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War in Ukraine. Daily update. Day 72 [10.00 am, 06.05.2022] 🇬🇧🇷🇸🇪🇦🇫🇷🇬🇪🇨🇳🇯🇵🇩🇪🇱🇻

Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska 

Photo: A woman with a dog evacuated from Mariupol/ Telegram channel of Ukrainian Armed Forces

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Cities under attack.
In the Luhansk region heavy shelling continues, as well as attempts to take control over Severodonetsk. Yesterday, one of the last operating gas stations was shelled in the Luhansk region, as well as the Severodonetsk Azot railway. Russian forces shelled the residential neighborhoods and infrastructure in the region 16 times, damaging 12 houses, an electric substation, and commercial buildings. 7 houses were destroyed in Rubizhne, 2 – in Novodruzhesk. There is destruction in Lysychansk, Orikhovo, Girska, Popasna. In the Donetsk region shelling continues. In Kramatorsk, as a result of the shelling on May 5, 32 high-rise buildings were severely damaged and 25 people were injured. In addition to residential areas, the Russian army is actively attacking the city’s industrial facilities with missiles. The Avdiivka Coke Plant is under shelling for three days. Active battles continue across the frontline in Lyman, Avdiivka, Marinka, Novomykhailivka, Krasnohorivka, Vugledar, and Velyka Novosilka. In Mariupol, Russian forces are preparing for a parade in the shattered port city of Mariupol, Ukrainian officials said. The militants are clearing debris from a bombed theater that had served as the city’s main shelter before it was destroyed seven weeks ago. In the Kherson region, the situation in the region remains difficult, with explosions and shelling in the region. The occupiers continue fighting and looting while there’s no access to medical and food supplies in the regions. Local authorities blocked access to Facebook and Instagram, and cut access to information from Ukraine controlled territories. In the Kharkiv region, battles continue around Izium. In Derhachi, Kharkiv region, Russian forces destroyed or looted farms. The Head of the Derhachi municipality said that due to this fact, it will be impossible to have a sowing campaign this year.

Human rights.
The Reuters investigation presented new proof of the war crimes committed by the Russian troops in Bucha during one month of occupation. Testimonies of the witnesses, remaining objects, and traces of tortures made it possible to further identify some of the responsible Russian troops. 

Another evacuation corridor from Mariupol is expected to take place today. Both the UN and the Vice Prime Minister Vereshchuk confirmed the information. Yesterday evening, Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN, announced that the third phase of the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol has begun. This morning, the Head of the Office of the President, Andrii Yermak, said 500 people managed to leave Mariupol. 

Ukraine underscored the need to establish a special international criminal tribunal. Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Smyrnov met with a delegation of Amnesty International to discuss the prosecution of the human rights violations in Ukraine. According to the statement of the Office of the President, a special international criminal tribunal shall be able to quickly assess the evidence of crimes of Russian aggression against Ukraine. 

Filtration camps.
Russian forces proceed with filtration of the population remaining or leaving the temporarily occupied territories. As representatives of pseudo-republics, FSB officers follow the procedure of interrogating the citizens, collecting fingerprints, checking mobile phones, as well as body examination for tattoos. The main goal is to identify government officials, municipal servants, military veterans (Anti-Terrorist Operation and Joint Forces Operation in Donbas) or Ukrainian activists. In the temporarily occupied territory of the Donetsk region, filtration is carried out in city and district departments of the so-called ‘Ministry of Interior’ in Donetsk, Mariupol, Makiivka, Starobeshov, Mangush, Bugas, Bezymenny, as well as in special filtration camps in Dokuchaevsk, Mykilsky, Mangush, Bezymenny, Yalta (Mangushiv district), in the Donetsk pre-trial detention center (a separate floor is allocated for filtration measures), where the filtration procedure is more stringent. A similar procedure is in the temporarily occupied territory in the Luhansk region. The ‘filtration’ is carried also in local departments of the ‘Ministry of Interior of the Luhansk People’s Republic’, as well as in ‘filtration camps’ in Perevalsky district of Luhansk region. Those who have passports of pseudo-state organizations ‘L/DPR’ and the Russian Federation are not subject to ‘filtering’. During the last month, the occupiers forcibly removed all men from certain districts of Mariupol for the so-called ‘filtration’. About two thousand people were placed in the villages of Bezimenne and Kozatske in the Novoazovsk district. Men are kept in conditions that are not acceptable for living. Tortures are applied upon first signs of disobedience. This week, it was announced that detained men will be dressed in the uniform of Armed Forces of Ukraine to take part in the ‘parade’ on May 9 in Mariupol as ‘prisoners’. 

