Foreign policy. Roberta Metsola, European Parliament President is in town. The EP President met with the Chairman of the Parliament of Ukraine as well as President Zelenskyi in Kyiv. In the joint statement with the Chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, she underlined the readiness of the EU to help with rebuilding Ukrainian cities. President Metsola assured EU support to Ukraine: ‘European Union recognizes your European ambitions and your aspiration to be a candidate country for succession. And you can count on the European Parliament’s full support in achieving this goal’. She added that the humanitarian and military assistance that has been flowing from the bloc into Ukraine will increase.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls for the exclusion of Russia from the G20. However, China opposes this. The G20 meeting is scheduled for November 15-16 in Bali, Indonesia.
President Erdogan once again offered Ukrainian and Russian Presidents to meet in Istanbul for the negotiations.
The European Commission issued a statement on the conscription of the Russian Army in Crimea and Sevastopol claiming violation of international humanitarian law. President Zelenskyi in his evening address condemned the conscription as well. Drafting all eligible men in illegally annexed Crimea means conscripting locals, including Crimea Tatars, to fight against Ukrainians.
Cities under attack. Russian troops allegedly withdrew from the Kyiv region, however, the fights on the roadways to Kyiv and on the outskirts have continued. Also, around 30 settlements across Ukraine were liberated by the Ukrainian army on Friday. Even though the number of Russian troops in the Kyiv region has reduced, missiles and air raids still continue above the civilian’s heads. On Friday, around 30 missiles were launched from the territory of Belarus in the direction of Ukraine. A Series of shelling hits Dnipro, Kremenchuk, Poltava, and Odesa region. While leaving Ukraine, Russian troops mined the confectionery factory in Bucha, Kyiv region, as well as poisoned all the remaining goods there. The most active fights continue in Izium, Kharkiv region. Kryvyi Rih was fired from BM-21 “Grad”. Heavy shelling continues in Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Withdrawal of the troops in the North of the country keeps everyone in tension, waiting for either possible redeployment or intensified offense in the East down to the Azov sea. In their addresses yesterday, the President and Chief of National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine warned that heavy fighting is still ahead, taking into consideration that Russia aims to conclude the war with a Victory parade on May 9.
Evacuation from Mariupol has been blocked by the Russian army regardless of the security agreements and involvement of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The ICRC had initially informed about the plan to evacuate nearly 2000 civilians from besieged Mariupol. However, hours later the evacuation cars had to return as there were no guarantees of a safe passage, the organization said in a statement. At the same time, up to 3000 people still managed to leave the city by other means on Thursday. Another evacuation attempt will be on Saturday.
In Melitopol, Russian troops kidnapped three school directors, while their students are kept in the city as the human shield. Previously, all the school directors resigned in protest declining to collaborate with the Russians. About 70-75 thousand people remain in occupied Melitopol. Russian troops do not allow citizens to evacuate to Ukraine, however let them go freely to the Crimea.
The second exchange of war prisoners took place in the Zaporizhzhia region. 86 Ukrainian servicepeople, including 15 women were exchanged for 86 Russian combatants.
Occupation strategies. In the occupied territories, Russian forces prepare the ground for holding illegal referendums. All those who are against occupation forces are detained or prosecuted. In Tokmak, Zaporizhzhia oblast, an allegedly illegal referendum is planned for April 4. In Melitopol, civilians and civilian infrastructure are used as a shield. The City’s Mayor informs that Russian troops try to connect the city to the Internet provider from Crimea in order to limit and control information flow. Russian troops confiscate humanitarian aid coming from Ukraine and distribute it as if it came from Russia.
