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Scoop of the day: Zelenskyy makes state-of-the-nation address

Scoop of the day: Zelenskyy makes state-of-the-nation address

State-of-the-nation address

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has delivered an hour-long state-of-the-nation address in parliament this morning.

In particular, he said that Ukraine was launching the construction of two naval bases to protect the Black Sea. "We are building the Ukrainian army that will be able to defend Ukraine on land, at sea, in the air and in the cyber space," he said. He added that "those who surrendered Crimea must bear responsibility".

Around 120 MPs of the pro-presidential Servant of the People faction will go to Donbas on 21 October "to hear about the situation there not from social networks but from our servicemen and local residents", according to Zelenskyy.

Coronavirus

By the morning of 20 October, Ukraine has registered the daily increase of 5,469 Covid-19 cases and the record-high number of recoveries (3,044). There have been 113 fatalities over the day. Currently, there are 173,788 active cases.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has met Ukrainian scientists involved in the development of an original Ukrainian candidate vaccine against Covid-19. They presented the results of a pre-clinical research which had lasted for six months. Zelenskyy praised the results and pledged support for the vaccine production.

Ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova has quoted rights activists as saying that the total number of Covid-19 cases in Donetsk Region has reached 5,392, including 2,418 recoveries and 367 fatalities. In Luhansk Region, the total number of cases is 1,352, there have been 1,011 recoveries and 64 fatalities.

Local elections

The Committee of Voters of Ukraine NGO has registered "abnormal" spikes in the number of voters in over 20 communities ahead of the 25 October local elections. Most "tourist voters" were registered in the resort Karolino-Buhaz community in Odesa Region.

Russia

The State Border Service of Ukraine has again declared Russian propagandist Boris Korchevnikov persona non grata for three years following the public outcry. A presenter on Rossiya 1 TV and the director-general of religious TV channel Spas, he visited occupied Crimea in violation of Ukrainian law. According to activist Serhiy Sternenko, Korchevnikov came to Kyiv to take part in a TV project of Oksana Marchenko, the wife of pro-Russian Ukrainian MP Viktor Medvedchuk. The State Border Service explained that he had been allowed in the country because he was not on the blacklist. His previous ban expired in October 2019.

Government

Sixteen MPs have registered a draft resolution on the dismissal of Economics, Trade and Agriculture Minister Ihor Petrashko.

Donbas

Russia-backed militants have violated the ceasefire twice since midnight, the Joint Forces Operation HQ has said. They fired small arms near Svitlodarsk and Mayorsk.

Amnesty in Ukraine must not apply to war criminals, murderers and those who perpetrated crimes against humanity, Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories Oleksiy Reznikov has said in an interview with ZN.ua.

Defence procurement

The Defence Ministry will buy the Neptun coastal missile system as soon as this year. According to Defence Minister Andriy Taran, the budget for state defence order will be rearranged for this purpose.

Crime

The former head of the State Tax Service of Ukraine, Serhiy Verlanov, has been declared a suspect in a case of abuse of office, as a result of which the state budget did not receive 2bn hryvnyas, the Prosecutor-General's Office said. This step has to do with the ArcelorMittal metallurgical mill.

In Kryvyy Rih, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has detained the organizers of an interregional group which sold arms and ammunition. The group converted starting pistols into lethal weapons and sold them online.

The SBU has confiscated 750 kg of captagon, a psychotropic substance reportedly favoured by Islamic State terrorists, in Odesa.

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