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War in Ukraine. Daily update. Day 142 [10.00 am, 15.07.2022]

Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska 

Photo: Vinnytsia/ The Village Ukraine

Cities under attack.

A Russian missile strike hit the city of Vinnytsia in central Ukraine on July 14. 66 people, including three children, were injured as a result of the July 14 attack on downtown Vinnytsia. Five people are in critical condition. Rescuers are still searching for 39 people. ‘Every day, Russia destroys the civilian population, kills Ukrainian children, and directs rockets at civilian buildings, where there are no military facilities,’ said President Volodymyr Zelensky in response to the Vinnytsia missile attack. ‘What is this, if not an open act of terrorism? (Russia) is a country murderer, a terrorist country.’ The State Emergency Service said it had pulled 48 bodies out of the rubble, including a child. The Russian missile strike hit a five-story apartment building in the city of Chasiv Yar, Donetsk region, on July 9. Nine people have been rescued. The rescue operation is finished. Early on July 15 at least 10 explosions were heard in the city of Mykolaiv. As reported, two universities were hit by Russian missiles. Russian attack reported near Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Nikopol is located across the Dnieper from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. 

Ukrainian government is trying to establish a ceasefire and open a humanitarian corridor for pilgrims and other civilians from the Sviatohirsk Cave Monastery in Donetsk Oblast. Despite constant shelling by Russian troops, about 100 monks are refusing to leave the monastery, which belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church’s Ukrainian branch. The town of Sviatohirsk is controlled by Russian troops but the Sviatohirsk monastery across the Siversky Donets River from it is under Ukrainian control.  

Human rights.

A new report by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) details violent acts committed by Russian soldiers in Ukraine between April 1 and June 25. The OSCE mission concluded that international human rights law (IHRL) has been extensively violated in Russia’s war in Ukraine. Some of the most serious violations include targeted killing of civilians, including journalists, human rights defenders, or local mayors; unlawful detentions, abductions and enforced disappearances of such persons; large-scale deportations of Ukrainian civilians to Russia; various forms of mistreatment, including torture, inflicted on detained civilians and prisoners of war; the failure to respect fair trial guarantees; and the imposition of the death penalty. Most, albeit not all, violations have been committed in the territories under the effective control of the Russian Federation, including the territories of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, and are largely attributable to the Russian Federation. The report also particularly covers two alarming phenomena, namely the establishment and use of so-called filtration centres and the tendency by the Russian Federation to bypass its international obligations by handing detained persons over to the two so-called People’s Republics and letting them engage in problematic practices, including the imposition of the death penalty. The report also states that Russia’s war in Ukraine has had a very negative impact on the enjoyment of economic, social, and cultural rights, such as the right to education, the right to health, the right to social security, the right to food and water, and the right to a healthy environment. This impact is not limited to instances when these rights have been directly violated but results from the overall state of destruction and disruption of the provision of vital services ( in the country as well. The particular attention has to be paid to individuals belonging to vulnerable groups, such as women, children, older persons, or persons with disabilities. 

War crimes investigation.

On July 14 the Ukraine Accountability Conference took place in The Hague in order to  take steps that will contribute to accountability for the international crimes committed in Ukraine. The participants commit to working towards the establishment of a Dialogue Group on Accountability for Ukraine (‘the Dialogue Group’) with the objective of promoting dialogue across the various relevant national, European and international accountability and documentation initiatives. The purpose is to achieve coherence, efficiency and effectiveness across the diverse range of actions currently being taken. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office will lead a group created at the Ukraine Accountability Conference in the Hague. The group will coordinate national and international initiatives for documenting crimes and achieving accountability for international crimes. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova announced on July 14 that the U.S. is forming a group of prosecutors to investigate war crimes on the ground in Ukraine. 

Food security.

During a meeting between Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the United Nations in Istanbul, Moscow preliminaryly agreed to allow Kyiv to ship grain using three Ukrainian ports. All ships will be inspected by the Turkish Navy, reports the Wall Street Journal, citing a person familiar with the negotiations. The parties agreed on the following mechanism: grain can be shipped from three Ukrainian ports in convoys accompanied by Ukrainian ships, with a ceasefire in place to protect ships within specific boundaries. Ukraine is set to partially demine the coastline.

Hungary pledged to contribute to the expansion of Ukraine’s grain exports and said it would back an entrepreneurial zone for processing plants on their shared border. According to a statement from the Agriculture Ministry, Hungary is ready to help Ukraine get its grain, accumulated due to the port closures, to the various markets to help avoid famine in other parts of the world. To this end, the ministry said that an entrepreneurial zone should be created in the Hungarian-Ukrainian border region where new processing plants can be built, as this is a strategic issue that means long-term food security for the whole world.

Foreign policy.

German Labor Minister Hubertus Heil announced that his country will earmark an additional 2.4 billion euros in social benefits for Ukrainian refugees in the country. He added that about 800 000 people from Ukraine have already found asylum in Germany, 30% of whom are under 14 years old.  

Russian officials have no place at this week’s G20 meetings of finance ministers and central bankers given the country’s war against Ukraine and the repercussions it has for the global economy, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday on the eve of meetings in Indonesia.

Sanctions.

The Canadian government has expanded sanctions against Russia’s oil, gas, and other industries. The new measures also extend to computer, electronic and optical equipment products, and may affect pipelines’ production. The US Treasury released an update clarifying the sectors which have been exempt from sanctions on July 14. The department has previously emphasized that its sanctions can’t stand in the way of agricultural and medical exports, NGO activities, Covid-19 relief, free flow of information, and humanitarian assistance in Russia. They also issued clarifications permitting the transactions related to telecommunications and internet-communications. 

​​In an attempt to defuse rising tensions between Lithuania and Russia, the European Commission on Wednesday (13 July) updated its guidelines on the management of the movement of sanctioned goods between mainland Russia and its Kaliningrad exclave. Moscow will be allowed to transit civilian-use goods on the sanctions list by rail through the EU country Lithuania in amounts comparable to pre-invasion deliveries. Lithuanian institutions will take into account the clarification ‘but not because we think that there was something done wrong from 17 June, but because there were no clarifications or official explanations’, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė told. Lithuania will keep restrictions on trade flows to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad while it works out new rules.

Preparations by EU ambassadors for the new, seventh package of sanctions on Russia are to resume this Thursday and Friday (14 and 15 July), and are likely to be approved by member states by mid-next week, reports  EURACTIV. This so-called implementation package would include a ban on importing Russian gold, which represents the country’s biggest non-energy export. It will also widen a list of dual-use goods banned for export to Russia and include more listings of individuals and entities tied to Vladimir Putin’s wider circle. Furthermore, the new sanctions package would aim to include closing loopholes to previously approved punitive measures, such as by adding certain products to the list of banned goods. It also could include a reference to the recently published European Commission clarification of sanctioned goods’ transit to Kaliningrad in Russia, some EU diplomats suggested.

Energy security.

On July 14, the Parliament of Latvia introduced new amendments to the Energy Law, stipulating a ban on Russian natural gas beginning on January 1, 2023.

Podcast recommendation.

With Russia currently occupying over 20% of Ukraine, many Ukrainians are risking their lives to escape to Ukraine-controlled territory. Listen to a podcast episode Did the War End? Ep. 7: Fleeing Occupation in Kherson Oblast – A Story of Separation (by Kyiv Independent) with the story of one family’s escape from Kherson Oblast.

Reading corner. 

Statistics.

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

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