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War in Ukraine. Day 475. Monthly update 2023, #4. 

Prepared by Sofiia Dalibozhak, Sofia Oliynyk, Maryana Zaviyska

Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant dam. 

On June 6, Russian troops blew up the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (Kakhovka HPP). 46 towns and villages remain flooded in Kherson region, including 32 in the Ukraine-controlled right bank of the Dnipro River, 14 in the areas under Russian military control, and 31 in Mykolaiv region, according to the Ukrainian police, reports the UN. At least 6 people died and 29 are missing in areas under Ukrainian control, according to the Government, in addition to around 8 died in areas under Russian military control, according to Russian-installed authorities.

Ukrenergo reported that the explosion of the Kakhovka HPP by Russian forces and the resulting destruction did not affect the stability of the power system. At the same time, the explosion of the Kakhovka HPP put a number of power facilities in Kherson region, including the Kherson Thermal Power Station, under threat of destruction.

In addition, a drop in the water level in the Kakhovka reservoir threatened the safety of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). The reactors of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant are cooled by water from this reservoir. As of 08:00 on June 10, the water level in the Kakhovka reservoir near Nikopol is 10.42 m, and in the cooling pond of Zaporizhzhya NPP – 16.67 m, which is sufficient to meet the needs of the plant. Energoatom experts are monitoring the situation.

Another problem will be the ingress and death of freshwater fish and other biological resources in the salt waters of the Black Sea. In turn, the Black Sea fauna from a massive influx of fresh water can also die. As a result of the destruction of the Kakhovka HPP, losses for the fishing industry from the death of only adults can reach 95 thousand tons or about 4 billion UAH. In total, according to preliminary calculations, the damage from the death of all biological resources will amount to 10.5 billion UAH. Note that the figures given above are mere preliminary estimates.

Cities under the attack.

In May Russia intensified attacks on the cities of Ukraine. Kyiv was the target of 17 out 21 attacks launched at the country.  In addition, on May 30, Russians shelled Kyiv again. Nine people were injured and a 33-year-old woman was killed. Four people were injured in the Kyiv region as a result of the attack. On Children’s Day, June 1, Russians shelled Kyiv, but the debris fell on the building of a children’s clinic and nearby residential buildings in the Desnianskyi district. An 11-year-old girl and her 34-year-old mother were killed at the site of the fall. In total, 3 people died, including 1 child. Also, 10 people were injured, including 1 child.

As for the central part of the country, on June 9, The Russians again attacked Uman with two Kalibr missiles, hitting civilian objects: an empty agricultural workshop and a car wash. As a result of the attack 10 people were injured. On June 13, a Russian missile hit a residential apartment block, killing 6 people and injuring 21 people. 

Human rights.

On June 1, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine issued a press release deploring child casualties in the war. UN monitors said six children were killed and 34 were wounded in May alone, bringing to more than 1,500 the total number of child casualties since Russia’s armed attack against Ukraine over 14 months ago. According to the press release, at least 525 children (276 boys, 219 girls, and 30 children, whose gender is not yet known) have been killed, and at least 1,047 have been injured in 289 cities, towns, and villages across Ukraine, in both Government controlled areas and those areas occupied by Russia, since Russia started an armed attack on 24 February 2022. It said 87 percent of the casualties were caused by explosive weapons with wide area effects, including artillery, missile and air strikes, and loitering munitions attacks. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that ‘Russian aggression and terror have been destroying not just buildings, but fundamental human rights – the fundamental rights of children. The right to a safe environment, the right to education, the right to development, the right to health care, the right to rest, leisure, and, most importantly, the inalienable and most important right of a child to life’.


The Russian Southern District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don has sentenced Crimean artist Bohdan Ziz to 15 years in a general regime colony. He is to spend the first four years in prison. Speaking with the last word in the so-called court, Mr Ziz said that he would start a hunger strike on June 10, and any attempts to force-feed him would be regarded as torture committed against his will. The activist also demanded that he be deprived of his Russian citizenship, which he received after the annexation of Crimea, and called for the release of all political prisoners from Russian prisons. Earlier, 27-year-old Bohdan Ziza was detained in May 2022 for pouring yellow and blue paint on the entrance to the Russian administration of the city of Yevpatoria and trying to set fire to the door to protest the war. The artist from Yevpatoria was accused of terrorism, extremism and vandalism for political reasons. The Ombudsman called on the international community and representatives of international human rights organisations to increase pressure on Russia, to respond to the shameful facts of violations of the rights of Ukrainian citizens in the temporarily occupied Crimea and to demand the release of all illegally detained Ukrainian political prisoners.

