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Scoop of the day: Zelenskyy urges direct talks with Russia; rally gathers in central Kyiv

Scoop of the day: Zelenskyy urges direct talks with Russia; rally gathers in central Kyiv

President's address to parliament

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that the war in the east cannot be stopped without direct negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.

Zelenskyy said that he was not afraid to tell everyone directly, and Russians too, that Russia had annexed Crimea eight years ago and the war was going on. He also noted that he is not afraid to speak directly to "him" - the Russian president.

"We are not afraid of direct dialogue, we know which European countries support Ukraine. We know who pretends to support Ukraine and independence. We know that our army is the best in the world and will protect us. We must tell the truth that we will not be able to stop the war without direct negotiations with Russia and all our external partners have already recognized it, while some internal ones have not. And we must negotiate knowing that we have a strong, powerful army, and we must not be afraid to speak the truth now," he said.

Multiple citizenship

Zelenskyy said he would table a bill on multiple citizenship.

"An important component of our international policy is to support global Ukrainians. I know how important the issue of multiple citizenship is for Ukrainians living in the USA, Canada, the EU. Today I am submitting a relevant bill to parliament. There are 65 million of us," he said.

Children's accounts

Zelenskyy said he would submit the bill on economic passport by 10 December. As a result, Ukrainian children will have their own accounts which will be topped with revenues from royalties on the use of Ukrainian subsoil resources.

Reaction to president's speech

Kira Rudyk, leader of the Voice party, has said that the president's address to parliament is disconnected from reality and impossible to implement.

"The president is either in too warm a bathtub or he lives in some other country where Covid-19 is not a problem, where we are energy independent and where we have enough money to implement any programmes," she said.

Rally

Several thousand people gathered in Kyiv's Independence Square for a rally "Defend Ukraine – Stop the Coup". The event is organised by the Capitulation Resistance Movement, the Democratic Axe party and the National Corps.

"In two and a half years, President Zelenskyy has made the evolution that Putin has been making in Russia for 20 years. We will not let him usurp power in Ukraine. And when Zelenskyy tells us that he wants to go to talks with Putin, and Putin says: we don't talk about Crimea, we don't talk about Donbas - Volodya, why are you going there? What do you want to talk about? About electricity from Russia? Citizens will resist, and we are ready to set up staffs," Ihor Lapin, a former MP and representative of the Capitulation Resistance Movement, said at the start of the rally.

The rally took place amid the heavy police presence in central Kyiv.

US on Russia

The United States sees signs of Russia's preparation for a large-scale invasion of Ukraine following the 2014 scenario, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said at a news conference following a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Riga, Ukrinform reported.

He expressed concern about the situation and noted that Russia had increased its information efforts to portray Ukraine as an aggressor and justify its military actions.

Kuleba on Putin's NATO remarks

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has called Russian President Vladimir Putin's proposal to discuss guarantees of NATO's non-expansion to the east illegitimate.

"Russia cannot prevent Ukraine from getting closer to NATO and has no right to speak out in discussions on the matter. Any Russian proposal to discuss with NATO or the USA or other countries any so-called guarantees that the alliance will not expand to the east is illegitimate," Kuleba was quoted by RBC-Ukraine as saying.

Speaking at the Kyiv Security Forum, the ex-president and leader of the European Solidarity party, Petro Poroshenko, has called on the anti-Putin forces in Ukraine to unite.

Human rights

Ukrainian political prisoner Ivan Yatskin, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison by the Crimean occupying authorities "for spying", has gone on hunger strike, his lawyer Nikolay Polozov has said, noting that given his client's health condition, this could be very dangerous.

Yatskin's medication was taken away, his only bag was torn and the authorities refused to provide a needle with thread to mend it. He has to drink bad quality tap water because it is forbidden to buy bottled water.

Donbas

Two ceasefire violations have been registered in Donbas since midnight, the Joint Forces Operation HQ has said. Separatists fired grenade launchers and heavy machine-guns near Avdiivka and dropped two POM-2 anti-personnel fragmentation mines, having wounded a civilian near Maryinka.

Cyber

In November 2021, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU)'s Cyber Security Situation Centre neutralized 53 cyber-attacks on information systems of state authorities.

A total of over 31,000 critical information security incidents were checked, the SBU press service said.

Poll

Some 65.9% of Ukrainians have a negative attitude to the possible introduction of remote voting via the Internet, a survey conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology on 26-29 November has revealed. Some 29% of the respondents spoke positively of the idea.

Economy

As of 1 December 2021, Ukraine's minimum pension increased to 2,600 hryvnyas. The Economy Ministry said that this is the tenth pension rise this year.

Space

The launch of the Ukrainian satellite Sich-2-30 is scheduled for early next year, the head of the State Space Agency, Volodymyr Taftay, said in an interview with Ukrinform.

"Our Sich-2-30 spacecraft is fully ready. The launch is planned for 10 January 2022, but the date depends on the readiness of the carrier rocket," Taftay said.

He added that the Ukrainian satellite would be launched from a site in Florida and delivered into orbit by Space X's Falcon-9 carrier rocket.

Anti-vaxxer

Lviv resident Ostap Stakhiv, who is considered to be the leader of the anti-vaccination movement in Ukraine and is suspected of preparing for government overthrow, was released from pre-trial detention on December after his supporters bailed him out for 1 million hryvnyas.

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