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Scoop of the weekend: Further escalation in Donbas, Zelenskyy's Munich speech

Scoop of the weekend: Further escalation in Donbas, Zelenskyy's Munich speech


The number of ceasefire violations and provocations by the Russian occupying troops has increased over the weekend.

- Two Ukrainian servicemen were killed and five wounded amid 136 ceasefire violations on 19 February.

- One Ukrainian serviceman was wounded amid 74 ceasefire violations as of 2200 on 20 February.

- A lorry used by the Ukrainian delegation to the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination of Ceasefire burnt down after the separatists shelled the Shchastya checkpoint on the line of contact.

- The Joint Forces Operation HQ warned about another false flag operation by the Russian occupying troops when they targeted Luhansk from Lobacheve with heavy artillery to make it look as if it were the Ukrainian army.

- Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov praised the Ukrainian military for the way they are holding up, accused Russia of spawning fakes for propaganda purposes, and exposing civilians to danger by placing artillery among residential buildings. He said Ukraine was bracing for "intense pressure" from Russia but will withhold.

- Russian career officers and special services are plotting terrorist acts in Donbas which would target civilians to justify the deployment of Russian regular troops disguised as peacekeepers, Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyy has said.

- Ukraine is not planning any offensive operations in Donbas, Deputy Prime Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories Iryna Vereshchuk has said. She accused Russia of taking hostage people in the separatist-controlled parts of Donbas.

Munich Security Conference

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy referred to the Budapest Memorandum in his speech at the Munich Security Conference because Ukraine needs effective international mechanisms that would guarantee its security, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said.

In Munich, Zelenskyy requested that the signatories to the Budapest Memorandum convene consultations. It is the fourth time Kyiv has made such a request.

He also called for immediate sanctions against Russia and support for Ukraine's economy. He thanked the USA for sharing its intelligence on Russia's plans. He repeated that Ukraine was not going to attack anyone but was ready for any developments. " Ukrainians would not get into coffins and wait for the troops to come," he added.

Ukraine-France diplomacy

Zelensky and President Emmanuel Macron have had two phone conversations over the weekend. On 20 February, Zelensky said the two stand in favour of invigorating the peace process, support calling an urgent meeting of the trilateral contact group and an urgent ceasefire.

Security measures

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has stepped up counterintelligence measures and is holding drills in all regions of Ukraine, its chief Ivan Bakanov has said. The SBU is prepared to respond to any destabilizing scenarios together with other responsible agencies, he added.

Canadian military aid

The second batch of Canadian military aid in the form of rifles, machine guns with optical sights, night vision and surveillance devices, and military equipment was brought to Lviv by the Canadian Royal Air Force.

Embassy moves

The Dutch embassy has been relocated from Kyiv to Lviv. The UK and the USA, among others, have already moved their embassies there.

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