Life under the occupation.

In Zaporizhzhia region, people with diabetes cannot receive insulin if they do not have a Russian “passport”. Insulin is not issued even to those citizens of Ukraine who take it for their children. In this way the occupation administration is trying to force local residents to obtain Russian “passports”. In addition, collaborators from “secondary education” institutions under the control of the occupation administration put pressure on parents of students of secondary educational institutions with the aim of mandatory registration on the Russian educational platform “Spherum”. However, according to available information, as of the current month, the vast majority of parents of local students have not completed and do not intend to complete registration on this platform.

Across the temporary occupied territories of Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions the occupation administrations continue measures aimed at the integration of the occupied territories into the social and political space of the Russian Federation. 

European integration.

The Commission pays a further €1.5 billion in macro-financial assistance to Ukraine. With this tranche, the Commission has so far disbursed €7.5 billion out of a support package of up to €18 billion for 2023. 

Ukraine and the EU signed the agreement associating Ukraine to the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme. This agreement will enable Ukrainian project promoters to apply for EU funding for projects of common interest in the transport, energy and digital realms, further improving Ukraine’s connectivity with its EU neighbours, says the statement. For instance, Ukrainian authorities and companies will be able to apply for funding under future CEF transport calls in the current (2021-2027) programming period. 

On 1 July, Spain will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation has prepared  recommendations for Ukraine-related agenda for Spain’s presidency in the EU. The main task at the moment can be defined as the systematisation and prolongation of already existing initiatives at least until the end of 2024, make these tracks sustainable and extend scope of Ukraine’s involvement into EU’s defence and security policy by opening access to certain EU’s projects. Regarding the energy sector, the first stage of the reorientation of European economies to alternative sources for importing natural gas should be followed by a systemic solution – the introduction of full sanctions on gas supplies from Russia. The political leadership of Spain, which systematically promotes the transition to green technologies and energy, allows to combine national and supranational priorities and support Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression. Read more in the analytical paper

Food security.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric expressed serious concern that only 33 ships departed from Ukrainian ports in May, half the number compared to April. Furthermore, the export of grain and other food products last month amounted to merely 1.3 million metric tons, less than half of the quantity shipped in the preceding month. Meanwhile, on May 18, Russia agreed to a two-month extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative .

Energy security.

Ukraine’s Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko and International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol met in Paris to sign an agreement that will allow the IEA representatives to assist the Ministry of Energy in responding quickly and ensuring the resilience and sustainability of the Ukrainian energy sector, especially during the upcoming heating season. 

Moreover, the government of Belgium has allocated 1.5 million EUR to purchase generators through the Belgian emergency team b-fast. This assistance is essential for the Ukrainian regions affected by Russia’s terrorist attack on the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant.

Recent reports.

On May 24, Ukrainian NGO “Detector media” launched a report on the way Russia exploits the topic of the life of national communities in Ukraine. In the course of the study, Detector Media analysed more than 50 thousand posts in the Ukrainian segment of Facebook, YouTube, Telegram and Twitter for the period December 18, 2022-April 18, 2023.

The prominent narratives imposed by Russian propaganda include the war in Ukraine being a part of international Jewish conspiracy since the President of Ukraine has Jewish origins: Ukrainians being an ‘inferior race’ of Europe, that is lazy, lives in EU countries only for social assistance and destroys monuments of Russian culture in Ukraine; Ukrainian not constituting a nation; Ukrainians turning into Roma people because they will soon be left without their country in the sense of territory and without national symbols and homeland; Poles preparing to invade the West of Ukraine and ethnic group of Rusyns, that populate Ukrainian regions of Transcarpathia, dreaming of separating from Ukraine.

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