Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska
Photo: Telegram channel/ Zelenskiy Official
Cities under attack.
The Ministry of Defense of UK indicates Russia’s capture of Lyman supports its operational main effort, which likely remains the encirclement of Severodonetsk and the closure of the pocket around Ukrainian forces in Luhansk region. Overall military goal of Russia is to take full control of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. The Russian military shelled an officially approved armored evacuation vehicle in the Luhansk region, killing a French journalist and halting the evacuation of ten people. Heavy shelling in the Donetsk region damaged a branch of the ammonia pipeline. A cloud of toxic gas has affected several villages, thus the authorities urged people to seek shelter and use all the necessary precautions. The Russians continue shelling border districts of the Sumy region. This time, the artillery shells were filled with flechettes. Steel rods from Russian shells damaged buildings and property of residents of Shostka district. Over the course of the night, Russian artillery targeted two communities in the same district. Russian forces also shelled Mykolayiv yesterday afternoon, damaging a house and injuring two children, who were inside.
Cities under occupation.
Residents of the village of Vysokopillya in the Kherson region are forced to survive without drugs and food, suffering from torture and repression. Another village bordering the Dnipropetrovsk region is left without electricity, gas and drinking water as a result of enemy shelling from BM 21. Meanwhile, civilians are threatened or blocked from leaving the region.
Russian propagandists have been spreading fakes that the Ukrainian authorities are going to disconnect the temporarily occupied Kherson and Zaporizhia regions from Ukrainian mobile operators and Internet providers. Yesterday, residents of Kherson region reported that mobile and internet connection disappeared. Both local witnesses and Russian authorities report that self-proclaimed Russian authorities are working on launching Russian telecommunication providers in the region.
In Mariupol, the invaders searched the premises of the Red Cross spreading propagandist misinformation about their “crimes”. Advisor to the Mariupol City Mayor Andriuschenko reports that Russian authorities claim to have found more than a thousand medical records mentioning children ‘with healthy organs’, instructions on how to handle weapons for children and reports on the purchase of incubators for laboratories designed for the cultivation of biological microorganisms on the premises. Therefore, this outrageous “evidence” makes Russian authorities allege that the Red Cross was a cover for the activities of the Azov battalion.
The occupiers have already buried at least 16 000 Mariupol residents in mass graves near the villages of Stary Krym, Mangush and Vynohradne, the Mariupol City Council reports. Another 5000 Mariupol residents were buried by the city’s public utilities as of mid-March. Therefore the death toll in the city could be higher than expected, reaching nearly 22 000 civilians.
The explosion has been reported in the residential area of temporarily occupied Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia region. Due to the explosion, some people were injured. However, the legitimate mayor of Melitopol says most likely the explosion was the result of local resistance as the city’s inhabitants continue to protest against the occupation. The injured were allegedly from the Russian collaborant circles.
First war rape case went to trial, reports Prosecutor General of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova. Mikhail Romanov, a serviceman of the Russian Armed Forces, will be put on trial for the murder of a civilian man and sexual abuse of his wife. In March, during the occupation of the Brovary district (Kyiv region), he shot and killed the owner of a house while intoxicated and raped his wife together with another occupant immediately after the murder.
The first day of the European Council meeting concluded with the statement referring to the partial sanctioning of Russian oil among all else. The EU has agreed on immediately covering more than ⅔ of oil imports from Russia.The EU is to cut 90% of oil imports from Russia by the end of this year, The agreement on the oil ban, after 26 days of negotiations, was possible after concessions for Hungary were agreed upon, including allowing crude oil transit by pipeline. Also, the largest Russian bank, Sberbank, is to be cut off from the SWIFT system, as well as three more Russian state-owned broadcasters. The European Council takes note of the preparation of the Commission’s opinions on the application for EU membership of Ukraine as well as the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, and will revert to the matter at its June meeting, it says in the statement.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna visited Kyiv to meet with her Ukrainian counterpart Kuleba. After the meeting, Foreign Minister Kuleba said ‘We need a clear legal affirmation that Ukraine is a part of the European integration project, and such an affirmation would be the granting of candidate status’. As for Ukraine’s status as an EU candidate country, the French minister said: ‘We favor fast-track procedure for EU candidate status for Ukraine. Ukraine applied for admission; it is a legitimate application. It will be considered by EU heads of state at the end of June. In the coming days, in mid-June, the European Commission will issue an expert opinion. I do not know yet what this conclusion will be, but we are all working to ensure unanimity among EU member states and this application to be accepted on the basis of all criteria and very clear conditions, according to the conclusion of the European Commission.’
Bridget Brink, newly appointed US ambassador to Ukraine has arrived in Kyiv. This is the first officially appointed US Ambassador since May 2019, after a 3-year period of interim Ambassadors. The diplomat has previously served as US Ambassador to the Slovak Republic since August 15, 2019, until her confirmation as the Ambassador to Ukraine.
War for freedom.
Sofia M. fled bombed Kyiv in the first week of the war and became a refugee in Berlin, Germany. She grew up in the southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol, actively consuming Russian culture products such as pop music and literature. Now, after surviving war terror, Sofia can’t stand anything related to Russia and stopped speaking Russian. See why in the story.
- The west must hold its nerve on Ukraine. Opinion by Gideon Rachman | Financial Times – “The war in Ukraine is essentially being fought on three fronts and among three protagonists. The first front is the battlefield itself. The second front is economic. The third front is the battle of wills. The three participants are Russia, Ukraine and the western alliance backing Ukraine”.
- Ukraine’s natural environment is another casualty of war. The damage could be felt for decades by Ivana Kottasová | CNN – While the world’s eyes are focused on the human suffering brought about by Russia’s invasion, environmental experts in Ukraine are keeping a close record of the environmental damage it has caused, to try to repair it as soon as possible, and in hopes of extracting reparations. Satellite images show large swaths of eastern and southern Ukraine are currently engulfed in wildfires sparked by explosions and made worse by the fact that emergency services, forest management workers and the army are unable to get to them. The smoke from the fires is polluting the air.
- Latvian PM: ‘Russia has to lose’ | POLITICO
- NATO Secretary General interview: ‘It’s Extremely Important That We Don’t Forget the Brutality’ by Tom McTague | The Atlantic (theatlantic.com) – NATO’s efforts to help Ukraine are not simply about military strength but about character, the alliance’s leader indicated.
- General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the total estimated losses of the Russian military as of 10 a.m., May 31, 2022: personnel – around 30 500, tanks ‒ 1358, APV ‒ 3302, artillery systems – 649, MLRS – 207, anti-aircraft warfare systems – 93, fixed-wing aircraft – 208, helicopters – 174, operational-tactical level UAV – 515, cruise missiles – 120, boats and light speed boats – 13, soft-skinned vehicles and fuel tankers – 2275, special equipment – 48.
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