Sunday, 19 June 2022
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Russia’s war against Ukraine
A child plays in the basement of his home in Lysychansk, Luhansk Oblast, on May 26, taking shelter from indiscriminate bombing by Russian forces. (Photo by Karou Ng)
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Ukraine publishes its EU candidate status questionnaire. The Ukrainian government published the EU questionnaire and Ukraine’s responses on June 17. The European Commission recommended giving candidate status to Ukraine on June 17, and the European Council is set to decide on Ukraine’s application on June 23.
Institute for the Study of War: Russia makes ‘marginal gains’ near Sievierodonetsk, stall offensives elsewhere. The U.S. think tank reported on June 18 that Russian forces are likely dealing with “mounting losses and troop and equipment degradation,” including challenges with troop morale and discipline. This may slow down progress in other axes of advance. Russian forces are also reportedly trying to repel Ukrainian forces from artillery range of railway networks near Kharkiv, which are used to supply Russian advances towards Sloviansk.
Official: Ukraine may resume talks with Russia in August. Lawmaker David Arakhamia, Ukraine’s chief negotiator with Russia, told Voice of America that Ukraine may resume talks with Russia at the end of August after conducting several counterattacks.
Ukraine’s military destroys 60 units of Russian military equipment in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s Operational Command “East” reported on June 18 that it killed 87 Russian troops and destroyed one tank, five mortars, 52 artillery tractors, one special equipment unit, one unmanned aerial vehicle, and two ammunition depots.
Shmyhal: Ukraine to unveil reconstruction plan in July. As part of the “Reconstruction Plan of Ukraine-United 24,” each partner country would be in charge of a particular region or industry, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said. Denmark has already agreed to take charge of the restoration of Mykolaiv, the Baltic countries of Zhytomyr Oblast, and Portugal of rebuilding Ukrainian schools.
Governor: Russia pulls all reserves to Luhansk Oblast, massive offensives expected in coming days. Luhansk Oblast Governor Serhiy Haidai said on June 18 that Russian forces are continuing to try to gain full control of Sievierodonetsk and to cut off the highway between Bakhmut and Lysychansk.
UK intelligence: Russia renews attempts to advance south of Izium, Kharkiv Oblast. According to the U.K. Defense Ministry, Russia’s goal is to advance deeper into Donetsk Oblast, as well as to “envelop the Sievierodonetsk Pocket from the north.” Since June 14, Russian proxies have also claimed they are trying to “establish humanitarian corridors” to allow civilians to flee Sievierodonetsk in Luhansk Oblast, which is a mechanism used by Russia to “manipulate the battlespace and impose the forced transfer of populations,” the ministry said.
Zelensky submits bill to parliament to ratify Istanbul Convention. President Volodymyr Zelensky submitted to Ukraine’s parliament a bill to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Domestic Violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention. Ukraine signed the convention in 2011, but failed to ratify it in 2016 after a majority in parliament voted against it. According to the majority, the main issue at the time was the word “gender” in the text, thought to be supportive of same-sex marriage. Some EU members have said ratifying the convention is a precondition for approving Ukraine’s candidacy for EU membership.
Russia distributes newspapers in occupied areas falsely claiming ‘Ukrainian panic.’ According to Ukraine’s Center for Countering Disinformation, the newspapers contain fake statements attributed to Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhnyi and presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovych. The newspapers also say “Ukraine is about to lose Zaporizhzhia.”
Residents in Russian-occupied Mariupol wait up to 2 weeks for free coffins. Aide to Mariupol mayor Petro Andriushchenko reported that in Russian-occupied Mariupol, the Kremlin’s proxies are offering a wait time of two weeks for free coffins made of simple wood without upholstery. Andriushchenko said that bodies often disappear, while others continue to lie in the streets in the heat. He also said collaborators have set up shop to charge residents Hr 20,000 ($675) to locate and bury bodies in unnamed graves.
First Lady: EU rejection of Ukraine’s candidacy would be Russian victory. During her pre-recorded speech for the 10th anniversary of the Aspen Institute Central Europe, Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska said that Russia’s war kills two children every day. “If the EU rejects Ukraine’s (application to join the bloc), Russia will interpret this as a desirable victory over the whole of Europe and will realize that there is no unity in Europe,” Zelenska said. “The world can’t afford to give such a gift to the aggressor. If only for the sake of its own security.”
Governor: Food 40 percent more expensive in Russian-occupied territories of Luhansk Oblast. Basic products such as potatoes, onions, sunflower oil, and eggs cost between 40-50% more in Russian-occupied territories of Luhansk Oblast, according to Luhansk Oblast Governor Serhiy Haidai, citing open-source data.
