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War in Ukraine. Daily update. Day 63 [10.00 am, 27.04.2022🇬🇧🇭🇷🇩🇪🇦🇪🇷🇸🇨🇳🇯🇵🇨🇿🇫🇷🇱🇻]

Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska 

Photo: Twitter / Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III

To download the daily update in your preferred language, see under the English text

Cities under attack. In the Dnipropetrovsk region, the Zelenodilsk amalgamated community bordering with Kherson region was shelled at night. The energy infrastructure company was hit due to the shelling. One person was injured. Kharkiv region. The shelling continued in Kharkiv as well, several fires broke out in residential areas, damaging apartment blocks. Zolochiv, Dergachi, and Chuguiv remain under shelling due to the active battles in the Izium direction. In a day 3 people were killed and 12 injured in the region. Kherson region. The fighting continued in settlements bordering the region, but explosions and shelling happened almost throughout the region. Luhansk region. Almost the entire territory of the region has been shelled. However, the severest battles were for Rubizhne and Lysychansk. In Lysychansk, a school was shelled, with 23 people hiding in the bomb shelter. Donetsk region. Active battles continued all along the entire frontline. Avdiivka was shelled by rocket artillery, and there were also air raids. The Svitlodarsk territorial community was attacked with cluster munitions. Maryinka, Krasnohorivka, Vuhledar, and Lyman were shelled all night. Mariupol. The Russian President talked to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In his view, Mariupol had already been captured by the Russian army and there were no hostilities there. Therefore, there is no need for intervention. Meanwhile, during the night of April 26, 35 airstrikes were launched on Azovstal, leaving injured civilians under the rubble alongside the Ukrainian military. In the Sumy region, it is not allowed to move within 1 km of the Russian border. Limitations come in the light of the recent provocations and random fires from the Russian side at the borderline with Ukraine. In the Odesa region this morning, the bridge over the Dniester estuary was fired upon for the second time in two days.

Cities under occupation. In Kherson, Russian troops appointed a new head of the regional administration, as well as a new city mayor. The ‘newly’ appointed head of the regional administration, Volodymyr Saldo, used to be Kherson Mayor during 2002-2012, and a Member of the Parliament from the pro-Russian Party of Regions. Oleksandr Kobets, the so-called new mayor of Kherson, is a former driver of the legitimate Kherson mayor, Igor Kolykhaev. Legitimate Kherson authorities refuse to collaborate with the self-proclaimed local authorities. Reportedly today, a pseudo referendum for the establishment of the ‘Kherson People’s Republic’ should take place. Meanwhile, Russia’s Defense Ministry reports that they have liberated the whole Kherson region, thus it is under their control.

Human rights. In Rubizhne, Luhansk region, Russian troops threaten women to shoot their children, if they refuse to report the positions of the Ukrainian military. The militants capture children, thus forcing women to check on the positions of the Ukrainian army and to report back to save the lives of their children.

Education system is under the threat on the temporarily occupied territories. In one of the settlements in Zaporizhia, Russian troops are forcing teachers to return to their jobs on May 2, although  following the Russian education curriculum. Those who do not want to collaborate have to resign. In the annexed Crimea, teachers conduct special explanatory lectures with children about the ‘special operation’ in Ukraine. In kindergartens, children are forced to draw posters with ruscist symbol ‘Z’.

On April 27, Albania and France will convene an ‘Arria-formula’ meeting, an informal gathering of Security Council members, to discuss how the UN can support and coordinate accountability efforts for serious crimes in Ukraine. Participants will include the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, the Ukrainian foreign minister, the Ukrainian prosecutor general, the UN high commissioner for human rights, the Clooney Foundation for Justice, and the Human Rights Watch crisis and conflict director. While Russian Forces have committed the majority of apparent war crimes, there have also been reports of Ukrainian violations of the laws of war. Human Rights Watch has urged Ukrainian authorities to investigate alleged abuse by Ukrainians forces of Russian prisoners of war. Ukraine should also investigate allegations that its forces have used banned cluster munitions as reported by The New York Times and hold accountable anyone responsible for using these weapons. 

Foreign policy. Ministers of 40 countries gathered at the Rammstein base in Germany to discuss coordinated support for Ukraine and counteractions against the Russian Federation. Defense leaders will proceed with similar meetings on a monthly basis which indicates preparation for the lengthy war. The established EUCOM Control Center of Ukraine should serve as a vehicle for nations of goodwill to intensify our efforts, and coordinate the assistance. The defense secretary said the goal of the US is to make sure Russia can no longer wage aggression against its neighbors. 

Meanwhile, Germany made a U-turn in regard to the delivery of anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine. The German Government approved supply of the 50 used Gepard Flakpanzer vehicles to Ukraine. They are designed for air defense but can also be used against targets on the ground. The system was designed during the Cold War but has since been updated.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met with the Russian President in Moscow on Tuesday. Putin agreed ‘in principle’ to UN and the International Committee for the Red Cross’ (ICRC) involvement in the evacuation of civilians from a besieged Azovstal in Mariupol. However, as it has already been mentioned, Putin considers Mariupol as already taken by Russians. Later in the press-conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Guterres said he has proposed a ‘Humanitarian Contact Group’ of Russia, Ukraine and UN officials ‘to look for opportunities for the opening of safe corridors, with local cessations of hostilities, and to guarantee that they are actually effective’.

Starting from April 27, the Netherlands will suspend issuing their travel visas to Russia. The decision comes in response to the expulsion of the 15 Dutch diplomats from Russia. 

The Committee on Rules (The US House Committee) will meet on April 27 for hearings on the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022.

Energy security. Russia continues with nuclear terrorism. Yesterday, three missiles were recorded flying low right above Zaporizhzhia NPP. The day before, a similar action was observed above Khmelnytskyi NPP. 

Russia has proceeded from gas blackmailing to actual steps. Russia has cut off supply of natural gas to Poland and Bulgaria due to the escalation of the economic conflict based on their support to Ukraine, as well as their refusal to pay for gas in rubles. 45% of Polish gas comes from Russia, which potentially could seriously affect the country’s households. However Poland burns coal, not gas, for most of its electricity, so allegedly it is less vulnerable on that front. Bulgaria receives around 90% of gas from Russia, however with a warm season ahead, the country’s leadership says no gas limitations are currently envisaged.

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