The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has announced plans to hold a large-scale antiterrorist drill close to the Russian border in Kharkiv Region from 14 April to late May. The drill will involve the SBU, the National Guard, the National Police, the State Border Service, the military police, local prosecutors and others. Combat firearms, military hardware and communications are planned to be used, according to the SBU.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has suggested 10 steps NATO member states can take to support Ukraine amid the escalation of the security situation along its border with Russia. In a live video on his Facebook page, he said that he paid an unscheduled visit to Brussels to brief NATO allies and the US secretary of state on the situation at the border, thank them for their instant support and the signals they have been sending to Russia, and to discuss specific steps they can take to support Ukraine.
Kuleba has met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Brussels to discuss the Donbas escalation. "Good to be meeting my colleague and friend @SecBlinkenin Brussels as Russia continues its dangerous buildup and belligerent rhetoric. We need to discourage Moscow from further escalation, including by making clear that the cost of any new military adventure would be too high," he tweeted.
Zelenskyy to visit France
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will visit Paris on 16 April to meet his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. The meeting will take place amid the tension over the Russian military buildup at the Ukrainian border, the Elysee said.
Russia may be planning a repetition of the 2008 Georgian scenario for Ukraine, Defence Minister Andriy Taran has suggested at a meeting with French ambassador Étienne de Poncins. He added that for this, Russia may accuse the Ukrainian Armed Forces of attacking civilians, "especially given that over 400,000 people in the occupied territories have been issued with Russian passports".
One Ukrainian serviceman was killed and two wounded as separatists dropped grenades at the positions of the Joint Forces near Mayorske, the Joint Forces HQ has said.
President Zelenskyy has submitted a bill seeking to liquidate Kyiv's district administrative court which he said "has after all failed to win back trust but managed to bring back scandals and odd decision which are far from what is meant by justice".
Poltava Region will join the red quarantine zone as of 15 April.
According to Health Minister Maksym Stepanov, Ukraine has reached the peak of the third coronavirus wave.
He also said that as of 13 April, Ukraine is beginning to vaccinate its citizens with Coronavac (Sinovac Biotech, China). Some 215,000 doses were delivered to Ukraine in late March and 1.7 million more are expected in April-May.
This morning the Health Ministry reported 11,680 new Covid-19 cases and 457 Covid-related deaths.
Registration is underway for the online presentation of the Ecological Trends in Ukraine study by Gorshenin Institute and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. The event will be held on Zoom at 11 a.m. on 15 April. To register, click here.