War in Ukraine. Daily update. Day 59 [10.00 am, 23.04.2022 🇬🇧🇩🇪]

Photo: Oleg Pereverzev/Babel

Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska 

List of demands. As Russia has officially announced the start of the second phase of the ‘special operation’, it listed its priority goals. According to Rustam Minnekayev, the deputy commander of Russia’s central military district, the plan includes: (1) establishing full control over Donbas; (2) creating a land corridor to the temporarily occupied Crimea; (3) establishing control over the south of Ukraine to obtain ‘another exit to Transnistria, where the facts of oppression of the Russian-speaking population were recorded’. Therefore the plan shows that Russia is not aiming only for Donetsk and Luhansk regions, but to ensure the land corridor with access to the sea, as well as to Transnistria. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine stated that Russia’s goal is not some mythical ‘denazification’; its actions are an example of ‘imperialism as it is’. 

Foreign policy.  Japan called the Kurils illegally occupied by the Russian Federation for the first time in 19 years. Russia in response added it to the list of ‘unfriendly’ countries. ‘Japan has become an unfriendly country for the Russian Federation, it is very difficult to talk about continuing negotiations on a peace treaty’, — said court dignitary liar Dmitriy Peskov.

The European Union’s sixth package of sanctions against Russia is underway; it is going to be presented to European Union countries early next week, reports POLITICO. The new package is set to include some form of ban on Russian oil imports, and may also target more Russian banks by expelling them from the SWIFT international payments system.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will travel to Moscow on April 26. Guterres is going to meet Putin as well as have a working meeting and lunch with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. On April 28, the UN chief will travel to Kyiv to meet with President Zelenskyi, Foreign Minister Kuleba, as well as staff at UN agencies, to discuss the scaling up of the humanitarian assistance efforts.

Economic security. The Group of 20 major economies cannot effectively function as long as Russia remains a member, Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s finance minister said. The G20 met during the last week and the discord over Russia’s presence was on the display. 

Bloomberg reports that European Union countries froze €35 billion ($39 billion) of assets in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during the first 5 and a half weeks of the war. 

Energy security. Russian troops have launched missiles over the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant. The missiles were targeting Mykolayiv but flew in very close proximity to the NPP. ‘Once again we appeal to the IAEA with a demand to take all possible measures to stop Russia’s nuclear terrorism, withdraw Russian military formations from the ZNPP territory and establish demilitarized zones around Ukrainian nuclear power plants’, — Energoatom announced. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will visit Ukraine’s Chornobyl nuclear plant next week. The visit coincides with the thirty-sixth anniversary of the Chornobyl power plant explosion. The team of IAEA nuclear safety, security and safeguards staff will deliver vital equipment and conduct radiological and other assessments at the site. 

Cities under attack. Active shelling continues in the Luhansk region. The most critical battles are taking place in Popasna. In the Kharkiv region, there were more than half a hundred shelling within a day, 2 dead, 19 injured. Russia says that Ukrainian fighters and foreign mercenaries are ‘securely blockaded’  at the Azovstal steel plant where they have been holding out in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. However, the shelling still continues there. In the Kherson region, the shelling continues. Russian troops also launch missiles from its territory in the direction of Mykolayiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions. In the morning, the shelling of the settlements of the Donetsk region intensified near Maryinka and Novomykhailivka.

Human rights. In Kakhovka, Kherson region, the Russians set up a torture chamber in the police station, where they have been torturing illegally detained people. The ombudswoman Liudmila Denysova reported Russian soldiers have been detaining people right from the streets of the city, not only activists or former veterans, but also men who have nothing to do with military service and did not go to rallies against the occupation. For this purpose, a formal excuse is used – ‘violation of law and order’ or ‘violation of curfew’.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in her speech on Friday said: Over these eight weeks, international humanitarian law has not merely been ignored but seemingly tossed aside’. The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine released a new report referring to the human rights crimes in Ukraine. It mentions how Russian armed forces have indiscriminately shelled and bombed populated areas, killing civilians and wrecking hospitals, schools and other civilian infrastructure – actions that may amount to war crimes. Further into the war, the scale of summary executions of civilians in areas previously occupied by Russian forces is growing. The mission has received more than 300 allegations of killings of civilians in towns in the regions of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy, all under the control of Russian armed forces in late February and early March. At least 3000 civilians have died because they couldn’t get medical care and because of the stress from worrying about their health amid the hostilities. Detention of civilians has become a widespread practice in areas controlled by the Russian armed forces and affiliated armed groups. Since 24 February, HRMMU has recorded 155 such cases, including of local officials, journalists, activists, human rights defenders, and others.

Sport. Invictus Games in the Hague have concluded. The national team of Ukraine completed the competition with 16 awards: 5 gold, 5 silver and 6 bronze medals.

Reading corner.

Podcast. Listen to a podcast released by Chatham House on the topic of the food security ‘War in Ukraine: Is war eating away at the world?’ This podcast episode examines how and why a war in one part of the world risks causing famines in distant parts of the globe.

Statistics.

  • A recent IPSOS poll of 27 countries shows that 70% of adults report closely following the news about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and 61% think it poses a significant risk to their country.
  • 1138 educational institutions were damaged as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • There are 5264 verified civilian casualties – 2345 killed and 2919 injured – as reported by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR). The actual number is considered to be significantly higher. 
  • There have been 162 attacks on health care institutions in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, reports WHO.   
  • Ukraine’s Ministry of interior reports that since the full-scale invasion 85 saboteur groups have been exposed. 
  • General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the total estimated losses of the Russian military as of 10 a.m., April 23, 2022: personnel – around 21 600, tanks ‒ 854, APV ‒ 2205, artillery systems – 403, MLRS – 143, anti-aircraft warfare systems – 69, fixed-wing aircraft – 177, helicopters – 154, soft-skinned vehicles – 1543, boats and light speed boats – 8, fuel tankers – 76, operational-tactical level UAV – 182, special equipment – 27, mobile SRBM system – 4. Also follow the interactive counter of Russian losses. 

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