Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska
Photo: Facebook/ Vitaliy Bezgin
Cities under attack.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reported that the situation in Donbas is extremely difficult as the Russian army continues its attempt to advance on Sloviansk and Sievierodonetsk. Over the weekend, the Russians fired at a music school in Svyatogorsk in the Donetsk region. Within a day, Russian invaders shelled 12 settlements in the Donetsk region, resulting in deaths and injuries, with 58 civilian objects being damaged. In the Luhansk region, the bridge between Severodonetsk and Lysychansk was destroyed by Russians for the second time. The time it was blown away was in 2014 and now once again. Russian forces attempt to completely disrupt the logistics connection in the region. In Severodonetsk, the hospital operates with only three doctors remaining and five nurses assisting them. There are 20 patients in the hospital. At least 70 buildings were damaged in the Luhansk region within a day due to the Russian shelling. In Zaporizhzhia region, on Sunday Russian missiles shelled civilian infrastructure in one of the villages of Vilniansk district. On Sunday, for more than an hour, Russian occupiers shelled settlements in the Sumy region from MLRS ‘Grad’. Border settlements in the Chernihiv region remain under attack as the shelling continues from Russian territories. Russian forces shelled the region with the mortars around 9 times. The city of Mykolayiv was shelled with cluster munitions on Sunday.
Cities under occupation.
Self-proclaimed authorities at the occupied territories of Zaporizhzhia region continue to threaten Zaporizhzhia business owners who refuse to trade in rubles. Resistance movement in the occupied territories continues. In the morning of May 22, in the temporarily occupied city of Enerhodar, an unknown person blew up the front door where the occupiers’ protege was living. In Kherson region, Oleshkivsky Pisky the largest sand massif in the dry steppe part of Europe, with an area of 11 thousand hectares is currently, under the occupation
Kharkiv Region Governor Oleh Synehubov reported that Halyna Turbaba, the mayor of Russian-occupied Dvorichne, has been illegally detained by Russians for four days.
President Zelenskyi informed that he expects the Azovstal defenders to be exchanged once the occasion appears. ‘Our guys received a signal from the military that they have the right to go out and save their lives. We are waiting for options of the exchange. All the defenders of Mariupol will return home. Civilians and doctors, seriously injured, have been taken out. Presently, people are still being taken out. It seems to me that in the near future, not even days, but hours, the evacuation of everyone will be finished.’
Now the men of Mariupol will patrol the city together with the Russian military and the ‘People’s Militia of the DPR’. The real purpose of such a ‘patrol’ reportedly is to strengthen of the activist searches the self-proclaimed authorities are starting to look not only for activists but foremost for public utilities, teachers and other specialists,
Ombudswoman of Ukraine Ludmyla Denisova reports that Mariupol is on the verge of epidemic and environmental disasters. For almost three months of the battles and occupation of the city, residents buried relatives and neighbors killed by the Russian troops in the courtyards near houses, close to the water supply and sewerage communications. Most graves are not very deep, almost on the surface. After the launch of damaged water supply systems, water spilled on the ground began to erode natural burials. As a result, there is a high risk of developing a number of diseases. In addition, Russian troops turned the city into a garbage dump, as the waste management system does not operate. People throw the garbage near houses, but no one takes it away. Some of the garbage is flooded with water from damaged water pipes and rain, which leads to the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Also, due to exploded missiles and air bombs, soils and groundwater in the city are also contaminated with chemicals and heavy metals. This threatens mass poisoning and an epidemic of infectious diseases for the people of Mariupol.
The occupiers are increasing the rate of deportations of men from bombed Mariupol to ‘filtration camps’. There are about 4000 people in such camps in Bezymenny and Kozatsky, Novoazovsk district, Donetsk region. Their number has doubled in the last two weeks alone. None of those detained in the camps returned. The men are in horrible conditions, sleeping on the floor, suffocated and unsanitary, tortured and abused. The occupiers claim that in July-August they will be ‘mobilized’ to the ranks of illegal armed groups of the L/DPR.
