KEY MESSAGES ON RUSSIA’S WAR AGAINST UKRAINE
As Of 17.00, 30 March
(35th Day Of War)
1. WAR SITUATION
The Russian troops continue simultaneously (albeit with different intensity) attacking Ukraine from the territory of Russia, Belarus and the temporarily occupied parts of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk regions and Crimea. This is a full-scale war against Ukraine (international armed conflict), launched by Russia, not a “conflict in Ukraine”. Proper wording is critical. While highlighting the situation in Ukraine, a clear reference must always be done to Russia as an aggressor. We protect the entire Europe, not only ourselves, as Putin will not stop in Ukraine:
- After the failure of the original invasion plan aimed in particular at seizure of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa, the Russian troops are now directing their main offensive operations on the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, most notably the city of Mariupol, with the aim to move the front line to the administrative boundaries of those two regions. In other areas, the occupant forces are now being regrouped and replenished in order to renew their advance into Ukraine’s territory;
- Russia fired 467 missiles just at the residential areas (the overall number is 1370 as of 29 March), attacks with aviation (1804 airstrikes as of 24 March), tanks and artillery, and sends subversion and reconnaissance groups (350 members of them detained as of 25 March). Ukraine became a testing ground for Russian missiles, used more and more often as Russian troops were stopped on the ground;
- Russian warships shell the coast line. Ukraine’s coast of the Azov Sea now is temporarily blocked by Russia. Amphibious landing to the Odesa region remains possible;
- Russia has air advantage, which it actively uses by attacking military positions and civilian objects and infrastructure, killing dozens of civilians daily, bombing Ukrainian airports. Russia’s air power raises serious security concerns even among NATO countries. Ukraine needs support in defending its sky, otherwise this threat would expand to our neighbours;
- Several towns were temporarily occupied (including Kherson and Melitopol). Some are attacked and besieged on the ground, with severe damage to residential areas and numerous casualties among civilians (Kharkiv, Mariupol, Mykolaiv, Sumy, Chernihiv);
- Intensive fighting left vast areas of Ukraine mined (~82,525 km2 as of 21 March). Currently, the Russian forces continue to increase mined areas;
- In the Black Sea, floating Russian mines seized by Russia in Crimea in 2014 and released in 2022, pose the gravest security threat to all vessels;
- Russia organizes cyber attacks and fake news campaigns aimed to sow panic in Ukrainian towns and cut off Ukrainian citizens from the official information sources;
- There are no places left in Ukraine without an overt military threat, be it shellings or infiltration of sabotage groups, members of which continue to be detained in all regions.
The territory of Belarus is actively used by Russia for its military purposes:
- Missiles are launched from the territory of Belarus, airfield and rail networks are used for transportation of Russian personnel, cargo and ammunition, fuel is supplied to the Russian troops on Ukrainian soil;
- Direct engagement of Belarus armed forces remains highly probable. On 11 March, the Russian aircrafts entered Ukraine’s air space and shelled three villages in Belarus located on the border with Ukraine. This was a false flag operation, aimed at providing pretext for Belarus direct engagement into Russia’s war;
- Lukashenka’s regime shares responsibility with Kremlin for its war against Ukraine. At the same time, only 3% of Belarus residents support joining this war.
Despite significant military advantage, Russia failed to reach its key goals:
- Ukraine did not surrender in three days, as Kremlin was expecting. Kyiv as a political and military command centre remains intact;
- No big cities with the only exception of Kherson were taken. Ukraine managed to establish defense and counter-attack. Recently, in particular, the towns of Trostianets and Irpin were liberated. Russian troops regroup and attempt to control the already captured positions;
- No one greets Russia in Ukraine. In the towns temporarily under control of Russian troops, the Ukrainian population is actively protesting against them. In the city of Kherson, Russian occupiers attempted to establish another fake “people’s republic”: both local residents and local authorities rejected this stage show. The Russian troops intimidate local residents, and continue their hunt for activists, journalists and local authorities able to organize protests against temporary occupation.
