Prepared by Sofia Oliynyk, Maryana Zaviyska, Anna Dovha
Photo: A house in a liberated city/The official channel of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy informed on Monday that Ukrainian forces have retaken 6000 square km of Russian-occupied territory since the beginning of the month. Clearing of the territories still continues on 4000 square km of the liberated regions. During the last few days, Ukraine recaptured more than 300 settlements in northern Kharkiv Oblast, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on September 13. According to the official, nearly 150000 Kharkiv Oblast residents have been freed from Russian occupation in the rapid counteroffensive. In liberated Izyum, 80% of the city’s infrastructure was destroyed, which includes private and multi-apartment residential buildings, and enterprises, state institutions, communal facilities, as well as industrial facilities. In the Kherson region, Vysokopillya, Novovoznesenske, Bilohirka, Myrolyubivka and Sukhyj Stavok have been liberated, says the Ministry of Defence. According to the Luhansk region Governor, Ukraine Armed Forces entered into Kreminna in Luhansk region, taking control over it.
Police finds Russian ‘torture chambers’ in liberated Balakliia. According to the Deputy Police Chief of Kharkiv Oblast, during the occupation of the city of Balakliia, Kharkiv Oblast, Russians were holding at least 40 people captive at the same time. ‘According to witnesses, they were tortured in different ways,’ deputy police chief sais. According to police, Russians were searching for Ukrainian war veterans and volunteers who helped the Ukrainian army. Also at least 1000 civilians were killed in Izium due to the actions of the Russian military. The bodies of four civilians with signs of torture and gunshot wounds to the head were found in the de-occupied village of Zaliznychne, Kharkiv region. On the territories liberated from the occupiers, up to two hundred bloody war crimes committed by the Russians are recorded every day.
According to the General Staff Russian troops loot homes in the east, south of Ukraine. Russian soldiers stole hundreds of civilian cars, loaded with other looted goods, from Kharkiv Oblast. The military said that Russian troops continue to steal civilian cars and loot homes in the southern Zaporizhia and Kherson oblasts.
During the 200 days of the war, the National Police opened more than 1300 criminal proceedings on the facts of collaborationism. In total, during the 200 days of the full-scale invasion of the Russian occupiers on Ukrainian land, police units received and processed almost 4.5 million appeals from citizens, initiated more than 31.8 thousand criminal proceedings based on the facts of crimes committed by Russian military personnel and their accomplices, registered more than 103 thousand crimes
On 9-11 September, elections of governors, deputies of city councils and municipal bodies were held in Russia, respectively it envisaged elections in Crimea. The EU has already issued the statement that it will not recognize the elections in the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia. ‘The EU does not recognise the holding of these elections and their result in the Crimean Peninsula. The EU does not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, which is a violation of international law. Crimea is Ukraine,’ the statement said.
Cities under attack.
On September 14 heavy Russian shelling of the city of Mykolaiv overnight damaged residential buildings. In 200 days of the full-scale war, Russia did not shell Mykolayiv for only 29 days. In Zaporizhzhia region, Russian forces shelled the city of Orikhiv, Zaporizhzhia region, with multiple launch rocket systems on September 13, completely destroying one house. Under its rubble, rescuers found the body of an 84-year-old woman
The Office of the President of Ukraine presented its vision of security guarantees for Ukraine outlined in the Kyiv Security Compact. The Compact aimes to define opportunities to deter an armed attack or act of aggression. But they will not replace the North Atlantic Alliance, which Ukraine seeks to join. This document indicates a group of guarantor states, which may include the US, UK, Canada, Poland, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, Turkey, and Nordic, Baltic, Central and Eastern European countries. Some of the key recommendations include:
- The strongest security guarantee for Ukraine lies in its capacity to defend itself against an aggressor under the UN Charter’s article 51. To do so, Ukraine needs the resources to maintain a significant defensive force capable of withstanding the Russian Federation’s armed forces and paramilitaries.
- This requires a multi-decade effort of sustained investment in Ukraine’s defense industrial base, scalable weapons transfers and intelligence support from allies, intensive training missions and joint exercises under the European Union and NATO flags.
- The security guarantees should be affirmative and clearly formulated; they lay out a range of commitments made by a group of guarantors, together with Ukraine. They need to be legally and politically binding based on bilateral agreements but brought together under a joint strategic partnership document – called the Kyiv Security Compact.
