Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska
Photo: Mads Nissen
Important decision to come, as President Zelenskyi finally signed the law on the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. Now, the Ukrainian Parliament must ratify the Council of Europe’s Convention on the Prevention of Domestic Violence on 20 June. Ukraine signed the document back in 2011, 11 years ago, but it is only now that it is about to be ratified. Ukraine’s activist community has been calling for years to adopt the document to secure women’s protection against domestic violence and any form of gender-based violence. While the conservatives were fearing the term ‘gender’ to be included into the official documents, the rationality thankfully had taken over, and the President finally gave his backing to the adoption of the Convention.
On June 18, another round of civilian exchange took place between Ukraine and Russia. 5 Ukrainian civilians were abducted by Russian troops, four of them were captured in the Kyiv region during a month-long occupation.
In Mariupol, the problem with drinking water is deteriorating. People are collecting service water from puddles just to have something to drink.
Russia claims it has evacuated (aka deported) more than 307 000 children to Russia since the start of the war. Head of the National Defense Management Center of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mizintsev, quoted by Interfax, said a total of 1 936 911 Ukrainians have been moved to Russia since the beginning of the war, including 307 423 children. The Russians claim to have received more than 2.7 million applications from those wishing to move to Russia from more than 2000 settlements in Ukraine.
This week, there will be a lot of anticipation of the EU decision regarding Ukraine’s status in the EU. For the country it is a lot of the recognition of the efforts its people are putting in to prove its European direction and the shared values.
European Union Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore has arrived in Kyiv to show solidarity with Ukraine. Mr Gilmore has visited Bucha and Irpin and will make several more visits to observe the evidence of atrocities committed by Russia in Ukraine.
Cities under attack.
On Saturday, President Zelenskyi visited South of Ukraine, namely Mykolaiv and Odesa regions. In Mykolaiv, he visited frontlines to meet with Ukrainian troops, while in Odesa he visited National Guard positions. Meanwhile, Mykolaiv was shelled: Russian troops fired five missiles at the city from the direction of Kherson in the evening. Two missiles hit an industrial facility, one a residential building, and another one hit the production infrastructure. Another missile attack hit Ochakiv, Mykolaiv region, killing one civilian and injuring 2. In Zaporizhzhia region, Russian invaders seized the Zaporizhzhia iron ore plant. It is the only facility in Ukraine that extracts iron ore from a depth of 1 kilometer. Since last week, the plant has not been operating. If pumping stations there do not work and water is not pumped out, then in a week the water level rises and this can have serious consequences: pollution of surface waters and horizons with iron ore, said Head of Zaporizhzhia administration. In the Dnipropetrovsk region, in Novomoskovsk three missiles hit an oil refinery plant injuring three people. In the Luhansk region, civilians refused to evacuate from Azot chemical plant shelters. As previously reported, more than 500 people are hiding at the plant shelters, including nearly 38 kids. Russia conducted 3 air strikes around Lysychansk on June 19 as fighting is ongoing in Severodonetsk, reports Luhansk Region Head Serhii Haidai. Haidai also says Russia shelled 12 settlements in the region using artillery. In the Kharkiv region, occupant forces shelled a gas processing plant. Several residential houses were damaged. Reports indicate that Russia is trying to shift the frontline to Kharkiv, thus the intensity of the attacks increases. Sumy region is constantly shelled with mortars and artillery. On Sunday only, seven instances of mortar shelling were recorded in one of the communities.
In the Sunday evening address President Zelenskyi made a prediction that Russia would escalate its attacks this week as European Union leaders consider whether to back his country’s bid to join the bloc and Russia presses its campaign to win control of east Ukraine.
Cities under the occupation.
In Zaporizhzhia region, the occupiers are trying to intimidate the local authrities and suppress any resistance movement by imposing the death penalty. Ukrainian guerrillas are still keeping the resistance. Also, the occupiers continue to fight among themselves for power and finances.
