President Zelensky / Photo from president.gov.ua

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he backs UN Secretary-General António Guterres's call for a ceasefire amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zelensky discussed this during a recent phone call with Guterres, the press service of the President's Office reported.

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The two officials touched on the security situation in Donbas amid the build-up of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border and in the Russia-occupied parts of Ukraine.

"I would like to express my support once again for your last year's call for a ceasefire during the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.

Zelensky said Ukraine was one of the first to support this call and did everything possible to implement it starting from July 2020. The president also informed the Secretary-General about the establishment of the Center for Countering Disinformation in Ukraine, which should become an international hub to combat destructive information influence.

What is more, Zelensky stressed that the initiative of the Crimean Platform, which Ukraine will officially launch at the summit in August, will return the issue of Crimea to the international agenda, launch the process of ending the occupation of the peninsula and become a practical mechanism for protecting human rights in Crimea right now.

The president also noted the important practical role played by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in monitoring the situation in Crimea and other temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.

Previous developments

In 2020, UN Secretary-General Guterres called for an immediate comprehensive ceasefire in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Russian troops amassing along Ukraine's borders

  • Russia late in March 2021 deployed 28 battalion tactical groups along the state border of Ukraine and in the temporarily occupied territories, according to Ukraine's Armed Forces. It is also said to be planning to bring up to 25 battalion tactical groups under the guise of preparing for military drills.
  • Enemy troops are reinforcing their advanced units with reconnaissance teams and sniper pairs, involving Russian army instructors in personnel training. Russia-led forces' artillery units are reportedly on full alert in certain districts, including villages and towns in occupied Ukrainian territory.
  • According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Russian Federation is trying to put pressure on Ukraine by increasing the number of troops along the border.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Defense said they were concerned about the escalation of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.
  • The U.S. European Command raised its alert status to the highest level after fighting had resumed between Russia-led forces and Ukrainian troops in Donetsk region.