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Scoop of the day: another coronavirus record, Ukraine's plan for Donbas

Scoop of the day: another coronavirus record, Ukraine's plan for Donbas

Coronavirus

By the morning of 5 November, Ukraine has registered another record-high daily increase of 9,850 Covid-19 cases, 193 fatalities and 8,378 recoveries. Since the start of the pandemic, the case total has reached 430,467, there have been 184,782 recoveries and 7,924 fatalities.

According to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, the coronavirus infection rate may reach 15,000 cases per day by the end of November and 20,000 cases by the end of the year. In his words, the health care system is preparing for this challenge and will cope with this load.

Hungary has introduced restrictions on Ukrainians' entry to the country due to the coronavirus, except for individuals with permanent residence permits, international lorry drivers and those who transit through the country.

Health

Ukraine and the World Health Organization have signed a two-year cooperation agreement during the simultaneous online ceremony held in Kyiv and Copenhagen. According to Health Minister Maksym Stepanov, the sides will be able to focus on addressing challenges such as high rates of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and tuberculosis in Ukraine.

Donbas

Russia-backed militants have violated the ceasefire eight times since last midnight, the Joint Forces Operation has said. They fired with small arms and 82-mm mortars near Vodyane twice, small arms and grenade launchers of various systems near Avdiyivka three times. Two more violations were registered near Popasna. The enemy dropped a VOG-17 fragmentation grenade using a drone. One Ukrainian serviceman was wounded as a result. Militants fired with a heavy machine gun in this area too.

The trilateral contact group on Donbas has published a list of conditions under which local elections can be held in Donbas, including the withdrawal of foreign troops and paramilitary groups from Ukraine in early 2021; the cancellation by Russia of a number of decisions and regulations directly intervening in the life of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including simplified citizenship rules; restoring of control over the Ukrainian-Russian border with the help of the OSCE SMM; the number of OSCE SMM monitors must be increased up to 1,500. These are contained in the proposal of the Ukrainian delegation to the group, whose implementation would still need to be approved by parliament and the president, if it ever gets to this stage. Under Ukraine's joint action plan, the elections could be held on 31 March 2021.

The Security Service of Ukraine has detained a member of a sabotage and reconnaissance team of the separatist Luhansk People's Republic, which was involved in setting off five bridges in Luhansk and Donetsk regions and planting explosives under four more.

Hungary

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said that the incident with Hungary's interference in the 25 October local elections in Ukraine should be "left behind". He hopes that the countries will resume dialogue "once emotions subside".

UK

UK ambassador Melinda Simmons has visited the checkpoints Kalanchak and Chaplynka at the administrative border between mainland Ukraine and Russia-annexed Crimea on the invitation of the Ukrainian president's permanent representative for Crimea, Anton Korynevych.

Media security

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is in talks with Google and Apple to ban the mobile apps of Russian companies subject to Ukrainian sanctions, Radio Liberty has learnt. The Russian social networks VKOntakte, Odnoklassniki and Mail.ru services have been banned in Ukraine since 2017.

Economy

Parliament has given the first reading to the bill on the 2021 national budget. The government expects economy to grow by 4.6% but there are risks which may prevent this. There will be a 2,189-hryvnya cap on living minimum for six months.

Parliament has given the first reading to the 2020-2024 Anticorruption Strategy, providing for streamlining the work of government offices, digital transformation and open data, comfortable legal services, public intolerance to corruption, and unavoidable punishment.

Ukraine has started using gas from its underground storage facilities for the cold season, the national oil and gas company Natogaz of Ukraine has said. Ukraine had stocked the decade-record-high volume of 28.3bn cu.m. of gas, it noted.

Serhiy Bychkov has been appointed acting director-general of the state-owned aviation company Antonov.

Crime

An audit of the State Reserve Fund has exposed half-empty warehouses, disappearance of thousands of tonnes of supplies, expired food, worth hundreds of millions of hryvnyas, the Economics Ministry has sad on its website. In particular, the auditors found spoilt grain, which cannot even be used as fodder, worth 35.5m hryvnyas.

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