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War in Ukraine. Daily update. Day 65 [10.00 am, 29.04.2022 🇬🇧🇪🇸🇷🇺🇷🇸🇦🇪🇬🇪🇫🇷🇩🇪🇯🇵🇨🇿]

Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska 

Photo: Mysh Mark

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Cities under attack.

Two powerful explosions were recorded in Kyiv yesterday evening. One missile hit the infrastructure building, while another – a residential apartment block. 1 person died and 9 people were injured. Russian missiles also hit infrastructure premises in Fastiv, Kyiv region, and another one hit infrastructure objects in the Khmelnytskyi region. Similar to the Sumy region, Russian troops proceeded with shelling border territories in the Chernihiv region, targeting the checkpoint located there.  All cities under Ukrainian control in the Luhansk region are without water. Lysychansk will remain without water until the end of the military actions, says Head of Luhansk regional administration, as there is no possibility to proceed with the repairs. A similar situation is in Rubizhne, Popasna, and Severodonetsk, which also remain without water. In Severodonetsk, the Russian troops shelled the building of the local school. In New York (Niu-York), Donetsk region, uncontrolled Russian missiles hit the plant, killing 3 people and 3 injured. A missile hit the outskirts of Kramatorsk on Thursday evening. In Mykolaiv the Russian missile hit an enterprise for the production of building materials.

Mariupol.

Over the night of Wednesday-Thursday, Russian troops made about 50 airstrikes and dropped a large number of phosphorous bombs on Mariupol. As a result of the shelling, the bombs destroyed one of the blocks of Azovstal, where the field hospital is located. A number of wounded Ukrainian soldiers ended up under the rubbles. Meanwhile, Mariupol City Council informs that about 100 000 Mariupol residents are in mortal danger due to unsanitary conditions. People are living in medieval conditions, without proper access to water, food and medicine as all evacuation attempts are blocked. President Volodymyr Zelenskyi’s office said without delving into details that on April 29 it is planned to evacuate civilians who are holed up in vast steel works with the last fighters defending the southern city of Mariupol.

Kherson.

The Russian occupiers do not abandon attempts to create the ‘Kherson People’s Republic’, however they have no support from the population and local self-government to stage a pseudo-referendum in the Kherson region. In the Kherson region, the occupation authorities restricted the movement of local residents and blocked humanitarian cargo from the territory controlled by the Armed Forces. People are fleeing away from the war from the occupied Nova Kakhovka which leads to the shortage of medical personnel who can assist people. The Russian military illegally detains people and robs peasants, reports General Staff. 

Foreign policy.  UN.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres visited Kyiv and Borodianka. After the meetings in Ukraine, the UN Chief said that intense discussions were still continuing to enable the evacuation of a steel plant where fighters and civilians are holed up in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Also, UN representatives, headed by UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator Osnat Lubrani, will go to Zaporizhzhya to prepare for possible evacuation from Mariupol. 

Prime Minister Kiril Petkov together with the Bulgarian delegation visited Kyiv and Irpin to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi. The visit comes after Russia cut off Bulgaria from gas supply. Nevertheless, the Bulgarian Prime Minister vows to further support Ukraine. Russia has struck Kyiv with cruise missiles at the same time when the UN Secretary-General and Bulgarian PM were visiting Kyiv. The European Commission Vice-President Borell expressed his shock at the attack on the city while these foreign representatives were in town.

US.  

The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly backed ‘Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022’  legislation. The law would allow the United States to deliver arms to Ukraine more speedily by doing away with a variety of procedural hurdles, says the New York Times. On Thursday, the US President announced his request to Congress for a new $33 billion spending package that would provide military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The package envisages $20 billion in military aid and $8.5 billion in economic aid. In case of its approval, it will allocate $20.4 billion to equip Kyiv and European partners with additional artillery, armored vehicles, anti-tank and anti-aircraft capabilities. Also, the package will allow financing the Government of Ukraine, support food, energy and medical services, as well as counter Russian disinformation and propaganda narratives. Last but not least, it will support small and medium-sized agricultural businesses during the autumn harvest and to purchase natural gas.

EU.

The European Commission proposed a new package of measures to strengthen the EU’s approach to legal migration, after some 5 million Ukrainian refugees have entered the EU since the Russian invasion. The aim of this package is not only to provide simpler, legal pathways for migrants and reduce illegal migration but also to address labor shortages, especially in sectors such as healthcare. As for the Ukrainians who have come to the EU, and to whom the bloc has temporarily provided full rights, the Commission proposal includes a pilot project just for them.

NATO.