Kremlin attempts to conceal truth about war and real losses of the Russian troops in Ukraine:
- Afraid of mass anti-war protests, the Russian authorities block social networks, intimidate media, introduce censorship, high fines and imprisonment up to 15 years for delivering true information about the war started against Ukraine;
- Russian troops use mobile crematoriums and mass graves for those killed in actions;
- There are reports on failed parachutes of Russian pilots shot down by Ukrainian defenders. This may indicate the deliberate actions by the Russian command to prevent their capture and evidence about war crimes;
- The Russian authorities do not inform soldiers’ families on their fate. Instead, their families are already receiving reports of their deaths or disappearances, although they are still alive and in captivity. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the mothers of Russian soldiers to turn to Ukraine to learn about the fate of their children;
- As of 27 March, seven Russian high-ranking officers are known to have been killed in Ukraine, including major generals and lieutenants generals. The Russian side had acknowledged the death of only one of them;
- Still, the truth cannot be hidden. On 9 March, Russia recognized the use of conscripts. On 21 March, one of Kremlin’s propaganda media published the information that the Russian authorities have admitted the loss of 9,861 in manpower and 16,153 wounded (this information was subsequently deleted from the web-page). On 25 March, Russian military officials stated the loss of 1,351 in manpower and 3,825 wounded.
Having failed to make Ukraine surrender after a “Blitzkrieg”, Russia started searching for fake pretexts to “justify” its war of aggression:
- Despite Russia’s false allegations, Ukraine has neither intention, nor steps taken aimed at creation of nuclear weapon. This was confirmed by IAEA Director General on 4 March;
- Various Russian officials falsely accuse Ukraine of non-existent biological or chemical weapons. This was dismantled by the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs as well as UN Member States at the UN SC briefings on 11 and 18 March;
- Russia’s claims that Ukraine needs to be “demilitarized” sound even more absurd, looking at the numbers of troops, heavy weapons and aircrafts sent by it to invade Ukraine.
Ukraine has activated its right for self-defense according to the UN Charter Article 51. We continue to fight and we will win:
- Ukraine’s Armed Forces fight Russia’s Armed Forces, inflicting devastating blows to them. More than 100.000 Ukrainian citizens joined the territorial defence units. Nearly 000 volunteers from dozens of countries are joining Ukraine’s International Legion;
- All Russian troops initially prepared for invasion have already been sent to Ukraine. They were stopped everywhere and face severe logistical challenges. Russia pursues “hidden” mobilization and searches for mercenaries and private military companies to replenish losses by forming additional units;
- The Russian troops are suffering heavy losses. As of morning 30 March, they constitute about 17,300 personnel, 131 aircrafts, 131 helicopters, 81 UAV, 605 tanks, 1723 armored vehicles, 305 artillery systems, 96 MLRS, 54 anti-aircraft systems, 7 vessels/boats;
- Up to 1000 Russian military were taken captive. The moral and psychological state of the Russian troops remains low. More and more Russian soldiers refuse to go to war. According to the Security Service of Ukraine, some captured Russian servicemen testify that they are forced to fight in Ukraine, under the threat of a prison term of thirteen years;
- Attacking Ukraine, Russia is exhausting its stocks of missiles. Its military-industrial complex has to work 24/7 to replenish them;
- Over 20 Russian military enterprises were forced to suspend their activities in whole or in part due to shortage of parts and components, including the research and production enterprise “Vimpel” (production of aircraft missiles) and the only Russian tank company “Uralvagonzavod”;
- 93% of Ukrainian citizens (as of 18 March) are convinced that we will win this defensive war against Russia. Mayors of Ukrainian towns reject Russia’s proposals to surrender;
- On 19 March, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine took the decision to suspend during the martial law any activity of several political parties, linked to Russia.
Russia’s irresponsible actions pose the gravest nuclear and chemical contamination threats:
- On 4 March, the entire Europe was put on the brink of nuclear disaster, when the Russian troops began shelling the largest in Europe Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant. It remains seized by Russian military (400 military personnel and 50 military vehicles are stationed now) and controlled by “Rosatom”;
- The Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant was seized by the Russian troops, which, according to the reports, continue to amass arms and weapons in its vicinity. They have already twice damaged its power line, which could lead to the leak of radiation (both times, the Ukrainian repair teams restored the power line). Russian heavy armored vehicles continue moving around the Plant, moving the soil and causing radiation spikes;
- The IAEA has lost connection with the monitoring systems of guarantees both in Chornobyl and Zaporizhzhya;
- On 10 and 26 March, Russian troops fired facilities of Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology, which contain nuclear material and an experimental reactor;
- On 20 March, the site of PJSC “SumyHimProm” was shelled, which caused ammonia leakage from a 50-ton tank;
- Russia’s nuclear-deterrence forces remain on alert. Threats by nuclear war continue.