Foreign policy.  
An international donors conference took place in Warsaw on Thursday. The conference aimed at fundraising for Ukraine in order to deal with the economic and humanitarian impact of Russia’s invasion. The event was Chaired by the European Commission President, Prime Ministers of Poland and Sweden, with the participation of the Prime Minister of Ukraine. During the Conference, Hungary expressed its readiness to take part in rebuilding the infrastructure destroyed during the war in Kyiv region, as well as to treat wounded Ukrainian servicemen. Around $6.5 billion were collected as an outcome of the meeting. Prime Minister of Ukraine Shmyhal from his side presented a new Initiative, United 24, established by the President of Ukraine to serve as a one-stop-shop for charity donations. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi on Thursday invited German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Kyiv. An official from the German president’s office confirmed to POLITICO that Zelenskyi invited Scholz, Steinmeier and the entire German government, signaling a thaw in relations after weeks of diplomatic tension. Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is going to visit Ukraine in the near future. Her trip to Ukraine was announced hours after Kyiv and Berlin resolved diplomatic tensions. 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and US President Joe Biden agreed in a call on Thursday they would not recognize any Russian territorial gains in Ukraine, a German government spokesperson said in a statement.

President Zelenskyi spoke with former President George W. Bush via video link to discuss Russia’s invasion in Ukraine and the US support for Kyiv. 

Alexander Lukashenko in his interview with Associated Press said that the ‘special operation’ conducted by Russia has dragged on. What is interesting, though the Kremlin refuses to use the term ‘war’, Lukashenko himself said ‘he stands for peace’ and repeatedly called for ‘the end of the ‘war’. 

Energy security.

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine presented a brief overview of the energy-related sectors. As of May 5, about 820 settlements in Ukraine remain without electricity, which includes in total about 710 000 consumers. Almost 225 000 consumers are left without gas supply. The most difficult situation with gas supply is observed in Zaporizhzhia, Kyiv, Chernihiv, Mykolaiv and Kharkiv regions. Due to the Russian shelling, 15 oil depots across Ukraine were either destroyed or damaged.   

The Ukrainian segment of the Telegram has changed significantly since Russia’s full-scale invasion. Ukrainian media monitoring NGO ‘Detector Media’ reported about the establishment and promotion of a whole new wave of at least 88 anonymous Telegram channels in Ukraine coordinated from Russia. Many of them are channels that Russia uses to legitimize the occupation of specific territories and to establish control over the information environment. Such channels can be divided into two categories: (1) those that can act as ‘official’ sources of the occupiers; (2) those that imitate media, i.e. publish local news, but are full of propaganda and misinformation. Among the topics covered by these Telegram channels are discreditation of Ukraine and its leadership, including mayors and regional administrations, Russian military victories and demonization of the Ukrainian army, conspiracy theories on the actions of the ‘collective West’ in Ukraine, informing about the destruction of Ukrainian state symbols, evacuation to the previously occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, information on humanitarian aid from Russia. 

Since the beginning of the full invasion, there have been 242 documented cases of the destruction, damage, and theft of Ukrainian cultural heritage. 16 monuments of national significance, 72 of local significance and 6 newly discovered ones were destroyed and damaged. This week, the old buildings of the Lysychansk Multidisciplinary Gymnasium and the Lysychansk Anti-Tuberculosis Dispensary, which were part of the Belgian Architectural Ensemble, established more than 100 years ago, were destroyed.

Politico referring, to the director of UNESCO World Heritage Centre, indicated the concerns of progressive cultural heritage destruction by Russian attacks since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. ‘We are seriously concerned because Ukraine is losing not only an important part of its cultural heritage, but also its identity. A piece of themselves and a piece of history is going to disappear if the war doesn’t stop’, says Lazare Eloundou Assomo, director of UNESCO World Heritage Centre, told POLITICO.

Sociological surveys.
The European Commission presented the results of the Flash Eurobarometer survey in all EU Member States. The survey shows a large consensus among EU citizens in favor of the EU’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  The respondents indicate strong support of the introduced sanctions (80% in favor) as well as humanitarian support (93% in favor) to be provided to Ukraine. 67% of the respondents share their support to the EU financing the purchase and supply of military equipment to Ukraine, while 75% consider that the war in Ukraine shows the need for greater military cooperation within the EU. 66% agree that ‘Ukraine should join the EU when it is ready’ and  71% believe that Ukraine is part of the European family. Read the full report following the link.

The Sociological Group ‘Rating’ held its tenth national sociological survey devoted to ideological markers of the war, especially in the light of the ‘Victory Day’. Thus, as of the end of April 2022, the lowest level of nostalgia for the collapse of the USSR over the history of observations was recorded in Ukraine (11%). The vast majority of the respondents – 87% – do not miss the USSR. The absolute majority (89%) of the respondents support the recognition of the actions of Russian troops in Ukraine as the genocide of Ukrainian people. 76% support the ban on the use of symbols Z and V that are marked on Russian military equipment and 74% support the ban on the St. George’s ribbon in Ukraine. It is noteworthy that over the past 5 years, the support for the latter initiative increased from 45% to 74%. 

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