Russia-Ukraine war: IPN updates

U.S. citizen dies in Ukraine in the line of duty

A U.S. video journalist working in Ukraine was shot dead in the town of Irpin, outside Kyiv. Brent Renaud, 51, was a journalist and filmmaker who was working in the region for Time after cooperating with New York Times. According to the Western press, he won a Peabody Award for his work on a TV series. Two other journalists were injured and taken to hospital.

Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale war in Ukraine, three journalists have died, according to Justice for Journalists Foundation (JFJ). Journalist Viktor Dudar was killed during the fighting near Mykolayiv, while Live cameraman Yevhen Sakun was killed in a rocket attack in Kyiv.

Pope of Rome prays for Mariupol

In his Sunday speech, appealing again for an end to the war in Ukraine, Pope Francis said those who invoke God to promote or justify violence “profane his name.” With thousands of people gathered under the bright sunshine of a Roman spring to pray the midday Marian prayer, Pope Francis turned their attention to Mariupol, Ukraine, a city named in honor of Mary, which has been besieged by Russian troops for two weeks. The city, he said, “has become a martyred city of the heart-wrenching war that is destroying Ukraine.”

Demonstrations in support of the Ukrainian people were mounted on Sunday in a number of European cities. President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed a video message to the protesters in Florence.

In Russia, according to the human rights media project OVD-Info, which is labeled a foreign agent by the Russian authorities, 745 participants in unauthorized protests were arrested on March 13, with 354 of these being detained in Moscow.

Three strategic victories of Kyiv

The Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmitro Kuleba told about three major victories of Ukraine through Facebook. The first is related to the information warfare: “No one in the world believes in the Russian nations and in their attempts to explain this war, their aggression”.

The second victory is the change of attitude in the world to Ukraine and the Ukrainians: “Ukraine now has the best reputation ever in the world,” said Kuleba.

The third victory is the undermining of the Russian economy owing to the severe sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation.

Hearts of Europeans beating for Ukraine

The French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP) carried out a large-scale poll in Germany, France, Italy, and Poland. This shows 79% of those surveyed support the harsh sanctions against Russia; 67% support the delivery of arms to Ukraine; 87% are for accepting and helping the refugees from Ukraine; 70% support Ukraine’s entry into the EU; 75% have a positive attitude to Zelensky; over 90% have a negative attitude to Putin.

As to the Americans, 81% of the respondents said Ukraine is an ally or a friend country, while 70% said Russia is the biggest enemy, The New York Times reported, quoting a poll by YouGov.

Civil resistance in occupied cities

In Melitopol, the invaders kidnapped the city’s mayor Ivan Fedorov, who refused to cooperate with the Russians. The duties were taken over by Galina Danilchenko, head of the local organization of the “Platform for Life”, who urged to adjust all the mechanisms to the new reality. The Ukrainian authorities started a criminal case over high treason.

Zelensky asked Israeli Premier Bennett to help release the captured mayor of Melitopol. Olga Gaysumova was apprehended during a protest against the kidnapping of the mayor. The head of the district council Sergei Priima was arrested from home yesterday.

The mayor of the Russian-occupied city Ghenicesk Alexandr Tulupov resigned and his example was followed by the whole administration of the city.

The living without power and gas, the dead buried in mass graves

According to the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine, almost 1 million people remained without electricity last week as a result of the Russian invasion. The situation is the worst in Donetsk, Kyiv, Kharkiv and Chernihiv.

Approximately 264,000 people remained without gas, mostly in Kyiv, Zaporozhe and Donetsk.

In Bucea city of Kyiv region, the bodies of 67 civilians were buried in a mass grave without being identified, said Andrei Levkivsky, of the local administration. According to the National Security and Defense Council, 82 children died in Ukraine since the start of the invasion.

The UN was provided with evidence of the use of cluster bombs by the Russian troops in Kharkiv and Vugledar. The UN reiterated that the use of cluster munitions in populated areas is incompatible with the international humanitarian law.

Capitals of the world on alert

U.S. National Security adviser Jake Sullivan is to meet China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Rome today to discuss Russia’s ongoing invasion.

Ukrainian presidential office adviser Mikhail Podolyak said Russian-Ukrainian negotiations continue without cease in the format of a video conference. Special working subgroups were created for the purpose. He explained that Ukraine does not have time for long trips to the places of negotiation and denied the Israeli press reports that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett advised Zelensky to accept Putin’s conditions and to surrender.

In an interview for the Russian publication Kommersant, Podolyak said Russia and Ukraine are close to reaching a compromise on signing the relevant agreement. He considers a meeting between Putin and Zelensky is possible when all the procedural issues are solved and the negotiators and foreign ministers of the two states fulfill their tasks.

Vatican offered its mediation services in a bid to stop the war in Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had a telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin on Saturday after discussing the same subjects on Thursday, as Reuters reported. Putin offered Macron and Scholz details about the series of Russia-Ukraine discussions in a videoconferencing format. Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Putin had a private meeting that lasted for several hoursaccording to Bild am Sonntag.

Late regrets

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that if the West had spoken out against Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014, President Vladimir Putin’s current aggression towards Ukraine could have been prevented. “If the whole West and the whole world had raised their voices against the invasion of Crimea in 2014, would we have faced today's picture?” asked Erdogan.

Zelensky, in a message addressed to the Poles, reminded what Lech Kaczynski said in Tbilisi in 2008: “We know very well that today it is Georgia, tomorrow it will be Ukraine, the day after tomorrow the Baltic States, and perhaps the next one in line will be my country, Poland”.

U.S. President Joe Biden enumerated Putin’s defeats: “He hoped to dominate Ukraine without a fight. He failed. He hoped to fracture European resolve. He failed. He hoped to weaken the Transatlantic Alliance. He failed. He hoped to split apart American democracies in terms of our positions. He failed”.

Possible solution

The removal of Vladimir Putin as Russian president would be enough to stop the conflict, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba stated in the Renew Democracy Initiative even in the U.S. He said yet this would not be enough for restoring the security system.

He was grim about the consequences of the war, saying it will make Ukrainians hate Russia. “We will not forgive them for generations,” he said.

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