2. HUMANITARIAN SITUATION
Faced with military defeats, losses of personnel and vigorous resistance, the Russian troops began indiscriminate attacks on Ukrainian cities with missile strikes and heavy artillery. Being aware that it will not be able to win this war, Russia deliberately destroys Ukraine’s economy:
- Since the start of war, Russia has sent hundreds of missiles to the residential areas;
- Documents and maps seized by Ukrainian troops from Russian prisoners of war, as well as intercepted communications, confirm that bombardments and shelling of residential areas have deliberate character;
- Extensive environmental damage is also present, as water supply and sewage systems and communications are targeted, port infrastructure along the coasts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov is attacked, and nature and biosphere reserves and national nature parks have suffered significant losses;
- The number of civilians killed by Russian troops exceeds military losses;
- While retreating, Russian troops plant mines in the previously seized Ukrainian territories, leaving them even in the children toys;
- On 19 March, the Russian troops illegally deported to the territory of Russia 2,389 children from the occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. This was a forced displacement of civilians into the territory of the aggressor state;
- There is evidence of civilians being forcibly transferred to the territory of Russia and Belarus from temporarily occupied territories of Ukrajine. The total number of trafficked is estimated to reach 40,000. From Mariupol alone, between 20,000 and 30,000 (according to the Mariupol authorities estimates), people have been trafficked to the filtration camps and further to the Russian territory.
- These are violations of international humanitarian law and crimes against humanity.
Humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating:
- The residential areas of such cities as Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Mariupol, Melitopol, outskirts of Kyiv and many others, are intensively shelled, leaving daily dozens of innocent civilians killed and wounded;
- The worst situation remains in the besieged city of Mariupol, which is now almost destroyed. Nearly 160.000 civilians remain in blockade without water, heat, electricity, and communications. Thousands of civilians lost their lives due to Russian attacks and blockade. The current number of civilian deaths in Mariupol is estimated to reach 5,000 including about 210
Russia’s crimes include bombardment of a drama theatre where up to 1300 civilians were being sheltered, of an art school, which served as a shelter for around 400 civilians, and seizure of a hospital with 400 civilians in it used as a human shield;
- The UN OHCHR recorded 3,039 confirmed civilian casualties in Ukraine: 1,179 killed and 1,860 injured (as of midnight 28 March). The OHCHR believes that the real figures are considerably higher.
- According to UNICEF, one month of war in Ukraine has led to the displacement of 4.3 mln children – more than half of the country’s estimated 7.5 mln child population, including more than 1.8 mln children who have crossed into neighbouring countries as refugees and 2.5 mln who are now internally displaced inside Ukraine;
- Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine is investigating crimes committed by Russia during the full-scale invasion including the killing 145 children and injuring 222 (as of 30 March). The data on children killed and injured in Mariupol is being established;
- Kindergartens and schools, universities and hospitals, airports and fuel stations, bridges, food warehouses and water reservoirs are targeted. 570 educational institutions, 150 health facilities, ~4500 residential buildings and 59 religious buildings were damaged or destroyed only on the territory controlled by Ukraine. In the city of Kharkiv 1177 houses were entirely destroyed, in Mariupol – 2340 buildings destroyed or severely damaged;
- According to the UNHCR, >10,3 mln (almost 1/4 of the total population) people have fled their homes in Ukraine: >6.5 mln people were displaced inside Ukraine, and >4 mln left the country. The Office of the President of Ukraine estimates about 11–12 mln IDPs;
- Such towns as Schastya and Stanytsia Luhanska near Luhansk, or Volnovakha in the Donetsk region, are now nearly destroyed;
- Faced with logistical challenges, Russian troops began pillaging local residents and robbing humanitarian convoys. The Russian army in Ukraine has been ordered to “switch to self-sufficiency”. Kremlin-sanctioned looting.
