Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska
Photo: Telegram channel/ Zelenskiy Official
“Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective. We want them to live the European dream together with us.” President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen
The European Commission has supported candidacy for Ukraine to join the EU. Next week Heads of the EU Member States and Governments are set to make a final decision on granting Ukraine the status of a candidate for the European Union at the summit on 23-24 June. Nevertheless, the European Commission has recommended that the European Council give Ukraine the prospect of becoming an EU member and grant Ukraine candidate status understanding that the following steps are taken:
- adopting and implementing legislation on the procedure for selecting judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine
- further strengthening the efforts to fight corruption through active and effective investigations
- ensuring compliance of money laundering legislation
- implementing a comprehensive strategic plan for reforming the entire law enforcement sector
- implementing the anti-oligarch law
- adopting a media law
- completing the reform of the legislation for national minorities
The European Commission will monitor Ukraine’s progress in implementing these steps and report on them together with a detailed assessment of the country by the end of 2022.
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, visited Kyiv on Friday. It was the second visit of the Prime Minister since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. The meeting focused on the need to increase the supply of heavy weapons, also provision of air defense for Ukraine, as well as economic support for Ukraine, increased sanctions pressure on Russia, and security guarantees.
Denmark and the Netherlands are ready to support granting Ukraine the status of a candidate for EU membership. Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte called the European Commission’s recommendation a “smart compromise” at his press conference after the government meeting. According to him, both supporters and opponents of Ukraine’s candidacy can agree with this conclusion. The Danish Prime Minister, on his side mentioned, that if the EU Commission considers Ukraine ready for candidate status, that would be something Denmark can support.
On June 17, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a resolution ‘On the termination of the Agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of the Russian federation on visa-free travel’. The Prime Minister noted that Russian citizens will not be eligible to travel or be admitted to Ukraine without a visa. The decision will come into force on July 1 this year.
Cities under attack.
In Severodonetsk, Luhansk region, it is now impossible and literally dangerous to leave the Azot chemical plant due to constant shelling and battles. There are 568 people in the shelter, including 38 children, says Serhii Haidai, Governor of Luhansk region. On Friday morning, the Russian occupiers fired rockets at Mykolaiv, killing two people and wounding 20 others. The missiles hit 4 residential high-rise buildings and infrastructure around. On Saturday, Kremenchuk, Poltava region was attacked once again. 4 missiles hit an oil refinery plant and 2 combined heat and power stations.
Yuliia Paievska (‘Taira’), a celebrated Ukrainian medic was released from Russian captivity on Friday, three months after she was abducted from the streets of Mariupol. Paievska is a renowned tactical medic who has been working in the hotspots in Ukraine since 2014, as well as a tactical medical trainer and volunteer. In March, Associated Press released footage of the video documenting her work in early 2022 prior to the siege of Mariupol. The video has been smuggled out of the besieged city of Mariupol by an Associated Press team.
Near Lysychansk, a number of mass burials is growing. Since April, the bodies of 300 civilians of Luhansk region have been buried there due to enemy shelling of Lysychansk, Sievierodonetsk and Rubizhne. Ukrainian military servicemen say they have been burying people here since April
A new report has been released presenting findings of the deliberate killing of civilians in Katiuzhanka, Kyiv region. Between 25 February 2022 and 31 March 2022, it was occupied by Russian military forces convoys as well as used as a logistics hub. During the occupation, at least four civilian vehicles carrying civilian passengers were attacked by Russian forces on and around the main road through Katyuzhanka (Kyivska Street). Five civilians were killed in three separate incidents on 25 February and two morecivilians died as a result of an attack on 28 February. The analysis of the four incidents documented in Katyuzhanka show that Russian forces appear to have opened fire on civilian vehicles without making any effort to ascertain whether the occupants of the vehicles were civilians not taking part in hostilities.
Ukraine is expected to start selling electricity to Slovakia and Hungary this month, a move that could boost revenues for power generators in the country, reports Reuters. The EU and Ukraine linked their electricity grids on March 16 in response to Russia’s invasion, enabling Ukraine to receive emergency power from Europe if military attacks caused outages.
Russia reduced natural gas to Europe again Friday, including cutting flows by half to Italy and Slovakia and completely to France. For the three days it has been making significant reductions to the fuel that powers industry and generates electricity in Europe, which also have hit Germany and Austria. Russia says this is all due to maintenance and the Canadian sanctions prevented German partner Siemens Energy from delivering equipment that had been sent there to be overhauled. However, the German government said maintenance shouldn’t have been an issue until the fall and the Russian decision was meant to sow uncertainty and push up prices, AP reports.
