Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska
Photo: Dmytro Kozatskyy
Cities under attack. Within the last two weeks, Ukrainian forces liberated 23 settlements in the Kharkiv region. The main goal is to push Russian forces back to the Ukrainian-Russian official border. Shelling of the Luhansk region continues. According to preliminary data, 12 people were killed and more than 40 were injured due to the Russian shelling in Sieverodonetsk, Luhansk region, on May 19.The Luhansk Regional Military-Civilian Administration claims that the Russian military is deliberately firing on residential buildings. Shelling of the Donetsk region continues as well. The Russian forces destroyed 19 houses in the Donetsk region. There are dead and wounded, according to the National Police. 34 civilian objects in the region were damaged. Thirteen settlements came under fire: Soledar, Bakhmut, Siversk, Avdiivka, Lyman, Marinka, Romanivka, Bakhmutske, Khrestyshche, Donetsk, Kalinove, Sidorovo, New York. Up to 15,000 people remain in the bomb shelters in Sieverodonetsk, Donetsk region. 70% of high-rise buildings in the city are destroyed or damaged. Many of them need to be demolished and new ones built in their place. All mobile towers are disabled.
Cities under occupation. Russian forces continue to disrupt evacuation from the temporarily occupied territories. In Vasylivka, Zaporizhzhia region, in front of the checkpoint of the Russian occupants, there are more than 1 thousand cars that the invaders do not let into the controlled territory of Ukraine. There are women and children in the car. In Energodar, Zaporizhzhia region firefighters went to a rally against the Russian occupation. Previously Russian soldiers kidnapped the head of the firefighters unit in energodar – Vitaly Troyan.
Azovstal. Around 1730 Ukrainian soldiers left the Azovstal steel plant since Monday, Reuters reported. The International Red Cross Committee registered all Ukrainian soldiers leaving ‘Azovstal’ and transferred them to Russian controlled territories. ‘During the registration carried out by the ICRC, each prisoner fills out a questionnaire, indicating his personal data, such as name and date of birth, as well as the nearest relation. This information allows the ICRC to follow the fate of the captured persons and help them stay in touch with their families’, – the Red Cross announced.
Foreign policy. The European Parliament supported the suspension of EU import duties on all goods from Ukraine for one year. Now the decision of the European Parliament must be approved by the EU Council. Also on Thursday, the European Parliament supported a resolution calling on the EU institutions, in particular, the Commission to create a special tribunal for Russian war crimes in Ukraine. In addition to that, the European Parliament voted to extend the mandate of Eurojust, the EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation new powers would allow the agency to store and analyse evidence related to war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. This evidence could consist of DNA profiles, fingerprints, photographs, videos and audio recordings. The measures would enable the further prosecution of the war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine.
Politico reports that Germany on Thursday pledged €1 billion in non-repayable grants, Christian Lindner announced during a meeting of G7 finance ministers that continues today.
The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to deliver more than $40 billion in new military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, sending the measure to President Biden after a week-long delay sparked by a lone senator’s objection.
Switzerland is reopening its embassy in Kyiv, with five staff members, including the ambassador, set to return to the Ukrainian capital over the next few days, said the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). Also this week the Embassy of Israel returned back to Kyiv, as well as yesterday the Ambassador of Finland reopened the Finnish Embassy.
Human rights. While a growing number of the settlements in the Kharkiv region return under Ukraine’s control, more evidence is emerging of the crimes committed during the Russian occupation. The Ombudswoman of Ukraine reports 56 calls received at the special hotline within only 24 hours which reported about mistreatment by Russian soldiers. In just one hour, 10 people applied for sexual violence, 8 of them were raped minors. Ombudswoman Denisova reports the cases of raping of men at the age of 67 and 78, the death of children due to the encountered traumas as a result of the sexual violence.
The New York Times released the footage of the mass killing in Bucha. The released recording and the collected evidence indicate how Russian paratroopers executed at least eight Ukrainian men in a Kyiv suburb on March 4, a potential war crime.