- The main efforts are now focused on establishment of humanitarian corridors, which are regularly violated by the Russian troops. Three humanitarian corridors in operation on 29 March allowed the evacuation of over 1660 people by private transport, 936 of them departed from Mariupol. Three humanitarian corridors are planned for 30 Marc
We urgently need humanitarian assistance:
- A number of steps have been taken to simplify the procedure of delivery of humanitarian assistance through the state border of Ukraine for the period of duration of martial law;
- According to the Office of President of Ukraine, as of 28 March Ukraine received ~150.000 tons of humanitarian aid;
- The Ministry of Infrastructure and Ukrzaliznytsia (Ukrainian Railways) are currently operating as logistics headquarters. We are grateful to our partners and expect a more active involvement of international organizations in humanitarian aid, including establishment of humanitarian corridors blocked by the Russian troops, ensuring delivery of humanitarian relief to the medical facilities, and provision of critical food supply to the civilian population;
- The UN Flash Appeal for Ukraine requested 14 bln USD to support the initial 3 months of the response to help six million of the most vulnerable in Ukraine. As of 30 March, donors raised 505.9 mln USD or 44 per cent of the funds requested. In addition, UNHCR appealed for 550 mln USD to support Ukrainian refugees fleeing neighboring countries;
- We expect the ICRC to request from Russia the lists of Ukrainian citizens forcibly transferred to Russia’s territory, in particular from Mariupol.
Russian military aggression threatens thousands of foreigners in Ukraine:
- We regret that while they had been warmly welcomed in our country, nowadays Russian invasion put their lives at high risk;
- Despite Russia’s propaganda, there is no discrimination based on the race or nationality, including when it comes to the crossing of the state border by foreign citizens;
- Foreign journalists Brent Renaud and Pierre Zakrzewski were killed by Russian troops. Several more were wounded;
- We call on all foreign governments to demand from President Putin that he immediately stops his war in Ukraine.
3. RUSSIA’S RESPONSIBILITY
Russia flagrantly violates international law, in particular:
- Russian military vessels are blocking access and deliberately attacking civil ships (five as of 16 March) along Ukraine’s shore in the Black Sea in violation of the international law of the sea. 94 ships remain blocked in the Ukrainian ports due to Russia’s illegal actions;
- In violation of the International Convention of the Safety of Life at Sea, the humanitarian aid mission (the rescue ship ‘Sapphire’) was captured by Russian warships in the Serpent (Zmiinyi) Island area and moved to the occupied port of Sevastopol. Two other Ukrainian civil ships were de facto pirated by Russian warships;
- In violation of the Hague conventions on the Laws and Customs of War on Land, Russia continues to mobilize thousands of residents of the temporarily occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The mobilization age on those territories was increased to 65 years. They are sent to the forward positions of the Russian troops as cannon fodder;
- On 11 March, the UN OHCHR confirmed the use of cluster munitions by Russian troops in populated areas, incompatible with the international humanitarian law principles;
- The case of white phosphorus bomb attack is reported in the vicinity of Luhansk, the details are being investigated;
- Russia uses civilians as hostages and human shield. By exposing cities to indiscriminate shelling, creating a dire humanitarian situation, and firing at civilians during evacuation from the besieged Ukrainian cities to other places in Ukraine, Russia is forcing civilians to flee their homes and providing only a corridor to its territory or to Belarus, which could be considered as forcible deportation of protected persons according to IHL;
- There is evidence of Ukrainian women being raped by the Russian soldiers;
- Russia’s attacks target residential areas, air bomb shelters for civilians, medical infrastructure, and transport means used for medical, humanitarian support and evacuation purposes;
- The Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine launched a portal with information on the destruction of cultural and historical monuments of Ukraine by Russian aggressors. These materials will prove in the International Criminal Court Russia’s real goal, which is extermination of Ukrainian nation, culture, history and identity.
According to the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine (as of 30 March):
- 3411 aggression and war crimes have been already registered (of which 3306 for violating the laws and customs of war);
- 207 suspects among Russia’s military and political leadership were determined;
- 1954 crimes against national security are being investigated, of which 1339 on encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine, 361 – state treason, 55 – sabotage.
Responsibility for Russia’s war against Ukraine lies with the entire Russian society, not only president Putin and his proxies. All of them must bear the consequences:
- The decision to start a war of aggression was taken by Putin. At the same time, 74% of Russian citizens (the number is growing) support this war and mass killings of Ukrainians. This is shared responsibility;
- According to the Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, recently the Kremlin’s propagandists began actively promoting narratives aimed at cultivating Russians’ hatred towards all Ukrainians;
- Russian soldiers murder Ukrainian citizens, Russian journalists make propaganda, Russian officials and enterprises work to support Putin’s decisions. This is not a one man show;
- European politicians and corporations drawing separating lines between Putin and “ordinary Russians” simply try to justify doing business as usual and making bloody money by trading with Russia even in the time of war, financed by such a business;
- According to a case study conducted in March by Active Group and published on 16 March, 6% of Russians support the idea of Russian aggression against EU countries. The main next target after Ukraine, 75.5% of Russian respondents chose Poland, 41% of respondents voted for an attack on the Baltic countries, 39.6% – one of the Warsaw Pact countries (Bulgaria, Hungary, former Czechoslovakia), 32.4% – Georgia, 28.8% – Moldova.
