UnderCovid: Stories that go unnoticed
Over 140 fires have broken out in Kyiv and Kyiv Oblast over the last 12 days, greatly polluting the air in Ukraine’s capital. The biggest fires were detected in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Firefighters there are trying to put out 100 hectares of fire, the size of about 180 soccer fields.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes that the rejection of the agreements reached with representatives of the militant authorities in the Donbas was not only Kyiv’s initiative. It accuses Germany and France of being involved.
Ahtem Chiygoz, a Ukrainian MP and vice-president of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (QTMM), warned that the constitutional amendments that allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to stay in power for another decade at least will lead to more Russian military aggression against Ukraine.
The administration of Donald Trump offered “large sums of money” to get exclusive access to a Coronavirus vaccine that is developed by CureVac, a German company, Die Welt reported. Trump wanted the company to move to America and develop the vaccine only for the United States.
The Ukrainian ambassador to Portugal says that Portuguese authorities hid the real cause of the death of a Ukrainian citizen at the Lisbon airport on 10 March 2020. The man was beaten to death by three border security inspectors. The Portuguese authorities claimed that he died of “epilepsy.” The Ukrainian man was on his way to Turkey. Lisbon airport was a stopover.
The power providers AS Eesti Gaas (Estonia), Elenger Oy (Finland) and AS Alexela (Estonia) objected in a letter sent to the Latvian government to the shutdown of a pipeline that is planned by Latvian gas supply company AS Conexus Baltic Grid. The complainants say that the announcement, at short notice, will cause economic damage and could result in legal action.
RB Rail AS, the joint venture that manages a rail infrastructure construction worth €6bn awarded today a contract for design and design supervision services for the last two sections of the Rail Baltica main line in Latvia. The contract for the first section from Vangaži to the Latvian-Estonian state border was won by a consortium of the companies Ineco and Ardanuy, an order of € 13.5m. The contract for the second section, from Misa to the Latvian-Lithuanian state border, was awarded to the companies IDOM, Consulting, Engineering, Architecture S.A.U. This second contract is worth €EUR 6.9m.
As of 4 April 2020, Russia has suspended all international passenger flights, including evacuation flights for Russian citizens. Rosaviation (the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency) revoked all permits for international flights.
Doctors in Moscow hospitals are forced to self-test hydroxychloroquine, a risky malaria drug, for coronavirus. Although there’s an option to refuse, department heads make it mandatory for their employees to register.
The Army approved on 1 April 2020 the deployment of Yasen-class submarines, five of which will serve in the Northern Fleet.
Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis signed into law provisions that increase the financial support given by the Romanian state to Prodromu, a religious site owned by the Romanian government on the Athos Mountain in Greece. Thanks to the new law, the funding, coming from the state budget, has almost quadrupled from €250,000 to €960,000.
The Ministry of Economy is considering binning a government ordinance that compels tourism operators and hotels to reimburse booked holidays.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a global NGO, fears that the Hungarian government will control all of the country’s media. It called on European institutions to take urgent action to prevent the elimination of press freedom and, with it, democracy in Hungary.
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán last Friday wrote a harsh letter to Antonio Lopez-Isturiz White, secretary-general of the European People’s Party (EPP) following criticism by the EPP’s 13 members of recent measures introduced by Hungary’s government. The EPP members called on the group to exclude Orban’s party, Fidesz, now in power in Hungary.
The European Commission approved €22bn in state aid for Polish businesses.
The Polish government postponed a planned commemorative trip to western Russia because of the global virus epidemic. The visit was to mark 10 years since the fatal crash of the plane that killed a Polish president and 95 other officials near the city of Smolensk. Russia failed to give details about the trip “logistics,” which was the main reason for the cancelation.
Poland’s presidential elections, scheduled for May 2020, could be held by postal vote only, according to a recommendation by Ryszard Terlecki, a deputy Speaker of the Sejm, Poland’s lawmaking body.
Poles who are quarantined during the coronavirus epidemic have to use a special app that allows the authorities to keep tabs on them. The app uses a geolocation system and face-recognition technology that give information about the identity and whereabouts of the person undergoing quarantine.
Russia promised to give financial loans to Moldova in the future, a plan that is criticized by the Moldovan media because of suspected political strings attached. The president Igor Dodon praised the Kremlin for the plans.
Moldovan Prime Minister Ion Chicu announced on 1 April that, during the state of emergency, any citizens or foreigners with residence permits who intend to enter Moldova must either be medically insured, or pay a compulsory health insurance premium of RON 4,056 (€200).
Estonian company Milrem is developing an entirely new kind of military robot. Known as TypeX, the robot is a hybrid powertrain (electricity and diesel), has fully autonomous capacity and is unmanned. While it is not a tank as such, the TypeX has tracks and a turreted gun.
Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti announced that the Government of Kosovo planned to abolish tariffs on products coming from Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina. He added that Kosovo will introduce reciprocity measures only in relation to Serbia.
Foreign nationals are allowed to remain in Serbia until the end of the state of emergency, according to a new decision made by the local authorities.
The Alliance for Securing Democracy, an independent organization operating out of the United States, has recently launched a project monitoring misinformation coming from China.