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War in Ukraine. Daily update. Day 69 [10.00 am, 03.05.2022 🇭🇷🇷🇸🇬🇪🇫🇷🇪🇸🇦🇪🇯🇵🇨🇿🇩🇪]

Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska 

Photo: Luhansk Regional Military Administration

Cities under attack.

In Lysychansk, Luhansk region, the local gymnasium located in a historical building that has survived two World Wars burned down completely as a result of the Russian shelling. Russian forces in the region are currently focusing on establishing control over Rubizhne and Popasna. On Monday evening, there was a heavy shelling of Rubizhne, and on Tuesday morning — Novodruzheska. A missile strike was carried out in Odesa — the objects of municipal infrastructure were damaged. One of the Russian missiles hit one of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches. Another missile hit a residential building, killing a 15-year old boy, another teen, a 17-year old, was hospitalized. The bridge over the Dniester estuary, in the direction of Zatoka, Odesa region, was hit for the third time with missiles. The bridge is a critical target as it crosses a navigable inlet which allows access to Transnistria from the Black Sea. Also, it ensures connection between the southwestern part of Odesa region and the rest of the country. Three household cars caught fire due to the shelling of the neighborhood in Mykolayiv. Ochakiv, Mykolayiv region, was shelled from the sea on Monday evening. Also shelling of the city of Mykolayiv was carried out. As of this morning, no one was injured. Details are being clarified. In Mariupol, shelling of the steel plant Azovstal continues. Russian forces have used various weapons causing another fire. The evacuation column from Azovstal, which had departed on May 1, had not reached Zaporizhzhia on Monday, however, it is expected today. Captain Sviatoslav Palamar, a deputy commander of Ukraine’s Azov Regiment, says around 200 civilians are trapped under the rubble in the bunker. Shelling of Kharkiv continues, however main forces are concentrated around Zolochiv, Dergachi and Barvinkove. 

Approximate map of the situation on the frontline. Institute of the War Studies indicates troops regrouping to proceed with the attack in the direction of the Mykolayiv, Kryvyi Rih, Kherson.

Cities under occupation.

In the Kherson region the situation remains difficult, with bombings and shelling across the region. A massive explosion was recorded yesterday in the city. The mobile connection has been restored in Skadovsk, Kherson region. Before there was no connection in most of the region, but now people from Kherson have started reporting the return of the mobile connection. 

‘Victory Day’.

May 9 is a crucial date for Putin. According to his plans, there was supposed to be a grande parade to celebrate the success of his ‘special operation’. Having no significant gains in Ukraine, as well as losing the ‘Moskva’ warship, now the parade plan requires a change. Thus, both Ukrainian Intelligence and CNN referring to the US officials  predict that during the Victory  Day, Putin will ‘announce’ an actual war, not just a ‘special operation’. According to Ukrainian intelligence, Russia’s announcement of the war will allow them to launch full-scale military mobilization. Another goal is to annex Donetsk and Luhansk regions, but no longer just to temporarily occupy them. Afterwards, proceed with further attacks on the Kherson region and in the direction of the Odesa region. 

Foreign policy.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will virtually address the Ukrainian Parliament today. The United Kingdom will provide Ukraine with a new $375 million military aid package, as well as send a new specialized vehicle to evacuate civilians from frontline areas.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark visited Kyiv and Irpin. During his visit, he assured that Denmark would not only join the anti-Russian sanctions, but also provide Ukraine with weapons systems, help gather evidence of Russian war crimes, take part in the reconstruction of Ukraine in particular,  the city of Mykolayiv, and continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Prime Minister Denys Shmygal says one of the topics of the discussion was the issue of diversification of gas supply sources, and also possibility of supplying oil products and raw materials to Ukraine. The head of government stressed that the Russians are deliberately trying to disrupt sowing and cause a shortage of fuel.

29 foreign missions resumed operations in Ukraine – says President Zelenskyi in his video address. On May 2, the embassies of Denmark and Hungary were reopened in Kyiv. The Swedish embassy in Kyiv is going to be reopened on May 4.

Human rights.

Russia illegally deported 181 000 Ukrainian children to the temporarily occupied territories according to the Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Daria Gerasymchuk. The number includes 2000 orphans or children deprived of parental care. Russia is still underway to prepare amendments to the legislation that will simplify the procedure of adoption of illegally deported children.

War crimes.

As of May 2, eight mass graves of civilians have been discovered in the Kyiv region settlements liberated from Russian troops — Kyiv Region Police Department reports. For now, law enforcement officers have already found 1202 bodies of Ukrainian citizens killed by Russian invaders. The bodies were handed over to forensic medical institutions to determine the cause of death. 280 people are currently unidentified.  

Food security.

Zelensky says ​​tens of millions of tonnes of grain could be lost due to the sea blockade by the Russian forces. About 4.5 million tons of grain have been blocked in the ports of Ukraine. Martin Frick, Director of the UN World Food Program in Germany says, the grain in containers at Ukrainian ports could not be transferred due to unsafe or occupied sea routes, some of which had been mined. Also, the export of these products is now impossible due to the blockage of ports by the Russian fleet. 

In Rubizhne, Luhansk region, the Planet Lab satellite images show that powerful Russian bombs were dropped on the territory of Golden AGRO LLC, says Lyudmyla Denisova, Ombudswoman of Ukraine. This is a grain elevator complex that could store 30 000 tons of grain at a time. It was opened in 2020, and is now completely destroyed.

Also, more reports are coming about the theft of agricultural machinery on the temporarily occupied territories. The first cases of stolen equipment were recorded in mid-March.  Later, with the help of GPS services, the equipment was found in the Republic of Chechnya. The owner managed to block the equipment, making it impossible for further use, though it might be disassembled and sold for parts. 

In the Dnipropetrovsk region in the Synelnykivskyi district, a rocket hit two warehouses of agricultural enterprises. Both of them were destroyed – one was empty, the other one stored grain.  

Culture.

In the temporarily occupied territory of the Kherson region, the Russian military is destroying archaeological sites, kurgans (burial mounds), the heritage of the Scythian tribes living in the territories from the 7th century BC until the 3rd century BC. 

Sport.

UEFA has suspended Russian football clubs from participating in all European Cups next season. In addition, Russia’s application for hosting Euro-2028/32 was rejected. Last but not least, the Russian women’s national football team will lose its place at Euro 2022 — it will be replaced by Portugal. 

Sociological Polls.

The Washington Post and ABC News held a sociological survey to evaluate the level of the US citizens’ support for Ukraine. 73% say the United States is doing either the right amount or too little to support Ukraine. At the same time, 72% oppose the United States taking direct military action against Russian forces, while 21% support the idea. 66%, say they are concerned about sanctions contributing to higher food and energy costs at home.  81% said they fear that the war will expand into other European countries. 50% say they are ‘very concerned’ about nuclear weapons.

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