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Cities under attack. Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson regions remain under the heaviest attack. Russian troops fired on the humanitarian aid distribution site in Vuhledar, Donetsk region. 2 people were killed. Similar cases were previously reported about Russian troops opening fire at people standing in a queue to get bread or to the postal office. In Mariupol, Russian mobile crematoria were spotted operating in town. After the wide international attention to the genocide in Bucha, the Russians destroy any evidence of crimes committed by them using these crematoria all around Mariupol. Russian occupiers forcibly removed patients and staff of the Mariupol City Hospital №4 to the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine. According to preliminary estimates, 5 000 people, including 210 children, died in Mariupol during the month of the blockade, reports the city’s mayor. During the shelling of Severodonetsk, Luhansk region, 10 high-rise buildings caught on fire. The Hirska community in the Luhansk region has been under shelling from all types of weapons. Active artillery shelling continued in Balaklia, Kharkiv region, and as result 2 people died. Mykolayiv Railway Station has been damaged during the shelling and is not operational at the moment. Recently liberated Borodianka, Kyiv region, is currently one the most damaged cities in Kyiv region.
Currently regional and national authorities are actively calling civilians to leave Donetsk and Luhansk regions and some parts of Kharkiv oblast due to the expected escalation of the fights in these regions.
Human rights. Abductions, tortures and prosecutions of civilians continue across occupied territoties of Ukraine. Iryna Vereshchuk, Minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories, reported frequent cases of Russian troops capturing Ukrainian civilians. The Minister informed that this poses a challenge because civilians cannot be exchanged for soldiers according to international humanitarian law. Imprisoned Russian soldiers can only be exchanged for Ukrainian soldiers, there is no legal mechanism for civilians to be returned to safety.
Foreign policy. European Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Minister Josep Borrell urged the EU Member States to provide more weapons to Ukraine during the European Parliament discussion of the fifth sanctions package. Borrell also noted that the continued purchase of Russian oil and gas by the EU gave Russia much more money than the financial assistance that the bloc provided to Ukraine.
Ahead of the meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs on 6-7 April, Jens Stoltenberg indicated the need to support Ukraine in a long-term perspective as the Alliance needs to be prepared for the long haul war – from a couple of months to years.
The United Nation General Assembly will vote on 7 April on whether to suspend Russia from the UN’s Human Rights Council over accusations of atrocities that include the murder of unarmed civilians. A two-thirds majority vote from the assembly would be needed to suspend a state from the Council.
The US Senate passed the Lend-Lease Act that would support and resupply Ukraine. The Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022, as it’s known, would expedite the transfer of critical military equipment and other critical supplies to Ukraine by cutting bureaucratic red tape, POLITICO reports. It would allow for the de facto gifting of equipment, with provisions stipulating that recipient countries would repay the US at a later date. The House of Representatives is still to take it to vote on Thursday.
Greece, Norway, and Austria join other European countries in expelling some of the Russian diplomats from their countries.
Sanctions. The discussion on the fifth EU sanctions package will further continue prior to the final voting. Meanwhile, Britain and the United States announced their next round of sanctions. The UK package includes sanctions against Sberbank and eight oligarchs, banning of investment in Russia, and abandoning Russian coal and oil till the end of 2022. The US sanctions target Sberbank as well as Alfabank, and also Putin’s two adult daughters, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s wife and daughter, and senior members of Russia’s security council, the officials said.
Belgium has blocked €196.4 billion in Russian financial transactions following the European sanctions on Russia,. Belgium’s Federal Government has also frozen assets valued €2.7 billion, according to Belgian Minister of Finance Vincent Van Peteghem.
Meanwhile, China’s state refiners are honoring existing Russian oil contracts but avoiding new ones despite steep discounts. The caution follows as western sanctions mount against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reports: ‘SOEs (state-owned enterprises) are cautious as their actions could be seen as representing the Chinese government and none of them wants to be singled out as a buyer of Russian oil’.
Food security. President Zelenskyi addressed the Parliament of Ireland on April 6. The speech underscored Russian attempts to use ‘hunger as a weapon’ in this war. Over the last couple of weeks, Russian forces consistently target to destroy fuel storage sites, product distribution centers, agricultural machinery, and mine farmlands. As noted by President Zelenskyi and previously reported by the WFO – food shortages will affect many countries as Ukraine is a significant food producer. Ukraine remains one of the key producers of wheat, maize (corn), and barley, as well as sunflower oil. Russia is deliberately provoking a food crisis, which will cause political turbulence and increase the number of refugees, he said.
Energy security: Minister of Energy Policy reported some of the key damages and losses of the energy infrastructure since the beginning of the war. This includes the Luhansk Combined Heat and Power Plant (CHP), which is in the occupied town of Shchastia. Okhtyrka CHP was completely destroyed by two air bombs. Chernihiv CHP had also been repeatedly shelled. Kakhovka Heat Power Plant (HPP) is currently on the temporarily occupied territory. The situation at Zaporizhzhya NPP station remains unchanged. 11 representatives of Rosatom are present at the NPP along with 300 to 500 military personnel and about 50 units of heavy equipment around the perimeter.
Culture. The Ministry of Culture launched an interactive map with damaged or destroyed sites and infrastructure. According to preliminary estimates, as of April 1, 2022, more than 150 different monuments and cultural objects were partially damaged or completely destroyed. Previously, the Ministry launched a website where anyone can report and submit evidence of the damaged or destroyed cultural infrastructure. After verification, the reported objects become visible on the map. Pope Francis condemned the Bucha Massacre and raised the Ukrainian flag, which was sent to him from the town of Bucha, where hundreds of civilians were shot.
- In Mykolaiv, Residential Areas Are Increasingly Under Threat | The New York Times (nytimes.com) – the story on the situation on the grounds of the sea-port city of Mykolayiv which maintains active resistance against Russian occupation and lives through active shelling.
- Kaja Kallas on the atrocities in Ukraine | The Economist – Estonian Prime Minister on human price of war, Russian imperialist ambitions and future of security policy. ‘The Kremlin is sending its youth to die and is slaughtering innocent people and shelling their homes en masse. And what for? For the sake of Vladimir Putin’s imperialist ambition. By now it has become abundantly clear that although the Soviet Union collapsed, its imperialist ideology never did’.
- Russian war crimes in Ukraine: So much for ‘never again’ | POLITICO
Watch a short animated video ‘Soul’ illustrating all those whose souls will remain in destroyed Ukrainian houses.
- General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the total estimated losses of the Russian military as of 10 a.m., April 7, 2022: personnel – around 18 900, tanks ‒ 698, APV ‒ 1891, artillery systems – 332, MLRS – 108, anti-aircraft warfare systems – 55, fixed-wing aircraft – 150, helicopters – 135, soft-skinned vehicles – 1358, boats and light speed boats – 7, fuel tankers – 76, operational-tactical level UAV – 111, special equipment – 25, mobile SRBM system – 4. Also follow the interactive counter of Russian losses.
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