KEY MESSAGES ON RUSSIA’S WAR AGAINST UKRAINE
As Of 11.00, 25 April
(61st Day Of War)
- WAR SITUATION 1
- HUMANITARIAN SITUATION 4
- RUSSIA’S RESPONSIBILITY 6
- DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS 8
- ACTIONS BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY 10
- ECONOMIC RECOVERY 12
1. WAR SITUATION
Russia’s original invasion plan directed in particular at simultaneous seizure of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa, with the aim to change power in Ukraine, has failed. The russian side has regrouped the major part of its troops to eastern Ukraine with the aim to occupy the entire territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and to secure the land corridor to Crimea across the city of Mariupol (despite earlier statements that it had no territorial ambitions in Ukraine), preferably until 9 May. In the meantime, russia continues launching missile and bomb strikes on military and civilian infrastructure throughout Ukraine:
- Following military defeats on the ground, russia has withdrawn its forces from the Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions. It was not a “good-will gesture”, as stated by Kremlin; it was the result of Ukrainian military actions. In other areas, the russian troops are being regrouped and replenished in order to renew the advance into Ukraine’s territory;
- On 22 April, the russian military declared that now its goal is “to establish a full control of Donbas and Southern Ukraine”. The most severe shelling and fighting are currently taking place in the Donetsk region;
- Russia rejected the UN SG proposal to establish an Easter ceasefire;
- 134,500 new conscripts are expected to join russia’s army as a result of annual spring conscription, which started on 1 April. From 4 April to 23 May, russia holds a military meeting with reservists: the hidden mobilization may take place of about 60 thousand people;
- Russia fires missiles (almost 2,000, including hundreds to the residential areas), attacks with aviation, tanks and artillery, and sends subversion and reconnaissance groups (>600 members of such groups were detained since the start of war as of 4 April);
- Russian warships shell the coast line. Ukraine’s coast is now temporarily blocked by russia. Amphibious landing to the Odesa region remains possible even after the russian flagship missile cruiser “Moscow” was sunk;
- Russia has significant air advantage, which it actively uses by attacking military positions and civilian objects, killing dozens of civilians daily, bombing Ukrainian airports;
- Russian troops and illegal armed formations stationed in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova demonstrate readiness for the offensive operations against Ukraine;
- Several towns are temporarily occupied (including Kherson, Berdiansk, Melitopol and Izium). Some continue to be attacked and besieged on the ground, with severe damage to residential areas and numerous casualties among civilians (Kharkiv, Mariupol, Mykolaiv);
- On the temporarily occupied territories, russian troops shell civilians under Ukrainian flags;
- The russian troops actively mine vast areas of Ukraine, including while retreating and with the use of anti-personnel mines. Demining of the liberated territories has already begun, but will take months to complete;
- 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. These mines were also observed in the Danube delta, causing the ban on fishing and shipping;
- Russia organizes cyber-attacks through the specialized hacker groups affiliated with the Federal Security Service and the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, and fake news campaigns aimed to sow panic in Ukraine 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;
- According to Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, as of 16 April the russian occupiers are holding about 700 Ukrainian soldiers and 1,000 civilians captive (half of them women). Six mutual exchanges of captives took place between Ukraine and russia, the most recent one on 21 April (10 Ukrainian military and 9 Ukrainian civilians).
The territory of Belarus has been 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, ammunition, and fuel;
- Direct engagement of Belarus armed forces remains 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, the russian troops were withdrawn from it;
- No big cities with the only exception of Kherson were taken. Ukraine managed to establish defense and counter-attack. As of 20 April, 934 villages and towns have been liberated. The russian troops regroup and attempt to control the already captured positions;
- No one greets russia in Ukraine. Atrocities committed by the russian troops have only reduced to zero any pro-russian sentiments. In the towns temporarily under control of russian troops, the Ukrainian population is actively protesting against them. Anti-russian demonstrations continue until now despite intimidations and hunt by the russian occupiers for activists, journalists and local authorities. In response to the attempts to start russian educational process in the occupied towns, many school principals and heads of education wrote a letter of resignation;
- 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 next attempt is planned for the end of April – beginning of May, combined with forced conscription and staged “census”;
- Aggressive war against Ukraine has only confirmed that russia is the most serious threat to European security. Finland and Sweden started considering joining NATO in the next few weeks, which would run totally contrary to putin’s goals related to the NATO on russia’s borders when he took the decision to attack Ukraine.