At Zaporizhzhia NPP, Russian forces are interrogating and keeping in captivity NPP personnel. The WSJ reports about abducted Serhii Shvetsm 53-year-old maintenance technician, who’s been taken captive and risks to be called, as interceptive calls confirm. Several employees are handcuffed and driven off for questioning, according to local officials, plant workers and their family members. Many have come back visibly injured after days of interrogation, these people said. More than a dozen have disappeared altogether, they said. Russian forces aim to identify those who collaborate with Ukraine Armed Forces, as well as to get information about the technical specifics of the plant.
Norway is introducing another round of sanctions against Russia, including a ban on the import of oil by sea from Russia to Norway. The ban on importing crude oil and other petroleum products from Russia enters into force immediately, but the regulations contain transitional periods until December 5, 2022, for crude oil, and until February 5, 2023, for petroleum products.
Meanwhile, the Council of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is suspending all cooperation with Russia and Belarus. The Council of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) decided to suspend all cooperation with Russia and Belarus and terminate the International Cooperation Agreement (ICA) after it expires in 2024.
Ukraine finished its sowing season. The Ministry of Agriculture reports that 95% of the projected area is sown, which is 13.4 million hectares. The biggest changes in the structure of crops concerned wheat, corn, sunflower and soybeans. The amount of wheat and soybeans remained at the level of the previous year. The area under sunflowers decreased compared to last year, but insignificantly and maintained a high figure of 4 million 702 thousand hectares. There was a reduction in corn crops, as this year 4 million 639 thousand against 5 million 500 thousand hectares last year.
Ukraine has been ranked 24th in the National Cyber Security Index (NCSI). Ukraine scored 75.32 out of a possible 100 points and is ahead of, for example, Austria, Norway, and Slovenia.
Meanwhile in Russia, Google’s local subsidiary in Russia filed for bankruptcy because Moscow’s measures against the U.S. firm have made it impossible to do business, reports Politico. According to Google’s statement Russian authorities’ seized Google Russia bank account and made it untenable for the local office to function, including employing and paying Russia-based employees, and meeting financial obligations.
After the beginning of the full-scale war, Olha Leniuk, a copywriter in Western Ukraine, said goodbye to her husband, who had recruited himself to local defense forces, and started to volunteer – to weave camouflage nets and fight on the cyber front. She is doing that to keep Ukraine a free and democratic country. Read about why Olha thinks freedom is as ultimate as breathing in the story.
- Opinion | Roman Ratushny’s death reminds Ukrainians that the war is taking their best | The Washington Post – On June 9, Roman Ratushny, 24-year old activist was killed in battle near Izyum, not far from Kharkiv. Ratushny was among students beaten by the police on the very first days of the Revolution of Dignity, while being one of the university freshmen. Later he was known as a recognised public activist for saving one of Kyiv’s landscape areas against another development project. Being just 24, he joined the Ukrainian army to fight against Russia, because his desire to live in a free country was primary goal. Dying at his young age, he symbolized a generation that stands for freedom.
- How Ukraine Will Win: Kyiv’s Theory of Victory in the War Against Russia (foreignaffairs.com) – ‘Russia’s current invasion is graver than its past one, and the world cannot afford to turn away. That’s because Russian President Vladimir Putin does not simply want to take more Ukrainian territory. His ambitions don’t even stop at seizing control of the entire country. He wants to eviscerate Ukrainian nationhood and wipe our people off the map, both by slaughtering us and by destroying the hallmarks of our identity. He is, in other words, engaged in a campaign of genocide’.
- Big deal: What does EU candidate status actually mean for Ukraine? | POLITICO – Providing Ukraine with a candidate status is a big step and recognition of the price Ukraine pays for its belonging to the European direction. Nevertheless, thet status is a first step in, quite often, long way before the actual membership.
- Why fear of provoking Putin is the most provocative policy of all | Atlantic Council – ‘It is now clear that policies driven by a misguided fear of provoking Putin have in fact provoked Europe’s biggest war since the days of Hitler and Stalin. Continuing along the path of appeasement and compromise will only make the problem worse’.
- Rhetoric and reality collide as France, Germany, Italy back Ukraine’s EU bid | Politico – By proclaiming their support for Ukraine and Moldova becoming official candidates for EU membership, the leaders of France, Germany and Italy on Thursday sent an unequivocal message to Vladimir Putin: the Soviet sphere of influence is dead – and it will not be resurrected by force.
- At least UAH 900 billion is needed to restore road infrastructure damaged due to the Russia’s war in Ukraine
- General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the total estimated losses of the Russian military as of 10 a.m., June 18, 2022: personnel – around 33350, tanks ‒ 1465, APV ‒ 3573, artillery systems – 739, MLRS – 233, anti-aircraft warfare systems – 98, fixed-wing aircraft – 216, helicopters – 180, operational-tactical level UAV – 594, cruise missiles – 129, boats and light speed boats – 14, soft-skinned vehicles and fuel tankers – 2513, special equipment – 55.
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Thank you for supporting Ukraine! Slava Ukraini! Glory to Ukraine!