the car arson case. The Interior Ministry promised an "as much as possible objective and open investigation".

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has detained a former police officer suspected of organizing the setting of fire to the car of a Radio Liberty journalist in Lviv on 30 January 2020. Earlier, law enforcers detained a 19-year-old resident of Khmelnytskyy who carried out the crime.

In Zhytomyr, the SBU has detained a suspected member of the Islamic State terrorist organization who was wanted internationally by the Interpol. The man, originally from a Central Asian country, came to Ukraine to avoid criminal responsibility. He is facing an extradition arrest.

Four individuals, including officials of the Transcarpathian regional state administration, are suspected of embezzling 29.5m hryvnyas from the Covid-19 fund. They appear to have bought overpriced, low-quality protective suits and respirators unfit for medical use.

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