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Scoop of the day: Minsk talks on Donbas, new coronavirus record

Scoop of the day: Minsk talks on Donbas, new coronavirus record

Coronavirus

Ukraine has registered yet another record-high number of daily cases, 2,134, by the morning of 20 August. The total number of confirmed cases has now reached 98,537, including 2,184 lethal ones and 50,441 recoveries.

The State Technogenic and Emergencies Commission has rearranged Ukraine's coronavirus zones as of 24 August by adding six cities and eight districts to the red zone, mostly in Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Odesa, Rivne and Chernivtsi regions.

Donbas

The Joint Forces Operation HQ registered three ceasefire violations in Donbas near Luhanske and Popasna on 19 August. Ukrainian troops did not return fire.

Ukraine's consultant at the trilateral contact group, Serhiy Harmash, has accused Russia of turning the Minsk negotiations on Donbas into a "farce" and behaving in an "openly and deliberately loutish manner". In his words, Russia's only goal is to legalise Donetsk and Luhansk separatists.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, for his part, praised the Ukrainian delegation, and ex-President Leonid Kravchuk, for "reviving" the Minsk talks on Donbas.

According to the president's website, the trilateral contact group on Donbas has agreed 20 areas for mine clearance, which will allow the sides "to make progress towards the implementation of agreements reached by the Normandy leaders in Paris and bring closer a summit of the Normandy Four in Berlin". The website also said that the Ukrainian delegation "supported proposals regarding four new areas for the disengagement of troops and hardware".

According to Kravchuk, Russia issued an "ultimatum" that Ukraine shall bring the law on local self-government in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in compliance with the Minsk agreements, seeking to press Ukraine into holding local elections there this autumn. Kravchuk said that he would never sign any documents which may damage the sovereignty, independent and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

MP Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze , chair of the committee on EU-Ukraine integration, called on President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to make public the details of the Ukrainian delegation's talks in the trilateral contact group on Donbas, as well as instructions by which Leonid Kravchuk is guided. 

SBU

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has detained a former official of the Kherson regional state administration who was recruited to collect sensitive military information by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). She allegedly involved other pro-Russian residents of Kherson in her intelligence activities. She communicated with her handlers either by email or during personal trips to Crimea and Moscow.

The SBU has denied as fake the FSB allegations that it had foiled a Ukrainian special operation to steal one of Donbas militants.

The SBU has exposed a multi-million corruption scheme at the Ukrainian railway company Ukrzaliznytsya. Therefore, it raided the Kyiv and Vinnytsya offices of the company.

The head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Ivan Bakanov, and UK Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace discussed the prospects for security cooperation. The meeting took place in Kyiv on 19 August and was also attended by British ambassador Melinda Simmons.

Handzyuk's case

Vladyslav Manher and Oleksiy Levin, key suspects in the murder case of Kherson activist Kateryna Handzyuk, have been arrested at least until 18 October without bail. Handzyuk was splashed with sulphuric acid on 31 July 2018 and died in hospital two months later.

Crimea

Crimean law-enforcement agencies based in mainland Ukraine have launched criminal proceedings over illegal detention and search of a citizen of Ukraine for alleged participation in the volunteer Crimean Tatar battalion named after Noman Chelebidzhikhan. The FSB claims that in 2016 the man left for the territory of Ukraine, where he "joined the ranks of an illegal armed formation ... which included training in the handling of firearms". 

Incidents

A 35-year-old miner has died after receiving deadly injuries as a result of conveyor overload, the head of the Independent Trade Union of Ukrainian Miners Mykhaylo Volynets has said. The incident happened at the Chervonohradska mine in Lviv Region.

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