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Scoop of the day: Zelenskyy dismisses SBU counterintelligence chief

Scoop of the day: Zelenskyy dismisses SBU counterintelligence chief

Coup case

The Main Investigation Department of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is conducting a pre-trial investigation into alleged preparations for a coup by Ukrainian and Russian nationals.

"The investigation has been opened under Part 1 of Article 109 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine - on the fact of preparation of actions - by individual citizens of Ukraine and Russia - aimed at seizing state power," SBU spokesman Artem Dehtyarenko said.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said at a briefing on 26 November that Ukrainian intelligence had information about preparations for a coup d'etat in Ukraine.

Counterintelligence chief sacked

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has dismissed the head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) counterintelligence department, Oleksandr Rusnak, who has headed it since 12 September 2019. Zelenskyy did not specify the reason for dismissal.

Russia

Russia has deployed over 40 tactical military groups near Ukraine's borders, as well as in Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said at a briefing.

"What we are seeing now is very serious. Russia has deployed a numerous military force in the regions near Ukraine's state border. This includes tanks, artillery, air and naval forces. There are over 40 battalion tactical groups consisting of 115,000 military personnel, including the territory of Crimea and Donbas," the minister said.

He added that Russia refused to transparently explain its actions and military advances.

PM on NATO help

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on 25 November urged NATO to send warships to the Black Sea and step up reconnaissance flights along Russia's borders.

"Ensuring the constant presence of maritime warships of the NATO alliance in the Black Sea would be a very strong signal," Shmyhal said in an interview with POLITICO by videoconference from his office in Kyiv.

Belarus

According to Defence Minister Viktar Khrenin, Belarus plans to hold military drills jointly with Russia "to cover its southern border", that is the one it shares with Ukraine. He noted that Belarusian troops are currently at their permanent deployment sites but will begin active combat training on 1 December.

Belarus does not brandish weapons but is ready to respond if someone comes with a sword or a gun, Alyaksandr Lukashenka has said. "If Ukraine tries to resolve the conflict with Russia, Belarus will not stand aside," he added, as quoted by Belta.

China

Beijing-based investment company Skyrizon announced on 28 November that it submitted an application for arbitration to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, requesting a ruling that Ukraine violated the bilateral agreement on the encouragement and mutual protection of investments and demanding $4.5 billion in compensation for alleged unfair treatment of Chinese investors by Ukraine, Global Times has reported.

The companies involved were all investors in the Ukrainian aero-engine producer Motor Sich, and the Ukraine sanctions were imposed in tandem with US government efforts to block China from acquiring Motor Sich.

Donbas

Part of the town of Stanytsya Luhanska and the village of Malynove in Donbas have been cut from electricity supply as a result of separatist shelling, a local energy company has said.

A Ukrainian serviceman was wounded in combat in Donbas, the Joint Forces Operation HQ said on its evening update. There have been six ceasefire violations since midnight.

Coronavirus

The Cabinet of Ministers has decided not to ban people who have recently been in southern Africa from entering the country but has ordered them to self-isolate. The step is taken due to the emergence of the new contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus in the region.

The affected countries include South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique.

Economy

The Economy Ministry has downgraded the GDP growth forecast for Ukraine to 3%, although back in July the then minister, Oleksiy Lyubchenko, said that GDP growth would reach 4.1% in 2021, RBC-Ukraine has reported citing the ministry's official response.

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