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War in Ukraine. Daily update. Day 28 [10.00 am, 23.03.2022 ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ท]

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Cities under attack. Ukrainian forces have slowed down Russian offensive on the ground, however active shelling of the settlements from the air continues across the country. The General Staff of Ukraine states this is the result of the active counteroffensive by the Ukrainian forces, on the one hand. On the other hand, right now, Russia is regrouping its troops, as well as settling down its positions in temporary occupied areas. Intense shelling continues in the Kyiv region. The occupiers have shelled Brovary, hitting one of the factories, damaging seven buses and outbuildings. Near Makariv, the warehouse of the biggest Ukrainian pharmaceutical company Farmak caught fire, with estimated UAH 1.5 billion in losses. This warehouse had all of the raw ingredients and packaging, therefore it is going to be difficult to renew and continue their business, especially in the conditions of constant shelling. In Obolon district of Kyiv, a truck and two buildings caught fire due to Russian shelling. In Chernihiv, Russian troops destroyed a bridge on route to Kyiv. This bridge had been essential to evacuation and humanitarian aid supply efforts. Chernigiv mayor has already informed the public that they plan to build a new one in its place. In Severodonetsk, Donetsk region, Russian forces shelled a childrenโ€™s hospital which subsequently caught on fire. Rescuers have saved 22 people, including 7 children. Mykolayiv seaport got under fire. Until Monday, this port had been partially providing services to the Navy. Currently, other seaports have been made inoperational, among them Mariupol, Berdyansk, Skadovsk, and Kherson. In Rubizhne, Lugansk region, a shell hit the apartment block, killing 2 children and 1 adult. In Kherson, occupants had used tear gas to break up a peaceful rally. Another two bombs were dropped on Mariupol. Also in Mariupol, an evacuation column heading from the city was blocked by the invaders in direct violation of the Geneva Convention. However, some 1200 people still managed to get through to safety from Mariupol. In Trostianets, Sumy region, citizens are unable to bury their dead, because the occupying military force denies them that right, not to mention the regular shelling of the town, which makes any outside activity dangerous.ย 

Peaceful rallies. The Ukrainian civilian population in Russian-occupied cities continues to protest against Russian control. Russian efforts to subdue the population by manipulating the media, spreading propaganda, and installing puppet pro-Kremlin local actors have failed so far. The UK โ€‹โ€‹Defence intelligence warns that Russia will probably respond to these failures by employing violent measures to suppress the civilian resistance.ย ย 

Abduction. Kidnappings of the local authorities and activists continue. In the Kherson region, Zburโ€™yivka Village Head has been abducted by the occupant forces. But there is also some good news: the director of the Kherson Academic Regional Puppet Theater, who was kidnapped by the occupiers yesterday, has been released; the Chairman of the Okhtyrka district council was released after a week in captivity; Victoria Roshchina, Hromadske journalist, has also been finally rescued. However, famous photojournalist Maks Levin, who was last seen on the front line, has disappeared near Kyiv. It is known that intense fighting had broken out in his last known location. Levin has previously collaborated with Reuters, BBC, TRT World, Associated Press, LB, Hromadske. His photos were published by such publications as Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, etc. It is suspected that he might have been killed or kidnapped.

Justice. Prosecutor General of Ukraine spoke about the first reported and registered case of rape in Kyiv region. The suspect has been identified based on the witness statement.

Foreign policy. President Zelenskyi addressed the Italian Parliament with a speech that is but one in a series of efforts to rally international support. Following this address, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said: โ€œWe want to bring Ukraine closer to Europe. I want to tell President Zelensky that Italy is with Ukraine in this process. Italy wants Ukraine to join the European Unionโ€. On March 24, President Zelenskyi is going to virtually join the NATO summit to gain international support and call for further actions. The European Council and the Group of Seven will, among all else, discuss the issues around launching the Ukraine Solidarity Trust Fund. This is aimed at raising funds and providing support to Ukraine โ€œfor its immediate needsโ€ andย  โ€œfor the reconstruction of a democratic Ukraineโ€.

The General Assembly of the European Federation of National Institutions for Language (EFNIL) provided Ukraine with the associate member status. EFNIL is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing together European language institutions, whose role includes monitoring the official language or languages of their country, advising on language use, or developing language policies.

Food crisis. Ukraine is the EUโ€™s fourth biggest external provider of food. Currently, EU politicians have been careful to state that there are no impending food shortages in Europe, however, the risk remains high. As for Ukraine, its grain exports have been currently put on halt.ย  Human Rights Watch reports the food crisis in the Middle East and North Africa has intensified due to Russian aggression against Ukraine. It is important to realize, 45% of Ukrainian exports are related to agricultural products. Most wheat production is concentrated in eastern Ukraine, where there are the most intense fights right now. World food prices have risen by more than 30% since last year, and the war in Ukraine has further increased them; they have reached their highest level since 1974, adjusted for inflation. The Governor of Mykolaiv region, in Ukraineโ€™s South, reported that regardless of the dangerous situation, local farmers are preparing for the sowing season. Read more about food security.ย 

Digital frontline. Anonymous leaked the database of the worldโ€™s largest food company Nestle, which refused to leave the Russian market. The database contained emails, passwords of Nestle and their partners and clients.ย 

Ukraine is holding a digital frontline along with a military one. The Ministry of Digital Transformation joined forces with the Ukrainian IT community for cyber resistance. Find out more in โ€˜7 facts about the Ukrainian cyber frontlineโ€™ โ€“ the leaflet prepared by our contributors Yulia Zaplavna and Mariia Serhiiko.

Protection of animals. In Hostomel, Russian troops destroyed a horse stable along with 32 animals inside, who burned alive. Ukrainian Zoos in Kharkiv, Mykolayiv, Berdyansk, and Kyiv appeal to the public to buy entry tickets to support animals there. European Association of Zoos and Aquariums EAZA raised 576 thousand euros to help Ukrainian zoos affected by the Russian invasion.ย 

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