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Scoop of the weekend: Ukraine makes border arrangements over stuck Jews, parties gear up for elections

Scoop of the weekend: Ukraine makes border arrangements over stuck Jews, parties gear up for elections

Coronavirus

By the morning of 16 September, Ukraine has registered 2,958 new cases and record-high numbers of fatalities and recoveries, 76 and 1,514 respectively. Overall, Ukraine has logged in 162,660 coronavirus cases.

Exclusive: Kharkiv mayor Hennadiy Kernes, who has recently been diagnosed with the coronavirus, is being sent for treatment to Germany on a special medical plane after his condition deteriorated, LB.ua has learnt from sources. The city council has recently confirmed that Kernes had been on a sick leave but denied that he was in a coma.

Filaret, the leader of the now defunct Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, has announced that he has recovered from the coronavirus. The honorary patriarch is 91 years old.

Jews at the border

The Cabinet of Ministers has agreed that the Novi Yarylovychi checkpoint at the Ukrainian-Belarusian border in Chernihiv Region should be closed, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has said. Around 2,000 Hasidic Jews seeking to get to Ukraine's Uman for Rosh Hashanah got stuck in its buffer zones as they cannot enter Ukraine, which has barred foreigners from entering to prevent a spread of Covid-19 since late August. Belarus, however, has cleared them for travel.

The Ukrainian president's office has suggested that the Belarusian authorities are deliberately or unintentionally fueling rumours that Ukraine's border with Belarus remains open, which is why a large number of Hasidic pilgrims are trying to enter Ukraine. "We call on the Belarusian authorities to stop creating additional tensions on the border with our country and not to spread false and encouraging statements to pilgrims, which may give them the feeling that Ukraine's border may still be open to foreigners," the statement said.

Donbas

Russia-backed militants opened fire twice today, the Joint Forces Operation HQ has said. They made a random shot with a grenade launcher near Katerynivka and fired five bursts from small arms near Vodyane. There are no combat losses but one serviceman got killed after mishandling grenade near Novotoshkivske, the HQ added.

Local elections

Kyiv mayor Vitaliy Klitschko's UDAR party does not plan to join forces with other political forces ahead of the 25 October local elections.

Earlier today, ex-President Petro Poroshenko's European Solidarity party said that it would support the incumbent mayor's re-election bid. European Solidarity MP Oleksiy Honcharenko has decided against running for Kyiv mayor.

Former First Lady Maryna Poroshenko will head the European Solidarity list in the election to the Kyiv city council.

Health Minister Maksym Stepanov will head the list of the pro-presidential Servant of the People party in the election to the Odesa regional council.

Former customs chief Maksym Nefyodov has confirmed that he will top the list of the Voice party during the election to the Kyiv city council.

Rating

Were a presidential election held these days, 29% of decided voters would support Volodymyr Zelenskyy, 11.5% would vote for pro-Russian Opposition Platform-For Life party co-head Yuriy Boyko, 14% for Petro Poroshenko and 9.3% for Fatherland leader Yuliya Tymoshenko, the Rating pollster has said.

Government

The Cabinet of Ministers has endorsed the resignation of Andriy Prokopenko as head of the Chernihiv regional state administration. On 12 September, he announced that he was stepping down after being "deprived of influence on personnel policy".

Crime

The State Investigation Bureau has established the "true reasons which facilitated the annexation of Crimea" by Russia, including the criminal reduction of the Armed Forces strength, disruption of mobilization readiness, the destruction of the air defence system in Crimea, illegal organizational changes and disregard for strategic defence blueprints, non-adoption of measures in response to foreign threats.

A plaque commemorating investigative journalist Heorhiy Gongadze was unveiled at the office of the National Union of Journalists at 27a, Khreshchatyk Street in Kyiv. Gongadze was grabbed off the street this day in 2000. His beheaded body was later found in a forest 70 km away from Kyiv.

The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the Strategy for Fighting Organised Crime to be implemented in three staged over the course of five years. First, it is planned to carry out a Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment, to determine the limited number of strategic goals and plan steps, and then to implement them.

Former Kremlin political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh is in critical condition, but he regained consciousness and tried to remove the bandage from his head. Therefore, doctors put him in a medical coma, former political prisoner and journalist Roman Sushchenko has told Hromadske Radio.

Human rights

A court in Russia's Rostov has sentenced Crimean Tatars from the so-called "second Bakhchysaray" group of the pan-Islamic movement Hizb ut-Tahrir to various sentences ranging from 13 to 19 years, Ukrainian ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova has said. After Russia occupied Crimea, it started persecuting members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, which it considers a terrorist organisation. In Ukraine, the movement is not banned.

Economy

The head of the parliamentary committee for finance, tax and customs policy, Danylo Hetmantsev, has told Ukrainian Radio that he expects Ukraine to receive the next IMF tranche this December.

Hetmantsev also told LB.ua that, in his opinion, there is a connection between a protest held today by individual entrepreneurs who are unhappy about the requirement to use cash registers and the coming elections. He added that he does not think the protesters' claims are justified.

Parliament has appointed former Party of Regions member Vasyl Horbal as board member of the National Bank of Ukraine.

The Zaporizhzhya Automobile Plant (ZAZ) will assemble Renault crossovers out of Russian kits, Renault Ukraine has confirmed.

NABU

The Constitutional Court has found certain provisions of the law on the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to be in breach of the constitution. Some of them concern the president's right to form the NABU, appoint and dismiss its director, etc.

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