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Ukraine: intergovernmental situation assessment as of 16:00 EET Wednesday 22 March 2022

as of 16.00, 2 March

KEY MESSAGES

For seven days, a full-scale war launched by Russia against Ukraine continues at the very heart of Europe.

1. OPERATIONAL SITUATION

On early morning of 24 February, after a series of air and missile attacks, the Russian troops have invaded Ukraine from the territory of Russia, Belarus and the temporarily occupied parts of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk regions and Crimea. Until now, these attacks continue, simultaneously from East, South, and North (including the territory of Belarus).

The main directions of Russia's invasion are Kyiv (with the key goal to change Government to a pro-Russian one), Kharkiv (second largest city of Ukraine close to the border with Russia), southern regions of Ukraine adjacent to Russia-occupied Crimea, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, as well as the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

None of the key goals was achieved by Russia. The Russian troops failed, for instance, to reach administrative boundaries of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, which it attempts to seize for its self-proclaimed entities in the occupied parts of Donbas.

Still, Russia took control over the airport in Berdiansk, the towns of Berdiansk, Nova Kakhovka, as well as the Serpent (Zmiinyi) Island in the Black Sea. The cities of Kherson, Mariupol and Henichesk are currently under attack.

Russia uses its best military units to attack Ukraine. More than two thirds out of all forces deployed to Ukraine's borders before the beginning of invasion, have already been sent to attack. Other reserve units are sent daily.

Russia fires hundreds of cruise and operational-tactical missiles at military positions and cities, attacks with aviation, tanks and artillery, and sends subversion and reconnaissance groups to attack civilian infrastructure. Amphibious landing is being prepared to the coastal regions of Ukraine.

The Chornobyl Nuclear Power Station was seized. Due to the active movements of Russian heavy military vehicles through the Chornobyl exclusion zone, the radiation level has increased.

The aggressor-state is trying to capture Energodar where the largest in Europe Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Plant is located. Active military actions by Russian terrorist forces are threatening the largest nuclear catastrophe to unfold in Europe.

On 2 March, the Russian forces attacked the city of Zhytomyr (Zhytomyr region is next to Kyiv region and has border with Belarus) by missiles. 2 civilians were killed and 12 have been injured.

The civilians of smt Borodyanka, Dymer and Bila Tserkva (Kyiv region) were under missile attacks as well.

The territory of Belarus is actively used by Russia for its military purposes: missiles are launched, and the airfield network is used for transportation of personnel and cargo. Despite Lukashenka's statements, the direct engagement of Belarus armed forces remains highly probable. There are already the first reports on Belarus troops crossing the border with Ukraine.

These are war crimes committed against Ukraine and its people. Belarus or any other country responsible for providing assistance to Russia's invasion into Ukraine will bear responsibility together with Russia in accordance with the international law and will be similarly internationally isolated as Russia.

Pretending to conduct a 'counter-terrorist operation', Russian military vessels currently are blocking the access of civil ships to the North-Western part of the Black Sea along Ukraine's shoreline. The Russian war ships have deliberately attacked two civil vessels in the Black Sea under the third country flags (Panama and Moldova) approaching Ukraine, which constitutes a flagrant violation of the international law of the sea.

In violation of the International Convention of the Safety of Life at Sea, the humanitarian aid mission (the rescue ship 'Sapphire') was captured and detained by Russian warships in the Serpent (Zmiinyi) Island area. Two other Ukrainian civil ships were de facto pirated by Russian warships under the pretext of a 'security check-up' in the course of the so-called 'counter-terrorist operation'.

The web-sites of the governmental institutions of Ukraine suffer from cyber attacks. The "sleeping" sabotage groups continue their attempts to sew panic among the civilian population through social networks and other means of on-line communication. The activity of Russian technical intelligence unit, which directed local sabotage groups, had been terminated in Mariupol.

Faced with Ukraine's resolve to defend itself, President Putin has ordered Russia's nuclear-deterrence forces to be put on alert. Regular threats by nuclear war continue. The fate of Europe is being determined now in Ukraine: if Putin does not meet proper response, if he is not stopped now, he will move further, putting all European states under severe risk.

The Russian propaganda speculates about Ukraine preparing a 'dirty bomb', which is merely a sick fantasy. Ukraine does not possess nuclear weapons or materials for it, and does not conduct any work to create or acquire them. We are a responsible member of the NPT.

On 1 March, the Kyiv TV tower situated on the territory of Babyn Yar was hit by a Russian missile. Five people were killed and five wounded. History is repeating. On September 29-30, 1941, Nazis killed over 33 thousand Jews and other nationals here. 80 years later, Russian Nazis strike at this particular place to exterminate Ukrainians. It is evil and barbaric.

