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War in Ukraine. Daily update. Day 157 [10.00 am, 30.07.2022]

Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk, Maryana Zaviyska, Anna Dovha 

Photo: Reuters

Human rights.

Russian forces held a false flag attack on Olenivka penal colony, where Ukrainian prisoners of war were held and accused Ukraine’s Armed Forces for the shelling. Russian invaders showed a video of a burnt-out barracks in a colony in Olenivka, where at least 53 Ukrainian soldiers were killed, including Azov fighters, and more than 100 injured. Ukraine’s Armed Forces denied responsibility, saying deliberate shelling of the penal colony aimed reportedly to hide the mistreatment of those held. Series of reports indicate that the colony was blown up by mercenaries from Russian private military company ‘Wagner Group’. No one from the penal colony staff was injured or killed. Office of the prosecutor general of Ukraine has already started an investigation on the attack and killing of the Ukrainian soldiers. The Security Service of Ukraine, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, and the Commissioner for Human Rights called the explosion in Olenivka as a terrorist act, commenting in a joint statement. The authorities underlined that the evacuation of Ukrainian soldiers from ‘Azovstal’ and their surrender took place under the mediation of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The key condition, Russia’s obligation to preserve the lives and health of Ukrainian defenders, was cynically violated. Therefore the UN and the ICRC, which acted as guarantors of life and health of Ukrainian prisoners of war, should immediately respond to the terrorist act of the Russian Federation and send their representatives to the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk region with an inspection, reads the statement.

This is not all about the atrocities on the prisoners of war revealed this week. Russian media share the video of the torture and mutilation of the Ukrainian POW. Afterwards, he was killed with a headshot. Ukrainian human right organizations call for attention to the deliberate violation of the human right and Geneva conventions in regard to the POW treatment.  

Foreign policy.

The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken held the first 25 minute talks since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine with the foreign minister of the Russian Federation, Sergei Lavrov. Anthony Blinken stressed that the ‘world will not recognize annexations’ and ‘will impose additional significant costs on Russia if it moves forward with its plans.

Cities under attack.

The head of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Military Administration, Valentyn Reznichenko, reported that over 40 missiles were fired by the Russian invaders at Nikopol. As a result of the shelling, 6 private houses and commercial buildings were damaged.

The Head of Mykolaiv Regional Administration, Vitaliy Kim, informed about the morning shelling of the city. There was an attack next to a public transport stop. Five people died, seven people were injured as a result of shelling.

The head of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko, reported about the rocket attack on a residential area of Kramatorsk in the morning. Two people died and five were injured. Two private houses were completely destroyed, another 21 were damaged. These figures may still change.

Cities under occupation.

The police of the Kherson region reported that in occupied Kherson, the Russian military took possession of a passenger steamship. Currently, it is known that the occupying forces are using a motor ship to cross the Dnipro River in the area of the damaged Antoniv bridge.

According to local mass media, Russian soldiers are taking relatives to the occupied regions of the Zaporizhzhia region. They settle in the apartments of Melitopol citizens who have left the occupied territories. The media reports that the Russian occupiers are taking their relatives to the occupied recreation centers in Kyrylivka and Stepanivka near the Sea of Azov.

Energy security.

Global coal consumption to match the record of 2013 as EU’s efforts to conserve natural gas reserves, according to an IEA report. According to market and economic trends, the world’s coal consumption is estimated to grow by 0.7% to 8 billion tonnes in 2022. It is expected that coal demand will increase further next year to a new all-time high.

Hungary expects to sign an agreement with Russia on additional gas supplies of 700 million cubic meters by the end of the summer, Reuters reports. ‘We are negotiating with the Russians to buy an additional 700 million cubic metres of gas, this deal can be signed during the summer, and then we will be safe,’ the Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban said on state radio.

The Government of Ukraine supported the draft law, which prohibits raising tariffs for gas, heating and hot water during the war. The member of government Yaroslav Zheleznyak reported that the moratorium will be in effect during the martial law in Ukraine and additional 6 months after after lifting up the martial law.

Food Security.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi and the ambassadors of the G7 countries arrived at the Odesa seaport, from where the export of Ukrainian grain should resume. ‘We are ready to export Ukrainian grain. We are waiting for signals from our partners about the start of transportation,’ the President of Ukraine stated. According to the estimates of the Ministry of Infrastructure, the opening of ports will bring Ukraine approximately one billion dollars every month and will allow the export of 3 million tons of agricultural products.

The Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Alexander Kubrakov announced that for the first time since February 24, work has been resumed in the seaports of Ukraine. ‘The ships, which were loaded with grain during the winter, are ready to leave as soon as our partners, the UN and Turkey agree on a ‘green corridor’ in the direction of the Bosphorus,’ – the Minister stated. As of now, 17 vessels have already been loaded in the ports of Odesa and Chornomorsk, and 10 of them are ready for departure.

Economy.

Canada will provide Ukraine with an additional 450 million Canadian dollars on preferential terms as part of the credit agreement. This is approximately 351 million US dollars. The repayment term of this loan is 10 years, the interest rate is 1.69% per annum. The same conditions are maintained for additional tranches. The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine stated that the funds ‘will be directed to the state budget to finance priority expenditures, in particular to ensure priority social and humanitarian payments.’

The Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States, Oksana Markarova, announced that a new agreement was signed between the US Ministry of Finance and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on a contribution of 500 million dollars to support Ukraine and other affected countries. The finances will be provided for energy security needs; food security, including through support of critical transport infrastructure and logistics, as well as direct financial support to farmers and exporters; support for vulnerable populations and internally displaced persons.

Technologies.

The browser game Sniffer Dog Quest, dedicated to a sapper dog Patron, was created by Ukrainian programmers Oleksiy Novokhatskyi and Maryna Kharchenko. Sniffer Dog Quest is a fairly simple game in which you have to search and mark explosive objects. The creator of the game wrote at his blog ‘Even before the full-scale invasion, the problem of landmines was quite relevant for Ukraine. After February 24, an even larger territory of our state became mined […] We wanted to attract attention once again by making a game that can not only entertain, but also familiarize with some types of explosive objects.’

Recent polls.

Kyiv International Institute of Sociology conducted a survey on the geopolitical orientation of the residents of Ukraine. According to results of the survey, in case of a referendum on joining the EU, 81% of all respondents would vote in favor joining. ‘Against’ joining the EU – 4%. Others (15%) would not participate in voting or do not know how to vote. Support is somewhat lower in the case of joining NATO, but also the vast majority of Ukrainians would vote in favor – 71% of all respondents, while 7% would vote ‘against’. 22% of the population would not participate in voting or do not know how to vote.

Disinformation.

US federal authorities identified a Russian citizen who recruited several American political groups to interfere into the US election process. Aleksandr Ionov was working for the Russian government, orchestrating a yearslong influence campaign to use American political groups to spread Russian propaganda and interfere with U.S. elections, reports the New York Times. On Friday, the Justice Department revealed that it had charged Mr. Ionov with conspiring to have American citizens act as illegal agents of the Russian government. 

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