Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska
Photo: Finbarr O’Reilly
Cities under attack.
Explosions were reported in Mykolaiv and Odesa. Russian missiles hit a railway in western Ukraine. The strikes occurred close to the Beskyd tunnel in the Carpathian mountains – not far from the border with Slovakia. Maksym Kozytskyi, the head of the Lviv region military administration, said five people had been injured. The Russian forces continue shelling the Sumy region from the territory of Russia. Head of Sumy Military Administration reported that Russians have been dropping improvised explosive devices from drones on the territory of the Krasnopil community. During the night another three missile attacks hit the community. Occasional shelling of Kharkiv city and region continues, resulting 6 people injured. Russian forces shelled Donetsk region 11 times from tanks, artillery, mortars, MLRS ‘Hurricane’, MLRS ‘Tornado’ targeting Slovyansk, Soledar, Bakhmut, Avdiyivka, Mykolaivka, Toretsk, Svyatogorsk, Tetyanivka, Sukha Balka, and New York community. 4 civilians were killed and 7 were injured. 20 infrastructure facilities were damaged – residential buildings. In the morning, a cluster munition attack on the outskirts of Slovyansk. There is no gas supply in the region, partly water and electricity. In the Luhansk region, Russian forces control 80% of the city, however Ukrainian maintains an industrial zone. In Lysychansk, the city hospital building was damaged. Another 52 houses were damaged. Preliminary 20 settlements of Kherson region are reported to be liberated from Russian occupation.
During a joint press-conference with the US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Russia is unlikely to retaliate after US provision of advanced weapons to Ukraine as because NATO and its allies are supporting Ukraine’s right to self-defense, ‘a right which is enshrined in the UN treaty.’ Also he re-assured that NATO enlargement has been a great success which needs to be moved forward.
Denmark has voted in a historic referendum to take part in EU security policy, scrapping its 30-year opt-out. The vote will allow Danish troops to take part in EU military missions. For 30 years, the defense reservation has meant that Denmark played no part in most European defense and security initiatives. The yes-vote also means joining the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy, and it opens the door to other security-related agencies. AFo example, Denmark is currently unable to work with its European allies on tackling cyber threats.
Poland reaffirmed its support for Ukraine’s accession to the EU and NATO, and will work to ensure that Ukraine receives candidate status for EU membership in June this year. The governments also agreed to strengthen defense cooperation, develop the Polish-Ukrainian-British Union, to work on strengthening of the sanctions against Russia, and to strengthen cross-border cooperation.The governments signed the agreements on streamlining border traffic and customs controls, cooperation between businesses, and on reopening an idled power line to export electricity to Poland from Ukraine. Poland will help with export of the Ukrainian grain and become an economic hub for Ukraine. Warsaw will receive funding from the EU to increase capacity and improve infrastructure. Ukraine and Poland adopted a joint statement as a result of intergovernmental consultations. The Polish partners also reaffirmed their readiness to participate in the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine.
The Norwegian Government has decided to bring wounded soldiers from Ukraine to Norway for medical evacuation and treatment at Norwegian hospitals. Norway is already one of the largest contributors to the medical evacuation scheme for civilians from the war in Ukraine. It will also be possible to bring wounded soldiers to Norway as part of the country’s efforts under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM). This will be within the frame of 550 patients through the Medevac programme that had previously been agreed. ‘Norway has no experience with medical evacuation of wounded soldiers from ongoing conflicts. We have had to ensure that the rules allow the inclusion of wounded soldiers in the medical evacuation programme,’ says Minister of Justice and Public Security Emilie Enger Mehl.
Hungary was holding up the finalization of the European Union’s sanctions package against Russia on Wednesday, insisting on the removal of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill from the list of sanctioned individuals – Reuters reports. The Hungarian demand came as a surprise. EU diplomats had expected agreement to be reached on the package, which was presented by the European Commission on May 4. EU ambassadors will continue the discussions on the legal text of the sanctions this week.
Italy is ready to help with the demining of the Black Sea for grain exports from Ukraine. Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio said that the country hopes for the UN leadership in opening corridors for grain exports from Ukraine, and is ready to help with demining. The US is also showing some flexibility, as it has prepared to give “comfort letters” to shipping and insurance companies to help facilitate exports of Russian grain and fertiliser, reports the Guardian.
Russia’s war in Ukraine caused instability not only within Ukraine, but also beyond. The volatility in global electricity prices has underlined the need to phase out fossil fuels and accelerate decarbonization. EMBER think tank presented a new report on the energy transition towards renewables. However, 17 out of 27 EU countries plan to increase renewable energy. If achieved, EU countries’ plans see 31% less fossil fuel electricity in 2030 compared to 2019 strategies. Now, EU country strategies plan for 63% renewable electricity in 2030. Meanwhile, 19 European governments have increased ambition on decarbonisation in last two years and 5 countries introduced additional low carbon measures for heating and industry.