NATO is ready to support Ukraine by shifting from Soviet-era weapons to modern Western arms and systems in accordance with NATO standards that will strengthen Ukraine’s military in the long run. ‘NATO allies are preparing to provide support over a long period of time and also help Ukraine to transit – move from old Soviet-era equipment to more modern NATO-standard weapons and systems that will also require more training’. – Stoltenberg said.

The German Bundestag with an overwhelming majority voted in favor of supplying heavy weapons to Ukraine. 586 out of 693 deputies present voted in favor, 100 were against, seven  abstained. The debates lasted over an hour the day before. The decision calls on the German government ‘to enhance the delivery of heavy weapons and complex systems to Kyiv’. This for example would allow them to proceed with a tank exchange  procedure under which eastern NATO countries can immediately send Soviet-era tanks to Ukraine and receive at a later stage German tanks as replacements.

OSCE SMM has announced the upcoming closure of the mission in Ukraine. The decision comes after Russia did not agree to the extension of the OSCE mandate for further monitoring. 

War crimes investigation.

The Netherlands is preparing to send military police to Ukraine to assist with evidence-gathering on behalf of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Back in March, the ICC launched a war crimes investigation. Investigators from France have arrived earlier, and now the Dutch team is expected to stay several weeks. 

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Chief Prosecutor Iryna Venediktova reported that Ukrainian authorities filed criminal charges against 10 Russian soldiers allegedly involved in mass killings in Bucha. This is the first time the country has officially brought a case of war crimes against Moscow’s forces.

Human rights.

Another round of prisoner exchange took place between Ukraine and Russia. Today, 45 people were freed from Russian captivity — 13 officers and 20 soldiers (5 of whom were wounded). 12 civilians are also returning home, Iryna Vereshchuk said.

Energy security.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi is with the official mission in Ukraine. The IAEA Chief confirmed that a missile had flown directly over a nuclear power station near the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk. Also during the monitoring visit to the Chornobyl exclusion zone, the team has confirmed the radiation levels are elevated but still well within the safe range in the areas where Russian troops dug trenches in the highly contaminated soil. 

Shell has announced it will tighten its restrictions on buying Russian oil. The company will no longer accept refined products with any Russian content, including blended fuels. Last month, it had already announced a decision to phase-out buying Russian crude oil and stopped involvement in all Russian hydrocarbons from oil to natural gas, after facing an uproar over buying Russian crude cargo in the days following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Fossil fuel exports are a key enabler of Russia’s military buildup and brutal aggression against Ukraine. The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air has compiled a detailed dataset of pipeline and seaborne trade in Russian fossil fuels to highlight how the purchases of Russia’s oil, gas and coal contribute to the war. 

Food security.

Stealing of the grain and food provisions from the temporarily occupied territories continue. The Russian occupiers forcibly took 61 tons of wheat from the agricultural enterprise in Zaporizhzhia. The investigation says the Russian military robbed the agriculture enterprise in the city of Kamianka-Dniprovska, while threatening local personnel.  

Sanctions.

The EU’s preparation for the sixth sanctions package is underway. The next round of sanctions most likely will include a phased-in embargo on Russian oil, after Russian President Vladimir Putin started cutting off gas deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria. Allegedly, Germany is ready to consider including Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, in the next European Union sanctions package, says Bloomberg

Recent Polls.

Russian non-governmental research organization ‘Levada-Center’ during April 21-27 conducted a Russian national poll regarding the Russia-Ukraine war. The poll results released on April 28 show that the attention to the ‘special military operation’ in Russia is reducing. Support for the actions of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine remains high: 74% of Russians support the actions of the Russian Armed Forces. However, compared to March it has slightly decreased. Most respondents blame EU and NATO countries (57%) and Ukrainian government (17%) for the destruction and death of civilians in Ukraine. 73% of respondents also believe that the ‘special military operation’ will end in victory for Russia. 

Culture.

The Russian occupiers brought to Donetsk more than 2000 unique exhibits from the museums of Mariupol illegally, reports the city council. Among them there are original works by Kuindzhi and Aivazovsky, ancient icons and a unique handwritten Torah scroll. Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration states the Russian occupiers seized the Melitopol City Museum of Local Lore, which housed Scythian gold of the 4th century BC.

Opinion.

Venice Biennale is in full swing, while the Cannes Festival is approaching. However the discussions on the presence of the Russian artists take the stage. Can art remain apolitical? Or vice versa: is art an instrument of political propaganda. Read the opinion ‘Art beyond the politics or 5 facts about Russia’ by Olga Birzul, film curator and cultural manager, former programmer of Docudays UA, former Head of Film at the Ukrainian Institute.

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Thank you for supporting Ukraine! Slava Ukraini! Glory to Ukraine!

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