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Foreign policy. One week after the Ukrainian visit, the officials of Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic have prepared a list of 10 actions the EU must enforce to stop the war in Ukraine. This list includes disconnecting all Russian banks from SWIFT, stopping Russian propaganda in Europe, blockade of Russian ships and road transport to/from Russia, sanctions on the entire business community, etc. Read the full list at POLITICO.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, spoke at the European Parliament plenary about Russia’s attack on Ukraine: ‘Our continent is being rocked by a tectonic shift not seen since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The consequences of this war on Europe’s security architecture will be far-reaching. And I am not just talking about security in military terms. But also energy security, and even food security are at stake’. In her speech, focused on energy and food security, she argued for fast-tracking renewable energy sources, as well as investments in energy efficiency. 2.5 bln EUR until 2024 will be allocated to the regions facing food insecurity, as well as 500 mln EUR for ‘those most affected’.
Bulgaria recalls its Ambassador to Russia for consultations after ‘undiplomatic, sharp, and rude’ comments from the Russian ambassador to Bulgaria, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said on Thursday.
Cities under attack. On Friday, Russia concluded that the main result of its first phase of the offensive against Ukraine was to undermine Ukrainian combat power. The next stage will focus on ‘liberating’ the Donbas region, as there is stronger support from the occupied territories. This stance could be explained by the unexpected strength of Ukrainian resistance, but analysts caution that this does not mean that Russians had given up their plans to overtake the whole Ukraine and use this rhetoric just to regroup and prepare for another attack. The Ukrainian army gradually returns under its control of some of the Ukrainian territories. However, active shelling remains all across the country. Slavutych, Kyiv region, is de-facto blocked by Russian troops after they have approached the city. The city is known for being a home to a number of former workers of Chornobyl NPP. On Saturday morning, local citizens joined a peaceful rally to show their united resistance. In Kharkiv, Russian troops shelled the city clinic, where the Humanitarian Aid delivery center was located. It resulted in 7 wounded, 4 of whom have died later. Ohtyrka, Sumy region was under the shelling once again: bombs were followed by the explosions and massive damages. This is what Okhtyrka looks like these days. Russian troops fired six cruise missiles at Vinnytsia yesterday. A Russian ship fired at the village of Sanzhiyka, Odessa region, and three hours later Russia announced the so-called security guarantees for the passage of ships. In Chernihiv, the archive of the State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) was destroyed. The archive contained documents related to the repressions by the Soviet regime against Ukrainians. 7331 people were evacuated through humanitarian corridors on Friday, a total of 37 606 people during the week.
Mariupol. Mariupol local authorities report that around 300 people died under the rubble due to the bombing of Mariupol Drama Theatre, where approximately 1,500 people were sheltering. Currently, Russian invaders have turned one of the Mariupol shopping centers into their headquarters and the office of ‘United Russia’ political party, reports the city council, referencing Mariupol residents. Russian representatives are issuing and distributing propaganda newspapers along with Phoenix sim cards, a mobile network provider, which has operated in the occupied Donbas since 2014. Mariupol Children’s rehabilitation center has been destroyed, after just recently being reconstructed. The UN has confirmed that mass burials are taking place in besieged Mariupol. The organization received satellite images of one of them, writes CNN, referencing the head of the UN Monitoring Mission for Human Rights in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner. According to UN estimates, the bodies of about 200 people were buried at this site.
Abductions. Russian troops continue with prosecution and abductions of the civilians. Recent targets include local officials, elected councilors, journalists, activists, priests, businessmen, and random civilians – everyone who shows their opposition. Yesterday, the head of the Snovska amalgamated territorial community, Chernihiv region, and a local businessman were abducted. The Head of the temporarily occupied Nyzhni Sirogozy village council disappeared after his announcement of forced resignation. During the pro-Ukrainian rally in Slavutych, the town mayor Yuriy Fomichiv was abducted.
Damaged infrastructure. As of March 24, the amount of damage inflicted on Ukraine’s infrastructure during the war reached $63 billion or 1.8 trillion UAH, reports the Kyiv School of Economics. Since the beginning of the war at least 4431 residential buildings, 92 enterprises, 378 educational institutions, 138 health care institutions, 8 civilian airports and 10 military airfields, 7 thermal power plants and hydroelectric power stations were damaged.
Language issue. The sociological agency Rating held another national-wide poll, this time focusing on the language issues. The agency reports there has been a steady growth in the number of those who consider Ukrainian their mother tongue: from 57% in 2012 to 76% in 2022. The absolute majority (83%) support Ukrainian being the only state language in Ukraine. A shift has been observed in regard to granting Russian the status of the state language before the war and today – now only 7% support the idea. The majority (67%) believe that there are no issues between Ukrainian-speaking and Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine.
War crimes investigation. Iryna Venediktova, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, informed about the registering of more than 2700 war crimes since the beginning of the war. 205 suspects have been identified. Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland have launched a joint investigation group on the war crimes of Russia in Ukraine. Meanwhile, all war crimes can be reported at this website.
Digital resistance. Anonymous hacked The Central Bank of Russian Federation, publishing 28 GB of data. During March 15-22, Computer Emergency Response Team of Ukraine (CERT-UA) recorded 60 cyberattacks on Ukraine, 11 occurred on the websites of the government and local authorities, eight in the security and defense sectors, six in the financial and commercial sectors, four in the telecom and software sector, and two in the energy sector, says Interfax.
Mykhailo Fedorov, Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine informed that SAP, a German software and consulting company, will develop a digital blockade of Russia and gradually begin to stop supporting its products in the banks, defense, oil and metallurgical companies of the occupier. And after our victory, SAP will open an R&D center in Ukraine.
The first NFT war museum was launched in Ukraine. The purpose of the NFT Museum is to disseminate truthful information among the global digital community and to raise funds to support Ukraine. The works reflect the military events experienced by Ukrainians – from the beginning of the Russian invasion to the moment of Ukraine’s victory. All works are presented digitally as NFT tokens and can be purchased by anyone. The first part of the collection contains works by Ukrainian artists. Then the museum will be complemented with works by artists from around the world.
Culture. On average two objects of religious infrastructure are destroyed daily, says the Ministry of Culture. Since the beginning of the war, the Russian army has damaged at least 59 objects in 8 regions. While Russian bombs hit Ukrainian cities, Ukrainian culture will still survive, says writer Andrey Kurkov in his opinion piece for The Guardian. Vilnius Railway station meets passengers of the Moscow-Kaliningrad train with images of the Russian war in Ukraine as well as special announcements about the war.
- General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the total estimated losses of the Russian military as of 6 a.m., March 26, 2022: personnel – around 16,400, tanks ‒ 575, APV ‒ 1,640, artillery systems – 293, MLRS – 90, anti-aircraft warfare systems – 51, fixed-wing aircraft – 117, helicopters – 127, soft-skinned vehicles – 1,089, boats and light speed boats – 7, fuel tankers – 72, operational-tactical level UAV – 56, special equipment – 19.
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