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War in Ukraine. Daily update. Day 135 [10.00 am, 8.07.2022 🇯🇵]

Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska 

Ihor Lutsenko

Human rights.

The size of mass graves in the Russian-occupied village of Stary Krym near Mariupol has doubled compared to the beginning of May. Such changes were recorded by the Planet Labs satellite and data published by the journalists of ‘Scheme’ (Radio Liberty). Petro Andryushchenko commented on this by the fact that the occupiers began to dismantle the rubble of multi-story buildings damaged and destroyed by the Russian army. According to him, there may be up to a hundred dead local residents in each of these houses. Most often, the bodies are taken to the Stary Krym, where the closest to Mariupol is a cemetery with places of mass burials.

Russia forces Ukrainians, who want to leave the occupied territories and to escape the shelling through the territory of Crimea, to sign falsified documents about alleged ‘crimes’ of the Ukrainian Armed Force, says Tamila Tasheva, Permanent Representative of the Head of State to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The Russian military forces Ukrainian citizens to sign falsified documents addressed to the Russian Investigative Committee or to testify to the FSB in Crimea that the Armed Forces of Ukraine is allegedly shelling civilians and civilian objects. People who barely escaped shelling while leaving Mariupol were threatened not to be allowed to enter Crimea unless they signed these so-called ‘testimonies’.

Shelters with fleeing Ukrainians on the territory of the occupied Crimea are quite strictly guarded in order to avoid contacts between Ukrainians from the mainland of Ukraine and the local population of occupied Crimea. This is envisaged to limit residents of peninsula access to information about the real situation with a full-scale invasion and war, and not the so-called ‘special operation’, as it is called by the government of Russia, says Tamila Tasheva.

Up to 71 million people from the poorest countries in the world are projected to be facing severe poverty as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine according to the UNDP report, reports Politico. Those already in poverty and near-poverty will be hit hardest due to their higher energy and food budget share, with Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly the Sahel region, most affected. 

Amnesty International released an investigation on war crimes committed by the Russian army in Serviivka, Odesa region. The strikes, most likely by anti-ship missiles, hit the town in Odesa region shortly before 1 a.m. on July 1, injuring at least 35 people. Five people remain in critical condition in intensive care, meaning the death toll could rise. Amnesty International visited the sites of the strikes in Serhiiivka and found no evidence of Ukrainian soldiers, weapons or other valid military targets nearby. Satellite images reviewed by Amnesty International also do not indicate any military activity in the area prior to the attack.

Cities under attack.

On Thursday afternoon three people had been killed and another five wounded after Russian forces shelled Kharkiv. As a result of the shelling of Kramatorsk, one person was killed, six were injured. According to the head of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko, as a result of rocket fire, six buildings were damaged, including a residential high-rise building and a hotel. Yesterday, border communities of Sumy and Chernigiv were hit with Russian shelling. During the day, 9 people were injured in the region: 5 in Kharkiv, 2 in Chuguyiv district, 2 people in Tsirkuny. Four people died, three of them in Kharkiv, one in Tsirkuny.

Foreign policy.

US Senators Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal, who represent the Republican and Democratic parties of the United States, visited Kyiv and Bucha. The politicians also met with President Volodymyr Zelensky. During the meeting, the parties touched upon the issue of increasing sanctions and pressure on the aggressor state. Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal informed Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the work they are carrying out in the Senate with the aim of recognizing the Russian Federation as a state sponsor of terrorism, says the statement. The bill would put Russia in ‘the category of Iran, Syria, and North Korea.’ 

The European Parliament approved the provision of €1 billion in macro-financial aid for Ukraine.The Parliament agreed to a Commission proposal to provide Kyiv with an additional loan on highly favorable terms. Meanwhile, The European Commission is blocking a €1.5 billion loan to Ukraine, Bloomberg reports. Allegedly, the budgetary division of the European Commission has put on hold further money transfer due to concerns about the financial reliability of Ukraine.

