War in the neighborhood: IPN updates

What does sixth package of sanctions against Russia include?

According to the sixth package of sanctions against Russia, the EU will expand the list of goods and technology which may contribute to the technological enhancement of Russia’s defense and security sector. This will include 80 chemicals which can be used to produce chemical weapons.

The EU is extending the existing prohibition on the provision of specialized financial messaging services (SWIFT) to three additional Russian credit institutions, including Russia's largest bank Sberbank, and is suspending the broadcasting activities in the EU of three more Russian state-owned outlets that have been used by the Russian Government as instruments to manipulate information and promote disinformation about the invasion of Ukraine.

The EU decided to prohibit the purchase, import or transfer of crude oil and certain petroleum products from Russia into the EU. The phasing out of Russian oil will take from 6 months for crude oil to 8 months for other refined petroleum products. A temporary exception is foreseen for imports of crude oil by pipeline into a number of EU member states.

Lost lives, homes, jobs and prospects

U.S. President Joe Biden confirmed the United States will send more advanced rocket systems to Ukraine with the ability to strike what he called "key targets" of Russia's invasion force. "We will not pressure the Ukrainian government in private or in public to make any territorial concessions," the official reiterated.

On the war's 100th day, the UK said Russia holds 90% of the Luhansk region - half of the Donbas - and is likely to complete control of it in two weeks. It said these tactical successes had been achieved "at significant resource cost" with the concentration of forces. But it said none of Russia's original war objectives had been achieved.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that Moscow's forces are now in control of 20% of Ukrainian territory, with a front line that extends for more than 1,000 km (621 miles).

“This war has and will have no winner. Rather, we have witnessed for 100 days what is lost: lives, homes, jobs and prospects,” Amin Awad, Assistant Secretary-General and United Nations Crisis Coordinator for Ukraine, said in a statement

Western technologies help Ukraine strengthen its defense capacities

The New York Times said over a week’s visit to Ukraine last month, Pentagon investigators pulled apart every piece of advanced Russian hardware they could get their hands on, such as small laser range finders and guidance sections of cruise missiles. The researchers, who were invited by the Ukrainian security service to independently analyze advanced Russian gear, found that almost all of it included parts from companies based in the United States and the European Union: microchips, circuit boards, engines, antenna and other equipment. U.S. exports to Russia in the categories where we have export controls, including semiconductors, are down by over 90 percent since Feb. 24.

Ireland recognizes Ukrainian genocide

The Senate of Ireland passed a resolution recognizing the crimes of the Russian army in Ukraine as genocide. The document urges to hold accountable the Russian political leadership for Russia's crimes in Ukraine, strengthen sanctions on Russia, and continue to work to end the imports of Russian energy which are funding the Russian war machine against the Ukrainian people and territories.

Heavy battles near Severodonetsk

Ukrainian forces recaptured almost 20% of the territory they had lost in the city Severonetsk during the battles with Russia, said the head of the eastern region of Luhansk Serhi Gaidai. “While before the situation was difficult, the percentage (held by Russia) was around 70%, now we have already pushed them away, taking back almost 20%,” he said.

Russia continues to deliver missile strikes from its territory Black Sea and long-range bombers targeting civilian and military infrastructure, said today the spokesman of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Alexander Motuzianik broadcasts the Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform.

Experts from the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) believe that the Ukrainian army’s counteroffensive in Kherson oblast is aimed at disrupting Russia’s plans for a long-term occupation of the region. They emphasize that it is not yet a question of deoccupation of the entire region in the near future, but such counterattacks are forcing the Russian army to regroup and shift reinforcements.

Putin calls accusations about blocking of grain exports a “bluff”

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday denied Moscow was preventing Ukrainian ports from exporting grain and said the best solution would be to ship it through Belarus, as long as sanctions on that country were lifted.

“This is a bluff. And I will explain why. The world produces about 800 million tons of wheat per year. We are told that Ukraine is ready to export 20 million tons. It’s only 2.5%,” Putin said in an interview.

Putin also suggested that the Ukrainian grain should be exported through Belarus, Romania, Hungary, and Poland, but any traffic through Belarus would involve the West lifting sanctions against its government, which is Russia’s closest ally.

Leaders around the world have been sounding the alarm as Russia's months-long blockade of Ukrainian ports is increasing the risk of a global food crisis and famine in some parts of the world.

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