The Associated Press released the recordings of the captive Yulia Paievska’s (Taira), paramedic bodycam showing firsthand horror of Mariupol. Yulia Paievska (Taira), 53 years old, is known in Ukraine as a paramedic, star athlete, and the person who trained the country’s volunteer paramedic force. She was captured by Russian forces on March 16 and is allegedly held in Russia. Campaigns calling for her liberation are underway. ‘This is not about saving one particular woman,’ said Oleksandra Chudna, who volunteered as a medic with Taira in 2014. ‘Taira will represent those medics and women who went to the frontline,’ Associated Press reports.
Environmental security. Ukraine claims significant environmental damages due to the military activities of Russia in Ukraine. Ruslan Strilets, Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources reported 245 cases of ecocide and 1.5 thousand cases of looting of Ukrainian lands and destruction of ecosystems. The war had destroyed ecosystems, deprived wildlife of its natural habitat, and contaminated land in one of the world’s main grain producers. Over the last months, Russian missiles targeted oil depots, thermal power plants, and chemical plants. In Kyiv, only around 1500 cases of the destruction of ecosystems or contamination of land were recorded. Fighting near the defunct Chornobyl atomic power station, the scene of the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986, had caused fires over almost 12000 hectares of land, killing flora and fauna in a unique environment, Reuters reports referring to Minister Strilets.
Energy security. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine reports, as of May 19, due to the damage caused by hostilities, about 696 settlements in Ukraine remain without electricity, a total of about 641.1 thousand consumers. In particular, the Donetsk region – 331.9 thousand consumers, Luhansk – 128.3 thousand, Kharkiv – 91 thousand. More than 184 000 subscribers are left without gas supply. The most difficult situation with gas supply is observed in Zaporizhia, Kyiv, Chernihiv, Mykolaiv, and Kharkiv regions.
Food security. Ukraine has exported 643 000 tonnes of grain since the start of May. This is significantly less compared to the same period of last year when it sold 1.8 million tonnes abroad, the agriculture ministry said on Thursday. The main export challenge concerns The volume has shrunk because of logistical problems
Culture. The Cannes Festival is in the full swing. The Festival hosted the premiere of the ‘Mariupolis 2’ documentary by slain Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius, who was killed in Mariupol in April. The film shows the besieged city with constant explosions and gunfire that at times sound at close range.
State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine (SATD) joins the European Tourism Commission. Today, the European Tourism Commission (ETC) formally invited SATD to join the organization. Membership is valid for at least three years free of charge. After this period, an additional decision on standard membership will be made. This ETC membership envisages support of the Ukrainian tourism agency by providing access to all its resources and research data. It is hoped that through this membership SATD will be better placed to help strategize for the recovery of the Ukrainian travel sector once the war ends.
- Opinion | Russia’s War on Ukraine Shows That It Is Fascist – The New York Times (nytimes.com) – “If Russia wins in Ukraine, it won’t be just the destruction of democracy by force, though that is bad enough. It will be a demoralization for democracies everywhere”. – Timothy Snyder.
- Russia accused of industrial-scale farm plunder in Ukraine (Financial Times).
- Meet the Ukrainians documenting Russian war crimes, in real-time – POLITICO – Investigative journalists, activists, NGOs are joining forces in documenting war crimes of the Russian army in Ukraine.
- Putin’s War on History: The Thousand-Year Struggle Over Ukraine (foreignaffairs.com)
- General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the total estimated losses of the Russian military as of 10 a.m., May 20, 2022: personnel – around 28 700, tanks ‒ 1263, APV ‒ 3090, artillery systems – 596, MLRS – 200, anti-aircraft warfare systems – 93, fixed-wing aircraft – 204, helicopters – 168, operational-tactical level UAV – 460, cruise missiles – 103, boats and light speed boats – 13, soft-skinned vehicles and fuel tankers – 2162.
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