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Scoop of the weekend: Ukraine moves out of lockdown

Scoop of the weekend: Ukraine moves out of lockdown

Coronavirus

This midnight Ukraine is moving from a strict lockdown, which was introduced on 8 January, back to an orange-zone quarantine. Shops, shopping malls, cinemas and cafes will re-open, schools will partially resume classes.

According to Health Minister Maksym Stepanov, the situation with the spread of the coronavirus has improved thanks to the lockdown and the strain on the Ukrainian health care system has been eased.

An employee of the Ukrainian Armed Forces died of the coronavirus, bringing the Covid-19 death toll in the army to 40, the Medical Forces Command has said. Currently, there are 768 active cases in the armed forces.

On the morning of 24 January, Ukraine reported 3,915 new Covid-19 cases (23,081 tests), 83 deaths and 5,407 recoveries.

Donbas

Russia-backed militants have violated the ceasefire in Donbas four times since midnight, the Joint Forces Operation HQ has said. They fired with small arms, a heavy machine gun and an grenade launcher near Pisky and Pivdenne, and small arms and an anti-tank grenade launcher near Vodyane.

Russia

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement over the use of violence during the protests in Russia caused by the detention of Russian activist Alexei Navalny: "Instead of listening to its citizens, who demand respect for human rights and the restoration of the rule of law, the Russian government continues to persecute those who disagree with the Kremlin's repressive policies."

A low-key rally in support of Navalny was held outside the Russian embassy in Kyiv on 23 January. A scuffle broke out at the end when a group of other people snatched and tore down the banners in support of Navalny.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has addressed the BBC Russian service over their labeling of Simferopol and Sevastopol as Rusisan cities. "@bbcrussian, don’t promote Russian false narratives. Sevastopol and Simferopol have never been Russian cities. #Crimea is not annexed but occupied. International law matters," the Foreign Ministry's spokesman, Oleh Nikolenko, tweeted.

Crime

Censor.net editor Yuriy Butusov said that Col Andriy Rasyuk from the Alfa unit of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) was detained on suspicion of plotting the murder of the chief of the SBU internal security department, Andriy Naumov. Butusov claimed that a former deputy chief of the SBU, Dmytro Neskoromnyy, was suspected of ordering the crime and he is now on a wanted list.

The SBU said on 23 January, without giving out the names, that a member of the Antiterrorist Centre HQ at the SBU "had been detained for plotting a murder on the request of another employee of the SBU". Kyiv's Shevchenkivskyy district court put the suspect in custody.

On 23 January, the SBU said that it had exposed an agent of the Russian FSB and Luhansk separatists tasked with destabilising the situation in Ukraine by stirring up protests, including those against utility tariffs. According to most.ks.ua, the man in question is a Henichesk separatist and former leader of the far-right UNA-UNSO, Eduard Kovalenko.

Miscellaneous

Ihor Akhmetov, the elder brother of Ukrainian tycoon Rinat Akhmetov, died aged 59.

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