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Scoop of the day: Pro-presidential MP faces probe, Riffmaster to stay in custody

Scoop of the day: Pro-presidential MP faces probe, Riffmaster to stay in custody

MP under scrutiny

The Prosecutor-General's Office has opened criminal proceedings against Servant of the People MP Oleksandr Dubinskyy on two charges: tax evasion and money laundering. He was recently designated by the USA for meddling in elections, which he denies.

Sheremet's case

Kyiv's Shevchenkivskyy district court has dismissed Andriy Antonenko's appeal for a change of the restraint measure. The musician (also known as Riffmaster), who is suspected of killing journalist Pavlo Sheremet, will remain in custody despite the lack of solid evidence and his deteriorating health condition.

The National Police have reportedly interviewed Belarusian whistleblower Ihar Makar on the Sheremet case in Ukraine. The man, who recently leaked important audio recordings suggesting Belarusian special services' plans to kill the journalist, has "provided investigators with information which may essentially speed up the establishment of the customers [of the crime] and details of preparations" to kill Sheremet, a source in the police said. The new information is being verified.

Donbas

Russia-backed militants fired with automatic mounted and handheld grenade launchers and a heavy machine gun near Vodyane today, the Joint Forces Operation HQ said in its evening update. Ukrainian troops returned fire.

The Ukrainian delegation to the trilateral contact group suggested on 19 January that the sides develop a single "plan of joint steps" on Donbas which would include propositions from all the parties concerned. Earlier, the delegation presented its plan which suggests a full end to the conflict and demilitarization of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in early 2021 with a view to creating conditions for holding local elections there on 31 March 2021. The plan's progress is subject to the withdrawal of all foreign troops and restoration of Ukraine's control over the state border with Russia, among other conditions.

OSCE chairperson and Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde has arrived in Ukraine on a two-day visit. "The crisis in and around Ukraine remains unresolved and is high on our agenda. We will work towards a peaceful resolution, not least to alleviate the situation of civilians living in conflict-affected areas," she tweeted.

Economy

The launch of the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline may potentially inflict the loss of $1.5bn per year by Ukraine, Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko has said in an interview with Der Standard (Austria). "We will lose our transit capacity, our infrastructure will stand idle," he said.

Acting Energy Minister Yuriy Vitrenko has told the Den daily that Ukraine must put pressure on Gazprom in order to move gas transfer points from the western to eastern border and open this market to other companies.

France

The Ukrainian embassy in France is preparing President Emmanuel Macron's visit to Kyiv, according to ambassador Vadym Omelchenko. He hopes that several large-scale contracts, including on the supply of electric locomotives by French Alstom, will be signed during the visit.

Crime

The State Investigation Bureau has declared the suspended head of the Constitutional Court, Oleksandr Tupytskyy, a suspect but complained that he behaves like he is not. He is suspected of preventing the attendance of a witness, victim, expert in court, forcing them to refuse to testify (Article 386 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) and misleading the court or other authorized body (Article 384 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

The State Investigation Bureau has detained a former assistant to an MP on suspicion of fraud. He allegedly offered his mediation in securing a post in the presidential office for 200,000 dollars.

Coronavirus

On the morning of 19 January, Ukraine reported 3,939 new Covid-19 cases (33,400 tests), 177 fatalities and 15,052 recoveries.

Ukrainian politician Volodymyr Chernyak, one of the founders of the People's Movement of Ukraine, died of the coronavirus on 18 January. He was 79.

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