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War in Ukraine. Daily update. Day 144-145 [10.00 am, 17-18.07.2022 🇭🇷🇦🇪🇷🇸🇯🇵🇨🇿]

Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk and Maryana Zaviyska 

Photo: Vinnytsia

Personnel changes.

HR changes announced by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyi at his evening address on Sunday. Who’s under fire? The Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Ivan Bakanov, Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, who is in charge of prosecuting Russian war crimes, and some more than 60 officials from the SBU and prosecutor’s office working against Ukraine in Russian-occupied territories. Zelenskyi reported 651 treason and collaboration cases had been opened against law enforcement officials since the beginning of the war. He explained the head of the country’s domestic security service and state prosecutor had to be suspended from their duties in the light of hundreds of cases of alleged treason and collaboration with Russia that were recorded among SBU and General prosecutor’s office personnel across Ukraine. 

Also, President Zelenskyi mentioned the need to appoint  a new head of the Specialized Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office. ‘My position as the President of Ukraine is that the [job] competition that took place should lead to a completely logical decision on the appointment of a new head. The appropriate person was selected, and the finalization of this decision depends on the competition commission… Without a full-fledged head of such an institution, its full-fledged functioning is impossible. By the way, the same applies to the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine. The term of office of the previous head has ended. And there should be a competition procedure for the selection of a new head of NABU.’

Cities under attack.

On Saturday, the Russian army kept shelling the Sumy region throughout the day, reports Dmytro Zhyvytskyi. Over 140 missile strikes were reported. Civilian households, buildings, power supply lines were damaged. The shelling continued on Sunday with another 50 attacks within a day. In Mykolaiv, Russian forces hit industrial and infrastructure facilities early Sunday morning causing fires. Also at least 10 loud explosions were recorded in the city. Russian troops hit Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk region several times during the night with anti-aircraft guns. More than 60 shells were directed at residential quarters and city infrastructure. According to early reports, one person was injured, a 75-year-old woman who is in the hospital right now. Over the past day, as a result of a rocket attack on Kharkiv, 2 high-rise buildings were damaged, fortunately, there were no casualties. On the morning of July 18, the Russian army struck the industrial zone of Kramatorsk, Donetsk region. Four hits on the industrial zone were seemingly from an anti-aircraft gun.

In Vinnytsia, the rescuers completed dismantling the rubble caused by the enemy shelling, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine reports. In total, 55 multi-apartment and private residential buildings, 40 cars and two trams were damaged and destroyed. 23 people were killed in the shelling, including three children. 202 people applied for help, 68 of them were hospitalized, including four children, and 110 received outpatient treatment.

In Irpin, 27% of the population were left without housing. In Irpin alone, due to the destruction unleashed by the invaders, 16 358 Irpin citizens were left homeless. The invaders destroyed 119 high-rise and 1483 private houses in the city. At the same time, 60 635 people’s housing was damaged. 4787 windows have already been replaced.

Resistance.

Partisan movement and resistance continues at the occupied territories, reports National Resistance Centre. Dozens of enterprises stopped operating as people refused to work with self-proclaimed authorities. Therefore, in Zaporizhzhia region, Russians tried to restore the local iron ore plant and promised workers 60% of their salary as of February 23. Ukrainian personnel was forced to sign a new contract in accordance with Russian law. However, none of the workers agreed. The situation in Berdyansk is similar, as people are not supporting the Russian authorities there. Russian passportisation level is low and preparation for the pseudo-referendum is not as efficient as expected. Therefore, the head of the occupation administration, a collaborator Oleksandr Saulenko, was fired.

Human rights.

In the temporarily occupied Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia region, the Russian invaders started preparation for a pseudo-referendum, reports ZMINA. The Russian military is closing off entire areas of the city, checking local residents, and promising to forcibly deport people with a pro-Ukrainian position. Ivan Fedorov, mayor of Melitopol, says the other day the occupants blocked the Novy Melitopol district, where more than 30 000 people live, and went from door to door with a survey. They asked how many people live there, checked for the relatives, recorded property in possession, surveyed people’s views about the Russians and about Ukraine. If someone expresses support for Ukraine, they are then forced to undress, being searched for tattoos, and questioned about veteran relatives, etc.

In the Kyiv region, law enforcement officers found 1346 bodies of civilians killed by the Russian occupiers, about 300 more people are considered missing, says Andrii Nebytov, head of the Main Directorate of the National Police in the Kyiv region. He emphasized that most were killed with firearms.

Foreign policy.

The European Commission launches a process for Ukraine to join the Common Transit Convention and the Convention on Simplification of formalities in trade in goods. The Conventions mean that goods can move much more easily between the EU and the seven so-called Common Transit Countries (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and the UK). These simplified rules, such as mutually recognised financial guarantees for customs transit and less controls, help to cut down on costs for EU and partner country businesses, while facilitating and boosting trade. Ukraine fulfils all relevant criteria for admittance to the Conventions, including legal, structural and IT requirements. Furthermore, accession to these Conventions is foreseen in the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and in the EU’s pre-accession strategy for Ukraine. 

EU foreign ministers gather in Brussels today joined by Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba with the war in Ukraine set to top the agenda with Russia’s continuing blockade of Ukrainian grain up for discussion reports POLITICO. Ministers will also review a “toolbox” to address disinformation, particularly in the context of the Russian invasion and discuss using the European Peace Facility again to send weapons to Ukraine. 

Belarus.

At least 689 missiles have been launched from Belarus since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The monitoring group “Belarusian Gayun” writes in its report that over the past week at least 15 Russian military transport aircraft have arrived in Belarus.  Most of the launches took place in February-March. At the end of June launches intensified again.

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