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Scoop of the day: Ukraine's population below 42 million

Scoop of the day: Ukraine's population below 42 million

Population

The population in Ukraine has decreased by 231,600 since the beginning of the year, down to 41,670,800 on 1 November 2020, Interfax-Ukraine has quoted the State Statistics Service as saying.

Coronavirus

On the morning of 18 December, Ukraine registered 12,630 new Covid-19 cases, 260 fatalities and 12,866 recoveries.

Foreign policy

Ukrainian diplomacy has successfully taken a crash test and withstood all the challenges of 2020, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said at a conference of ambassadors, as quoted by an LB.ua correspondent.

Economy

The International Monetary Fund will hold the first review of a stand-by loan agreement for Ukraine on 21-23 December, according to Interfax-Ukraine.

The EBRD and the government of Ukraine have signed a 450m-euro loan agreement as part of the Ukraine Road Corridors project. The loan will be used to repair the M-05 Kyiv-Odesa motorway in Cherkasy, Kirovohrad, Mykolayiv and Odesa regions and to build the northern bypass near Lviv.

The Antimonopoly Committee has closed an investigation into the Rotterdam+ coal-pricing formula over the absence of violations, its press service has said.

The national oil and energy company Naftohaz Ukrayiny and the natural resources operator Nadra Ukrayiny have signed an agreement on the sale and purchase of a 99% stake in Nadra Yuzivska Ltd. This company owns the right to prospect for and extract hydrocarbons in the Yuzivska sector in Donetsk and Kharkiv regions.

Turkey

Ukraine is considering a strategic partnership with Turkey in the context of acquiring NATO membership, Ukrainian Defence Minister Andriy Taran has said. "We are considering a possibility of creating a mechanism of targeted consultations on defence and security in the Black Sea region," he said following the first consultations of the two countries' foreign and defence ministers, the so-called Quadriga.

In addition to NATO, the first meeting in the Quadriga format focused on Crimea, whose annexation by Russia Turkey firmly does not recognize.

Earlier, Taran said that Russia was preparing to deploy nuclear weapons in Crimea, which would pose a threat to the whole of Europe. "The Russian Federation's attempt at domination in the Black Sea region is a huge threat to the economies of Ukraine, Turkey and other European countries," he said.

Odesa

The Odesa city council has cancelled its decision to dismiss Oleksandr Roytburd as director of the Arts Museum, according to MP Oleksandr Honcharenko.

Kharkiv mayor

Kharkiv mayor Hennadiy Kernes, who died in the early hours of 17 December, will lay in state in the city's opera theatre on 23 December.

Crime

A deputy head of the presidential office, Oleh Tatarov, has been officially declared a suspect in a corruption case, according to the website of the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine. Investigators believe he may be involved in offering a bribe for the issuance of a false forensic expert conclusion on the embezzlement of 81m hryvnyas of the National Guard of Ukraine.

The State Investigation Bureau has declared Air Force Commander Serhiy Drozdov a suspect in the case of the An-26 air crash near Chuhuyiv, Kharkiv Region on 25 September 2020. Twenty-six people died in the air crash. He is suspected of negligence in special circumstances which resulted in grave consequences.

Appointments

Parliament has appointed Maj-Gen Yuliya Laputina minister for veterans' affairs after Serhiy Bessarab resigned on 16 December.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appointed Oleksandr Starukh as head of the Zaporizhzhya regional state administration.

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