- The package of guarantees includes preventive measures of a military, financial, infrastructural, technical, and information nature to prevent new aggression, as well as measures to be taken immediately in the event of a new encroachment on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. In addition, the structure of the Kyiv Security Compact includes a full-fledged sanctions package against the aggressor state, and may also include additional components, such as agreements on providing Ukraine with modern air defense/anti-missile systems, regional agreements on security in the Black Sea, and others.
Leonid Slutsky, the chair of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs of the Russian Federation and leader of the LDPR (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia), called the recommendations on security guarantees an ‘escalation, not at solving the current situation. The proposal is against Russia, against a nuclear state. I hope that all of Kyiv’s Western partners are well aware of what they are being asked to sign up for.’
Government approves draft budget for 2023, 50% of expenditures on defense, security. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that the draft budget’s expenditures on security and defense are four times bigger compared to the previous year, amounting to UAH 1.136 trillion ($30.7 billion). The deficit is set at over $3 billion per month. The draft budget is yet to be approved by the Ukrainian parliament.
The new package of sanctions against the Russian Federation should include limiting the price of Russian gas. ‘The biggest topic (of the new package of EU sanctions. – Ed.) now is the so-called price ceiling, that is, limiting the price of Russian gas, this is also, in fact, a sanction, it is now being discussed, the position was adopted at the G7 level, so this is the biggest story. But there are many things that need to be tightened. They are not loud, they will not get into the headlines, but these sanctions also need to be introduced,’ Kuleba emphasized.
European Union Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen announced a visit to Kyiv later Wednesday to show the bloc’s support for Ukraine as it fights back against the Russian invasion. Dressed in the colors of Ukraine, von der Leyen said in her State of the European Union address that the bloc would come to the aid of Ukraine by opening its seamless single market more to Ukrainian products and said she would ‘discuss all this with President (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy.’
Government expects Ukraine’s GDP to rise by 4.6% in 2023. However, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that Ukraine’s economy next year will largely depend on the course of Russia’s war and the country’s GDP could fall by as much as 0.4% or grow by as much as 10% in 2023. The International Monetary Fund allocated an additional $1.4 billion to support Ukraine. On September 13, President Volodymyr Zelensky said he had a phone conversation with Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, and discussed ‘future cooperation to increase Ukraine’s financial stability.’
The Office of the President presented the project of the Ukraine Recovery Fund. According to the Head of the Office, Ukraine does not rely exclusively on international financial aid. The goal is to ensure funding also from the legal confiscation of seized assets of Russia on the territory of Ukraine. Yermak said that 75% of the Fund’s supervisory board will consist of representatives of donors, and 100% of its management will be appointed by donors. The Fund’s reporting will be publicly accessible, in particular, it will be mandatory to publish complete information on the status of project implementation and the dynamics of funds usage. It is assumed that the Fund will receive financial assistance from governments, agencies and international organizations in the form of targeted grants based on the agreement. According to the Office of the President, there are currently more than 86 000 objects destroyed or damaged as a result of hostilities in Ukraine, not counting the occupied and recently liberated territories. Of these, 38 000 need to be restored as soon as possible.
The World Health Organisation expects a rise in COVID-19 in Ukraine to peak in October, possibly bringing hospitals close to their capacity threshold, WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday. WHO has 500 of the confirmed cases of the attacks on the healthcare facilities, resulting in some 100 deaths, which are the results of the Russian full-scale invasion. Therefore, with another wave of COVID-19, but also polio spread, Ukrainian healthcare will face a significant burden. “We are also deeply concerned about the potential for the international spread of polio due to the gaps in immunization coverage and mass population movement linked to the war,” said WHO‘s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Russian forces damaged 252 cultural institutions in Donetsk Oblast. The Russian military also destroyed 64 cultural institutions, according to the Donetsk Regional State Administration. The damaged and destroyed facilities include 115 clubs, 108 libraries, 56 religious buildings, 22 art schools, 13 museums, one art college, and one theater.
- General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the total estimated losses of the Russian military as of 10 a.m., September 14, 2022: personnel – around 53650, tanks ‒ 2180, APV ‒ 4665, artillery systems – 1290, MLRS – 311, anti-aircraft warfare systems – 167, fixed-wing aircraft – 246, helicopters – 215, operational-tactical level UAV – 908, cruise missiles –233, boats and light speed boats – 15, soft-skinned vehicles and fuel tankers – 3501, special equipment – 120.
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