2. UKRAINE'S RESPONSE

In response to the full-scale war launched by Russia, Ukraine has activated its right for self-defence according to the Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.

Ukraine's Armed Forces fight Russia's Armed Forces. This is no more a hybrid warfare, this a full-scale war not seen in Europe since the WWII. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian citizens have already joined the territorial defence units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This number is only growing.

The Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine had given orders to inflict the maximum possible losses to the aggressor.

The Russian troops are suffering heavy losses. As of morning 2 March (10:00 AM), they constitute around 5840 personnel (killed and wounded), more than 200 captives, 30 aircrafts, 31 helicopters, 211 tanks, 862 armored vehicles of different types, 85 artillery systems, 40 MLRS, 355 trucks, 60 fuel cysterns, 9 anti-aircraft systems, 3 UAVs, 2 vessels.

88% of Ukrainian citizens are convinced that we will win this defensive war against Russia.

Ukraine has submitted its application against Russia to the ICJ. Ukraine filed a case against the Russian Federation at the International Court of Justice, and a request for the Court to issue an order of provisional measures against Russia. Ukraine seeks an emergency hearing and an order by the Court that Russia must cease its unlawful attack on Ukraine. Russia will have to answer for its behavior at the World Court in the Hague. The Court has jurisdiction to hear Ukraine’s case, and to order emergency measures, on the basis of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Russia must be held accountable for manipulating the notion of genocide to justify aggression. We request an urgent decision ordering Russia to cease military activity now and expect trials to start next week.

On 24 February, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine approved President’s decision to impose the martial law on the entire territory of Ukraine for a period of 30 days with the aim to ensure Ukraine's defence, public safety and national interests.

Due to this, some constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms may be temporarily restricted (Articles 30-34, 38, 39, 41-44, 53 of the Constitution of Ukraine: inviolability of the place of dwelling, privacy of correspondence, interference in personal life, freedom of movement, freedom of thought and speech, freedom of views and beliefs, elections, peaceful assemblies, right to property, right to entrepreneurial activity, right for labor activity, right to strike, right to education). The temporary restrictions on the rights and legitimate interests of legal entities will also be imposed.

Regional, Kyiv city state administrations and local self-government bodies must establish defence councils and provide assistance to the military command in introducing and implementing measures of the martial law.

A curfew was introduced in a number of Ukrainian cities including Kyiv. Due to the high number of subversion and reconnaissance groups, the capital of Ukraine had to keep uninterrupted curfew since Saturday evening till Monday morning.

The government has already set up a coordination for food, water, medicine and fuel. Logistics is currently being established to transfer humanitarian aid to the cities that need it most.

3. HUMANITARIAN SITUATION

Faced with military defeats on the ground, the Russian troops began indiscriminate shelling of Ukrainian cities with missile strikes and heavy artillery.

According to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, as of 2 March, more than 2000 Ukrainian civilian citizens lost their lives since the start of the Russian invasion. This number keeps growing, many people have lost their homes.

As of 1 March, the number of kindergartens, schools, universities and hospitals shelled by Russian occupiers has exceeded 80. It keeps growing every day.

According to the UN data, as the result of the war, 677 thousand Ukrainians were forced to leave their homes and to move, more than 160 thousand became IDPs.

Such towns as Schastya and Stanytsia Luhanska near Luhansk, or Volnovakha in the Donetsk region, are now nearly destroyed.

Since 28 February, the residential areas of the city of Kharkiv have been intensively shelled, leaving daily dozens of innocent civilians killed and wounded. There were no military purposes to commit these crimes against humanity.

International Criminal Court Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC, took the decision to proceed with opening an investigation into the situation in Ukraine as rapidly as possible.

We expect more active involvement of international organizations in humanitarian aid. We condemn that Russian troops do not provide humanitarian corridors in violation of IHL. If international organizations cannot have access to the affected population due to the actions of the Russian Federation, they must state this unequivocally. We call on the international humanitarian organizations to provide also assistance to Ukraine by transport, including for evacuation from Donbas.

UN Humanitarian has launched emergency appeals for a combined $1.7 billion to urgently deliver humanitarian support to people inside Ukraine and refugees in neighbouring countries

Following Russian aggression, only in the east of Ukraine, only 40,000 people were left without light and food - the enemy did not allow to evacuate the local population. It is especially important to provide food for the evacuation of people from the towns of Volnovakha, Sartana, Talanivka, and to organize active combat operations.

The Russian military fired on ambulance crews in the areas of Zaporizhzhia and Kyiv. In addition to the attacks on emergency medical care providers, hospitals are another fire target for the Russian occupiers.

The objects of critical civilian infrastructure are targeted. Russia's missiles have in particular hit the radioactive waste disposal site near Kyiv (no leaks detected so far), fuel and gas stations throughout Ukraine (including the fuel base in Vasylkiv, Kyiv region, with major environmental damage), and Mykolaiv airport.