Russian forces do not allow Ukrainian trucks to go beyond the territory of Crimea. The looted goods in the trucks are first taken to the peninsula, where they are sold for a low price to special dealers from Russia, who later transport the goods further and sell them there at market prices.
Parliament of Ukraine.
Ukrainian Parliament voted for the extension of martial law and general mobilization in Ukraine for 90 days, until August 23. Also the Parliment banned medicines from Russia and Belarus, and also cancelled various agreements with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Among them are the denunciation of the agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the avoidance of double taxation, the agreement ‘on perpetuating the memory of the courage and heroism of the peoples of the Commonwealth of Independent States in the Great Patriotic War’, on a joint agricultural market and the fight against illegal migration. After returning with the president’s proposals, the Verkhovna Rada re-enacted a law recognizing Russia as a terrorist state, its regime as a Nazi, and banning symbols of Russian invasion.
Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine currently hit pause. Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said to Reuters, that Ukraine is not going to make any concessions, as it would only backfire on Ukraine. ‘The war will not stop (after any concessions). It will just be put on pause for some time’. Podolyak underlined that Russia has to leave the territory of Ukraine in order to resume any peace process.
Polish President Duda visited Kyiv to address the Ukrainian parliament. President Andrzej Duda arrived in Ukraine on May 21 and was the first head of a foreign state to deliver a speech to Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion. As a follow-up of the visit, Ukraine and Poland agreed to establish a joint border customs control and work on a shared railway company to ease the movement of people and increase Ukraine’s export potential.
Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa visited Kyiv and Irpin. As a follow-up of the visit, Portugal expressed its readiness to help Ukraine to rebuild the schools and kindergartens ruined because of the war. Also, it will provide 250 mln EUR of macro-financial support. The first transfer in the amount of 100 mln EUR will be provided already this year.
The Russian Foreign Ministry presented a ‘black list’ of US politicians and businesses banned from the entry of Russia. The list includes 963 people, including US President Joe Biden, Vice President Harris, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, etc.
World Economic Forum.
WEF starts on May 23 with Ukraine on the top of the agenda. The event will be kicked-off with a virtual address by Ukrainian President Zelenskyi Ukrainian delegation, including Foreign Minister Kuleba, a number of the Ukrainian parliamentarians, as well as Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko, will join the gathering. Among the international figures the event will be attended by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is expected to give some insights on what military steps the West may take next to support Ukraine. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Polish leader Mateusz Morawiecki will no doubt be asked for further sanctions. For the first time in three decades representatives of the Russian state and business were not invited to participate in the World Economic Forum and what for several years had been used to be the Russian House in Davos now will be the Russia War Crimes House. This symbolic project will present an exhibition about Russian war crimes in Ukraine. Join the livestream of the opening ceremony of the exhibition.
Minister of Transport of Russia, Vitaly Savelyev, says western sanctions have led to serious problems with logistics across Russia. The New York Times reports, Mr. Savelyev said that Russian officials had been forced “to look for new logistical corridors” for moving goods, including a north-south route that would pass through Astrakhan and two ports on the Caspian Sea, Olya and Makhachkala. This is one of the rare occasions that Russian officials comment on the impact of global sanctions on Russia. After the Russian invasion to Ukraine, the United States, the European Union and other nations have imposed a variety of sanctions on Russia and her businesses, including closing airspace to Russian planes, cutting off banks from Western markets banning Russian vessels form the EU ports.
Lithuania halts Russian gas, oil, electricity imports. Lithuania became the first Baltic country to stop importing Russian energy products.
YouTube removes over 70000 videos and 9000 channels spreading fake stories about the war in Ukraine, – The Guardian. In particular, videos were removed from the video hosting, in which the war in Ukraine was called a ‘liberation mission’.