We welcome all steps made by the international institutions to bring Russia to justice:
- On 26 February, Ukraine submitted its application against Russia to the International Court of Justice, requesting the Court to issue an order that Russia must cease its unlawful attack on Ukraine. Although Russia has notified the ICJ that it does not intend to participate in the process, this did not prevent the hearing. On 16 March, the ICJ ordered Russia to immediately stop the invasion, the order being binding under international law. Russia must comply immediately, as ignoring the ICJ will isolate Russia even further;
- On 1 March, the ECHR decided to indicate to the Government of Russia to refrain from military attacks against civilians and civilian objects;
- International Criminal Court Prosecutor opened an investigation into the situation in Ukraine. The ICC investigators visited Ukraine to collect evidence. The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine informs that as of 28 March 42 states have filed their appeals to the International Criminal Court in relation to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine;
- According to the Office of Prosecutor General of Ukraine, six countries have opened criminal cases in relation to Russian war crimes (Estonia, Lithuania, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Sweden);
- On 30 March, the President of the UN Human Rights Council announced the appointment of three independent members of the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, mandated to investigate violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the context of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, established by the UNHRC Resolution “Situation of human rights in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression” of 4 March 2022;
- All cases of violation of the provisions of international and international humanitarian law must be registered by the respective international bodies.
4. DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS
The world supports Ukraine. Russia becomes increasingly isolated:
- On 25 February, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe suspended Russia`s rights of representation in CMCE and PACE. On 16 March, Russia was excluded from the Council of Europe, after 26 years of membership;
- On 27 February, by a recorded vote of 11 in favour to 1 against (Russia), with 3 abstentions (China, India, UAE), the UN SC adopted a resolution calling on the UN GA Emergency Special session on Ukraine, effectively taking over the functions of the UN SC. On 2 March, the UN GA with overwhelming majority of votes (141 YES and only 5 NO, with 35 abstained) adopted the Resolution on Russian invasion to Ukraine;
- On 3 March, Russia was suspended from the Council of the Baltic Sea States;
- On 3 March, 45 OSCE participating States have invoked the Moscow mechanism for Russia’s war against Ukraine;
- On 4 March, the UN HR Council adopted the Resolution “Situation of human rights in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression” (32 YES, 2 NO and 13 Abstained)”;
- On 8 March, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has condemned Russia’s military invasion into Ukraine and suspended Russia’s Observer status. This led to suspension of all joint activities with institutions located in Russia (including Joint Institute for Nuclear Research) and Belarus;
- On 8 March, the OECD decided to suspend the participation of Russia and Belarus;
- Russia was banned from many sport organizations. In particular, all Russian teams were suspended from participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice. On 16 March, the FIDE Council suspended the national teams of Russia and Belarus from participation in official FIDE chess tournaments;
- On 10–11 March, the IMO Extraordinary Council Session deplored Russia’s attacks on commercial vessels and their seizures, demanding that Russia cease its unlawful activities;
- On 17 March, the Danube Commission at its extraordinary meeting adopted the decision to suspend Russia’s representation;
- On 17 March, the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunication Administrations has indefinitely suspended Russia and Belarus from membership;
- On 24 March, the UN GA with overwhelming majority of votes (140 YES and only 5 NO, with 38 abstained) adopted the resolution “Humanitarian Consequences of the Aggression against Ukraine”;
- On 24 March, the European Council in its conclusions on the Russian military aggression against Ukraine has demanded Russia to stop its military aggression in the territory of Ukraine, withdraw all forces, fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognized borders, and to guarantee safe passage for civilians with full respect to its obligations under the international law;
- On 27 March, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) officially announced the closure of its offices in Moscow and Minsk;
- The International Labour Organization (ILO) has suspended all technical cooperation with Russia until the ceasefire is implemented and peaceful resolution is adopted;
- More than 100 Russian diplomats were expelled from the EU countries in March 2022.
