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Scoop of the day: Ukrainian director detained in Italy on Russia's request

Scoop of the day: Ukrainian director detained in Italy on Russia's request

Ukrainian director detained in Italy

A Ukrainian theatre director and former chief director of the Odesa Opera and Ballet Theatre, Yevhen Lavrenchuk, has been held in an Italian detention centre due to a Russian extradition request since 17 December 2021.

It is known that he is accused of financial irregularities which he allegedly committed in Russia.

The Ukrainian consulate is providing him with assistance while the Italian authorities are considering the extradition request.

USA

US President Joe Biden and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke over the phone on the late evening of 2 January.

According to the White House, President Biden made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine. The leaders expressed support for diplomatic efforts, starting next week with the bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue, at NATO through the NATO-Russia Council, and at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. President Biden underscored the commitment of the United States and its allies and partners to the principle of "nothing about you without you". He reaffirmed the United States' commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. He also expressed support for confidence-building measures to de-escalate tensions in Donbas and active diplomacy to advance the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, in support of the Normandy Format.

Zelenskyy tweeted, for his part: "The first international talk of the year with @POTUS proves the special nature of our relations. Joint actions of Ukraine, the United States and partners in keeping peace in Europe, preventing further escalation, reforms, deoligarchization were discussed. We appreciate the unwavering support of Ukraine."

Belarusian embassy

The Belarusian embassy in Ukraine has sent a note of protest to the Foreign Ministry over the holding of the annual traditional torch-lit procession in honour of Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera's birthday on 1 January.

"The Belarusian embassy in Ukraine has sent a note to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry condemning the mass participation of activists of the fugitive Belarusian extremist opposition under the symbols of Belarusian collaborators and servants of the Third Reich in the nationalist march, which was broadly covered by nationwide TV channels on 1 January 2022 with the connivance of the Ukrainian authorities," the embassy said.

Journalist leaves Russia

The only accredited Ukrainian journalist, Roman Tsymbalyuk, whom the Kremlin accused of extremism, has left Russia.

"I left the Russian Federation because I believe there is a threat to my personal safety. The Russian junta seems to have shown itself," he told hromadske.ua.

Donbas

A Ukrainian serviceman was wounded in Donbas on 3 January, the Joint Forces Operation HQ said in its evening update.

Separatists fired with grenade launchers near Shumy and small arms near Lebedynske.

The body of a contract serviceman with the gunshot wound to the head was found in Donetsk Region, the military prosecutor's office has said. According to preliminary version, he committed a suicide. Other scenarios are being checked as well.

Oligarch's wealth

The total assets of Ukrainian businessman Rinat Akhmetov increased by 4.14bn dollars (+54.8%) over the year to 11.7bn dollars as of 3 January 2022, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, an annual ranking of the world's wealthiest people.

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