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Scoop of the weekend: Ukraine seeks to keep airspace open; Kyiv hosts Unity March as embassies move to Lviv

Scoop of the weekend: Ukraine seeks to keep airspace open; Kyiv hosts Unity March as embassies move to Lviv


At its urgent meeting on 13 February, the Cabinet of Ministers allocated 16.6bn hryvnyas from the reserve fund of the state budget to guarantee the safety of flights in Ukrainian sky for insurance and leasing companies. Parliament's budget committee backed the government resolution.

Earlier, the Ukrainian airline SkyUp stopped selling tickets for 14-16 February after the leasing company demanded that its aircraft be returned to the EU. On 12 February, SkyUp's flight from Madeira to Kyiv had to land in Chisinau after the lessor forbad it from entering Ukraine's airspace.

Also on 12 February, the Dutch air carrier KLM said it was suspending flights to Ukraine.

Tycoons fleeing?

Ukrainian tycoons are leaving on charter flights, the Ukrayinska Pravda news website has alleged, saying around 20 charter flights and private jets departed from Kyiv on 13 February alone.

According to the website, some of the jets belong to Rinat Akhmetov, Borys Kolesnikov (who denied leaving the country), Viktor Pinchuk, Vadym Novynskyy, Oleksandr Yaroslavskyy, Andriy Stavnitser, Vadym Nesterenko, Vadym Stolar and Vasyl Khmelnytskyy.

Biden-Zelenskyy phone talk

During a phone conversation on 13 February, Volodymyr Zelenskyy invited US President Joe Biden to visit Ukraine "in the coming days, which are decisive for stabilising the situation, which would be a strong signal and would facilitate de-escalation". Zelenskyy also said that the Western support would "help prevent the spread of panic".

According to CNN, Biden's visit to Ukraine is highly unlikely.

Russia ignores Ukraine's request

The Russian Federation has not responded to Ukraine's request to disclose detailed information about military exercises in line with the Vienna Document, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.

"We are taking the next step. Ukraine is convening a meeting with Russia and all participating states within the next 48 hours to discuss the reinforcement and movement of Russian troops along our border and in temporarily occupied Crimea," he said. "If Russia is serious when it speaks about the indivisibility of security in the OSCE space, it must fulfil its commitments on military transparency to reduce tensions and strengthen security for all participating states."

US embassy staff relocated

The remaining diplomatic staff of the US embassy in Kyiv, including charge d'affaires ad interim Kristina Kvien, is moving to Lviv, Yevropeyska Pravda has reported. They will return to Kyiv once the security situation allows.

Canada and Australia have also moved their embassies to Lviv.

German ambassador Anka Feldhusen, for her part, said that she and her small embassy team would remain in Kyiv despite the German Foreign Ministry's advice to citizens to leave Ukraine.

UK ambassador Melinda Simmon said she was staying in Kyiv and continued to work with a core team. She added that the embassy remained operational.

EU Mission head Matti Maasikas denied reports that he had left Kyiv.

Military aid

Two more planes carrying US military aid arrived in Ukraine on 13 February, the US embassy said. They brought ammunition and grenade launcher projectiles.

Unity March

Thousands took part in the March of Unity in Kyiv on 12 February to show the world their readiness to unite and put up resistance to a possible further invasion by Russian troops. They walked through central Kyiv, carrying posters saying "Say NO to Putin" and "Ukrainians will resist".

Contingency plan

State authorities must provide citizens with comprehensive information on the algorithm of actions in emergency situations, the leader of the European Solidarity party, ex-President Petro Poroshenko has said.

In his opinion, the population should know how communication, financial stability, food, fuel, electricity supply will be ensured.

"These are all issues that are being worked out. But Ukrainians have a right to know because this is an effective form of killing panic. Not silence or an ostrich pose. That is exactly what we are trying to achieve. This is what we did in 2014 - this is what we will make them do now," he added.

Premier urges calm

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has addressed Ukrainians amid the threat of a further invasion by the Russian Federation. He urged citizens to remain calm.

"Dear Ukrainians, for eight years the enemy has been waging war against Ukraine, for eight years soldiers have been defending the borders, diplomats have been conducting difficult negotiations, and Ukrainians living with the understanding that there is a dangerous and treacherous neighbour trying to intimidate, break and destroy us. But today, unlike in 2014, our army is ready," Shmyhal said in a video message.

Defence minister's address

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov made a statement regarding the threat of Russian invasion on 12 February.

"The army and volunteers were able to hold out in 2014 when the 'brother' brazenly stabbed us in the back. Back then, many were not psychologically prepared to resist someone with whom they were sitting at the same table yesterday. Now the situation is completely different. In the Kremlin they know this for sure and it is an important element of deterrence. Today we have Ukraine's most powerful army in the last 15 years and the most powerful army in Europe, our army is headed by combat generals and officers. Have no doubt - the Ukrainian Armed Forces are absolutely ready to fight back," Reznikov stressed.

Journalists attacked

Unidentified armed guards attacked a filming crew of Mykhaylo Tkach, who heads the department of journalistic investigations at Ukrayinska Pravda, at Dnipro airport. They demanded that all the footage be deleted and when the cameraman refused, they threatened him with a knife and forced him to give access to his phone. Police at the site did not respond to the incident.

Later the police press service said two criminal cases were opened over the incident.

Dnipro mayor Borys Filatov promised to share any available CCTV footage with police. He also noted that "various private jets" were bringing guests to notorious local tycoon Ihor Kolomoyskyy who was celebrating his birthday on 13 February.


Two people got killed and two wounded after a shootout in a café in the village of Hranitne, Volnovakha District of Donetsk Region, in the early hours of 13 February. Police have detained two servicemen who opened the fire.

An explosion (most likely of a gas canister) in a café in Stanytsya Luhanska close to the line of contact left 12 people hurt on 12 February. Eight of them were taken to hospital.

A group of about 15 masked individuals attacked an exhibition by left-wing Kyiv artist Davyd Chychkan. According to the Lviv municipal art centre director, they ripped the rainbow flag saying "peace", broke the only visitor's phone and shouted at the administrator, accusing her of "communist and LGBT propaganda".

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