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War in Ukraine. Daily update. Day 95-96 [10.00 am, 29-30.05.2022 🇬🇧🇸🇰🇪🇸🇭🇷]

Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska 

Photo: Northern Saltivka, Andriy Bashtovy for The Village Ukraine

Cities under attack. Sumy and Chernihiv regions remain the target for the Russian army. On Sunday, Russian forces fired 10 times at border areas there from the territory of Russia. Over the weekend, Russian aircraft bombed a church and a kindergarten in Sumy region. Russian forces shelled a Mykolaiv residential district, damaging 3 apartment blocks. As a result, one person died and two were injured. Head of Kryvyi Rih Regional Military Administration reported that a production facility in Kryvyi Rih’s industrial zone was ‘almost completely destroyed’ after a Russian missile strike. In the Donetsk region, Bahmut and Kramatorsk are left without electricity due to the damage of the high-voltage power lines. In addition, 115 miners of Toretsk have been stuck underground because of the blackout, says Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration. In the Luhansk region, Russian forces have destroyed all of the critical infrastructure in the Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk. The Slovyansk heat power station has stopped operating due to the constant shelling. Personnel of the HPP and their families had to be evacuated due to the life risk. Shelling of the Kharkiv region continues. On Sunday, Kharkiv heard explosions once again. In the region, Russians shelled a solar power plant in the village of Merefa. The facility is out of operation at the moment. On Monday morning, the Russian forces shelled a bridge connecting the Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky district to Odesa, causing it to close down.

Cities under occupation. Zaporizhzhia region. Russian authorities have officially announced the kick-off of preparation and distribution of the Russian passports. Meanwhile, the resistance at the occupied territories continues. In the temporarily occupied Melitopol, locals organized a rally in support of Ukraine. Several dozens of people took to the streets singing the Ukrainian anthem, holding national flags and posters. Kherson region. In some of the villages of the Tyahyn community, the occupants appointed ‘new authorities’ instead of the legitimate Ukrainian authorities. Also, they proceed with holding a ‘census’ during the distribution of humanitarian aid from Russia. In the three villages in the Henichesk district, teachers refused to work according to the Russian curriculum, said Serhii Danilov, deputy director of the Center for Middle East Studies. In the district, the self-proclaimed ‘authorities’ are also preparing to hold a tourist season under the barrels of machine guns. In the village of Genicheska Gorka on Arabat Arrow, armed Russian servicemen broke into the private recreation centers White Swan and Arabatka.club. The occupiers forced local guards to allow the military men into the recreation sites, threatening that ‘in the near future these territories will become Russian property’. Due to the shelling of the Chornobayivka village, one person was killed and six injured. The regional prosecutor’s office opened proceedings on the facts of the shelling, including violation of the laws and customs of war by the military of the Russian Federation.

Human rights. The Russian military took almost 3000 Mariupol residents to a filtration camp in Bezymennyi, Donetsk region, last week. According to ombudswoman Lyudmila Denisova, after the filtration, Ukrainians will be forcibly displaced to Taganrog and then to other regions of Russia. At least 10% of those not filtered are considered ‘dangerous to the Russian regime’ which means they are arrested and sent to the former penal colony №52 in the village of Olenivka or to ‘Izolyatsia’ prison. 

The occupying authorities of the Russian federation use education as a tool to destroy the national identity of Ukrainians. In the Kherson region, Russian occupiers force teachers to switch to the Russian teaching curriculum. The Russian occupiers demand that school principals submit lists of teachers who are ready to teach under the new regime on September 1. For the summer, teachers from the occupied territories of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions are to be sent to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to reorient them to russian standards. Teachers who oppose such changes face dismissal. 

Pro-Russian Telegram channels started distributing the daily videos of the residents of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions repent for disloyalty to the Russians. The videos presented staged confessions, monologues, putting blame on the Ukrainian army and propaganda influence.

Foreign policy. The two-day European Council summit is about to kick-off this afternoon. Unprecedented support for Ukraine remains one of the key topics at the table. However, as of Sunday evening no agreement has been reached about the sixth sanctions package, namely on an embargo of Russian oil. On Monday morning, the Ambassadors will meet for another round to discuss the content of the sixth sanctions package. The European Union proposed banning seaborne oil from Russia while delaying restrictions on imports from a key pipeline in an effort to satisfy Hungarian objections and clinch an agreement on a stalled sanctions package that would target Moscow for its war in Ukraine – Bloomberg reports. Nevertheless, the EU is to announce political backing for a 9 billion euro package of EU loans, with a small grants component to cover part of the interest, so that Ukraine can keep its government going and pay two month worth of wages, reports Reuters.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia Bujar Osmani visited Kyiv and Irpin. During the meeting with the counterpart Kuleba, the Minister expressed further support to Ukraine. Over the weekend, the Embassy of Northern Macedonia resumed its duties in Kyiv.

