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Scoop of the day: German chancellor visits Ukraine; Kyiv says Russian attack unlikely on 16-17 Feb

Scoop of the day: German chancellor visits Ukraine; Kyiv says Russian attack unlikely on 16-17 Feb

German chancellor's visit

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who visited Kyiv today before he travels to Moscow, said that Ukraine's NATO membership was "not on the agenda" and that there were "no logical reasons" for the Russian military buildup at Ukraine's border.

He noted that Germany considers the Normandy process important for dialogue with Russia together with the US-Russia talks and the OSCE format. He added that Ukraine had promised to submit draft laws on the special status of Donbas and local elections.

Scholz said that Germany would issue a 150m-euro financial loan to Ukraine but avoided answering the question of defensive arms which Berlin has been reluctant to supply Kyiv with.

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, he and Scholz have different views on the Russian gas project Nord Stream 2.

NATO bid

Ukraine could drop its bid to join NATO to avoid war with Russia, the BBC quoted the country's ambassador to Britain, Vadym Prystayko, as saying.

"We might - especially being threatened like that, blackmailed by that, and pushed to it," Prystaiko was quoted as saying when asked if Kyiv could change its position on NATO membership.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that his words were taken out of context.

Zelensky said that Ukraine would continue moving along the path of NATO membership, as it is written in the constitution. "What is important is that we have a strong army on this path. We will see where this path takes us and when," he said at a briefing with Scholz.

Likelihood of attack

The secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, Oleksiy Danilov, said that Ukrainian uniformed agencies consider a large-scale invasion by Russia on 16-17 February unlikely. He insists that the situation is under control.

President's video address

In a video address, Zelenskyy sought to assure Ukrainians that the army is strong as never before and urged them to unite in the face of internal and external challenges. He declared Day of Unity on 16 February, speculated as a date of a possible Russian attack.

Black Sea navigation

Ukraine has arranged an alternative route for commercial vessels to bypass the area blocked for navigation due to Russia's drills in the Black Sea, Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov has said. There is no blockade of the sea at the moment. A Panamax-class bulker has already used this route successfully.

The US State Department has confirmed that it is temporarily relocating the embassy operations in Ukraine from Kyiv to Lviv "due to the dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces".

Russia has moved some long-range artillery and rocket launchers into firing position, threatening Ukraine, according to a US official, CBS has reported. The US believes Russia will attack Ukraine by the end of the week, although it's not yet certain what form it will take, the official said.

Party meeting

At a meeting with the Servant of the People faction, Zelensky assured MPs that the border is secure and said that tough sanctions should be applied to officials who left the country. According to MP Olha Smahlyuk-Vasylevska, Zelensky asked MPs to support a proposal to enable remote voting for deputies sick with Covid-19.

Faction head Davyd Arakhamiya said that 127,000 Russian troops currently clustered at Ukraine's border are not enough for a large-scale attack.

He also noted that the party is prepared to develop draft laws under the Minsk agreements on Donbas. What is important though is their contents and the order in which their clauses would be implemented, he added.

MP Vitaliy Bezgin said there were no new draft laws on a special status of Donbas and local elections in the making.


A Ukrainian serviceman was wounded in Donbas, the Joint Forces Operation HQ has said.

Separatists fired on Tryokhizbenka with anti-tank grenade launchers and dropped a VOG-17 fragmentation grenade with the help of a drone near Maryinka.


Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov has had a phone conversation with his Belarusian counterpart Viktar Khrenin.

"Any threats or provocations by Ukraine against Belarus are ruled out, it is simply impossible. Viktar Henadzevich also assured me that there are no risks and threats for Ukraine from the territory of the Republic of Belarus. We discussed the things that are on the agenda at the moment and defined the algorithm of further interaction. I take it as a positive signal and the first step towards fruitful cooperation," Reznikov said.


Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyy has said in a video address that Ukrainians should keep calm in the current situation. He promised tough response to any attempts to seize government buildings the way it happened in Donbas in 2014. Perpetrators will be shot without doubt, he noted.

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