Kremlin attempts to conceal truth about war and real losses of the russian troops in Ukraine:
- Russia is regularly trying to shift responsibility for its war crimes to Ukraine, delivering fake stories and false allegations (as was the case for instance on Kramatorsk railway station fired by the russian “Tochka-U” missile on 8 April);
- 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 either do not inform soldiers’ families on their fate or pay compensations for casualties through military, but not civilian authorities, to avoid disclosure. Personal data of relatives of the russian soldiers killed in Ukraine have been classified;
- Eight russian high-ranking officers are known to have been killed in Ukraine (as of 17 April), while russia acknowledged the death of only one of them;
- Still, the truth cannot be hidden. On 9 March, russia recognized the use of conscripts. At the same time, the russian military do not disclose real losses: on 25 March, russian military officials stated the loss of only 1,351 in manpower and 3,825 wounded;
- On 31 March, russia has blocked extension of the mandate of the OSCE SMM, which could shed additional light on russia’s war and crimes against Ukraine;
- On 8 April, the russian authorities banned 15 NGOs in russia, including “Human Rights Watch” and “Amnesty International”;
- According to the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, 20 Ukrainian journalists have been killed since the beginning of the full-scale war by russia.
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;
- The russian side began staging attacks on its own territory, with the aim to blame Ukraine and create pretext for shelling civilian objects in Ukrainian cities with missiles.
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 110,000 Ukrainian citizens joined the territorial defence units. Nearly 40,000 volunteers from dozens of countries arrived to join Ukraine’s International Legion (as a formal part of Ukraine’s Armed Forces);
- Following the failure of initial invasion plan and partial withdrawal of its troops from Ukraine, russia pursues “hidden” mobilization, searches for mercenaries and private military companies, sends troops from the occupied parts of Georgia to replenish losses. The shortage of willing to die in Ukraine is obvious from the calls made in the Moscow subway to sign short-term contracts with the russian Armed Forces;
- The russian troops are suffering heavy losses. As of 25 April, they constitute about 21,900personnel, 181 aircrafts, 154 helicopters, 201 UAVs, 884 tanks, 2258 armored vehicles, 411 artillery systems, 149 MLRS, 69 anti-aircraft systems, 8 vessels/boats. Ukraine’s military losses range 2,500 – 3,000 servicemen, according to President Zelenskyy as of 15 April;
- Nearly 700 russian militaries are currently captive in Ukraine. The moral and psychological state of the russian troops remains low. More and more russian soldiers refuse to go to war. Russia’s Ministry of Defense updated the contracts for military personnel, adding a provision establishing criminal liability for refusing to participate in the so-called “special operation” in the territory of Ukraine (before that, it was envisaged for refusing to participate in a war);
- Attacking Ukraine, russia is exhausting its stocks of missiles. Its military-industrial complex has to work 24/7 to replenish them. The sanctions imposed on russia severely undermine its capacities in this regard;
- Over 20 russian military enterprises were forced to suspend their activities in whole or in part due to shortage of parts and components, as well as rising prices due to sanctions, including the research and production enterprise “Vimpel” (production of aircraft missiles) and the only russian tank company “Uralvagonzavod”;
- 95% of Ukrainian citizens (as of 5 April) are convinced that we will win this defensive war against russia. 91% of Ukrainian citizens reject russia’s narrative that “russians and Ukrainians are one people”. Mayors of Ukrainian towns reject russia’s proposals to surrender despite intimidations and atrocities committed by the russian occupiers;
- 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;
- On 9 April, Ukraine imposed a full trade embargo against the russian Federation. This will decrease russia’s revenue for 6 bln USD per year.
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 (up to 500 military personnel and 50 military vehicles are stationed now). The Power Plant staff is forced to align all technical decisions regarding the station with the russian military commander and “Rosatom” employees;
- From 24 February to 31 March, the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant was under control of the russian troops. A lot of laboratory equipment and archives were destroyed or stolen. The russian military have twice damaged the power line, which could lead to the leak of radiation (both times, the Ukrainian repair teams restored it). During the occupation of the exclusion zone, fires were recorded in natural complexes and abandoned villages affecting the area of about 10,287 ha. On 19 April, Ukraine has restored direct communications between the national regulator and the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant. On 26 April, the IAEA expert mission headed by Director General will arrive to the Plant to deliver vital equipment and conduct radiological and other assessments at the site;
- On 10, 26 and 28 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. On 5 and 9 April, a cistern with nitric acid was damaged by russian shelling in the town of Rubiznhe, causing its leakage and danger to local residents.