Human rights violations and war crimes. Amnesty International obtained new testimonies and evidence of human rights and war laws violations. In recent weeks, Russian forces have used unconventional weapons, such as cluster munitions, and wide range weapons with inaccurate aim, such as unguided ‘blunt’ bombs, and multiple rocket launcher (MLR) volleys in attacks on densely populated civilian areas. The attacks are incoherent and uncoordinated, aimed at the maximum damages and injuries. Currently, civilians are suffering from lack of communication, as there is poor or no internet or TV coverage in the areas of active fighting. Previously in March, we reported about the frequent attacks on the telecommunication towers. Vulnerable groups of people are under particular threat due to challenges to obtain medicine and health care, and overall difficulty to leave the hotspots due to mobility issues.
Energy security. Rafael Grossi, Chief of the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) will head an IAEA assistance and support mission to the Chornobyl NPP. The decision has been announced after his visits to Ukraine and Russia this week. It will be the first in a series of nuclear safety and security missions to Ukraine.
Food security. The Prime Minister of Ukraine informed that the sawing season has started in 21 regions of Ukraine regardless of the military activities across the country. However, the overall scale might be around 25-30% lower in comparison with the previous year due to the ongoing fighting and mining.
Culture. AFP and UNESCO report around at least 53 Ukrainian historical sites, religious buildings and museums had sustained damage during Russia’s invasion of the country. UNESCO’s first preliminary list of totally or partially damaged sites featured 29 religious sites, 16 historical buildings, four museums and four monuments. The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture reports 135 crimes committed by Russians against Ukrainian culturally important objects and infrastructure.
Digital security. Regular update from Anonymous. Hackers leaked 15GB of data stolen from the Russian Orthodox Church’s charitable wing and released roughly 57 500 emails as well as information from Lipetsk Mechanical Plant. Russian tank and anti-aircraft manufacturer.
Disinformation. Ukrainian Air Forces refuted some of the most common fakes circulating in the media. Just a few of them as an example, find out more following the link.
- Myth 1: Ukraine’s successes on the ground will win the war. Truth: Air superiority is the deciding factor in this war. Air superiority has played a key role in all wars since WWII.
- Myth 2: Ukraine’s air force is equipped to effectively defend the country against Russia. Truth: Russia’s air force is many times larger than Ukraine’s and has access to more advanced radar and missile technologies
- Nature and war: how russian invasion destroys Ukrainian wildlife – Ecoaction Ukraine-based NGO prepared an overview of the environmental crimes and damages completed by Russian within the first month of the war in Ukraine.
- Ukraine’s Most Famous Living Composer Is Now a Refugee – The New York Times (nytimes.com) A beautiful and sad story of the Kyiv composer, who fled Ukraine due to the war. The story reflects on some of his works that were a response to the Maidan revolution and the ongoing war.
- ‘Terrifying’: Soldier describes encounter with Russian fighters – CNN’s Erin Burnett talks with Volodymyr Demchenko, a Ukrainian filmmaker and soldier, about what he is seeing on the ground amid Russia’s claims of scaling back forces.
- Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom – a story of ‘Revolution of Dignity’ (EuroMaidan) in Ukraine in 2013-2014 that provides a background for current Ukraine: what started as peaceful student demonstrations became a full-fledged civil rights movement in Ukraine. The movie is on Netflix and provided for free on YouTube.
- 6,266 were evacuated today from the hotspots
- 869 educational institutions were damaged,out of which 83 were completely destroyed
- General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the total estimated losses of the Russian military as of 10 a.m., April 2, 2022: personnel – around 17 800, tanks ‒ 631, APV ‒ 1 776, artillery systems – 317, MLRS – 100, anti-aircraft warfare systems – 54, fixed-wing aircraft – 143, helicopters – 134, soft-skinned vehicles – 1 236, boats and light speed boats – 7, fuel tankers – 76, operational-tactical level UAV – 87, special equipment – 24, mobile SRBM system – 4. Also follow the interactive counter of Russian losses.
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- NGO ‘Halabuda’ is a Mariupol NGO. Before the war they were one of the most active organizations dealing with social initiatives, education, social business, etc. However at the moment part of the team managed to move to Zaporizhzhia, some are still in Mariupol. Nevertheless they’ve oriented their efforts on evacuation, humanitarian aid for those who escaped, as well as support to the local army.
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