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War in Ukraine. Daily update. Day 153 [10.00 am, 26.07.2022 🇯🇵🇨🇵🇷🇸🇭🇷🇨🇿]

Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk, Maryana Zaviyska, Anna Dovha 

Photo: Zelenskiy Official Telegram Channel

Human rights.

Russia is considering prosecution of the crimes against humanity. Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, told government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta on Monday that Russian authorities had enacted more than 1300 criminal investigations against more than 400 Ukrainian nationals. At least 220 individuals are suspected of committing ‘crimes against the peace and security of humanity’, while 92 members of the Ukrainian forces have reportedly already been charged. For the purpose of prosecution of “crimes against humanity, Russia is considering setting up an international trial with support from country-allies, including Syria, Bolivia, Iran. 

ODIHR presented an interim report on reported violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in Ukraine. Having analyzed obtained evidence, ODIHR presented the cases that constitute grave breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL) and which may amount to war crimes by the Russian Federation. Among the key ones is the attack on the Mariupol Drama Theater and the railway station in Kramatorsk as well as numerous attacks on schools and hospitals in apparent violation of their protected status under IHL. Siege of Ukrainian cities and towns by the armed forces of the Russian Federation, preventing civilians from leaving safely and increasing the risks of being subjected to indiscriminate attacks is another example of what could be considered as potential war crimes. Therefore failure of the Russian Federation armed forces to allow rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian assistance which has contributed to the worsening of the humanitarian crisis in the areas. In addition, opportunities for safe evacuations from Ukrainian cities were severely limited. Witnesses reported to ODIHR restricted or no access to electricity, telephone networks, independent media and internet in Russian Federation-occupied areas of Ukraine. Survivors and witnesses reported to ODIHR instances of extrajudicial executions, sexual violence including rape, arbitrary deprivation of liberty, torture and enforced disappearances in Russian Federation-occupied areas of Ukraine. These constitute violations of IHL and may amount to war crimes, while peaceful protest against the occupation was suppressed and organizers targeted. 

Local business owners in temporarily occupied Kherson are being forced by the Russian occupation government to register their business in Russia, which requires obtaining a Russian passport. Kherson Oblast State Administration reportedIn Kherson, the occupation authorities force entrepreneurs to go through the so-called re-registration procedure and work according to Russian legislation, paying taxes to the occupiers.

The occupiers are detaining more than five thousand people who want to leave the occupation in Zaporizhzhia at a checkpoint in Vasylivka, Zaporizhzhia region. Five people have already died in the queue. The mayor of Melitopol believes that the Russians are not releasing Ukrainians from the occupation in order to use them as ‘human shields’ because they are afraid of a counteroffensive by the Armed Forces.

Minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories Iryna Vereshchuk said that almost 800 000 citizens of Ukraine lost their homes. Vereshchuk announced a forecast that in the autumn period, about half a million more people will move from the east to the west, which will put an additional burden on those who have already left earlier.

Foreign policy. ​​

German Minister of the Interior Nancy Faser and Minister of Social Affairs Hubertus Heil arrived in Ukraine. For Phaser and Gail, this is the first visit to Ukraine since the beginning of the war. Politicians visited Kyiv and Irpin and met with Ukrainian authorities. Prime Minister Shmyhal underlined the importance of the international expert conference on the reconstruction of Ukraine, that will take place in fall this year, and the creation of a corresponding reconstruction plan within the framework of the German presidency of the G7. According to him, the European Commission has also expressed its readiness to join the event. Hubertus Heil mentioned that Germany would contribute to the development of the labor market in Ukraine. While the Federal Minister of the Interior of Germany, Nancy Feser, in her turn reported that Germany had handed over cars and generators to the State Emergency Service, was ready to help in the demining of Ukrainian territories and would do everything in its power to help Ukraine in the war. 

The president of Guatemala Alejandro Giammattei met with Volodymyr Zelenskyi in Kyiv. The President of Ukraine reportedThis is the first visit of a leader from Latin America to Ukraine not only since February 24, but also in the last 12 years. We’ll hold important negotiations for the development of bilateral relations between our countries.’

Finland’s largest parties support restrictions on issuing visas to Russians. The leader of the faction of the Social Democratic Party, Antti Lindman stated ‘I consider it justified that the government should quickly study the issue of limiting tourist visas. Russia’s brutal war continues every day, and in such conditions, normal interaction is impossible in many aspects’.

Cities under attack.

