The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has said that the detention of Ukrainian consul in St Petersburg Oleksandr Sosonyuk was a planned special operation. Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Yenin said that Sosonyuk was meeting an acquaintance in a restaurant when she started pulling out some materials. He asked her to stop and at the same moment he was detained by the Russian FSB. Sosonyuk hardly knew the woman and never asked her for any information, the Foreign Ministry said. Sosonyuk is in safety of the consular office and will be evacuated to Ukraine soon.
Ukraine is expelling a senior diplomat of the Russian embassy in Kyiv in response to Sosonyuk's attempted detention, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko has said. He will have to leave the country on 19 April.
The Ukrainian team at the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination of Ceasefire has accused pro-Russian separatists' supervisors of running an information in March-April aimed at discrediting the Ukrainian Armed Forces and persuading the local population that Ukraine is about to launch a military operation to deoccupy the militant-controlled areas. "The traditional propaganda clichés include shelling of religious facilities, critical infrastructure and the killing of children," it said.
One Ukrainian serviceman was killed and one wounded by grenade launcher fire in Donbas on 18 April, the East Operational-Tactical Group HQ has reported. The Joint Forces Operation HQ reported five ceasefire violations registered since midnight. Separatists fired with 120-mm mortars near Vodyane, grenade launchers, heavy machine-guns and small arms near Starohnativka and Avdiyivka, grenade launchers near Shyrokyne and small arms near Pisky.
Russia-controlled separatists violated the ceasefire in Donbas 17 times on 17 April, the Joint Forces Operation HQ has said. They fired with an MT-12 anti-tank cannon near Novomykhaylivka, 82-mm and 120-mm mortars, grenade launchers, heavy machine-guns and small arms near Mayorsk, Novhorodske, Zaytseve, Pivdenne, Shumy and Luhanske, grenade launchers, heavy machine-guns and small arms near Pisky, Shyrokyne Avdiyivka and Vodyane. The JFO troops returned fire.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will take part in an online meeting of the Council of the Foreign Affairs Council of the EU on 19 April. Among other issues, the meeting will discuss the security situation in separatist-controlled areas of Ukraine and along its border as a result of Russian destructive and aggressive actions.
Russia is refusing to discuss a peace plan on how to end the war in eastern Ukraine which was tabled by Germany and France within the Normandy Four format, the head of the Ukrainian delegation to the trilateral contact group, Leonid Kravchuk, has said on the air of Dom TV.
Czech arms depot
An explosion at a Czech arms warehouse in 2014 was most likely caused in order to disrupt arms supplies to Ukraine, Yevropeyska Pravda has reported, quoting Czech media. At the time, the warehouse was used by the official arms trader Imex Group which was preparing to ship out a consignment to Bulgaria. Although the arms were to be shipped to Bulgaria, the end customer may have been Ukraine.
Kyiv Region is starting vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine as of 18 April, with the rest of Ukraine's regions to follow suit the next day. According to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, it will be administered to residents of retirement homes, rescuers and border guards.
Ukraine has vaccinated 449,192 people with the first dose of vaccine.
Currently, the red coronavirus zone includes the city of Kyiv, the regions of Zhytomyr, Zaporizhzhya, Kyiv, Lviv, Mykolayiv, Odesa, Poltava, Sumy, Kharkiv, Khmelnytskyy, Chernivtsi and Chernihiv. Transcarpathian, Ivano-Frankivsk and Kherson regions are yellow.
On the morning of 18 April, Ukraine reported 10,282 new Covid-19 cases and 250 fatalities.
A border guard was found dead with a chest gunshot wound close to the Porubne checkpoint in Chernivtsi Region, according to the press service of the Chernivtsi border unit, Serhiy Brovko. An investigation is underway.