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‘Dear Volodymyr, my message today is clear: Ukraine belongs to the European family. We have heard your request, loud and clear. And today, we are here to give you a first, positive answer. In this envelope, dear Volodymyr, there is an important step towards EU membership. This questionnaire is the basis for our discussion in the coming months. This is where your path towards the European Union begins. We will be at your disposal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to work on this common basis’
On Friday, April 8, Ukraine received a questionnaire from the EU to obtain EU candidate country status. The questionnaire shall serve as a starting point in preparation for a decision on membership. Ukraine applied to join the European Union on February 28 and on March 1 the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on EU member states to work to grant Ukraine candidate country status. The document has been handed to Ukraine as the conclusion of the visit, the President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen and High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell to Ukraine. During the visit, EU leadership met with President Zelenskyi, as well as visited Bucha to discuss the situation on the ground and assess the scale of the atrocities.
The President of the European Council has announced an upcoming meeting of the European Council on 30 and 31 May in Versailles. The agenda of the meeting will include EU defense, energy, and Ukraine.
Kramatorsk, Donetsk region. Around noon, on April 8, a Russian missile hit Kramatorsk Railway Station. Around 52 people died including 5 children, more than 100 were wounded and the numbers are growing. The city’s mayor reported that an estimated 4000 people were gathered at the station at the time. An emergency evacuation of all citizens of Kramatorsk by public and private transport started after the shelling of the railway station. The railway station was hit by a Tochka-U short-range ballistic missile containing cluster munitions, which exploded in mid-air, spraying small lethal bomblets over a wider area. The cluster munition is banned under 2008 Geneva Convention.
Russian media later reported that Russian authorities denied their responsibility for the strike, shifting the responsibility to Ukrainian troops. The debris of the missile that was shown there contained handwritten phrase ‘За детей’ (‘For children’) allegedly written by Ukrainian soldiers in Russian language. On April 9, the ‘Ukrzaliznytsia’ reported that Kramatorsk railway station suspended its work due to damage, and the evacuation of civilians from Donetsk region will continue from Slovyansk, Pokrovsk and Novozolotarivka.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called the strike in Kramatorsk a deliberate attack on civilians. Kramatorsk is one the most important railway hubs in the Donetsk region that ensures the evacuation of civilians from the region. During the last weeks, local authorities were urging civilians to leave the region immediately in the light of the upcoming offensive from Russia.
Cities under attack. Donetsk and Luhansk regions remain under constant shelling. Another apartment block in the Severodonetsk area was hit by fire in a midnight missile shelling. In Rubizhne, Russian troops forcibly deport civilians to Russia, locals report. The situation in Mariupol remains unchanged – the city is under constant shelling and encircled by Russian troops. Meanwhile, Russian forces collect the dead bodies from the streets to remove evidence of their atrocities. The bodies are brought to the mobile crematorium in an industrial warehouse zone. The cremation area is under enhanced protection, which in fact makes it impossible to obtain visual confirmation from the inside. In the Kherson region, the situation remains critical, as BM-21 Grads are shelling from the Kherson suburbs. Access to food, and medicine remains scarce, especially in the villages across the region. Tortures and kidnappings are reported by local activists. A missile strike hit the infrastructure of Myrhorod in Poltava region. There was significant damage, two people were injured. Energodar, Zaporizhzhia region, the invading troops occupied the premises of the national telecommunications provider Ukrtelecom. The company specializes in telephone and internet connections. Therefore the seizure of the building threats cut off communication channels for the locals. A missile hit Chornomorsk, Odesa region, targeting the town’s critical infrastructure. Check the full map of the war developments in Ukraine.
Crimes go public after the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian settlements. In Makariv, Kyiv region, 132 people were shot dead during a month of occupation. Ombudswoman Liudmyla Denisova reported on the recorded cases of rape of children by the Russian military. In Chernihiv, 700 people, both civilians and servicemen were killed in the battles for the city.
Foreign policy. The EU has adopted the fifth sanction package on Friday. After days of discussions, the package includes coal ban, financial measures, transport limitations, targeted export and import ban, excluding Russians from the access to the EU public contracts. Japan expelled eight Russian diplomats on Friday in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, including the killing of civilians. Some more sanctions against Russia will follow. Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer will visit Kyiv and Bucha on Saturday, meeting the Ukrainian President, Prime Minister and Mayor of Kyiv. Ukraine Foreign Minister Kuleba calls to suspend Russia’s participation in OSCE as its actions violate the very basics of the Helsinki Act.
Energy security. After the retreat of the Russian forces, information appeared about the situation at the power plant office premises. The archive of the Chornobyl NPP, collected for years, was destroyed and thrown into the garbage. All office spaces in the premises on the territory of the Chernobyl zone were significantly damaged, destroyed and plundered.
Recent polls. Sociological group Rating published the results of the eighth Ukrainian national poll. Over the last month, the share of the respondents who believe that restoring friendly relations between Ukrainians and Russians is impossible has increased 1.5 times (from 42% to 64%). About 10% predict such reconciliation in up to 15 years. Even in the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine, more than half of the respondents do not believe in restoring the friendship between the two nations. 41% of the respondents lost their jobs during the war (53% did in March). Currently, 58% of those who had jobs before the war continue to work (this share was 46% in March). The support for the idea that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate should sever its ties with the Russian Orthodox Church is growing. 74% support this initiative (63% did in early March).
- Ukraine’s ‘iron general’ is a hero, but he’s no star | POLITICO – ‘Meet Valeriy Zaluzhnyy, the commander in chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, who’s quietly leading the fight against Russia’s invaders’. An overview of the person in charge of the Ukraine defense strategy.
- Rebuilding Ukraine: EU must prepare to lead the post-war recovery | Atlantic Council – ‘The rebuilding of Ukraine promises to be one of the most challenging and ambitious undertakings of the twenty-first century. The task ahead requires a comprehensive approach that goes far beyond funding the reconstruction of Ukraine’s devastated infrastructure and ruined cities. Financing the rebuilding of Ukraine is a moral debt for the West’.
- Opinion | How Germany Became Putin’s Enabler | The New York Times (nytimes.com)
On April 2, we shared a story of Valentyn Silvestrov, a Kyiv composer, who fled Ukraine due to the war. Valentyn Sylvestrov composed this beautiful piece on his way from Kyiv, which he had to leave. Check it out through your weekend.
- General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the total estimated losses of the Russian military as of 10 a.m., April 9, 2022: personnel – around 19 100, tanks ‒ 705, APV ‒ 1895, artillery systems – 335, MLRS – 108, anti-aircraft warfare systems – 55, fixed-wing aircraft – 151, helicopters – 136, soft-skinned vehicles – 1363, boats and light speed boats – 7, fuel tankers – 76, operational-tactical level UAV – 112, special equipment – 25, mobile SRBM system – 4. Also follow the interactive counter of Russian losses.
Every action counts, no contribution is too small!
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