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War in Ukraine. Daily update. Day 58 [10.00 am, 22.04.2022 🇬🇧🇷🇸🇵🇱🇫🇷🇬🇪🇯🇵🇨🇿🇱🇻]

Photo (Kharkiv): Telegram-channel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska 

Foreign policy. The Prime Ministers of Spain and Denmark visited Kyiv. On Thursday, Denmark’s and Spain’s prime ministers pledged to send more weapons to Ukraine during a trip to Kyiv, where they met President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a gesture of support. In addition to military support and humanitarian aid, the Danish Prime Minister has announced the readiness of Denmark to rebuild the port city of Mykolayiv. 

Latvian and Estonian parliaments recognised Russia’s actions in Ukraine as genocide. Lawmakers in Latvia and Estonia voted unanimously on Thursday to declare the killings of civilians in areas of Ukraine occupied by Russian forces to be acts of genocide. Meanwhile, Russia proceeds with mirror actions on the expulsion of the diplomats. On Thursday Russia ordered the closure of the Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian consulates and asked their employees to leave in a retaliatory move.  

Reports say German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, excluded all heavy weapons from the list of military assistance to Ukraine, by reducing the list from 48 to 24 pages. Spiegel meanwhile reports about the possibility of  a ‘vote of confidence’ related, among all, to  refuse to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons. On the contrary, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock says there are no obstacles to sending heavy weapons to Ukraine from Germany. 

The US President has announced another $ 800 million military aid package for Ukraine. Another round of military aid will include artillery systems, howitzers and ammunition, and tactical drones. Also additional $500 million will be provided in direct economic assistance. Along with the military and economic support, the US is launching a refugee programme ‘United for Ukraine’. Yesterday, Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal met with the US President in Washington. The meeting focused on the previously announced assistance to Ukraine and further commitment to support.

Croatian Prime Minister Andriy Plenković has stated that he is severing all contacts with pro-Russian Croatian President Zoran Milanović. Previously, President Milanović stated that no atrocities were committed in Ukraine.

During the International Monetary Fund meeting, the British finance minister Rishi Sunak and his Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland walked out the room when Russia’s delegate spoke. A similar protest action took place a day before during the G20 meeting. 

Cities under attack. A wave of attacks on the railway proceeds. Two missile strikes hit Zaporizhzhia. An explosive wave and debris smashed windows in four cars of the Zaporizhzhia-Lviv train. Three missile strikes on the railway infrastructure in the Novomoskovsk district of the Dnipropetrovsk region were reported by the head of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration Valentyn Reznichenko. A part of the railway has been significantly damaged. In Kharkiv, the Russian troops shelled the city 50 times within a day with MLRS, BM-21 Grad, BM-30 Smerch and artillery. In the Donetsk region, 75% of the population of Donetsk People’s Republic controlled territories left the region. In the Luhansk region, Russian troops shelled 11 settlements in the last 24 hours. In Kherson region, all four amalgamated territorial communities of Beryslav district along with some villages of Kherson district are on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe. Mariupol. The Russian President claimed victory in the biggest battle of the war in Ukraine, declaring the port of Mariupol ‘liberated’ after nearly two months of siege. Although hundreds of defenders are still holed up inside the steelworks. Considering this operation a ‘success’, Putin gave an ‘order not to assault’ the plant, but at the same time not to allow a single person to escape it. Regardless of the ‘order’, Russian troops continued bombarding and shelling the territory of Azovstal. See Mariupol’s Azovstal steel-mill fortress in peacetime and then after nearly two months of war. Mariupol remains crucial for Russia in the war because its location secures the land corridor to the Crimea, and it is also the location of Azov battalion, a key talking point of so-called ‘denazification’ policy. 

Cities under occupation. Russian troops aim to completely cut off occupied settlements from Ukraine. Therefore, they do not allow the evacuation to Ukraine or any volunteers with aid to come, threatening them with immediate death. Currently, there are about 20 occupied villages in the Mykolaiv region. In the Kharkiv region, 22 amalgamated territorial communities are under occupation. In the Kherson region, the self-proclaimed occupation authorities announced the mobilization of all men from the temporarily occupied territories. In addition, in preparation of a so-called ‘referendum’, Russian troops will conduct a ‘census’. Meanwhile, local citizens will be prohibited from moving between settlements. In Popasna, Luhansk region, more than 100 civilians have died since the Russian invasion. The city still counts more than 2500 inhabitants. Currently, Russian troops control over a half of the city and from the occupied part of the city, people are deported to Pervomaysk. Satellite detected a mass grave in the Russian-occupied village of Manhush in the Donetsk region, less than 20 kilometers from Mariupol. This is a trench more than 300 meters long. Russia has also banned the entry to and exit from illegally annexed Crimea to secure the spring conscription at the peninsula General Staff reports.

Human rights. Ukraine demands from Russia a humanitarian corridor from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol. Currently, about 1000 civilians and 500 wounded soldiers need evacuation.

Another exchange of prisoners took place yesterday. ‘Today we are returning home 19 people: 10 military personnel (including 2 officers) and 9 civilians’, Vereshchuk said.

Ombudswoman, Lyudmyla Denisova, reports that occupant forces continue forcibly to deport Ukrainian children to Russia.The other day a group of Ukrainian teenagers aged 14-15 was brought to one of the charitable foundations of the Russian Federation (Vladimir) from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. According to the available information, the parents of these children were killed. 

The International Organization of Migration presented its new report on the situation with internally displaced people. Around 600 000 people were internally displaced between April 1-17. The percentage of the displaced has increased by 9% since the previous assessment in April and 19% since mid-March. The report indicates that since the beginning of the war over 7.7 million people were forced to leave their homes, in other words, 17% of the country’s population. 60% of the internally displaced people (IDPs) are women.

War crimes investigation. Human Rights Watch released a detailed report on the war crimes of Russian forces during their occupation of Bucha, a town about 30 kilometers northwest of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, from March 4 to 31, 2022. HRW found extensive evidence that Russian forces had used it as a firing position for artillery. The Safe Schools Declaration, endorsed by Ukraine and 113 other countries but not Russia, says that countries should not use educational facilities for military purposes and should take other steps to protect education from attack. HRW calls on Ukraine’s government urgently to ratify the ICC treaty and formally become a member of the court. Ukraine is not a member of the ICC, but it accepted the court’s jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed on its territory since November 2013.

Spain will send a group of 39 forensic and other experts to support the work of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes committed by the Russian occupiers in the Kyiv region.

Economic security. World Bank President David Malpass reports that the cost of the physical damage to Ukraine’s buildings and infrastructure from Russia’s invasion has reached roughly $60 billion and will rise further as the war continues, says Reuters. From Ukraine’s side, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Ukraine’s GDP could decline by 30% to 50%, with direct and indirect losses totalling $560 billion. That total is more than three times the size of Ukraine’s economy, at $155.5 billion in 2020, according to World Bank data. In addition, the World Bank calculates approximately 37% rise of the prices for tho food.

Sanctions. The latest UK sanctions target the generals committing atrocities on the front-line in Ukraine, and individuals and businesses supporting Putin’s military. The new package included key leaders in Russia’s army, targeting those commanding the front line to commit the atrocities. Also, 19 individuals on the list are related to the military and defense sector, as well as businessmen. 

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