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War. in Ukraine. Daily update. Day 41 [10.00 am, 5.04.2022 🇬🇧🇬🇪🇷🇸🇪🇸🇬🇷🇦🇪🇱🇻🇵🇱🇭🇷🇸🇪🇫🇷🇨🇿🇭🇺🇷🇴]

Bucha massacre. The UN Security Council will meet today to discuss the Bucha Massacre and the situation in Ukraine overall. President Zelenskyi will join virtually to deliver an address on the eyewitnesses’ accounts. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister stated: ‘There’s no place for Russia in the UN Human Rights Council’. The US Ambassador to the UN called Russia’s membership in the UN Human Rights Council a farce, therefore the Council should seek ways for Russian expulsion from further participation. 

Yesterday, Ukrainian President Zelenskyi visited Bucha calling what happened there a genocide: ‘What you see around with your own eyes, what has been done to this modern town is a feature of the Russian military, which treats people worse than animals. This is a war crime and it should be recognized by the world as genocide. We know of thousands of people who have been killed and tortured: with their limbs cut off, women raped, and children killed. I think this is genocide’.

Ukraine’s civil society representatives actively call for 10 years of Russian silence. Commemoration of the victims should not be just for a minute but for years, while Russian culture needs to be silenced for years to pay for the committed crimes.

Prosecution of human rights violations. The Prosecutor General of Ukraine informed about the civilian casualties in the Kyiv region, after Ukrainians have regained full control of it. The preliminary assessment shows that the worst situation regarding human casualties is in Borodyanka, Kyiv region. 

President Zelenskyi approved the creation of a ‘special legal mechanism’ to investigate anyone who committed or participated in Russia’s war against Ukraine. On Monday, the EU confirmed its readiness to send Joint Investigation Teams to document war crimes in coordination with the Ukrainian Prosecutor General, Europol and Eurojust.   

Meanwhile, Russia has launched a heavy disinformation campaign claiming that killings in Bucha took place after their troops had left. However, the New York Times studied satellite images of Bucha and found that bodies of civilians had been lying on the streets for several weeks, since mid-March.

Defense Intelligence Of Ukraine published a list of the Russian soldiers who were deployed to Bucha and are responsible for atrocities that took place there. 

Disinformation and Russian propaganda. Russia state-owned media outlet RIA published an article justifying atrocities Russian troops committed in Ukraine. Some of its main messages are: almost every Ukrainian is a nazi and nazis should die – thus Russia undertakes ‘denazification’ and ‘de-Ukrainisation’ mission to restore the balance in the country; Ukraine should be destroyed both economically and politically in order to pay its debts to Russia. 

Azov battalion remains one of the hottest speculation points of the Russian Government. Russia tries to justify attacks on civilian infrastructure, like Mariupol Maternity Hospital or Mariupol Drama Theater, claiming presence of Azov battalion. Russia’s goal of ‘denazification’ of the country is often related to certain military and paramilitary units. But what is it in reality? Ukrainian human-rights NGO Euromaidan SOS prepared answers to the most common questions about the Azov battalion. Short summary: no, Azov battalion is not a neo-nazi regiment.

Cities under attack. Situation remains tense in Donetsk, Luhansk regions. Currently, Russia relocates some of the forces to gain control of Kharkiv, as well as strengthen its control over Kherson. Situation in these four regions remains rather critical. In Kherson, explosions are heard nonstop. The mayor of Mykolaiv Oleksandr Senkevych reported on the shelling of the city with cluster munition. As a result, 10 people were killed, including a child, as well as 61 people injured. In Mariupol, more than 130 000 people remain in the city. An evacuation convoy and humanitarian aid has been unable to reach the besieged southern city of Mariupol on Monday, for the fourth day straight, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have liberated the Zhytomyr region from the Russian troops. The road to Chernihiv is unblocked and humanitarian aid has finally arrived. 

Foreign policy. Lithuania and Latvia recall their Ambassadors from Russia in response to the Bucha Massacre. The Russian Embassy in Klaipeda, Lithuania will be closed. Meanwhile, Germany expels 40 Russian diplomats, France expels 35 diplomats as well. The decision has been explained by their activities which undermine the security of the countries. Previously more than a 100 Russian diplomats were expelled from a number of the EU countries. 

Sanctions. Canada said it will impose sanctions on nine Russian and nine Belarusian individuals for having ‘facilitated and enabled’ Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. French President Macron said that sanctions against Russia, targeting coal and oil, should be tightened due to the killing of civilians in the Ukrainian Bucha. Denmark has imposed a moratorium on the purchase of Russian oil. However, the split across Europe remains in place, as Austria says it will not proceed with a ban for Russian oil, as well as Germany and Hungary, mentioning recession as an excuse to not proceed with further actions. 

Today, the EU finance ministers will discuss further sanctions in Luxemburg, says POLITICO. The new package might envisage more restrictions on high-tech exports, more and tougher sanctions on individuals, more sanctions on four Russian banks that have already been disconnected from the SWIFT international payments network, but which the EU itself has not sanctioned thus far.

EBRD Board has voted to move ahead with its plans to exclude the Russian Federation and Belarus from receiving funding for projects. The decision means no new financing of projects or technical cooperation activities in either country. Furthermore, the Bank avails itself of all rights to suspend or cancel further disbursements of funding on existing projects. 

The Ukrainian Institute of Future prepared an overview of the sanction that can in fact influence Russia. Factors that may critically affect the budgetary stability are: (1) oil prices (their decrease); (2) embargo on oil purchases from Europe and/or China, as well as secondary sanctions for violating the embargo. The largest effect of the sanctions will be in the aviation sector, automotive sector, mechanical engineering, electronics sector, oil and gas sector (its modernization), and metallurgy. In foreign policy, Russia’s resilience depends on neutrality/cooperation with non-Western nations, including the ‘heavyweights’ such as China, India, Turkey, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, et al. The effect of sanctions will be long term, none of them pose a threat to the regime in 1-2 years. 

Economy. Ukraine loses 35% to 50% of GDP because of the Russian invasion, says PM Shmyhal. In addition to yesterday’s information about the cost of war (about $10 bln per month) some more numbers have come. The PM informes that the budget loses about UAH 2 bln per day, infrastructure – $4.25 bln daily. 

Food security. The Ministry of Agriculture informs that the area of ​​3.5 million hectares of agricultural land is impossible to sow on due to the ongoing military activities. Therefore, to compensate for potential sowing losses, the Ministry recommends that farmers put the priority on sowing sunflower, rapeseed, and soybeans.

Media. The Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine informes that according to the data from the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine, 74 crimes were committed against media representatives, including 19 against foreign journalists. 18 journalists were killed, 8 were abducted, 13 were injured, 3 went missing, and 15 journalists were intimidated. In addition, there were at least 7 recorded cases of shelling that led to damage or destruction of TV towers and broadcasters. 22 blockages and cyber attacks on the media were recorded as well.

Reading list. We continue our series of articles on decolonisation and imperial discourse of Russia. These days we hear more and more that Putin picked May 9, the Victory Day, as a deadline for the war in Ukraine. So the typical Moscow parade can celebrate another ‘Great’ victory. In our today’s article, ‘The Russian Myth of the ‘Great Victory’ and Ukraine’, Illia Levchenko, art historian, elaborates on the roots of Putin’s desire of ‘colonizing’ Ukraine, public support and how history of Russian dictatorship repeats once again. 

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