General Staff: Russian troops have ‘partial success’ in Metolkine, Luhansk Oblast. The village of Metolkine is located next to Sievierodonetsk, the site of intense urban fighting. Russian forces also tried to cross the Siversky Donets river and attack neighboring settlements – Bila Hora and Ustynivka – yet failed.
Danilov calls out officials for ‘juggling’ figures of Ukrainian losses. National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said in an interview with Liga news that those who make announcements about the numbers of daily Ukrainian casualties at the front are not privy to this information. Danilov was ostensibly referring to Mykhailo Podoliak, aide to the presidential administration, who earlier reported that Ukraine was losing up to 100-200 soldiers at the front each day and lawmaker David Arakhamia who earlier said Ukrainian daily casualties in Donbas were up to 1,000.
Naftogaz to supply gas at a fixed price during martial law. Ukraine’s state-owned gas operator will continue provide gas at fixed prices for six months after martial law ends, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on June 18.
Ukraine, Russia exchange 5 prisoners. Five civilians returned home on June 18 in an exchange for five Russian prisoners of war, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry’s Intelligence Directorate said. Four of the released civilians were taken prisoner during fighting in the Kyiv region. The body of one deceased defender of Ukraine was also returned.
The human cost of Russia’s war
Governor: 1 civilian dead, 11 injured from Russian attacks in Donetsk Oblast on June 18. According to Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko, an additional person died and another injured in neighboring Luhansk Oblast.
Prosecutor General’s Office: Russia’s war has killed at least 323 children in Ukraine since Feb. 24. More than 583 children have been injured, the Prosecutor General’s Office said on June 18. However, the figures are expected to be higher since they do not include casualties in areas where hostilities are ongoing and in Russian-occupied areas, the prosecutors said.
General Staff: Russia has lost 33,350 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24. Ukraine’s General Staff reported on June 18 that Russia had also lost 1,465 tanks, 3,573 armored fighting vehicles, 739 artillery pieces, 233 multiple launch rocket systems, 98 surface-to-air missile systems, 180 helicopters, 216 airplanes, 594 drones, and 14 boats.
Scholz: EU leaders will try to get 27 yes votes to give Ukraine candidate status. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that giving Ukraine EU candidate status would be a sign of solidarity with a country that is fighting for freedom and democracy. The European Commission recommended giving candidate status to Ukraine on June 17, and the European Council is set to decide on Ukraine’s application on June 23.
Scholz: G7 to support Ukraine for ‘as long as necessary.’ German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on June 18 that the G7 members will reiterate their support for Ukraine at the upcoming summit. “We want to make sure that Russian President [Vladimir Putin’s] calculations do not work out,” Scholz said.
Politico: US may double number of HIMARS sent to Ukraine. If approved, Ukraine will receive an additional four HIMARS multiple rocket launchers in the next tranche of military aid, the news outlet reported, citing an unnamed U.S. Department of Defense official. The first four HIMARS are to be sent to Ukraine by the end of June.
European nuclear agency to stop working with Russia, Belarus over war in Ukraine. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has announced it will stop its international cooperation agreement with Russia and Belarus after it expires in 2024.
Johnson: UK must keep up support for Ukraine despite ‘war fatigue.’ U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told British reporters that it was vital to “show what we know to be true which is that Ukraine can win and will win.” Johnson offered battlefield training for 10,000 Ukrainian service members during a surprise visit to the Ukrainian capital on June 17.
Dutch PM: War in Ukraine is ‘our war’. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that even though the Netherlands is not formally at war with Russia, it is “practically our war too.” “Ukraine must win, that is really important. In any case, we must ensure that we do everything we can to bring them closer to that victory,” Rutte said, as cited by the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. He also said that the Dutch people must be prepared to bear the consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine. “Those consequences also affect our wallets. But we must do that for our safety and our freedom,” he added.
Ambassador: Germany to send additional howitzers to Ukraine in coming weeks. German Ambassador to Ukraine Anka Feldhusen reportedly said in a televised address on June 18 that MLR systems are also on their way. Feldhusen said that HIMARS are currently being assembled in Europe and will be provided to Ukraine on behalf of Germany, the U.S. and the U.K.
In other news
Romania, Moldova adopt historic joint declaration condemning Russia’s war. The Romanian and Moldovan parliaments held their first-ever joint session on June 18 to condemn Russia’s war against Ukraine and endorse Moldova’s EU ascension aspirations. At the session, the two parliaments reaffirmed their “full support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity” in the face of Russia’s war.
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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Alexander Query, Asami Terajima, Daria Shulzhenko, Oleg Sukhov, Lili Bivings, Natalia Datskevych, Oleksiy Sorokin, and Teah Pelechaty.