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:
- The russian troops shell intensively the residential areas of such cities as Kharkiv, Mariupol, Mykolaiv and many others along the front line, with the use of air strikes and heavy artillery. Since the start of war, russia has sent the hundreds of missiles to the residential areas throughout Ukraine. Daily, dozens of innocent civilians are killed and wounded. Nearly 220,000 people lost their homes. In Kharkiv alone, 1929 residential buildings were destroyed, and a third of the residents left the city;
- 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;
- Many towns occupied or attacked by the russian troops were nearly destroyed. The restoration of residential buildings and infrastructure will become possible only after the war;
- According to President Zelenskyy, dozens of thousands of civilians lost their lives in Ukrainian cities and towns attacked by the russian troops, and >500,000 Ukrainian citizens were forcibly transferred by them. The forcible deportation to russia continues;
- 324 healthcare facilities and 300 kindergartens, >8000 km of roads and 300 bridges were destroyed or damaged by the russian troops. 102 educational institutions were entirely destroyed and 1397 more were damaged (as of 25 April). The railway stations and airports, power plants, fuel stations and oil refineries, food warehouses and water reservoirs continue to be targeted. >7,000 residential buildings and 59 religious buildings were damaged or destroyed. More than 100,000 applications for compensations of the property damaged by the war were submitted by Ukrainian citizens (as of 22 April);
- 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;
- According to the UNICEF, more than seven weeks of war in Ukraine have devastated both water and electricity networks, leaving 4 mln people without access to safe water in the east of the country and a further 4.6 mln people with only limited access;
- While retreating, russian troops plant mines in the previously seized Ukrainian territories, leaving them even in the children toys. According to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, about 300,000 square kilometers of Ukraine’s territory need humanitarian demining due to a large amount of ammunition left by the russian occupiers.
Humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating. The russian troops commit war crimes which need to be investigated and those responsible brought to justice. We expect international community to condemn these war crimes and contribute to bringing russia to justice:
- The worst situation remains in the city of Mariupol, destroyed now for 95%. Thousands of civilians remain in blockade without water, heat, electricity, and communications, including in the Azovstal Metallurgical Plant intensively bombed by the russian troops. The number of civilians who lost their lives due to russian attacks and blockade is estimated to reach 10,000. The fate of dozens of thousands of them who were forcibly deported to russia, remains unknown. The russian occupiers use mobile crematoria and mass graves to destroy evidence of their crimes. On 11 April, the russian troops used a poisonous substance against Ukrainian military and civilians in the city of Mariupol, its origin is currently being assessed (the victims had respiratory failure and vestibule-atactic syndrome). The humanitarian corridor for civilians and wounded Ukrainian servicemen is urgently needed (on 24 April, the ICRC issued a press-release with such call);
- In the towns of Kyiv region (Bucha, Borodianka, Hostomel and others), the russian occupiers killed 1084 people, up to 75% of them by small arms, that is deliberately, on purpose;
- The massacre committed by the russian military demonstrates real hatred towards Ukrainians and represents war crimes. Ukraine’s investigative task forces work on recording them and identifying all those involved. Extensive evidence of war crimes and potential crimes against humanity were in particular established by the Human Rights Watch researchers;
- The UN OHCHR recorded 5,381 confirmed civilian casualties in Ukraine: 2,435 killed and 2,946 injured (as of midnight 21 April). The OHCHR believes that the real figures are considerably higher. According to the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, 3,818 were killed and >4,000 wounded (as of 25 April), these data do not include Mariupol and some locations in the Kyiv region;
- According to the UN International Organization for Migration, 7 mln people (as of 17 April) were internally displaced in Ukraine. The UNHCR informs that 5.16 mln Ukrainian citizens left the country (as of 22 April). Thus, 12.8 mln (>1/4 of the total population) people have fled their homes in Ukraine. At the same time, the number of people coming back to Ukraine continues to rise: according to the State Border Guard Service, 1,124,000 of them have already returned to Ukraine (as of 22 April);
- 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, which has been decriminalized and actually legalized in russia. The huge scale of looting by russian soldiers and officers was revealed in the liberated towns of the Kyiv region. Grain, stolen from Ukrainian farmers, is transported to Crimea;
- The main efforts are now focused on establishment of humanitarian corridors, which are regularly violated by the russian troops. As fighting in east and south of Ukraine intensifies, there remains less and less space for organizing them. On 23 April, the russian troops have again not allowed evacuation from Mariupol.
