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Scoop of the day: Ukrainian Navy says Russia blocking most of Sea of Azov

Scoop of the day: Ukrainian Navy says Russia blocking most of Sea of Azov

Sea tension

The Russian Federation has blocked off almost 70% of the Sea of Azov and is preventing free navigation. These actions demonstrate Russia's attempts to turn the Sea of Azov into its internal "lake", the Ukrainian Navy has said.

"The Russian Federation continues provocative actions against Ukraine. As of 10 December, the Russian Federation has blocked about 70% of the Sea of Azov water area. Currently, the Russians have posted navigational warnings (NAVs) to restrict navigation in particular areas reportedly in connection with the conduct of artillery shooting near Mariupol, Berdyansk and Henichesk," the report said.

USA

US President Joe Biden in a telephone conversation has assured his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Ukraine will directly participate in all international formats in which solutions to the situation in our state will be discussed, Zelenskyy said in an exclusive interview with One Plus One TV.

According to Biden, Putin assured him during the video conversation that he had no intention of further escalation of military aggression against Ukraine.

France

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has had a phone conversation with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

The sides discussed the unblocking of the Normandy format and the work of the Trilateral Contact Group, Zelenskyy said on Twitter.

"We have agreed common next steps. We discussed threats to Ukraine's energy security and diversification of energy sources," he said.

Budget

President Zelenskyy has signed the bill on the state budget for 2022 into law.

During the revision, the Cabinet of Ministers increased the revenues by 54.7bn to 1.32 trillion hryvnyas, the expenditures by 55.7bn to 1.5 trillion hryvnyas, and the deficit by 732million to 188.8bn hryvnyas.

National security and defence spending was increased by 3.7 bn to 323.1bn hryvnyas, or 6% of GDP. In particular, spending on the Armed Forces of Ukraine should also increase by 2.5bn hryvnyas.

Donbas

Separatist military units in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions have stepped up recruitment campaign. They are spreading propaganda materials and sending mass propaganda SMS messages.

As of 1 January, the militants have been actively manning the units of the 1st (Donetsk) and 2nd (Luhansk) army corps, the Ukrainian Defence Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate said on Facebook.

Survey: Minsk agreements

The majority of Ukrainians are in favour of revising the Minsk agreements and signing new ones, as evidenced by a poll conducted by the sociological group Rating on 6-8 December.

When asked how Ukraine should act with regard to the implementation of the Minsk agreements, 54% of respondents said that they should be revised and the new ones signed.

Some 21% of the survey participants said that Ukraine should withdraw from the negotiation process and take decisions without the participation of international mediators, and only 12%t said that Ukraine should meet all the set requirements.

Survey: attitude to Russia and Belarus

Ukrainians believe that Russia and Belarus are hostile to Ukraine. This opinion is shared by 72% and 48% of respondents who took part in the latest opinion poll conducted by the Rating group.

While Russia has long had an enemy status in Ukraine, the attitude of Ukrainians to Belarus has changed dramatically in recent months. The number of respondents who consider it hostile has more than doubled since April 2021.

Attitude: presidential rating

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Servant of the People party would win the election if it were held in December 2021, as evidenced by a fresh poll conducted by the Rating group.

Zelenskyy could count on the support of 23.5% of respondents in the first round (among voters and those who have made up their minds). His closest rivals are European Solidarity leader Petro Poroshenko (13.4%), Fatherland leader Yuliya Tymoshenko (9.9%) and Opposition Platform-For Life leader Yuriy Boyko (9.3%).

Appointment

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appointed Viktor Mykyta head of the Transcarpathian regional state administration. Mykyta was the deputy head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) directorate in Transcarpathian Region and later worked for its head office. He worked for the SBU in Donetsk in 2013-14.

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