Sea of Azov incident
Cutters of the Russian FSB provoked the Ukrainian Navy's cutters on combat patrol in the early hours of 15 April by attempting to prevent their lawful activities, the PR service of the Ukrainian Navy Command has said. "Despite the provocations and deliberate efforts by Russians to restrict free navigation, the boat tactical group of the Ukrainian Navy continued to perform its tasks. The Ukrainian navy will continue to ensure the security of Ukraine from the sea, including in the Sea of Azov, being guided solely by the rules of international maritime law," the statement reads.
Earlier, the editor in chief of the BlackSeaNews portal, Andriy Klymenko, said on Facebook that the incident took place between three Ukrainian small armoured artillery cutters of Gyurza-M type and five cutters and a ship of the Russian FSB Border Service's Coastal Guard 25 miles from the Kerch Strait when the Ukrainian boats were escorting commercial vessels. Klymenko described the night as "hot" and said that the Ukrainian sailors had to warn they were ready to use arms in response to Russian provocative maneuvers.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has condemned Russia's plans to close a part of the Black Sea water area in the direction of the Kerch Strait for the passage of foreign military and state ships on the pretext of holding military drills in the area. Russia is encroaching on Ukraine's sovereign right of a coastal state to regulate the navigation in the area, Kyiv said.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is starting a new multi-stage antiterrorist exercise in Sumy Region as of 16 April. It will last until late May. Special attention of exercise participants will be paid to border areas. The exercise will involve most of the law-enforcement agencies whose representatives will use combat arms, military hardware and communication devices.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will join a meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and French President Emmanuel Macron on 16 April by video link. They will discuss the risks posed by the Russian military buildup near the Ukrainian border.
The National Bank of Ukraine has raised the discount rate for the second time since the beginning of the year, from 6.5% to 7.5%, due to a higher than expected inflation. Ukraine has not seen such a sharp increase since the beginning of 2018.