Russia’s diplomatic and political isolation must continue:
- We call our partners to follow our example (Ukraine has terminated diplomatic relations with Russia) and to expel Russia’s ambassadors immediately;
- The international organizations must consider banning Russia’s membership for blatant violations of international law (as, for instance, the Council of Europe did) and dismissing Russian citizens from their Secretariats to eliminate Russia’s influence;
- Countries, which support Russia’s actions in one way or another, should bear the consequences (Ukraine has recalled Ambassadors in Kyrgyzstan and Georgia for consultations following the unfriendly steps done by these countries);
- The global web movement Avaaz posted three online petitions: on bringing Putin to international responsibility (signed by ~1.425 mln people, as of 30 March) for crimes in Ukraine, on the ban of imports of Russian oil, gas and coal (signed by ~1.006 mln people, as of 30 March), and on cessation of Russia’s war against Ukraine (signed by ~2.330 million people, as of March 30).
Ending the war, launched by Russia, remains Ukraine’s key priority. Six rounds of Ukrainian-Russian negotiations were held on 28 February, 3 March, 7 March, 14–16 March, 21 March, and 29 March. At the last round of negotiations on 29 March, the Ukrainian side has officially presented its proposals on the new system of security guarantees for Ukraine:
- an international treaty signed and ratified by all guarantee states (US, UK, France, China, and Russia as UN SC, as well as Turkey, Germany, Canada, Italy, Poland and Israel are considered, with the possibility for other states to join). Such treaty would envisage an improved analogue of the NATO mechanism for consultations and legally-binding commitments to provide military assistance in the case of attack against Ukraine;
- the international security guarantees will temporarily not cover the parts of territory temporarily occupied by Russia in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions and Crimea;
- all guarantee states will support Ukraine’s accession to the EU;
- for the next 15 years, Ukraine and Russia will negotiate the status of Crimea, with the commitment in place not to use force to solve the problem;
- the issue of certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions will be discussed during the personal meeting of President Zelenskyy and president putin;
- all proposals by the Ukrainian authorities will be agreed with Ukrainian society, through the referendum.
Negotiations with Russia and consultations with the possible guarantee states will continue in the next two weeks.
5. ACTIONS BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
Ukrainian people are dying for the freedom of Ukraine and Europe. We strive for a full-fledged EU membership and expect further steps on it to be taken as fast as possible:
- According to the polls, held on 1 March, 86% of Ukrainian citizens support joining the EU, and 76% support accession to NATO;
- Majority (nearly 71% according to the recent polls) of the EU citizens also support Ukraine’s membership;
- On 28 February, President of Ukraine signed an official application for the EU membership for Ukraine within new urgent procedure. Ten EU countries have already supported Our application should be considered separately from Georgia and Moldova;
- On 1 March, the European Parliament (637 votes pro, 13 votes contra, 26 abstained) adopted Resolution, calling on European institutions to work towards granting Ukraine the status of EU candidate country and imposing tougher sanctions against Russia;
- On 10–11 March, the Informal meeting of EU heads of state or government adopted the statement on Russian aggression against Ukraine, in which “acknowledged the European aspirations and the European choice of Ukraine, as stated in the Association Agreement”;
- On 24 March, the European Council in its conclusions on the Russian military aggression against Ukraine has reaffirmed the Versailles Declaration, acknowledging the European aspirations and the European choice of Ukraine.
We are grateful for the decisions already taken by our friends and partners. Some of them were unprecedented, such as EU providing 1 bln EUR to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (within the European Peace Facility) or neutral Switzerland freezing Russia’s assets:
- arms, military equipment and ammunitions sent over to us by our partners;
- the decision of Turkey to block the access of Russian warships to the Black Sea;
- introducing the ban on Russian aircrafts in the airspace (EU, USA, UK, Canada, North Macedonia, Moldova, Norway, USA, Iceland, Switzerland, Montenegro, Albania), as well as the supply, leasing, insurance and maintenance of aircrafts;
- humanitarian support provided for the citizens of Ukraine;
- fuel supplies, including for the sowing campaign (Azerbaijan);
- Russia’s assets frozen in many countries of the world.
