Category Archives: East Europe – Ukraine

Ukraine Mine: Three Soldiers Dead.

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Ukraine has been fighting separatists backed by Russia in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine since 2014 following Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

Three Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a mine explosion in the war-torn east of the country Sunday, Kiev said, as an uptick in violence tested last year’s ceasefire.

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They were killed when an explosive device went off near the village of Novoluganske some 50 kilometres (30 miles) northeast of the main separatist stronghold Donetsk, the military said in a statement.

The latest casualties came after two Ukrainian soldiers were killed in clashes with Russian-backed separatists on Friday, testing last year’s ceasefire that had brought relative calm to the simmering conflict.

During a visit to the frontline on Thursday Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that separatist attacks had increased recently.

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“We understand that in general, it’s only our side that thinks the ceasefire is necessary,” said Zelensky.

He was accompanied by diplomats from several Western countries.

Ukraine has been fighting separatists backed by Russia in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine since 2014 following Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

Since then, more than 13,000 people have died and nearly 1.5 million have been displaced.

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Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russia of sending troops and arms to support the separatists, claims Moscow denies.

The war was at the centre of a diplomatic spat at the United Nations last week when Western countries claimed that Russia was blocking efforts to end the fighting.

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#Newsworthy

COVID-19: EU asks for donation of vaccines to Ukraine.

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Ukraine’s 43-year-old leader, who experienced mild symptoms of the coronavirus last year, said he was ready to get inoculated to encourage others to do the same.

The European Commission chief said on Monday she had called on EU member states to donate some of their coronavirus jabs to Ukraine, which is trying to launch a vaccination campaign.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has faced criticism at home for failing to source Western-made jabs and has called on the EU to help Ukraine source vaccines.

Zelensky said on Monday that Ukraine, one of the poorest countries in Europe, would begin the first phase of the vaccination campaign later this month.

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The country of some 40 million is awaiting delivery of eight million doses promised under the United Nations Covax programme and up to five million doses of the Chinese CoronaVac jab.

“On top of Covax, I have also asked our member states to donate part of their doses to Ukraine,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in a video address at a conference held in Ukraine’s capital Kiev.

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“Thanks to Covax, Ukraine’s doctors and nurses will receive the first vaccines already this month,” she said, adding that “millions of other doses will reach Ukraine by the summer”.

Ukraine has not registered any vaccine so far and Zelensky has rejected calls from pro-Moscow politicians to approve Russia’s Sputnik V jab.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 12, 2019 President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen arrives for a European Union Summit at the Europa building in Brussels. – The EU commission chief has defended the slower Covid-19 vaccine rollout in the bloc as a “good decision”, saying the European Union would not put the safety of citizens at risk, in an interview published on February 2, 2021. (Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)

Last week, the post-Soviet country said it had also secured 12 million doses of vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Novavax.

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The total amount of the already secured doses is not enough to meet the needs of the country, however.

Speaking at the same conference on Monday, Zelensky also pointed to Ukrainians’ “mistrust” of vaccines, saying a “large part of the population” did not want to get vaccinated.

According to a recent poll conducted by the non-government Rating Group, more than half of Ukrainians said they were not ready to get inoculated, even for free.

Ukraine’s 43-year-old leader, who experienced mild symptoms of the coronavirus last year, said he was ready to get inoculated to encourage others to do the same.

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“As a majority of world leaders, I am ready to show people by personal example that vaccination is important, it is safe, it is needed,” said Zelensky.

With its run-down health system, Ukraine has recorded over 1.2 million cases and more than 23,000 deaths.

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#Newsworthy