The most vulnerable categories of civilian population suffer most:
- According to UNICEF, the 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 1.8 mln children who have crossed into neighbouring countries as refugees and 2.5 mln IDPs. In the occupied areas, the russian occupiers kidnap children, force children to go to school in the towns along the front line, using them as a human shield, and stages “interviews” with the children to produce fakes that “Ukrainian authorities are sending children to fight against russian troops”;
- Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine is investigating crimes committed by russia during the full-scale invasion including the killing 215 children and injuring over 391 (as of 25 April). The data on children killed and injured in Mariupol is being established;
- The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities estimates that russia’s military attacks against Ukraine are putting the lives of 7 mln people with disabilities at risk.
We need further humanitarian assistance:
- According to the UNHCR, 13 mln Ukrainian citizens are estimated to be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance across the country:
- 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 the President of Ukraine, as of 16 April Ukraine received 270,000 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 24 April, donors raised 802.8 mln USD or 70.4% 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
During their invasion into Ukraine, the russian troops systematically violate the norms of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. According to President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the number of war crimes committed by the russian soldiers has already reached tens of thousands. Russia must be recognized as a state – sponsor of terrorism, and the russian Armed Forces must be recognized as a terrorist organization:
- Russia uses civilians as hostages and human shield, with no food, water, electricity and communication. The taking of civilian hostages is a direct violation of Articles 3 and 34 of the Geneva Convention with regard to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights;
- Human Rights Watch has documented several cases of russian military forces committing laws-of-war violations against civilians in occupied areas of Ukraine, including repeated rapes, summary execution, looting and violent acts;
- There is evidence of Ukrainian women and children being raped by the russian soldiers. Rape is strictly prohibited by the Geneva Convention with regard to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War;
- More than 50 Ukraine’s public officials have been kidnapped since the start of russia’s war;
- 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, Luhansk and other 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. The particular cynicism is the conscription of the citizens of Ukraine, who are passing through the humanitarian corridors and forcing them to combat against Ukraine;
- In violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, russia is engaged in state-organised kidnapping of Ukrainian children with further illegal adoption by russian citizens without observing all the necessary procedures determined by the legislation of Ukraine;
- 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 white phosphorus bomb attacks by russia become regular practice in Donetsk and Luhansk regions;
- Ukrainian military released in the exchange of prisoners of war testify that during their captivity the russian side was regularly violating the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. The Security Service of Ukraine reports that russian troops near Popasna in the Luhansk region were ordered to shoot captured Ukrainian defenders;
- The Report of the OSCE Moscow Mechanism Mission of Experts, published on 13 April, provided strong evidence on numerous violations of international humanitarian law committed by the russian federation and its armed forces in Ukraine.
Russia flagrantly violates international law, in particular:
- Russian military vessels are blocking access and deliberately attacking civil ships 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 (released later). Two other Ukrainian civil ships were de facto pirated by russian warships;
- Russia attacks residential areas, air bomb shelters for civilians, medical infrastructure, and transport means used for medical, humanitarian and evacuation purposes;
- The russian troops use residential areas and civilian infrastructure for deployment of heavy weapons, putting them under severe risk;
- The Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine has recorded 242 episodes of russian war crimes against Ukraine’s cultural heritage at 94 cultural heritage sites and 92 religious buildings. The evidence collected by the Ministry on its web portal will prove in the International Criminal Court russia’s real goal, which is extermination of Ukrainian nation, culture, history and identity;
- According to Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, war crimes include intentional assault when it is known that it will cause accidental widespread, long-term and serious damage to the environment incomparable to expected military superiority. This is exactly what russian troops are doing in Ukraine;
- In the recently occupied territories of Ukraine in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, russia imposes its laws, currency and education in violation of its obligations as an occupying Power. Russian channels started broadcasting russian propaganda. This in line what russia has been doing in the occupied parts of Donbas and Crimea since 2014.
According to the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine (as of 25 April):
- 8183 aggression and war crimes have been already registered (of which 7938 for violating the laws and customs of war);
- 620 suspects among russia’s military and political leadership were determined;
- 3816 crimes against national security are being investigated, of which 2464 on encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine, 649 – state treason, 60 – 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, 81% of russian citizens (as of 31 March, the number is growing) support this war and mass killings of Ukrainians. This is shared responsibility;
- The Kremlin’s propagandists actively promote 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.