Food security.

On 6 July, Türkiye released the Russian ship ‘Zhibek Zholy’, detained in the port of Karasu, regardless of Ukraine’s appeal. The ship was carrying stolen Ukrainian grain. The ship ‘Zhibek Zholy’ was heading from the occupied Berdiansk to the Turkish port of Karasu. Due to the intervention of Ukraine, it failed to unload the stolen goods and was detained. Regardless of the request sent to the Turkish side to arrest the vessel and cargo, it was released from the port.  Ukraine called it an ‘unacceptable situation and summoned Turkey’s ambassador’. 

Poland is trying to solve logistical problems in order to make it possible to quickly transport grain intended for African and Asian countries from Ukraine. This was discussed during the first meeting of the Interdepartmental Group on Transportation of Agricultural and Food Products from Ukraine, which took place on Wednesday in the Ministry of Agriculture of Poland under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Poland Henryk Kowalczyk, reports Ukrinform. The most urgent tasks are the further improvement of the work of border posts by increasing the number of veterinarians, as well as the possible construction of temporary warehouses on the border with Ukraine. Also Poland is considering the possibility of creating a grain terminal with a storage area of about 100 000 tons. This would make it possible to export both Ukrainian and Polish grain on a large scale.

Energy security.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the world’s largest independent oil trader, the Dutch company Vitol, to stop supplying Russian oil and thereby stop financing the mass murder of innocent Ukrainians. Volodymyr Zelenskyy first asked Vitol to close its business dealings with Russia in March. In April, the oil trading company stated that volumes of Russian oil handled ‘will diminish significantly in the second quarter as current term contractual obligations decline’. It also stated that the company plans to ‘retreat from the Russian market’ and stop transporting Russian crude by the end of the year. However in June, Vitol chartered shipments of more than 11 million barrels of oil through ports in Russia. And since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, the energy trading firm has chartered shipments of more than 38 million barrels of oil from Russian ports – worth an estimated $ 3.21 billion and averaging more than 9 million barrels a month.

Ukrainian community in Canada is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to refuse to compromise the country’s sanctions against Russia in order to return a turbine that Moscow says is critical for supplying natural gas to Germany, reports Reuters. Previously, Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom cut the capacity along the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to just 40% of usual levels last month, citing the delayed return of equipment being serviced by Germany’s Siemens Energy in Canada.

​​The Russian army is transforming Europe’s largest nuclear power plant – Zaporizhzia NPP in occupied Energodar – into a military base overlooking an active front, intensifying a monthslong safety crisis for the vast facility and its thousands of staff. At the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in southern Ukraine, more than 500 Russian soldiers who seized the facility in March recently have deployed heavy artillery batteries, and laid anti-personnel mines along the shores of the reservoir whose water cools its six reactors, according to workers, residents, Ukrainian officials, and diplomats. The Ukrainian army holds the towns dotted on the opposite shore, some 3 miles away, but sees no easy way to attack the plant, given the inherent danger of artillery battles around active nuclear reactors.

Culture.

Russian occupants removed all valuable exhibits from the city’s museums. Among them are original paintings by famous artists in Mariupol, Donetsk Region, says Mariupol City Council. The Local History and Art Museums were left without their collections, which are the cultural heritage of the city and the region, and the buildings of the institutions were destroyed. The city collections included original paintings by Arkhip Kuindzhi and Ivan Aivazovsky, unique icons, and historical exhibits.

The Ukrainian Institute together with the online education studio EdEra launched a free online course ‘Crimea: History and People’. The online course provides the opportunity to study the ancient history of the peninsula, the Crimean Khanate, the colonial policy of the Russian Empire towards Crimea, the fate of Crimea and the Crimean Tatars during the Soviet era, the history of Crimea as an autonomous republic within Ukraine, the temporary occupation of Crimea by Russia, as well as study the culture and lifestyle of the Crimean Tatars. The course is available in English. 

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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