Russian troops attacked the region all night long. They hit three districts – Nikopol, Dniprov and Kryvyi Rig,’ – reported Head of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Military Administration,Valentyn Reznichenko. The Kharkiv region was again under the shelling during the night. Oleg Sinegubov, head of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration announcedAt night, the occupiers hit civilian objects in Chuguyiv – a school, a cultural center. In one of the premises there were people who were under the rubble […] During the day in the village Korobochkine and the town of Pechenegy were shelled several times in residential sectors.’ The head of Volyn OVA, Yuriy Pogulyajko, said that the Ukrainian military shot down two UAVs. One person died and numerous others were hospitalized after debris from one of them fell on private houses. At night Russian forces shelled Odesa and Mykolaiv. In Odesa, private buildings in coastal villages have been hit, followed by a fire. Rescuers are working on the ground. In Mykolaiv, the missiles hit the port infrastructure.

Cities under occupation.

In Melitopol, occupants are working to rebuild the bombed airfield. The Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported ‘The occupiers in Melitopol are trying to restore the runway of the airfield at the former base of the 25th transport aviation brigade. For this purpose, the capacity of the concrete production plant ‘Monolit Plus’ was partially restored.

Mayor of Melitopol Ivan Fedorov announced that on the highway between Melitopol and Berdyansk, a Russian military truck drove over a car in which a family was traveling. Two adults and a child died on the spot.

According to the Office of the Attorney General 14 former police officers joined the pseudo-law enforcement body in Kherson, which was created to suppress resistance and intimidate residents of the region. Ukrainian law enforcement officers established their identities and announced that they are suspected of collaborationism – it is punishable by imprisonment from 12 to 15 years.

In the Kherson region, pro-Russian authorities have equated any Ukrainian symbols with ‘extremism’ and are hunting for the members of the partisan movement. Over the last months, numerous posters, cards, and blue-yellow symbols appeared on the streets to express the opposition and resistance. National Resistance Center informs that self-proclaimed authorities in the region engaged ‘titushky’ (so-called thugs) to persecute and attack the partisans, who distribute Ukrainian symbols across the city.

Economic security.

The EU’s European Investment Bank will provide EUR 1.59 billion to Ukraine, backed by guarantees from the EU budget, to help Ukraine repair the most necessary damaged infrastructure and restore critical projects aimed at meeting the urgent needs of the Ukrainian people.

Energy security.

The press center of the General Staff reported that in the area of the Vuglegirskaya Heat Power Plant, located in the Donetsk region, some units of the Russian military have achieved partial success. The Russian invaders carried out airstrikes on the territory of the Vuglehirskaya Heat Power Plant.

The operator of the gas transportation system of Ukraine announced that dispatchers of the GTS Operator of Ukraine recorded a sharp increase in pressure on the main gas pipeline ‘Urengoi-Pomari-Uzhgorod’ on the section of the state border of the Russian Federation – Ukraine. The change in pressure occurred without warning from PJSC Gazprom. The company informed ‘Gazprom’ that the untimely submission of information about switching and changing modes can lead to emergency situations on the main gas pipeline, and also reminded of the need to coordinate actions according to the algorithm defined by the current inter-operator agreement.

Food Security.

The adviser to the mayor of the city, Petro Andryushchenko said the Russian occupiers have restored the power supply in the port of Mariupol and are preparing to export stolen Ukrainian grain. He noticed that grain trucks were spotted in the city.

According to a historic agreement about export of grain mediated by the UN and signed on Friday, Ukraine has stated that the first grain-laden ships might depart its Black Sea ports ‘within days.’ Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov emphasized in which case the agreement may be stopped – ‘If the sides guarantee security, the agreement will work. If they do not, it will not work’.

Culture.

The Eurovision song contest will be hosted in the UK next year on behalf of Ukraine. Together with the ‘Big Five’ of the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, Ukraine will automatically qualify for the grand final. Boris Johnson, Acting Prime Minister of Great Britain, stated ‘Wherever Eurovision 2023 is held, it must celebrate the country and people of Ukraine.’

Technology.

Ukraine signed the first contracts for the purchase of drones for the Armed Forces within the framework of the ‘Army of Drones’ program. Minister of Digital Transformation Mikhailo Fedorov announced that the first contracts for 260.5 million hryvnias were signed. It is planned to purchase 20 units of Fly Eye — one of the best reconnaissance drones in the world, as well as 78 Matrice multicopters, which are equipped with artificial intelligence technology.

The Ministry of Digital announced that Meta Corporation, which owns Instagram and Facebook, is launching a specialized educational support center for Ukrainian business. The center will offer free educational resources for Ukrainians entrepreneurs. In the future, financial support of Meta in the amount of $1.5 million is planned so that Ukrainian small and medium-sized enterprises can conduct advertising campaigns on the corporation’s platforms.  

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