Among other infrastructural and industrial damage are the following: the blown-up bridges (Stoyanka on Kyiv-Zhytomyr highway, between Bucha and Irpin) and the water dam on the border to Crimea. The objects of logistic infrastructure (bridges, airports) and water reservoirs remain among the targets (Vyshhorod dam, which could lead to destroying other ridges of the cascade in Kaniv, Kremenchuk, etc up to an accident on Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant).

AN-225 'Mriia', the worldwide known biggest Ukrainian transport airplane was burned by the aggressor.

An architectural landmark in Chernihiv, one of the few historical buildings from 1930s, has been demolished by Russia's missile attack. About 25 paintings by Ukrainian artist Mariia Prymachenko have been lost in the fire resulted from the aggressor's attacks.

Russian military aggression kills not only Ukrainians but threatens thousands of foreigners staying in Ukraine. We regret that while they had been warmly welcomed in our country, nowadays Russian invasion put their lives at high risk.

We deeply regret that a student from India has become a victim of the shelling by the Russian armed forces in Kharkiv. The Chinese citizen was also injured in another Ukrainian city because of Russia’s deadly attacks.

We call on all foreign governments to demand from President Putin that he immediately stops his war in Ukraine. This will allow us to stabilize the situation and focus more on the safety and security of the population, including foreigners. We reiterate that there is no discrimination based on the race or nationality, including when it comes to the crossing of the state border by foreign citizens.

Given the extreme security conditions, we are strongly committed to ensure equal treatment of all people arriving at Ukraine’s border with certain humanitarian exceptions allowed for women and children. We are making every effort at all levels to ensure that the safe arrival of third country nationals is facilitated. At the same time Russian propaganda is twisting the situation and disseminating false statements about the alleged discrimination of foreigners at the border in order to undermine trust to the efforts of the Government of Ukraine.

Ukrainian underaged children are crossing EU/Ukraine border without parents (together with adult friends/relatives) and without powers of attorney from the parents. This may raise issues with EU authorities (medical, legal, other). In this regard we request decisionmakers in EU countries to provide clarifications/instructions to EU institutions in order to secure free movement of and assistance to such underaged persons and their guardians.

4. DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS

The world supports Ukraine. The international coalition in defense of Ukraine and peace continues to grow. As of now, there are 86 countries and 13 international organizations. Their number is growing.

Ukraine has terminated diplomatic relations with Russia.

We have also recalled our Ambassadors in Kyrgyzstan and Georgia for consultations following the unfriendly steps done by these countries against the backdrop of Russia's military invasion (justifying Russia's aggression by Kyrgyzstan and position on sanctions and volunteers by the Georgian government).

We call our partners to follow our example and to expel Russia's ambassadors immediately. We deem it unacceptable to maintain diplomatic relations with the aggressor state, which openly attacks neighboring country without any reason. The international organizations must consider banning Russia’s membership for blatant violations of international law.

On 25 February, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has adopted the decision to suspend the Russia`s rights of representation in the Committee of Ministers and in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. 42 delegations voted “in favour”, 2 "against", 1 "abstained", 1 "not voting", and 1 delegation absent. It is the first decision of an international organization adopted as a result of the Russian Federation’s full-scale open armed aggression against Ukraine. It has become the de-facto recognition by the European political circles of their mistake to allow the Russian delegation back to the PACE in June 2019.

Russia vetoed the UN Security Council draft resolution demanding troop withdrawal from Ukraine, cosponsored by 81 UN Member States. At the same time, Russia was not supported by a single member of the Security Council. 11 of the 15 members of the UNSC voted in favour while India, China and the United Arab Emirates abstained from the vote.

On 27 February, the UN Security Council on request of USA and Albania has adopted resolution under the special procedure “Uniting for peace” requesting emergency special session of the General Assembly to consider Russian invasion to Ukraine. The vote once again demonstrated isolation of Russia in the Council. At the same time, since it was procedural vote Russia was unable to veto the resolution. The UN General Assembly meeting is scheduled for 28 February.

We call on all states to support the draft resolution to stop Russian invasion, which is to be adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

UN Secretary-General announced the appointment of Amin Awad as UN Crisis Coordinator for Ukraine. Mr. Awad will lead the coordination of all UN efforts, including its humanitarian response.

12 Russian diplomats were expelled from the Russian Mission to the UN in New York.

On 1 March, the ECHR has decided to indicate to the Government of Russia to refrain from military attacks against civilians and civilian objects, including residential premises, emergency vehicles and other specially protected civilian objects such as schools and hospitals, and to ensure immediately the safety of the medical establishments, personnel and emergency vehicles within the territory under attack or siege by Russian troops.

