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War in Ukraine. Daily update. Day 129 [10.00 am, 02.07.2022]

Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska 

Photo: prezident.gov.ua

Foreign policy.

Prague takes the rotating six-month EU Council presidency over from Paris on Friday and has outlined among its priorities the bloc’s response to Russia’s war in Ukraine, energy security, defense, economic resilience and how to tackle the spiraling cost of living crisis and the boosting trade relations with third countries. Slashing dependency on Russian fossil fuels, raising funds for Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction and strengthening the disrupted supply chains will be top of the Czech Republic’s agenda. The programme was unveiled mid-June by Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, under the motto ‘Europe as a task: rethink, rebuild, repower.’ The slogan, inspired by the late author and statesman Václav Havel, is meant to symbolize the new chapter in Europe’s history opened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Among Prague’s top priorities will be the migration crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine, the need to move away from Russia fossil fuels, the fight against disinformation, and promotion of democratic values. Fiala said the five overarching themes of the mandate will be the war in Ukraine, energy security, defense, economic resilience, and democratic institutions.

Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, addressed Parliament of Ukraine outlining next steps and ‘hard work needed’ for Ukraine to join the EU. In her speech she called for a new wave of reforms in order to maximize the impact of investments in the recovery of Ukraine. She touched on the issue of anti-corruption: ‘No one expects Ukraine to fill in all the posts in your new [anti-corruption] institutions while so many of your best and brightest are fighting on the front […] But Ukraine’s democracy must be kept on the right track. You have already shown that you can pass important laws even as the war still rages on, and make every day count,’ said von der Leyen.

The European Commission proposed a new €1 billion macro-financial assistance (MFA) operation for Ukraine in the frame of this exceptional MFA package of up to €9 billion announced in the Commission’s communication of 18 May 2022 and endorsed by the European Council of 23-24 June 2022. The new financial proposal will be available in the form of long-term loans. The assistance will support Ukraine’s macroeconomic stability and overall resilience in the context of Russia’s military aggression and the ensuing economic challenges, says the statement.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) suspends its projects in Ukraine as of July 1 due to Russia’s veto. After a series of negotiations, participating states could not agree on the mandate of the office, especially with Russia opposing. The OSCE Project Co-ordinator has been operating in Ukraine since June 1, 1999, for 23 years. ‘Its mandated tasks were focused on enhancing the country’s security and developing its legislation, institutions, and practices in line with democratic standards’, the OSCE website states.

Prime Minister of Norway Jonas Gahr Støre visited Ukraine and met with President Zelenskyi. During his visit, he promised to provide 10 billion kroner (almost 1 billion euros) in aid to Ukraine. 

On the way to the EU.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal signed a joint statement on the decision of the European Council to grant Ukraine the status of a candidate for EU membership. Zelenskyy reminded that the record 115 days have passed between Ukraine’s submission of an application for entry and the EU’s response, during which the Ukrainian people have demonstrated the same cohesion for the sake of the European future as in the defense of our territorial integrity and sovereignty on the battlefield.

Cities under attack.

Mykolaiv is under regular shelling. On the morning of 1 July, 12 rockets were fired at the city  Mykolaiv. Another series of explosions was recorded today in the morning. Within 24 hours, Russians released more than 270 mines, rockets and projectiles of various calibers at Sumy region. In the Donetsk region, Russian troops fired at residential area of Sloviansk with cluster munitions, as a result of which four people were killed and seven were injured. After the Russian troops withdrew from Zmiinyi Island as a ‘gesture of goodwill’, they struck the Island with phosphorus bombs, says Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Resistance.

US officials say the Kremlin ‘faces rising partisan activity in southern Ukraine,’ while Russia does not have enough forces in Kherson to effectively occupy and control the region. The three assassination attempts targeting pro-Russian officials over the past two weeks suggest a growing resistance movement against pro-Russian authorities occupying parts of southern Ukraine. While it is just a few incidents isolated to the town of Kherson so far, US officials say the resistance could grow into a wider counterinsurgency that would pose a significant challenge to Russia’s ability to control newly captured territory across Ukraine, reports CNN.

Human rights.

Ukraine appointed a new Ombudsman – Dmytro Lubinets. Lubinets received a majority of votes during a parliamentary vote on Friday. Prior to his appointment, he served as Head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Human Rights, De-occupation, and Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Donetsk, Luhansk Regions, and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol, National Minorities and Interethnic Relations, as the Ombudsman.

War crimes prosecution.

Ukraine addressed the International Court of Justice due to Russia’s violation of the Genocide Convention. ‘On the basis of an offensive lie that Ukraine committed genocide against its own people, Russia violated Ukraine’s sovereignty by recognizing the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and ‘Luhansk People’s Republic,’ and on 24 February 2022 unleashed a brutal wave of aggression throughout Ukraine.  In today’s submission, Ukraine formally demands accountability and full reparation from Russia,’ the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine said in a statement. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized that submission to the highest judicial organ of the United Nations is a critical step in the process of accountability and reparation.

Energy security.

June has been for the first time in history when the United States delivered more gas through its pipelines to the EU than Russia. This was announced by the head of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol.

Food security.

On the morning of June 30, the Russian cargo ship Zhibek Zholy left the Ukrainian port of Berdyansk, carrying 7 000 tons of grain. The ship left the port following the decision of the local Moscow-appointed head of the occupied Zaporizhzhia region, who called it ‘the first commercial ship’ that left the Ukrainian port after months of war, taking desperately needed supplies to ‘friendly countries.’ On Friday evening it docked in Karasu port in Turkey. Ukraine’s Ambassador to Turkey, following the letter from the Prosecutor General’s Office, called the Turkish side to take urgent measures.

Culture.

On July 1, Culture of Ukrainian borscht cooking was inscribed on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, composed of representatives of the States Parties to the UNESCO Convention. This Intangible Heritage is threatened by the fragmentation of communities due to war but is a symbol of hope for them. In 2020, borscht was included in the national list of elements of intangible cultural heritage of Ukraine and was to be considered for inscription on the Representative List in the Committee’s 2023 cycle.

Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, 407 war crimes by Russian troops against the cultural heritage of Ukraine have been recorded

Recent polls.

97% of Ukrainians trust the Armed Forces. According to a recent poll by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, 85% of the polled Ukrainians trust President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The survey was conducted on May 2-11. Ukrainians are demonstrably not interested in giving up their land for peace. 89% believe that the only acceptable scenario for ending the war for Ukrainians is for Ukraine to return the territory it controlled until 2014, which includes all of Donbas and Crimea. Since the beginning of the war, Ukrainians find the following features as essential for democracy functioning – freedom of expression (64%), accessible justice for everyone (58-62%), free and fair elections (47%).

Reading corner. 

Statistics.

Every action counts, no contribution is too small!

The team provides medical aid in the hot spots. Recently, their evacuation car was destroyed, thus the team is fundraising for a new mobile hospital vehicle.

Thank you for supporting Ukraine! Slava Ukraini! Glory to Ukraine!

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