The parliaments of Estonia, Latvia, Canada, Poland, Lithuania and the Czech Republic supported the recognition of the actions of Russian troops in Ukraine as genocide of Ukrainians.

US state secretary Antony Blinken condemned Lukashenko’s complicity in Russia’s war against Ukraine on the Day of Solidarity with Belarus. 

Church. Ukraine’s Moscow-led church publicly disagrees with Patriarch Kirill over Russia’s war. The ‘Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate’ had issued an official statement saying it ‘condemns the war’ and ‘disagrees with Patriarch Kirill on the war in Ukraine’. The church said it would act independently from Moscow yet didn’t officially declare its autocephaly. The Moscow-led church also denied rapprochement with the independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

Disinformation. Russia is spreading fakes that Ukrainian refugees are allegedly causing inconvenience to EU residents, while Europeans are becoming less supportive of Ukraine – the ombudswoman Lyudmila Denisova reported. ‘Russian media spread information about the “fatigue” of Europeans from Ukrainians, the inconvenience they cause to citizens of European countries and Russians living in Europe, and say that the support of Ukrainian citizens in Europe is becoming less active every day.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, pro-Russia disinformation and propaganda circulated significantly in the EU. Until now, we mainly focused on disinformation spread in EU languages, but in a recent investigation EDMO fact-checking network has been investigating the disinformation that circulates in Russian, especially in the Baltic countries and in Bulgaria. Generally, the investigators report that the main disinformation narratives in Russian are the same as those detected in EU languages, with few differences. This is not surprising, considering that the main pro-Russia disinformation narratives emanate directly from the Russian government, mass media, and propaganda apparatus. For example, the Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov talked about Nazi sympathies in Ukraine and claimed that the massacre in Bucha was staged, while Maria Zakharova, a Russian press officer, wrote that Russia didn’t start the war, but rather ended it, intervening to stop a 8 year-long genocide in the Donbass region. The most interesting difference is that in Russian there is a significant line of false news aimed at exaggerating the support for Moscow’s invasion, which we have not yet detected as relevant in EU languages. For example, exaggerating the support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the Arab world, and exaggerating the support all around the world.

Food security. The European Union is considering launching a special maritime mission to unblock Ukrainian ports. As it has been mentioned numerous times, the mission will not have a military character, but will solely aim at the escort of ships with cargo – primarily grain – from the port in Odesa by warships. Even though the NATO vessels could be an option to escort the ships, it is critical to finish demining first in order to ensure safe passage. Additionally, it would also require an agreement with Turkey, which guards the entrance to the Black Sea, to relax the Montreux Convention and allow vessels to sail through the Turkish Straits and defend shipping in the area, reports EuroActiv.

One of the three ships that have been loaded with grain in the Crimean port of Sevastopol has arrived in Syria, CNN reports.  It was last seen in Sevastopol on May 19 and subsequently tracked transiting the Bosphorus strait and heading south along the Turkish coast. It’s estimated that the ship can carry around 30 000 tons of grain. 

Economics. Due to the war in Ukraine, 35% of the economy does not operate, says Prime Minister Denys Shmygal. According to various estimates by different experts, from 30% to 50% of the economy has been lost as of today. 30-50% of the GDP fall is expected in the near future. According to the Prime Minister, the state budget is executed at the level of 50-70% compared to the pre-war times.

Culture. The jury’s Special Award at Cannes Film Festival went to Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius’ Mariupolis 2, a follow up to his 2016 film Mariupolis. Mariupolis 2 was completed by Kvedaravicius’ Ukrainian partner Hanna Bilobrova after he was killed by the Russian army. The jury said: ‘Our special prize goes to the film, impossible to compare with any other from the competition. To the very radical, courageous, artistic and existential statement “Mariupolis 2”. The director Matras Kvedaravicius is among the thousands of civilians killed by the Russian army since the start of the full-scale Putin invasion’.

Decolonisation reading. On Sunday, Kyiv was celebrating its birthday. First photos of Kyiv caught on camera emerged in 1870. Pompous and often mainly urban photographic landscapes prevented the viewer from seeing the real Kyiv – a multicultural center where life was booming among Ukrainian, Polish, Jewish, and Russian communities. Gennadii Kazakevych, PhD in History, explored the history of Kyiv through the perspective of the photo archives from different collections. Check our new article from the series devoted to Kyiv – ‘Kyiv as a Function: Ukraine’s Capital in the Photographic Narratives of the Russian Empire and the USSR’.

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