The Ukrainian Institute issued a statement on Russian film director Kirill Serebrennikov’s participation in the Cannes Film Festival. Kirill Serebrennikov gave a speech at a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival on May 19 where he pleaded for lifting sanctions off a Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who is close to Putin; defended one of the Kremlin’s key ideologists; and called for the support of Russian soldiers along with Ukrainian victims of war. The Ukrainian Institute condemns the festival’s management for providing a stage for an unreserved advocate of Russia’s imperialism. Ukraine’s cultural community also condemns the speech of the director Sergei Loznitsa against the boycott of Russian culture which he gave at the Cannes Film Festival after receiving the France Culture award. Like Serebrennikov, Loznitsa insists that Russian culture has nothing to do with the crimes of the Putin regime and that it has always opposed barbarism. Loznitsa separates culture from society, as if one and the other exist in sterile spaces, never coming into contact.
Today, Netflix has released the film Rhino / Носоріг by Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov. The movie depicts the times of 90s in a Ukrainian regional city. Ukrainian perception of these times has been overshadowed by dominating Russian narrative. The Russian movie industry tended to create films and series portraying ‘taught, cruel 90s’ in the most universal way (read Russian) for all post-Soviet spaces. Thus, contributing to the creation of the myth about ‘one nation’, alongside many other myths. In this way, ‘Rhino’ is almost a unique movie, as it gives a Ukrainian perspective on the 90s, an interesting and under-researched period which explains the origins of two Ukrainian revolutions at Maidan, the Russian-Ukrainian war 2014-2022.
Check also the opinion and the factsheet ‘5 facts about Russian culture’ by Olga Birzul, film curator and cultural manager, former programmer of Docudays UA, and former Head of Film at the Ukrainian Institute.
The imperial statehood significantly and profoundly affected entrepreneurs’ value system, says Tetiana Vodotyka. The values of survival and (self-)preservation dominated and often still dominate this system. Self-realization, development, innovation, implementation of bold ideas and dreams, and even the creation of companies meant to last for generations were rarely considered.The Russian Empire (should one simplify matters, of course) had an unwritten rule: loyalty in exchange for profits. Read more in the article ‘The Road to Change: Ukrainian Entrepreneurship between Imperial Pressure and Independence’
‘Mariupol fortress. The last day of Azovstal’.
BABYLON 13 released the video recordings of ‘Orest’ (Dmytro Kozatsky), an Azov Regiment fighter, who spent 84 days at the steel plant. The video captures the final moments at the plant before the last soldiers are taken into captivity.
- Documenting Atrocities in the War in Ukraine | New York Times (nytimes.com) – Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, The New York Times has been collecting evidence of brutalities. On May 19 The New York Times published witness testimony and videos that show how Russian paratroopers executed at least eight Ukrainian men in a Kyiv suburb on March 4, all potential war crimes. The information offers the clearest evidence yet that the victims were in Russian custody just before they were fatally shot. It contradicts Kremlin claims that the crimes were fabricated by Ukraine to falsely depict the Russians as the killers.
- Children back in school after cleanup in traumatized Ukrainian village | Ukraine | The Guardian – Children return to school in Novyi Bykiv in the Kyiv region. They may not have windows, electricity or textbooks yet, but lessons reseum in this village school. The Russian army looted most of the houses in Novyi Bykiv, meaning neither teachers nor students had computers or tablets to proceed with distant learning, thus the school opted to continue studying in offline format.
- As of the morning of May 21, russia had deported 1 377 925 people, including 232 480 children, according to the Ombudswoman of Ukraine
- As of today around 700 000 Ukrainian servicemen and servicewomen are fighting against Russia.
- Around 22 mln tonnes of grain including barley, sunflowers and others are blocked in the Ukrainian ports due to the Russian war, says President Zelenskyi.
- General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the total estimated losses of the Russian military as of 10 a.m., May 23, 2022: personnel – around 29 200, tanks ‒ 1293, APV ‒ 3166, artillery systems – 604, MLRS – 201, anti-aircraft warfare systems – 93, fixed-wing aircraft – 204, helicopters – 170, operational-tactical level UAV – 476, cruise missiles – 110, boats and light speed boats – 13, soft-skinned vehicles and fuel tankers – 2206, special equipment – 43.
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