The unprecedented sanctions (nearly 6000 as of now) are of particular importance, isolating Russia’s economy and severely undermining its economic and financial capacities to continue aggression. Atrocities, which continue to be committed by Russia in Ukraine, confirm that sanctions must be further strengthened and expanded, as well as introduced by those countries which have not made this until now. The world has to stop buying Russian commodities, which continue to finance Kremlin’s war against Ukraine:
- Russia lost access to half of its gold and currency reserve (including 132 bln USD of gold blocked by the US). The US has banned the export of US dollars, and the EU has banned the supply of euro banknotes to Russia;
- Russian currency has drastically depreciated. Inflation in 2022 is expected 18 – 25%;
- Russian companies go 27% (and the number is growing) of Russian companies has laid off employees;
- Doing business with Russia becomes increasingly toxic, causing severe reputational and business losses. More than five hundred companies refused to work in Russia or to cooperate with it and its citizens, as well as to supply their products and services there. This process should continue, as Russia’s economy has entered a stage of rapid degradation, and soon the withdrawal of investments will be much more complicated;
- The sanctions imposed on Russia’s main railway company, “Russian Railways”, left Russia almost entirely without railway connection with the EU;
- Since 1 April, the Western Union payment system will not conduct operations in Russia;
- Experts estimate that about 3 mln Russian citizens will become unemployed;
- Russia’s sovereign ratings are downgraded, leading to default on public debt;
- Russia’s economy will face deep recession (decline 7 – 14% in 2022 is expected according to the different forecasts).
Further actions need to be done immediately:
- no-flight zone over Ukraine to cease the shelling of civilians by Russia and ensure the safety of critical infrastructure such as Nuclear Power Plants;
- strengthening Ukraine’s air and ground defense system, including by providing military aircrafts, MLRS, tanks, anti-ship weapons. Even 1% of the current quantity possessed by NATO member states will help us to balance Russia’s current advantage;
- deprive Russia of the opportunity to use GPS in war;
- disconnect all Russian banks from SWIFT, first and foremost “Sberbank”;
- refrain from making payments in Russian roubles for oil, gas and grain;
- expanding sanctions to Lukashenka’s regime in Belarus;
- complete trade embargo on Russia, most notably on oil, gas, gold and minerals (daily, Europe pays Russia over 600 million EUR for oil and gas);
- preventing Russia from the use of crypto-currencies to circumvent sanctions;
- monitor any attempts by Russia and Russian citizens to avoid sanctions;
- expand sanctions to those richest people of Russia who are still free to finance Putin’s regime and war against Ukraine;
- closure of ports for Russian vessels and ban for the ships under the EU member-states and US flags to come to the Russian sea ports;
- block the railway route between China and Poland in transit through Russia and Belarus;
- ban of all Russian channels of propaganda broadcasting fakes on Russia’s war on Ukraine;
- deputinizing the world: ending Putin’s influence in politics, diplomacy, business, sports, culture, research & other spheres;
- encouraging private business to withdraw their investments, relocate production sites from Russia, and cut running contracts. Doing business in Russia and paying taxes to Russia’s budget must be stopped (the largest foreign companies paid 20.2 bln USD in taxes to the Russian government in 2020, nearly 1/3 of Russia’s annual military budget);
- imposing a visa-regime for holders of Russian diplomatic passports, blocking new visas and residency permits and revoking existing ones for Russian officials and their families (in addition to the EC recommendations to recall EU citizenship for the sanctioned owners of the so-called “golden passports” provided to major Russian and Belarusian investors);
- Prime Minister of Ukraine has officially appealed to the G7 countries regarding the status of Russia’s and Belarus’ membership in the IMF and all World Bank organizations;
- excluding Russia from the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering and designating it on FATF’s black list without delay;
- deployment of the special UN mission for demilitarization of the Chornobyl NPP and the surrounding territories;
- moving the 45th session of UNESCO from Kazan, Russia, to Lviv, Ukraine, and excluding Russia from the organization.
Russia continues to demonstrate that it understands only the language of force. Russia’s attack on Ukraine has shown that if NATO remains silent, the situation on the world stage will worsen. The war launched by President of Russia, must be stopped. It is not in the interest of Russian and Belarusian citizens:
- We are grateful to the wide Ukrainian community abroad, which joined the Government of Ukraine in delivering the truth on Russia’s war in Europe;
- Anti-war demonstrations held by citizens of many nations throughout the world demonstrate strong support to Ukraine in defending against Russia;
- It is critical to keep informing Russian and Belarusian citizens on the aggressive war conducted without their consent against Ukraine by their leaders;
- Russian and Belarusian people are protesting against attacking Ukraine. Thousands are detained.
