Photo: Telegram channel/ Kyiv village
Foreign policy. Series of expulsions of the Russian diplomats continues. North Macedonia declared six Russian diplomats personae non gratae for violating diplomatic norms and expelled them from the country. As a response to such measures from European countries, Russia announced its own list of the EU diplomats to leave Russia. 18 staff members of the EU Delegation to Russia were announced personae non gratae while 19 Russian diplomats are being expelled from Belgium. Previously, Russia had already expelled 45 Polish diplomats at the beginning of April.
Poland signed a new law to counter the support of aggression against Ukraine and protection of national security. The document introduces an embargo on coal imports from Russia.
A pro-Russian rally took place in Belgrade, after Serbia voted three times for UN resolutions that condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Protesters marched with portraits of Putin, Russian flags and chants against NATO.
Italian and French Embassies are going to reopen in Kyiv next week. A list of countries that have reestablished a diplomatic presence in Kyiv includes Austria, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Turkey, as well as the European Union. The US Embassy in Kyiv will remain closed for the foreseeable future and the US’ diplomatic presence in Ukraine will be reestablished only when it is safe to do so, a State Department spokesman said on Thursday.
Cities under attack. Active shelling of the residential areas in Kharkiv and Mykolayiv is increasing. Russian troops chaotically shelled Kharkiv neighborhoods killing at least 8 people, including a 7-month baby, and injuring 34. Since the beginning of the war, 500 civilians have been killed in Kharkiv, including 24 children. Near Borova, Izium district, evacuation buses with civilians got fired upon. According to preliminary data, seven people died and another 27 people were injured. In Izium, Russian troops are forcibly deporting civilians into Russia. Approximately 100 civilians have been moved to Russia from Izium so far. In Mykolaiv, private residential areas, cultural infrastructure and private enterprises were hit by the shelling. Russian troops used forbidden cluster munitions yet again, targeting the city from multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS). As a result, 5 people were killed and 15 injured. During the night, Russian troops had shelled Severodonetsk, Lysychansk and Kreminna, in the Luhansk region, damaging a gas pipeline in Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. A missile hit an airfield in Oleksandria, Kirovograd region. In the Poltava region, a missile destroyed civilian infrastructure, killing one person late Friday evening. Another missile destroyed an object of infrastructure in the Dnipropetrovsk region. On April 15, Russia launched 3 missile attacks on the Kyiv region. Early Saturday morning, one of the Kyiv neighborhoods and the suburbs were shelled once again. During one month of occupation, more than 1000 buildings were damaged and 110 were fully destroyed in Irpin. Overall, 918 settlements have been liberated from Russian troops so far.
Demining. Ukraine has commenced to establish an International Demining Center. The UN Under-Secretary-General and EU countries’ representatives, who had a chance to visit Ukraine recently, took part in discussions of cooperation on this matter. Ukrainian Prime Minister Shmyhal informed that at this point more than 80 000 mines were neutralized and four to five thousand dangerous explosives are dismantled every day.
Industry. Ukraine’s biggest steelmaker, Metinvest, told Reuters it would never operate under Russian occupation. Due to active military activities in the east and south of the country, Ukraine has lost access to between 30 and 40% of its metallurgy production capacity due to the siege of the city of Mariupol, where currently the heaviest battles are taking place. The two of the Metinvest plants – Illich and Azovstal – are surrounded with constant fighting.
Church ‘beyond’ the politics. Part 2. A Ukrainian and a Russian woman jointly carried the cross in Pope Francis’ Good Friday ‘Way of the Cross’ service. The initial idea of the two women walking hand in hand remained intact, though the meditation text was replaced with just two sentences. Previously, the Head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and Ukraine’s Embassy to the Vatican expressed their unease about the decision, as it did not consider the current context of the war.
Terrorist attacks. The Russian Defense Ministry has announced an increase of the missile strikes on Kyiv in response ‘to any terrorist attacks or sabotage committed by the Kyiv nationalist regime on Russian territory’. This announcement came after the false-flag shooting in border villages in Russia, as well as destruction of the Moskva warship.
Reading list. Our weekend reading list includes:
- Volodymyr Zelensky: The Worst May Be Ahead of Us | The Atlantic Anne Applebaum and Jeffrey Goldberg interview President Zelenskyi. The conversation reflects on the leadership, loss, bitter taste and high price of the victory.
- Russia’s Problems Go Far Beyond Putin | Time
- Opinion | Russia could still win in Ukraine. The West can’t allow it to happen | The Washington Post — an opinion of Fareed Zaharia on the potential of further development of the war in Ukraine. ‘The United States has dedicated about $16 billion in aid to Ukraine since the invasion. Meanwhile, the world is expected to pay $320 billion to Russia this year for its energy. Economic sanctions will not force Putin to end the war as long as this gaping loophole exists. The only pressure that will force Russia to the negotiating table is military defeat – in the south. Putin’s Plan A failed, but we cannot let his Plan B succeed’.
- Kateryna Radchenko on the new photojournalists of Ukraine | 1854.photography – read about a group of Ukrainian photographers who formerly specialized in street photography, documentary and arts, and now they take pictures on the front line of volunteers, displaced families, fortified cities and new daily routines. Since the dawn of 24 February 2022, these artists have become war reporters.
- Russia Struggled to Capture a Ukrainian Town. Intercepted Radio Messages Show Why | The New York Times YouTube Channel The New York Times analysis of the intercepted conversations of the Russian soldiers during attempts to siege Kyiv.
- During a CNN interview, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyi said that about 2500 to 3000 Ukrainian troops have been killed in seven weeks of war with Russia and about 10 000 have been injured. The Ministry of Interior Affairs reports that more than 900 civilians were found dead in the Kyiv region, while 95% of those found dead had died of gunshot wounds.
- General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the total estimated losses of the Russian military as of 10 a.m., April 16, 2022: personnel – around 20 100, tanks ‒ 762, APV ‒ 1982, artillery systems – 371, MLRS – 125, anti-aircraft warfare systems – 66, fixed-wing aircraft – 163, helicopters – 145, soft-skinned vehicles – 1458, boats and light speed boats – 8, fuel tankers – 76, operational-tactical level UAV – 138, special equipment – 26, mobile SRBM system – 4. Also follow the interactive counter of Russian losses.
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