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VISIT - Chamber of Deputies Speaker, Marcel Ciolacu, will visit Kyiv on April 27, official sources say. The visit comes in response to an invitation extended by the Speaker of the Supreme Rada, Ruslan Stefanchuk. Ciolacu will visit various areas affected by the war, including areas where the Russian army committed atrocities. Marcel Ciolacu might also address the Supreme Rada. Senate Speaker Florin Cîțu also received an invitation to Kyiv, and the details of his visit are yet to be made public.
UKRAINE - The presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are in Kyiv for talks with president Volodymyr Zelensky. Lithuania's president, Gitanas Nauseda, said the delegation is delivering a strong message of political support and military assistance. Meanwhile, Ukraine and Russia are consolidating their forces in Donbas, which is now Moscow's primary target. In the south, the Ukrainian army announced a counter-offensive, seeking to liberate several towns and villages. Close to Odessa, Ukrainian forces have pushed out Russian troops far from the northern borders of the Kherson Oblast, putting an end to the siege on this city. According to our correspondent, the Ukrainian General Staff announced the threat of a missile attack from the Black Sea remains real. Russian naval forces have isolated the conflict areas in the Black and Azov seas and are carrying out reconnaissance missions.
NATO - "We will continue our efforts to ensure the prompt, determined and robust response of the North Atlantic Alliance to any possible challenge or threat", Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday, also thanking all NATO allies for their presence in Romania. The head of state visited the Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base 57, together with the Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă and the Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. NATO is the strongest and most concrete security guarantee for member states, Nicolae Ciucă said. The Romanian Prime Minister also said that an effective deterrence and defense posture must be developed on the eastern flank of the Alliance. In turn, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said NATO is a defensive alliance, and its member states are ready to defend their territory in case of an attack, adding that Russia's invasion of Ukraine represents a brutal assault on basic EU and NATO values - freedom, democracy and human rights. A Belgian military unit is currently deployed to Romania as part of NATO's Response Force.
WORLD BANK - World Bank Group president, David Malpass, is paying an official visit to Romania on Wednesday and Thursday. According to a World Bank release, the visit is meant to reassert the World Bank's support for Romania's efforts to ensure sustainable and inclusive economic growth. David Malpass will meet representatives of the public sector and partners of the World Bank. Furthermore, David Malpass will also visit a project implemented with support from the World Bank in the field of education, with a focus on the Roma community. The World Bank's active portfolio in Romania includes nine investment projects with a total value of $1.8 billion and technical and analytical assistance services worth $124 billion.
REPORT - "Impunity for perpetrators of some human rights abuses was a continuing problem" in Romania, whereas "the judiciary took steps to prosecute and punish officials who committed abuses", reads the 2021 Report on Human Rights Practices for Romania, released by the US Department of State. Still, authorities did not have effective mechanisms to prosecute officials and delayed proceedings involving alleged police abuse and corruption, with the result that many of the cases ended in acquittals, the report further shows. According to the document, civilian authorities maintained effective control over the intelligence service and the security agencies that reported to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The report also addresses the harsh conditions of Romanian penitentiaries, which are overcrowded and fail to meet international standards. Corrupt practices remained widespread in 2021 despite several high-profile prosecutions, the report also reads.
COVID-19 - 1,600 new cases of COVID-19 infection and 36 related deaths were reported on Wednesday in Romania. Most new infections were signaled in Bucharest. Right now, some 1,900 patients are being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals, of whom 253 in intensive care units. (MI & VP)
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