We welcome all steps made by the international institutions to bring russia to justice, as well as statements made by the heads of state and government throughout the world, on russia’s responsibility for war crimes:
- 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, including the town of Bucha, to collect evidence. 42 states have filed their appeals to the ICC in relation to russia’s aggression against Ukraine;
- According to the Office of Prosecutor General of Ukraine, six countries opened criminal cases in relation to russian war crimes (Estonia, Lithuania, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, 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;
- On 11 April, French gendarmes arrived to Ukraine with the aim to assist Ukrainian law enforcement agencies in investigating the war crimes committed by the russian troops;
- As of 14 April, Colombian President Ivan Duque and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined the US President Joe Biden, calling russia’s actions in Ukraine a genocide of the Ukrainian people. On 21 April, the parliaments of Estonia and Latvia have recognized russian actions against Ukrainians as genocide;
- 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. We welcome that the foreign diplomatic missions return to Kyiv (21 as of 22 April). By continuing its war against Ukraine and committing war crimes, 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 and all its structures, 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, the Council of the Baltic Sea States suspended russia from further participation and Belarus from observer status;
- On 3 March, 45 OSCE participating States have invoked the Moscow mechanism for russia’s war against Ukraine. The Report on war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by russia and its armed forces was published on 13 April;
- 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;
- On 8 March, the OECD decided to suspend the participation of russia and Belarus;
- Russia and Belarus were banned from 90-95% world sport organizations (according to the estimates by the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine);
- 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. russian citizens will be fired from its Secretariat;
- 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. On 4 April, the EBRD has formally suspended accessby russia and Belarus to its resources;
- The International Labour Organization (ILO) has suspended all technical cooperation with russia until the ceasefire is implemented and peaceful resolution is adopted;
- 474 russian diplomats were expelled throughout the world since 24 February;
- On 31 March, the World Organization of Nuclear Operators (WANO) changed the operator for Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plants from Moscow to Paris WANO Centre;
- The UN SC rejected russia’s demand to convene its meeting on 4 April for russia to deliver its fakes on the war crimes committed by the russian troops in the Kyiv region. Instead, the UK Presidency convened the meeting on 5 April: President Zelenskyy delivered a statement on russia’s atrocities;
- On 7 April, the G7 Foreign Ministers, in their joint statement, condemned in the strongest terms the atrocities committed by the russian armed forces in Bucha and a number of other Ukrainian towns, and stressed the necessity of further increasing the economic pressure inflicted on russia and the Lukashenka regime in Belarus;
- On 7 April, the European Parliament, in a resolution adopted with 513 votes to 22 and 19 abstentions, called for additional punitive measures against russia;
- On 7 April, the UN General Assembly resumed its 11th emergency special session, adopting the Resolution on suspension of the rights of membership of the russian Federation in the Human Rights Council (93 countries voted in favor, 24 against and 58 abstained);
- UNESCO World Heritage Committee 45th session in russia’s Kazan was postponed;
- The 25th World Energy Congress, which was planned for 24-27 October 2022 in Saint Petersburg, has been cancelled;
- Appointment of russia’s candidates was blocked in a number of the UN bodies;
- On 21 April, russia was suspended from its permanent observer status at the Organization of American States;
- Within G20, there is growing discontent with russia’s participation in its work.
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. Those organizations which do not have procedures for excluding members, need to introduce them;
- We urge the contracting parties to major environmental treaties to suspend operation of such treaties in regard to the aggressor country and to terminate russia’s membership in the governing and advisory bodies. Relevant appeals were sent to 13 UN conventions;
- 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).
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. If the continuation of the NATO course will be supported in the referendum, new negotiations will be held with the russian side.
The atrocities and war crimes committed by the russian troops in Ukraine limit the space for negotiations. Still, they continue along with the consultations with the possible guarantee states:
- We are currently expecting russia’s written response to the proposals submitted by Ukraine on 29 March. As of 23 April, the russian side has only presented its verbal comments and wishes to the proposals by Ukraine;
- On 4 April, President Zelenskyy established with his Decree an official delegation of Ukraine to negotiate the draft Treaty on security guarantees for Ukraine;
- Different guarantee states might have different security guarantees, this will be decided in the course of consultations. Seven of them (US, UK, Turkey, Poland, Germany, France and Israel) confirmed their readiness to meet and discuss the guarantees;
- It seems russia hopes to receive a major military victory in Donbas before taking a constructive stance on the negotiations. This will not happen;
- The possible murder by russian troops of Ukrainian defenders in Mariupol or organizing fake “referendums” in the occupied territories will put an end to the negotiation process;
- The outcome of negotiations to end the war can be two different documents: security guarantees from partner countries and a separate document with russia.
