Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska
Photo: National police of Ukraine
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Cities under attack. The Russian military continued to use banned munitions, as the phosphorus missiles hit Avdiivka, Donetsk region, twice in the last days. The first shelling targeted the area near the by-product coke plant, the second one hit the city center. In Severodonetsk, Luhansk region, the Russians shelled the hospital with wounded. ‘Literally the entire territory of Luhansk’ was shelled Tuesday in attacks that set homes on fire, according to Ukrainian human rights ombudswoman. In the Sumy region, more than 50 mortar strikes were recorded yesterday in the Esman territorial community. Though Russian forces withdrew from the Sumy region, regular cross-border attacks continued. Strong explosions were heard in Kherson. Social networks report that Russian TV channels stopped working after the explosions. The offensive is heading in the direction of the Mykolayiv region and Kryvyi Rih. Missiles hit Dnipropetrovsk region as well as Shevchenkove village in the Mykolayiv region. Russian troops seized a village near Izyum in Kharkiv region. In the morning, Russian missiles hit Zaporizhzhia injuring three people and damaging two houses. In Mariupol, Russia plans a ‘press tour’ for the Western media. The goal is to show the media the ‘atrocities of the Ukrainian army’, present ‘actors’ or pro-Russian witnesses to create a positive image of Russian liberators.
Cities under occupation. As of April 25, 196 amalgamated territorial communities have been occupied or blocked by Russian forces in the seven regions of eastern and southern Ukraine.
In Kherson, people once again went out to the peaceful rally against the occupation. The rallies aim to show a pro-Ukrainian position in the region. Nevertheless, Russian troops used tear gas and stun bombs to disperse people from the streets. Four people were injured as a result. Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed authorities of the temporarily occupied part of the Kherson region stated that the region will join the ruble zone as of May 1 with a transition period of 4 months. Discussions continue about the pseudo referendum to establish the ‘Kherson People’s Republic’. Previously the referendum was planned for April 27. The new date indicates mid-May, as parallel referendums should take place in unrecognized L/DPR on their joining to Russia.
In the temporarily occupied territories of the Zaporizhzhia region, the Russian army is trying to conduct Russian television and radio broadcasting.
In the territories of Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Luhansk, and Donetsk regions temporarily occupied by Russia, men of conscription age are being abducted en masse and large-scale ‘filtering measures’ are being carried out.
Human rights. During 1-14 April, the Ombudswoman of Ukraine received 400 appeals about the rape cases during the Russian occupation. Russian authorities report that without the help of the Ukrainian side they’ve already managed to ‘evacuate’ one million people. The reports state that since the beginning of the war Russia has forcibly removed more than a million people from Ukraine and unrecognized L/DPR.
During the UN Security Council Arria-Formula Meetingthe US reported that they have credible information that a Russian military unit operating in the vicinity of Donetsk executed Ukrainians who were attempting to surrender, rather than take them into custody. If further proven, it is a clear violation of the Geneva convention.
Foreign policy. EU. The European Commission published a proposal for temporary trade liberalization, namely lifting up import duties on all Ukrainian goods not covered by an existing free trade deal for the period of one year. The measure will apply to fruit and vegetables, subject to minimum price requirements, agricultural products facing quotas, and certain industrial goods, tariffs on which were only due to be phased out by the end of 2022. The EU will also exempt Ukraine from safeguard measures that limit steel imports, and lift anti-dumping tariffs the EU currently imposes on Ukrainian steel tubes, hot-rolled flat steel products, and ironing boards. The objective of the proposal is to help the country’s economy during the war with Russia. The proposal is now a matter of agreement by the European Parliament and EU governments to come into force. President Zelenskyi and Prime Minister Shmyhal welcomed the proposal as an unprecedented gesture of support.
US. The US House of Representatives has passed the bill on the confiscation of Russian sanctioned assets, and allowed them to be used for the reconstruction of Ukraine.
Canada. The House of Commons of Canada unanimously passed a motion on Wednesday recognizing Russian aggression in Ukraine as an act of genocide.
UN. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has arrived in Kyiv for talks with President Zelenskyi and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. Previously, after the discussions with Putin, Guterres had announced a potential agreement to allow civilians trapped inside Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol to leave.
The Group of Friends (GoF) on Accountability consisting of 48 Member States of UN Security Council and the European Union will support the international efforts of the International Criminal Court, UN Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, as OSCE Moscow Mechanism experts in their efforts to prosecute crimes committed in Ukraine, as well as to bring war criminals to justice. The GoF will confirm their long-term support for the efforts, no matter how long the investigation goes.
G20 Summit. President Zelenskyi received an invitation to the G20 summit. Food security is one of the key subjects for the discussion during the meeting. At the moment there is no information available whether the President will in fact join the meeting or not. However, the meeting could turn out to be a platform to meet with President Putin, in case the latter decides to attend in person.
