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Scoop of the day: "Ukraine is not afraid" - Zelenskyy on Russian build-up

Scoop of the day: "Ukraine is not afraid" - Zelenskyy on Russian build-up

Donbas

Ukraine does not want war but is ready for it, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said in a statement published late tonight. He noted that Ukraine would continue fighting for peace using diplomatic means but would defend itself if need be. He said Ukraine is not afraid, particularly thanks to strong support from international partners. Addressing Vladimir Putin and Russians in the Russian language, he invited the Russian leader to meet "anuwhere in Ukrainian Donbas where the war is underway".

The trilateral contact group has initially approved draft amendments to the 20 July 2020 ceasefire arrangements, the Ukrainian delegation has said. It hopes the next meeting at the level of the delegations, 28 April, will approve them in full.

The secretary of the National Securty and Defence Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, and Polish National Security Bureau chief Pawel Soloch have discussed the escalation of hybrid aggression by Russia in Donbas and Crimea. "We are monitoring the situation 24-7 and are developing various scenarios of response," Danilov said, noting that the Ukrainian army is prepared to stand up to the aggressor.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said at a briefing for foreign media that the number of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border is expected to reach 120,000 within a week. He noted that Russia's efforts to mass troops in addition to powerful radio warfare means and ballistic missiles are raising even more concerns.

Relations with Russia

Exclusive: A number of MPs from the pro-presidential Servant of the People party have prepared a draft appeal to President Voldymyr Zelenskyy in which they ask him to sever diplomatic ties with Russia. They say that in the current situation Ukraine has no other choice but to treat Russia's actions as true preparations for an expansion of armed aggression or an act of large-scale military provocation against Ukraine.

Ukrainian MP in Belarus

Ukrainian MP Yevhen Shevchenko from the pro-presidential Servant of the People party met Belarusan President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in Minsk. He told the embattled Belarusian leader, whose disputable re-election has caused a wave of protests since August 2020, that "36% of Ukrainians would like to see Lukashenka as their president", the pro-Lukashenka Telegram channel Pul Pervogo has reported.

Party head Oleksandr Korniyenko has said that the faction will demand that Shevchenko explain his visit to Lukashenka. According to Korniyenko, Shevchenko was not authorised either by the faction or party or the Foreign Ministry or the presidential office for any negotiations with Belarusian officials.

Сoronavirus

This morning Ukraine reported 8,940 new Covid-19 cases after running 37,557 tests.

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