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Scoop of Christmas weekend: Ukraine goes into lockdown; blast at gas main

Scoop of Christmas weekend: Ukraine goes into lockdown; blast at gas main

Pipeline explosion

Fire broke out at the Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhgorod gas main near the village of Kalaydyntsi, Lubny District in Poltava Region due an unauthorised interference at 3.30 p.m. on 9 January. Gas supply to the pipeline was stopped.

The Lybny gas distribution company Lubhnyhaz has asked law enforcers to check ex-MP Ihor Mosiychuk for involvement in the explosion because he was "the first to say on his Facebook page to say that the blast was an act of sabotage". The company said that Mosiychuk had been "trying to raid the company for years", which he flatly denied.

Coronavirus

At midnight on 8 January, Ukraine went into a 17-day strict lockdown with most stores, except for those selling food and essentials, will stay closed, as well as schools and other educational establishments. Public transport, railway and airports will remain in operation.

On the morning of 10 January, the Ukrainian Health Ministry reported 5,011 new Covid-19 cases, 5,292 recoveries and 99 fatalities.

Although the ecological commission in Ternopil decided that the city did not need to go into a lockdown, local police have been slapping local businesses with fines. City mayor Serhiy Nadal said that although the coronavirus figures are lower than they were in the autumn, "no-one will fight against the police in Ternopil". He added that such "pressure and methods of intimidation" were reminiscent of President Viktor Yanukovych's times.

On 8 January, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said on Hromadske Radio that Ukraine would sign contracts with other coronavirus vaccine suppliers, apart from Chinese Sinovac Biotech, next week.

On 8 January, Yevropeyska Pravda said that Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal had asked the European Commission for help in securing Ukraine's access to coronavirus vaccines under the COVAX facility before March.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has opened a case over the "backdoor vaccination" in Ukraine. Investigators believe a group of people smuggled poisonous or potent substances disguised as Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines into Ukraine.

Washington riots

Commenting on the storming of the US Capitol, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted in English: "Concerning scenes in Washington, D.C. I’m confident American democracy will overcome this challenge. The rule of law & democratic procedures need to be restored as soon as possible. This is important not only for the U.S., but for Ukraine and the entire democratic world as well."

Russia and UK

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has denied Russian media reports that the UK had allegedly lifted sanctions on Russia over Crimea. British ambassador Melinda Simmons also tweeted: "The UK is committed to territorial integrity of Ukraine and to upholding sanctions on Russia for its illegal annexation of Crimea. Reports that sanctions re Crimea have been relaxed are incorrect."

Crime

Unknown perpetrators have stolen three photos of fallen Ukrainian soldiers from the monument to participants in the antiterrorist operation in Donbas and damaged a floodlight near the Glory Obelisk in Uman, Cherkasy Region. Former political prisoner Roman Sushchenko, the first deputy head of the Cherkasy regional council, has called on law enforcers to investigate the incident.

Flights

Ryanair has suspended flights along 70% of routes from Kyiv until the end of March, according to Avianews. Three out of 30 flights from Boryspil Airport – to Vienna, Berlin and Valencia – will not be affected.

Sport

Dynamo Kyiv has engaged Moonwalk, a blockchain company enabling brands to create their own digital economies, to build the first-of-its-kind sports ecosystem centred around the fan community, BusinessWire has reported. "Moonwalk will enable Dynamo Kyiv to provide its fan base with a comprehensive reward and payment economy powered by a team-branded digital token. By working with Moonwalk, Dynamo Kyiv is expected to be able to drive increased revenue while accelerating fan participation by enabling digital tokens to be earned and spent throughout the team’s expanding ecosystem. Fans will be able to earn these tokens based on their participation with the team and spend the tokens in Dynamo Kyiv’s stadium and digital marketplace," it said.

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