PACE. A general policy debate on the consequences of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine is at the center of the spring plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), held in hybrid format from 25 to 28 April 2022. On April 27, PACE expressed its full support for all efforts aimed at investigating Russia’s violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law and other international crimes, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, and ensuring the accountability of the aggressor. The PACE Political Affairs Committee proposes to put ‘maximum pressure’ on Russia to end the aggression against Ukraine. During the PACE session, the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media has called on decision makers in the fields of sport, science, education and media from the member States to exclude Russian and Belarusian national teams, clubs and individuals from all sporting events; and to exclude Russian and Belarusian participants from all scientific, educational and media events.
Economic security. The introduction of the temporary free trade liberalization between the EU and Ukraine would allow moderating the effect of the war on Ukraine’s economy. The EU is already Ukraine’s largest trading partner accounting for some 24 billion euros ($25.5 billion) worth of Ukrainian exports before Russia’s invasion. The major share of the exports includes agricultural products ($7.7 bln) and metals ($6.2 bln). Meanwhile, the two US Senators are considering a similar proposal in order to lift the tariffs on steel imports from Ukraine. If the US and EU follow through with these plans, it could help reduce the economic headwinds for Ukraine, which is facing a projected gross domestic product hit of 25% compared to the pre-crisis outlook, says Bloomberg.
The Ukrainian government is currently negotiating with Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Germany, and other countries to launch Ukrainian exports through their ports.
Energy security. The European Union accused Russia of blackmailing with Russian gas after a state-controlled gas company, Gazprom, stopped gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria. The announcement by Gazprom about unilaterally stopping delivery of gas to customers in Europe is yet another attempt by Russia to use gas as an instrument of blackmail, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said today. Meanwhile, the Russian TASS agency reports that 10 companies in the European Union have opened ruble accounts with Gazprombank, as required by the Kremlin, and four of them have already paid in rubles. Gas prices in Europe jumped by 24% due to the suspension of Gazprom’s supplies to Poland and Bulgaria.
Due to damage to the 330 kV high-voltage line in the southern region of Ukraine, the Zaporizhzhya NPP was moved to a capacity level to ensure sustainable operation of the power system, at which only NPPs own needs are secured – Energoatom reports.
Food security. Ukrainian agricultural producers face threats in the temporarily occupied territories. In the Kherson region, the Russian occupation forces allowed farmers to sow only grain and sunflower, demanding the farmers to agree to give most of their future crops to the invaders free of charge. In the Chaplin district, Russians forcibly took farmers’ equipment and proceeded with digging the trenches for Russian militants. The occupation authorities of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic, in Svativskyi district, are urging farmers to start sowing regardless of the danger. The future harvest will be nationalized in favor of Russia, and only a small share will be left for the farmers.
Ombudswoman of Ukraine, reports that stolen grain from the Ukrainian territories is all transferred to Crimea. Residents of Sevastopol, who report that a few days ago the sea terminal for grain transhipment started operating, however the reserves of grain simply do not exist in the Crimea. Eyewitnesses from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea also report that the sale of vegetables exported from the temporarily occupied territory of Kherson region has started on the peninsula. Over the past week, more than 40 tons of cabbage and radishes have been delivered to the wholesale market.
Digital security. Microsoft in their latest report indicates that since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, at least six separate Russia-aligned nation-state actors have launched more than 237 operations against Ukraine – including destructive attacks that are ongoing and threaten civilian welfare. Oftentimes the cyberattacks correlated and sometimes were directly timed with Russia’s kinetic military operations targeting services and institutions crucial for civilians. For example, cyberattacks against a major Ukrainian broadcasting company on March 1st coincided with Russia’s announcement of its intention to destroy Ukrainian ‘disinformation’ targets and directed a missile strike against a TV tower in Kyiv.
- Why Ukraine Will Win | American Purpose – Francis Fukuyama argues that Ukrainians will succeed in driving the Russians out of the territories they now hold. Fukuyama also reflects on the long term political consequences of the war in Ukraine and in Europe.
- 102 educational institutions, including schools, kindergartens and universities are destroyed. Another 1412 institutions were damaged.
- General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the total estimated losses of the Russian military as of 10 a.m., April 28, 2022: personnel – around 22 800, tanks ‒ 970, APV ‒ 2389, artillery systems – 431, MLRS – 154, anti-aircraft warfare systems – 72, fixed-wing aircraft – 187, helicopters – 155, soft-skinned vehicles – 1688, boats and light speed boats – 8, fuel tankers – 76, operational-tactical level UAV – 215, special equipment – 31, mobile SRBM system – 4. Also, follow the interactive counter of Russian losses.
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