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War in Ukraine. Daily update. Day 114 [10.00 am, 17.06.2022 🇬🇧🇯🇵]

Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska 

Foreign policy. 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and President of Romania Klaus Iohannis visited Ukraine, namely Kyiv and Irpin. The officials pledged support for putting Ukraine on a path to membership in the European Union but did not promise the country additional heavy weapons on the scale it says it needs to repel a bloody Russian advance in the East. Therefore, the four Member States would seek to provide Ukraine candidate status without additional conditions, though imposing conditions for reforms at all subsequent stages. Emmanuel Macron, President of France, stated the visit to Ukraine by the leaders of the three largest EU economies – Germany, Italy, and France – and the President of Romania as well was aimed at forming unanimity in the European Union regarding Ukraine’s first step towards accession, which is the granting of candidate status. Andrii Yermak, Chief of the Office of the President of Ukraine added that Ukraine had handed over to the leaders “a full package of sanctions against Russia, prepared by the McFaul-Ermak international group.” Denmark foreign minister Jeppe Kofod said that the country is ready to support Ukraine EU candidacy if the European Union commission considers Ukraine ready for candidate status.

The Lithuanian Seimas has recognized the removal of Ukrainians to Russia as deportation of the Ukrainian people. The resolution states that more than one million civilians were forcibly deported to Russia or territories under its control to ‘destroy the Ukrainian identity’, noting that 200 000 children were among them. In addition, the parliament called for the criminal prosecution of Russia’s leadership for its invasion of Ukraine.

Today, Britain will welcome representatives from Ukraine and business leaders to discuss how UK companies can help rebuild key infrastructure in Kyiv. 

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted its second Resolution on Ukraine, strongly supporting the country’s unconditional candidate status to the EU. The European civil society will be working hand in hand with Ukraine for Ukraine on the reconstruction of the country delivering a stronger, greener, more resilient and sustainable European partner.

Cities under attack.

Russia’s main strategic, military-political and military-economic goals regarding our state remain the complete destruction of Ukrainian statehood and the (Ukrainian) nation, as well as the destruction of the military and economic foundations of our state,’ said Deputy Minister Hanna Malyar.

She told a briefing that the situation remained difficult for Ukrainian forces, and that Russia’s main focus now was on establishing full control over the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine. 

Cities under the occupation.

In the Kherson region, the representative of proxy government Kirill Stremousov, the deputy head of the Moscow-imposed regional administration, announced starting from Friday all newborns would be granted Russian citizenship: “Children born after 24 February in the Kherson region will automatically receive citizenship of the Russian Federation.” Orphans will also be registered as Russian citizens.

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said Russia has intensified the relocation of families of their servicemen to Ukrainian settlements occupied by Russian forces. In particular, many Russian families have been brought to Kherson. So-called Russian immigrants are arbitrarily occupying the abandoned houses and apartments of Ukrainian citizens who fled from Russian occupation. 

Human rights.

Russian forces have set up at least 20 filtration camps and prisons in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, says Ukraine’s permanent representative to international organisations. Currently, the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, according to human rights activists, are among the leaders in the number of abductions by the Russian military in Ukraine, the ambassador said.

Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers  adopted the decision condemning human rights violations committed by the Russian occupying authorities, against ethnic Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars and other residents of temporarily occupied Crimea. The Committee of Ministers reaffirmed that it does not recognise the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation.The decision comes as a  follow-up to the previously presented report on human rights situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol, Ukraine. The report indicates the series of human rights violations, persecution of the activists and staged trials.

The European Court of Human Rights has issued an interim ruling that Russia should not allow the execution of Moroccan citizen Brahim Saadun, who was convicted in occupied Donetsk as a Ukrainian “mercenary”, as he is in fact a Ukrainian citizen.

War crimes prosecution.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan said his team had gathered evidence of many alleged crimes including sexual offences, crimes against children, and torture and mistreatment of prisoners, though gave no details. He expressed his belief that this prosecution will show that there is no escape from the responsibility.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands’ secret service prevented Russian spies from working for the ICC. According to the Netherlands’ General Intelligence and Security Service, Sergey Cherkasov, who is linked to Russia’s military secret service, tried to become an intern for the International Criminal Court. The internship would have lasted beyond the start of the ICC investigation into alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine. Therefore, had Cherkasov succeeded, he would have obtained access to the court’s email system and might have been able to copy, tamper with or destroy documents or evidence submitted, reports the Guardian.

Energy Security.

In May 2022, Ukrainian gas producers increased natural gas production by 6 % compared to April – up to 1553 million cubic meters, the Energy Suppliers Association said. At the same time, natural gas consumption in Ukraine continues to plummet: only 714 million cubic meters were consumed in May, which is almost half as much as a year ago.

Food security.

Maxar Technologies released the new images, dated May 19 and 21, showing the ships docked in Sevastopol, Crimea, next to what appear to be grain silos with grain pouring off of a belt into an open hold. Both ships have now left the port, according to the ship tracking site MarineTraffic.com, with the Matros Pozynich sailing through the Aegean Sea claiming to be on its way to Beirut and the Matros Koshka still in the Black Sea, says CNN.

As previously stated, the US will support setting up temporary silos close to Ukraine’s borders. They would be intended to prevent Russia from stealing Ukrainian grain and make sure the country’s winter harvest is not lost due to a lack of storage, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Thursday.

Education.

Only 8 % of schools in Ukraine have the necessary bomb shelters in order to proceed with the academic year, says the Education Ombudsman. According to the current education process regulations, schools can return to offline education only in case the school building has a shelter available. Otherwise, they have to continue with online schooling. Not to mention, according to the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, 2000 educational institutions were damaged due to bombing and shelling by the Russian Armed Forces, and 208 of them were destroyed.

Sanctions.

The UK announced another round of the sanctions. This time, on the list there is Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as other allies of Vladimir Putin. A Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova got sanctioned  for the forced transfer and adoption of Ukrainian children. The statement indicates that Lvova-Belova has enabled 2000 vulnerable children being violently taken from the Luhansk and Donetsk regions and orchestrated a new policy to facilitate their forced adoptions in Russia.

Cyber security.

At least seven Russian aligned cyber threat groups have conducted destructive attacks and espionage operations in Ukraine in support of Russian military goals. Microsoft reports those with known or suspected ties to Russian military intelligence have used destructive wiper malware or similar tools on select Ukrainian networks “at a pace of two to three incidents a week” since the beginning of the invasion. More than 40 percent of the destructive attacks targeted critical infrastructure organizations. In total, the different Kremlin-linked hacking groups have conducted almost 240 cyber operations against Ukrainian targets. The scope is broader than perceived from media outlet reports and represents potential saturation of Russian cyber capabilities. Particularly considering the magnitude of the Ukrainian defense that could be tying down the groups. John Hultquist, a vice president at Mandiant states, “defenders [in Ukraine] are very aggressive and very good at confronting Russian actors.” 

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