Russian forces stole 15 000 tons of sunflower and 10 000 tons of grain from the granaries of the Luhansk region, said the head of the regional military administration Serhiy Haidai. According to him, the Russian occupation authorities are offering farmers 8 000 rubles (appr. €133) per ton of grain for the future sowing season, and Ukraine paid twice as much – 8600 UAH (appr. €276).
Today, European Union foreign ministers will discuss ways to free millions of tonnes of grain stuck in Ukraine due to Russia’s Black Sea port blockade at a meeting in Luxembourg.
The sowing season is completed, however the new challenge arises, reports Bloomberg. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has taken a massive toll on Ukraine’s agriculture sector. While the ports remain closed, harvests are getting underway with silos still loaded with last year’s crops. Farmers are searching for alternatives to store the growing stockpiles while already worrying about how much they’ll be able to plant for the 2023 season.
Andrii Yermak, Head of the Office of the President, says the McFaul-Ermak Group Sanctions Action Plan has already been implemented at 48%. The United States has imposed new financial restrictions, Switzerland has joined the sixth package of EU sanctions, and the United Kingdom has imposed sanctions against Patriarch Kirill. However, there is still no progress on sanctions in the energy and transport sectors, says Yermak, considering Russia obviously blackmails the EU countries with gas supply cuts. Ukraine is also waiting for Russia to be recognized as a sponsor of terrorism.
The newspaper Die Welt reports the amount of frozen assets of Russian oligarchs has almost doubled from €6.7 billion in April to just over €12.5 billion today, according to EU Commission spokesman for justice and rule of law Christian Wigand.
Lithuanian authorities said a ban on the transit through their territory to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad of goods that are subject to EU sanctions was to take effect on Saturday.
Microsoft has banned Russians from downloading Windows 10 and Windows 11 from its website. The portal issues a ‘There is a problem with your request’ message. Users are also unable to download installation assistant utilities for the operating systems.
Ukraine’s parliament on Sunday voted through two laws which will place severe restrictions on Russian books and music in Ukraine. One law will forbid the printing of books by Russian citizens, unless they renounce their Russian passport and take Ukrainian citizenship. The ban will only apply to those who held Russian citizenship after the 1991 collapse of Soviet rule. It will also ban the commercial import of books printed in Russia, Belarus, and occupied Ukrainian territory, while also requiring special permission for the import of books in Russian from any other country. Another law will prohibit the playing of music by post-1991 Russian citizens on media and on public transport, while also increasing quotas on Ukrainian-language speech and music content in TV and radio broadcasts.
- What Hundreds of Photos of Weapons Reveal About Russia’s Brutal War Strategy | The New York Times (nytimes.com) – A New York Times analysis of visual evidence from Ukraine showed widespread use by Russia of cluster weapons banned under certain international treaties. Of the weapons identified by The Times, more than 210 were types that have been widely banned under international treaties. All but a handful were cluster munitions, including their submunitions, which can pose a grave risk to civilians for decades after war has ended.
- Boris Johnson: We will never be secure if we turn our backs on valiant Ukraine | The Times
- ‘I could not be part of this crime’: the Russians fighting for Ukraine | The Guardian – Igor Volobuyev joined a legion of Russians hoping to defeat their homeland and maybe topple Putin.
- Transcript of AP interview with President Joe Biden | AP News
- Visiting Vladimir Putin’s Lost Russia | The Atlantic – An ex-Soviet state’s national myths — as well as the forces of nationalism, economics, culture, and religion – all pull it away from Moscow. Can Russia really compete?
- 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 33 800, tanks ‒ 1477, APV ‒ 3588, artillery systems – 749, MLRS – 238, anti-aircraft warfare systems – 98, fixed-wing aircraft – 216, helicopters – 181, operational-tactical level UAV – 601, cruise missiles – 130, boats and light speed boats – 14, soft-skinned vehicles and fuel tankers – 2527, special equipment – 55.
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