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, in particular obtaining the candidate status for membership until June:
- According to the polls, held on 1 March, 86% of Ukrainian citizens support joining the EU, and 76% support accession to NATO;
- Majority (~71% according to the 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.
- On 1 April, President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola stated during her visit to Ukraine that the EU recognises Ukraine’s European ambitions and aspirations to be a candidate country for accession;
- On 8 April, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, during her visit to Ukraine, handed over to President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy a questionnaire for Ukraine to obtain the candidate status for membership, noting that while this process usually takes years, in the case of Ukraine it takes weeks. As of 17 April, this questionnaire has been completed;
- On 20 April, President of the European Council Charles Michel during his visit to Ukraine said that a decision on Ukraine candidate status is to be announced at the end of June.
We are grateful for the decisions already taken by our friends and partners. Some of them were unprecedented, such as EU providing 1.5 bln EUR to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (within the European Peace Facility) or neutral Switzerland freezing 8 bln EUR of russia’s assets:
- arms, military equipment, ammunitions and intelligence data sent to us by partners. russia’s continued threats against our partners only prove the effectiveness of such assistance provided to Ukraine;
- decisions taken by a number of countries to stop buying russian energy resources, the main source of financing russia’s war machine;
- frozen assets and personal sanctions on russian and Belarussian oligarchs and entities worth billions of EUR;
- sanctions on the russian defense sector;
- the decision of Turkey to block the access of russian warships to the Black Sea and readiness to maintain this ban until the end of the war;
- introducing the ban on russian aircrafts, vessels and trucks;
- humanitarian support provided for the citizens of Ukraine;
- fuel supplies, including for the sowing campaign (Azerbaijan).
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. Any lifting of sanctions has to be agreed with Ukraine:
- Western sanctions have frozen 350 bln USD in russia’s gold and foreign exchange reserves, about 60% of their volume. The US has banned the export of US dollars, and the EU has banned the supply of euro banknotes to russia;
- Russian currency (real exchange rate, not the official one) has drastically depreciated. According to russia’s own conservative estimates, inflation in 2022 is expected 17-20%;
- 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. Over 600 companies have completely suspended or restricted their business ties with russia. 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. Road traffic was banned by the sanctions as well: all russian and Belarussian lorries have left the EU before 16 April;
- Payment systems Visa, Mastercard, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, PayPal, Payoneer, MoneyGram, JCB, Paysera and transfer systems Western Union, Paysend, Wise completely stop working in russia and stop all card transactions;
- Experts estimate that about 3 mln russian citizens will become unemployed;
- Russia’s sovereign ratings are downgraded and revoked, 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).
Half-measures are not enough. Hesitancy to impose comprehensive sanctions aimed at stopping russia’s war machine will be taken by russia’s leadership as a permission to proceed with its war. Now, as we managed to stop the russian troops, we need more heavy weapons supplied to Ukraine to be able to counterattack and liberate our territories. Further actions need to be done immediately:
- complete trade and transport embargo on russia, most notably on oil, gas, gold and minerals (according to the estimates by Bloomberg, due to high energy prices russia may earn ~320 bln USD in 2022), with no exemptions or delay.
- disconnect all russian banks from SWIFT, including “Sberbank” and “Gasprombank”;
- 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 and ammunition;
- introducing a special “war tax” for russia and all aggressors around the world (all foreign trade operations and financial transactions that are currently not blocked);
- deprive russia of the opportunity to use GPS in war;
- refrain from making payments in russian roubles for oil, gas and grain;
- expanding sanctions to Lukashenka’s regime in Belarus;
- preventing russia from the use of crypto-currencies to circumvent sanctions;
- monitor any attempts by russia and russian citizens to avoid sanctions, including through the third countries (Iran, Iraq etc);
- expand sanctions to those richest people of russia who are still free to finance Putin’s regime and war against Ukraine;
- 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);
- exclusion of russia from all international financial institutions including the IMF and the World Bank;
- excluding russia from the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering and designating it on FATF’s black list without delay.