The Russian leadership attempts to conceal real losses of the Russian troops in Ukraine, afraid of mass anti-war protests. Still, truth cannot be hidden. Russian population and Belarus people are protesting against attacking Ukraine. Thousands of Russian citizens in more than 50 Russian cities have already been detained for participating in peaceful protests. Detentions are also widespread in Belarus.

It is critical to keep informing Russian and Belarusian citizens on the aggressive war conducted without their consent against Ukraine by their leaders. This should be done in particular through social networks, which remain the only source of information for many people in the conditions of state-run massive propaganda in the Russian and Belarusian media.

5. ACTIONS BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

Ukrainian people are dying for the freedom of Ukraine and Europe. We have been waiting at the open door for a long time. We asked about NATO membership - and heard no answer.

We now need international legal guarantees of security, a clear European perspective, coupled with the swift and effective actions.

According to the polls, held on 1 March, 86% of Ukrainian citizens support joining the EU, and 76% support accession to NATO.

On 28 February, President of Ukraine signed an official application for the EU membership for Ukraine within new urgent procedure. Nine EU countries have already supported this initiative. On 1 March, the President and Head of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine have addressed European Parliament requesting granting Ukraine the EU candidate status. We welcome the resolution of the European Parliament on the Russian aggression against Ukraine, which calls on European institutions to work towards granting Ukraine the status of EU candidate country and calls to impose tougher sanctions against the Russian Federation.

We count upon the proper reaction by the international community to Russia's aggression. We are grateful to our partners, who have provided and continue to provide additional support in a variety of ways:

  • for the decision of Turkey to block the access of Russian warships to the Black Sea,

  • for introducing the ban on Russian air vessels in the airspace (EU, USA, UK, Canada, Northern Macedonia, Moldova, Norway, USA, Iceland, Switzerland)

  • for arms, military equipment and ammunitions sent over to us by our partners,

  • for the humanitarian support and refugee camps provided for the citizens of Ukraine,

  • for fuel supplies (Azerbaijan's SOCAR).

We appreciate the unprecedented strongest sanctions already imposed by many countries throughout the world, which in particular cover 70% of Russia's banking sector. The severely undermine Russia’s economic and financial capacities to continue its aggression. Even the neutral Switzerland joined these ranks.

The sanctions are already working: Russian currency has drastically depreciated and reached maximum low historic level. The Russian government had to ban the sale of shares of Russian companies by foreigners to prevent further panic.

Many international corporations are already leaving Russia, either due to the imposed sanctions, or not willing to hold "business as usual" with an aggressor State.

We expect the world to immediately strengthen the sanctions further in order to stop Russia.

Full cutting Russian Federation off the SWIFT still remains an effective counter-action to be implemented. Allowing certain banks to avoid them would only enable those under sanctions to circumvent them. We call on our partners to adopt appropriate decision immediately.

We also call to cut off Visa and Mastercard services in Russia. This has already been done for those banks, on which the sanctions had been imposed. This process needs to continue.

A number of critical sanctions have already been imposed on Belarus for supporting Russia's aggressive war against Ukraine. We urge to continue this process in order to prevent Lukashenka's regime from joining land operation.

We urge the international community to show solidarity with Ukraine by:

  • the immediate imposing of additional massive (severe) coordinated sanctions against Russia.

  • Russia`s isolation and exclusion from all possible international fora.

  • the introduction of a full-flagged trade embargo on Russia including in oil and gas sector.

  • closure of ports for Russian vessels. The UK and Canada Governments have already made steps in this regard. Other states should follow. We also call on all states to detain Russian flag vessels in the ports due to the military attacks of Russia on commercial vessels in the Black Sea.

  • supporting Ukraine with weapons, protective equipment, ammunition, fuel, and whatever else necessary to counter the biggest army in the continent.

  • providing Ukraine with financial support.

We call on all states and international organizations to join Ukraine in deputinizing the world: ending Putin’s influence in politics, diplomacy, business, sports, culture, research & other spheres.

We call on the international organizations to provide us with humanitarian assistance and to register all cases of violation of the provisions of international and international humanitarian law.

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.

Any war inevitably ends with negotiations. They must be based on common sense and be such that a fair solution can be worked out in the interests of the people and the national statehood of Ukraine. President Zelenskyy categorically rejects any unacceptable conditions and ultimatums for Ukraine. The key issues on the table are a ceasefire and troops and weapons pullback from Ukraine's territory.

On 28 February, the first round of Ukrainian-Russian negotiations was held at the Ukrainian border with Belarus. We are ready for the next round of negotiations, as soon as no ultimatums are issued by Kremlin. President Zelenskyy demands from Russia to stop bombing Ukrainian cities before meaningful ceasefire talks can begin.

The situation keeps changing very fast. We will keep you informed.