Photo: Twitter/Charles Michel
Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska
Mariupol. At a briefing with the President of the European Council in Kyiv, President Zelensky said that Ukraine is ready for any format of exchanging its civilians blocked by Russia in Mariupol for Russians. ‘We are ready for various formats of exchanging our people for the Russian people, the Russian military, whom they left behind. They left the corpses and the wounded people. Therefore, for the sake of our people, both military and civilian, we are ready for any exchange format’, said Zelenskyi. On April 20 four evacuation buses managed to leave Mariupol.
Mykhailo Podolyak and Davyd Arahamia expressed their readiness to come to Mariupol for talks with the Russian side on evacuation from the city. Previously agreed upon, the humanitarian corridor from Mariupol was thwarted yesterday as Russian troops continued shelling. Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov Regiment, called for support to evacuate military and civilians from Mariupol with the help of a third party.
The Russian troops in Mariupol began threatening to shoot civilians for refusing to put white ribbons on their arms as a sign of ‘permit’ by Russian troops. At the same time the white stripes are also used by Russian troops, which makes it difficult to distinguish civilians from Russians.
Cities under attack. In Kharkiv, at least two apartment blocks caught on fire after the shelling of the residential neighborhood Saltivka. The bodies of 112 casualties were retrieved from the rubble of 40 different sites in Kharkiv. Ukrainian troops have held up an advance by Russian forces from the northeastern city of Izyum, Kharkiv region, towards nearby Sloviansk. As a result of shelling in Mykolaiv on April 20, one person was killed and two more were wounded. A missile also hit a state TV broadcasting office there. Russian troops also shelled Zelenodolsk, Dnipropetrovsk region, targeting infrastructure objects.
Cities under occupation. In the Kherson region, the occupiers appointed April 27 as the date of a pseudo-referendum. 80% of Luhansk region is currently temporarily occupied by the Russian army. The Russians destroyed all food warehouses in Severodonetsk, thus remaining civilians have to rely solely on humanitarian aid. Moreover, Popasna, Rubizhne, and some of the villages of the Hirska amalgamated community will remain without electricity, gas and water until the end of the war. The infrastructure there is almost destroyed and cannot be restored during the active shelling.
Ukrainian intelligence reports that Russia plans to carry out forced mobilization in the occupied territories of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions after pseudo-referendums. Ukrainians are to be sent into the hottest spots of the front to attack the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Human rights. Russian authorities involve teenagers from the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine to participate in the war in Ukraine. Liudmyla Denisova, Ombudswoman of Ukraine, informs that based on the information received from partner human rights organizations working LDNR, minors from the military-patriotic club ‘Youth of Novorossia’ are joining the military activities. The club trains children from 10 to 18 years old in the following areas: military training, physical training, medicine, history, tactics. More than 90 children are members of the club. It has been established that the majority of children are from vulnerable and marginalized groups.
Human Rights Watch presented a new report on the atrocities committed in Bucha. A group of HRW researchers worked in Bucha from April 4 to 10, found extensive evidence of mass executions, other unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, and torture, all of which would constitute war crimes and potential crimes against humanity.
A Holocaust survivor, Vanda Semyonovna Obiedkova, died in a basement in Mariupol at the age of 91. Ms Obiedkova survived nazi occupation in Mariupol when she was 10 years old, but died in the basement during Russian occupation 81 years later.
Foreign policy. The head of the European Council Charles Michel visited Kyiv and Borodianka. President of the European Council Charles Michel announced that the Trust Fund for Solidarity with Ukraine will be launched on May 5. President Zelensky welcomed the idea of the upcoming sixth sanctions package, as well as urged Brussels to strengthen the sanctions package including oil and gas embargo.
G7 finance ministers said they have provided and pledged together with the international community additional support to Ukraine exceeding $24 billion for 2022 and beyond. The G20 ministers condemned Moscow for war crimes in Ukraine. However strong debates prior concerned Russia’s participation in the meeting, which resulted in the Minister of Finance of Russia attending the meeting in person. Representatives of the US, European Central Bank, Canada, Ukraine and more left the room during the speech of the Russian representative.
The UN Secretary-General António Guterres requested separate meetings with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv and President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in the frame of common efforts to end the war. The Secretary-General Guterres, followed by the EU Vice-President Josep Borell, also calls for the Easter Truce, as Easter weekend is approaching for Orthodox. Though Russia has already declined the proposal.
Japan passed the law to formally revoke Russia’s “most favored nation” trade status over its invasion of Ukraine, as Tokyo steps up sanctions amid revelations of Russian military atrocities against civilians. The revocation of the trade status will include tariffs on most imports from Russia, as well as imposing higher duties on Russian products. The decision does not envisage targeting imports of crude oil and liquefied natural gas, as well as palladium, which was not part of the tariff.
Energy security. The EU plans to proceed with an actual ban of Russian oil. The envisaged plan foresees gradual transition, as some of the disregards among Member States on the immediate ban remain in the room. The phase-out will consider country specifics as well as ways of supply. Though Germany and Hungary have been the most vocal in terms of rejection of Russian gas and oil, the German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Germany plans to halve oil by the summer and will be at 0 by the end of the year. The details of the EU ban could be presented to EU ambassadors as early as next week.
Digital security. The cybersecurity agencies of the United States, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – which together form the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance – warn about a potential threat of increased cyber attack by Russia against critical infrastructure as a response to sanctions imposed as punishment for its invasion of Ukraine. Similar attacks have been already taking place, though Russia was not directly mentioned as a responsible one. Prior to the launch of the full-scale war, Russia has started severe and frequent attempts to target Ukraine’s communication and critical infrastructure. Therefore, the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine has launched the IT army to maintain the cyber frontline.
Meanwhile, digital innovation in Ukraine flourishes. A new app, Rescue from Explosion, has been developed to help to identify distance to the explosion. Previously, the app Air Raid Alarm, has become one of the integral apps for daily usage.
Sports community. Wimbledon organizers will ban all tennis players from Russia and Belarus from participating in the tournament starting from this summer. The pressure comes after mounting pressure from the UK government and the international sports community, which proceeds with closing the doors for Russian and Belarusian sport players to participate in the international competitions. The Association of Tennis Professionals and World Tennis Association called the decision unfair and very disappointing, while a number of tennis players welcomed the decision.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian team got three more medals at the competition among military veterans ‘Invictus Games’. Ihor Halushka won the gold medal in rowing on the simulator for 4 minutes, he also won a silver medal in rowing on the simulator for 1 minute. Victor Lehkodukh won another “silver”, also in the dam on the simulator.
- Ukraine Rushes to Evacuate Civilians in East as Russia’s Offensive Pushes Forward – WSJ
- Forged by war: Ukraine’s new sense of nationhood – POLITICO
- Opinion: Invisible russians – by Marysia Rudska
- General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the total estimated losses of the Russian military as of 10 a.m., April 21, 2022: personnel – around 21 000, tanks ‒ 829, APV ‒ 2118, artillery systems – 393, MLRS – 136, anti-aircraft warfare systems – 67, fixed-wing aircraft – 172, helicopters – 151, soft-skinned vehicles – 1508, boats and light speed boats – 8, fuel tankers – 76, operational-tactical level UAV – 166, special equipment – 27, mobile SRBM system – 4. Also follow the interactive counter of Russian losses.
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