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.
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 50% of Ukraine’s enterprizes work only partially, and 9% have stopped their activity. The russian troops damage and destroy bridges and roads. 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, which has decreased in March by half compared to February;
- In 2022, according to the IMF estimates, the GDP of Ukraine will fall by 35%. The World Bank, for its part, assesses that Ukraine’s economy can shrink by 45.1%. Inflation can reach 20%, according to the estimates by the National Bank of Ukraine. In the next six months, Ukraine will need 50 bln USD financial assistance to cover the budget deficit caused by war;
- 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;
- 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. As of now russia’s invasion has damaged or destroyed up to 30% of Ukraine’s infrastructure at a cost of 100 bln USD, which could be restored in two years if russia’s frozen assets abroad are used. According to the World Bank Group preliminary assessment, the physical damage caused to Ukraine’s buildings and infrastructure as a result of russia’s military aggression is ~60 bln USD.
The russian war against Ukraine is a threat to global food security. Russia deliberately destroys agricultural infrastructure. As stressed by the UN Secretary General, the war “could throw more than 1/5 of humanity into poverty, destitution and hunger on a scale not seen in decades”. Defending Ukraine also protects the world from hunger and famine.
- Ukraine’s exports comprise about 10% of all wheat, 14% of all corn and 47% of all sunflower oil in the world;
- 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 and roads remain the only viable, but limited routes (no more than 15% of the monthly volumes of exports in agrifood through traditional sea ways);
- This will cause a large-scale humanitarian crisis in the world. 400 mln lives in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia are at risk of unstable access to food, malnutrition and famine. 36 out of 55 countries with food crises depend on Ukraine’s and russia’s exports;
- On 1 April, russia threatened the world with restrictions on its export of agricultural products to “unfriendly” countries, openly referring to food exports as another weapon.
- Notwithstanding russia’s aggression, the sowing season has begun in 21 regions of Ukraine. Sowing can be carried out on 6 mln hectares of land (80% of the area covered in 2021);
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. Ukraine has practically returned to the pre-war level of stocks of basic products. With support of the Ukrainian authorities, the relocation from the war zone continues: 400 companies have completed it, of which 219 have resumed operations in new locations, and 520 enterprises more are in the process of relocation (as of 22 April);
- The Ukrainian Parliament continues to adopt the laws aimed at supporting Ukrainian business in war time, including by cutting red tape, simplifying tax system, lifting import duties, insuring bank deposits etc;
- Ukrainian citizens that fled from war into other regions of Ukraine register as IDPs and receive welfare benefits. The same applies for those who lost their jobs due to the war;
- The Ukrainian government established four funds: support to Ukrainian army and humanitarian assistance; restoration of destroyed infrastructure (3 bln USD received as of 4 April); re-launch of small and medium business; servicing external debt;
- In the liberated territories, the Ukrainian authorities started assessing the damage done by the russian occupiers, and further steps including legislation amendmentsildren to restore the infrastructure and residential areas. On 10 April, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine allocated 1 bln UAH for those purposes;
- On 21 April, President Zelenskyy signed a decree establishing the National Council for the Reconstruction of Ukraine after the War.
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 USD to aid Ukraine and support NATO in Eastern Europe;
- On 16 March, Ukraine 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 USD 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. On 20 April, President of the European Council Charles Michel during his visit to Ukraine informed that this Trust would start its work on 5 May, at the International Donors Conference;
- On 7 April, Canada announced additional 500 mln USD in 2022-23 to provide further military aid and up to 1 bln USD in new loan resources for Ukraine;
- On 8 April, the Donor Conference for Ukraine in Warsaw raised 1 bln EUR in donations, loans and grants to support Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war following russia’s invasion;
- On 9 April, the UK Prime Minister announced during his visit to Kyiv 500 mln USD loan to Ukraine through the World Bank;
- On 19 April, Japan announced raising loan to Ukraine from 100 to 300 mln USD;
- On 21 April, G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors´ issued a Statement, in which, in particular, called on all countries and international organisations to join efforts to ensure adequate support for Ukraine in meeting its immediate needs and rebuilding its future.
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:
- According to the estimates by Prime Minister of Ukraine (as of 21 April), rebuilding Ukraine following russia’s invasion will cost 600 bln USD. We need a recovery strategy similar to the Marshall Plan for Europe after WWII;
- 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.