Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska
Photo: Instagram/ Roman Ratushnui
Cities under attack.
The situation in Donbas is terrible, says the Head of Luhansk Military Administration. 95% of the territory of the Luhansk region is occupied and shelling goes non-stop. Russian forces attempted once again to storm Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. There is still transport and supply connection though the shelling does not stop, as Russians attempt to take control over the key remaining cities in the region. The Lysychansk-Bahmut road is not blocked, Severodonetsk has not been surrounded yet. Currently, in the Luhansk region there are more than 40 thousand people remaining in Ukraine-controlled areas and 99% of them do not want to leave. Due to the constant shelling of Lysychansk, the burial of civilians has been impossible, therefore the local authorities were forced to bury more than 150 bodies in a mass grave.
While the situation in Kharkiv remains relatively calm, the battles continue in the region. During the day, the Russian forces shelled Balaklia (Izium district) – 8 people were injured, including one child, 2 people died; Tsyrkuny and Slobozhanske of Chuhuiv district were also shelled – 2 people were injured.
Mykolaiv region is under regular shelling. 4 social and administrative infrastructure facilities were damaged due to the shelling as well as a number of the residential houses.
Cities under occupation.
New satellite images from occupied Mariupol show Russian ships stealing not only grain but also metal. Project Skhemy (Schemes) released an investigation of Mariupol as a former large industrial center, with many metallurgical enterprises. All these enterprises were destroyed because of the war, and the remains of their products are now being actively exported.
Russian President Putin signed a decree on the simplified issuance of Russian passports to residents of the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions of Ukraine. In fact, this means forced passportisation of residents of the occupied territories of Ukraine. This follows the procedure Russian forces previously practiced in so-called LPR and DPR. In particular, Russian forces have started issuing Russian passports to residents of occupied Mariupol, says an adviser to the Mariupol mayor. Providing Russian passports to the people of the occupied territories gives Russia grounds to claim that its actions are aimed at protecting its own citizens in future.
Russian forces continue stealing grain from the warehouses on the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. Such cases were recorded in Berdyansk, as Russian forces moved the stored grain to Crimea. Previously, local residents counted more than 30 trucks with trailers filled with grain near the Azovkabel plant. A convoy of grain trucks stolen from Asket Shipping was spotted on Melitopol Highway. Earlier, Asket Shipping – a local shipping company – had refused to cooperate with the occupiers and moved its facilities to western Ukraine. The invaders are also trying to remove the remnants of grain from the port of Mariupol by rail. Repairs to the railway line in Mariupol and Sartana station have been started urgently.
The UN Security Council on Conflict and Food Security underlined the importance of the naval unblocking of the Ukrainian ports, especially the port of Odesa. Ukraine provides food for 400 million people. 36 countries are importing more than 50% of their grain from south of Ukraine. Failure to open the ports in the Odesa region is a declaration of war on global food security, David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme warned, and will result in famines, destabilization and mass migration around the world.
The Washington Post released the newly declassified US intelligence images indicating a Russian naval blockade that halted maritime trade at Ukrainian ports. Russian authorities denied (of course) accusation of blocking the maritime routes from Ukraine over the Black Sea. Meanwhile, the world leaders call a deliberate attack on the global food supply chain that has raised fears of political instability and shortages unless grain and other essential agricultural products are allowed to flow freely from Ukraine, states the article.
Visas for Russians.
President Zelenskyi supported the petition to introduce a visa regime for Russian citizens in Ukraine. The petition to impose a visa regime for citizens of the Russian Federation was published on the President’s website on February 11, 2022 and collected more than 25 000 signatures since then. As the next step, the Cabinet of Ministers is to prepare for the implementation of the demand.
The European Commission proposed adding evasion of sanctions to a list of crimes of EU relevance, reports POLITICO. The proposal comes amid calls by Ukraine and some sympathetic EU countries to use assets of the Russian state and sanctioned oligarchs to pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine. The EU member states and the US officials, as well as Ukrainian authorities, have been actively calling for the use of Russian frozen assets to cover the costs of damages in Ukraine.
The European Union is reported to freeze about 23 billion euros of assets of the Russian Central Bank. The figure reportedly has been expected to be much higher, than officially presented. Russia, meanwhile, claims that Western sanctions led to the freezing of about $300 billion of its central bank’s assets globally. Out of the total indicated amount of frozen assets, only less than one-tenth is in the EU, according to information that the European Commission has collected from the 27 EU governments, reports Reuters.
Meanwhile, Switzerland is looking to seize over CHF100 million ($104 million) in assets from an associate of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich. The move is not related to current sanctions imposed on Russia over the past months. However, the proceedings will ‘provide support’ to Ukraine, which has faced even more difficulties in confiscating these assets since the outbreak of war, the Swiss executive said. Ivaniushchenko was a close ally to the ousted former President of Ukraine, Vikror Yanukovich, and was among the responsible for supplying of ‘titushki’ – or mercenary agents – who abducted and tortured activists during the Maidan Revolution. Also, he has been accused of the appropriation of someone else’s property and illegal enrichment on an especially large scale.
The US, the EU and the UK have created the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA). This joint initiative will directly support the efforts of the War Crimes Units of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine to document, preserve, and analyze evidence of war crimes and other atrocities committed in Ukraine, with a view toward criminal prosecutions, it is said in the statement. The scope of the support includes expanded funding for the work of a multinational team of international prosecutors and other war crimes experts already deployed to the region. This interdisciplinary team is providing strategic advice and operational assistance in areas such as collection and preservation of evidence, military analysis, investigation of conflict-related sexual violence, and cooperation with international and national accountability mechanisms.
Russia reports half of Gazprom’s 54 clients in Europe – European energy companies – have opened accounts at Gazprombank. The system, which involves the creation of two accounts at Gazprombank, enables Europe to say it is technically paying for natural gas in euros, while Russia can say it is receiving payment in rubles — a requirement Putin imposed on ‘unfriendly’ nations, reports the Washington Post. By this time Poland and Bulgaria had already cut off the Russian gas, as they refused to pay in rubles.
- Opinion | Ukraine needs weapons, not lectures, from the West | The Washington Post
- How Ukraine’s Greatest Novelist Is Fighting for His Country | The New York Times (nytimes.com)
- General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the total estimated losses of the Russian military as of 10 a.m., May 26, 2022: personnel – around 29 600, tanks ‒ 1315, APV ‒ 3235, artillery systems – 617, MLRS – 201, anti-aircraft warfare systems – 93, fixed-wing aircraft – 206, helicopters – 170, operational-tactical level UAV – 502, cruise missiles – 114, boats and light speed boats – 13, soft-skinned vehicles and fuel tankers – 2225, special equipment – 47.
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