6. ECONOMIC RECOVERY
One of Russia’s key goals in the war it has launched is to destroy Ukraine’s economy, to make us a “failed state”, which would not be able to resist Russia’s pressure and influence:
- Since the start of war, a major part of economic activity has stalled: nearly 30% of Ukraine’s economy does not function. Many industrial plants located primarily in eastern Ukraine suspended their work. Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov disrupts Ukraine’s export. According to the estimates by Prime Minister of Ukraine, the GDP of Ukraine has fallen by 35% in just one month of the war;
- Russian troops damage and destroy bridges and roads, attack agricultural equipment to prevent the start of the sowing campaign;
- Having taken control over all the hydrotechnical equipment of the North Crimean water channel, every day Russia robs Ukraine of water worth 1 mln USD;
- Around 1,500 settlements have been cut off electricity, due to damage caused by the Russian aggression;
- The Ukrainian Government estimates that overall infrastructure and economic losses in Ukraine caused by Russia’s war, will exceed 1 trillion USD in the coming years;
- According to the IMF report of 14 March, Ukraine’s GDP will contract 10% in 2022 if there’s a prompt resolution to the war, and much more if it continues further.
The Russian war against Ukraine is a threat to global food security. Defending Ukraine also protects the world from hunger and famine.
- Ukraine’s exports comprise about 10% of all wheat, 16% of all corn and 55% of all sunflower oil in the world;
- Due to Russia’s war, the overall size of the agricultural areas is expected to decrease in Ukraine by 30%. Russian invaders are blocking Ukrainian ports (and foreign ships there) and deliberately destroying agricultural machinery;
- As a result of Russia’s actions, food exports from Ukraine are partially suspended, as railway remains the only viable, but limited route. If the war continues, Ukraine will not be able to supply the world with 6 mln tons of wheat and 15 mln tons of corn left over from the last harvest, and will not be able to fully sow and harvest this year;
- This will cause a large-scale humanitarian crisis in the world in the near future. 400 mln lives in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia are at risk of unstable access to food, malnutrition and famine.
We do our utmost to thwart Russia’s plans and to keep Ukraine afloat:
- Ukraine’s business and industry outside the war zone continue working to support Ukraine’s economy. With support of the Ukrainian authorities, the relocation from the war zone continues: 300 enterprises (as of 28 March) have already been relocated and 60 of them have resumed their work, while nearly 700 more have applied to follow;
- The Ukrainian Parliament adopted the laws aimed at supporting Ukrainian business in war time, including by cutting red tape, simplifying tax system and lifting import duties;
- The Ukrainian authorities started preparing support to the spring sowing campaign where the current situation allows, including by ensuring state reimbursement for interest on loans to cover any expenses related to the agricultural activities;
- The Ukrainian government established four funds: support to Ukrainian army and humanitarian assistance; restoration of destroyed infrastructure; re-launch of small and medium business; servicing external debt.
We are grateful for all financial and technical assistance urgently provided to Ukraine. This strengthens our resilience to Russia’s war:
- On 7 March, the World Bank has mobilized an Emergency Financing Package of over 700 mln USD for Ukraine;
- On 9 March, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has announced an initial EUR 2 bln resilience package of measures to help citizens, companies and countries affected by the war against Ukraine. The Bank has also pledged to do all it can to help with the country’s reconstruction, once conditions allow;
- According to the decision adopted on 9 March, the IMF has provided 4 bln USD in Emergency Financing Support to Ukraine;
- On 15 March, President Biden signed the bill with $6 bln to aid Ukraine and support NATO in Eastern Europe;
- On 16 March, Ukraine has finally joined ENTSO-E. This will significantly enhance our energy independence and prevent any blackmailing in this sphere from Russia and Belarus;
- On 18 March, President of the EU Commission announced second disbursement of 300 mln EUR to Ukraine under the new emergency Macro-Financial Assistance programme;
- On 21 March, the UAH/USD Swap Agreement for $1 bln in equivalent between the central banks of Ukraine and Poland came into force. It will increase Ukraine’s international reserves and macrofinancial stability;
- On 24 March, the European Council agreed to develop a Ukraine Solidarity Trust Fund, invited international partners to participate and called for an international conference to raise funding.
We need to restore Ukraine’s economy when we win. We will need further significant support by the world in rebuilding our country from Russia-brought destruction:
- Establishment of the international fund with the capital of at least $500 billion;
- Financial and technical support to strengthen Ukraine’s defensive capacities and prevent any further attempts by Russia to launch a war in Europe;
- Soonest possible access to the EU structural funds for the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine (taken into account submission of the application for the EU membership);
- Massive investments, grants and contributions to relaunch Ukraine’s economy;
- Russia’s property, confiscated abroad as a part of the imposed sanctions, has to become a part of reparations by Russia to Ukraine.