25 volunteer drivers were delivering humanitarian aid from Zaporizhzhia to Mariupol and were abducted and detained on the territory of a former penal colony in the occupied village of Olenivka, Donetsk region. The relatives of the captives were refraining from publicity of the case, however the men are datained for already two months and according to their latest information, the captives are about to be tried under the “terrorist law of the DPR.”
Attitude towards LGBTQ+ is changing in Ukraine. Since 2016, the number of those who have a positive attitude towards the LGBT community in Ukraine has quadrupled. 64% of the respondents agree that LGBT persons should have the same rights as other citizens, while 26 % disagree. Even among those who generally have a negative attitude towards LGBT people, 42% agree that they should have the same rights as all citizens. Also representatives of LGBTQ+ community are part of the armed forces of Ukraine. In 2021, representatives of the community formed a separate platoon of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Currently, 66% of the respondents have a positive attitude towards the fact that LGBT people are a part of active resistance to the Russian invasion. Students and pupils, as well as military and police officers are the most tolerant among various professions and occupations.
More than a month after Russian soldiers were pushed from the area, people in villages north of Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv say they are still finding their neighbors buried in shallow graves – reports CNN. Officials say more than 300 people are still missing from that region.
During the first months of the war Isabel Merkulova, a theater actress in Lviv, has stopped working and started to volunteer, helping out coming refugees and sorting humanitarian help from abroad. Less than a year ago, Isabel was playing a role in a theater show about war by a German-Ukrainian troupe; now, she is experiencing it herself. See how she copes with it in the story.
Russia keeps claiming betrayal by the West as well as Russian self-victimization is the ‘broken promise of not enlarging NATO to the East’. The Kremlin has also used this myth to justify the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 – a move that has potentially incalculable consequences for European and even global security. Russia is keeping not only military offensive in Ukraine, but also heavy disinformation flanks beyond. GLOBSEC presented the analysis and recommendations on the disinformation counteraction. Among the recommendations is to assign existing groups within NATO to coordinate the exchange of best practices of counteracting disinformation as well as refine, standardize, operationalise and test them during dedicated exercises.Together with the EU, NATO should create a programme that will support local initiatives in partner countries.
- Memo to Henry Kissinger: Appeasing Putin means enabling genocide By Stephen Blank | Atlantic Council (atlanticcouncil.org) – ‘Confirmation of Russia’s genocidal objectives in Ukraine goes far beyond the unhinged public statements of Putin and his propagandists. During the first three months of the war, evidence has emerged of mass murders, widespread torture and sexual violence designed to hinder future childbirth, forced deportations (especially of children), the destruction of Ukrainian cultural heritage, and systematic policies of Russification. In areas occupied by the Kremlin, potential opponents of the Russian takeover have been subjected to Soviet-style round-ups and in many cases remain unaccounted for. These war crimes are not aberrations but rather a revival of traditional Russian imperial policies toward Ukraine.’
- Russia and the Menace of Unreality: How Vladimir Putin is revolutionizing information warfare By Peter Pomerantsev | The Atlantic – In 2014 Peter Pomerantsev wrote the article right after occupation of Crimea and establishment of Russian backed proxy-republicts in Donbas. The article is a good reminder how the Kremlin now, like 8 years ago, is trying to be the one to define ‘reality’ according to its own rules. Helping Putin to ‘save his face’ will only strengthen the Kremlin’s weaponization of absurdity and unreality. ‘The new Russia doesn’t just deal in the petty disinformation, forgeries, lies, leaks, and cyber-sabotage usually associated with information warfare. It reinvents reality, creating mass hallucinations that then translate into political action. […] The invention of Novorossiya is a sign of Russia’s domestic system of information manipulation going global.’
- The war claimed 35% of Ukraine’s GDP. We have lost more than 200 factories. Our direct losses already exceed $600 billion, according to the Head of the Office of President Andrii Yermak.
- Due to the Russian war in Ukraine, 243 small children were killed, 446 were injured, 139 children are still missing, says Head of the National Police.
- General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the total estimated losses of the Russian military as of 10 a.m., June 2, 2022: personnel – around 30 500, tanks ‒ 1363, APV ‒ 3353, artillery systems – 661, MLRS – 208, anti-aircraft warfare systems – 95, fixed-wing aircraft – 210, helicopters – 175, operational-tactical level UAV – 521, cruise missiles – 120, boats and light speed boats – 13, soft-skinned vehicles and fuel tankers – 2325, special equipment – 51.
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