On April 27 Canadian lawmakers voted unanimously to call Russia’s attacks in Ukraine a “genocide”, with members of parliament saying there was “ample evidence of systemic and massive war crimes against humanity” being committed by Moscow. The Canadian House of Commons’ motion said war crimes by Russia include mass atrocities, systematic instances of willful killing of Ukrainian civilians, the desecration of corpses, forcible transfer of Ukrainian children, torture, physical harm, mental harm, and rape. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was “absolutely right” for more and more people to describe Russia’s actions in Ukraine as genocide, supporting an accusation made by U.S. President Joe Biden a day earlier. Previously, on April 21, the Estonian Parliament Riigikogu adopted a Statement on Russia’s war crimes and genocide in Ukraine. Also the same did the Latvian Saeima.
Occupiers hide their traces of atrocities in Mariupol
Recently massive graves of Mariupol civilians were found in several towns of Donetsk region. In Mangush town, 20 kilometers far from occupied Mariupol, occupants could have buried from 3000 up to 9000 Mariupol citizens – reports Mariupol City Council: “On Maxar satellite shootings from April 9th the sector of the mass buries in Mangush in 20 times bigger than mass graves, found in Bucha. Occupiers dug and filled the trenches with corpses daily throughout April. Our sources report that in such graves bodies are placed in numbers of levels”.
One more mass grave was revealed in the Staryy Krym (Old Crimea) town. It appeared on March 24th, after the town was occupied by russians. On the satellite photoshoot of Planet we can see that those are 60-70 meters along. Two weeks after, in the photo taken April 7th, the place of burial became larger, up to around 300 meters. In the middle of March in different parts of Mariupol and nearby areas community workers have buried up to 5000 people. According to cautious estimates, the total number killed by the Russian army in Mariupol is 22 thousand people.
“Azov” battalion, who are still in the occupied city together with the civils, announced that at the night of April 28th russian occupants inflicted about 50 air strikes on Mariupol and dropped a large number of phosphorus bombs. In particular, the bombs were dropped on a military hospital located on the territory of the Azovstal factory. On April 25th, at least 35 air strikes and bombings were reported, Mariupol Mayor Serhiy Orlov said.
The militaries estimate that during the 64 days of the war, Russia lost $ 162 million in equipment in Mariupol only, and the occupiers spent $ 288 million on ammunition and aircraft. In total, according to the commander of the Azov Regiment, Captain Svyatoslav Palamar, Russia’s losses in Mariupol amounted to more than 1 billion 111 million dollars. The occupiers could have spent this money on building schools or hospitals, on providing a decent old age for their pensioners, but they chose to spend it on the destruction of Mariupol…
95% of the city’s buildings were destroyed and damaged, the city remains in a humanitarian catastrophe and danger. The Russians are systematically shelling humanitarian corridors and “filtering out” civilians. In addition to the constant shelling, about 100,000 civilians in Mariupol are already threatened by epidemics of cholera, dysentery and Escherichia coli, which can develop with the onset of heat.
Already, the air temperature has reached 20 °C. The lack of centralized water supply and sanitation, the decomposition of thousands of corpses under the rubble, and the catastrophic shortage of drinking water and food contribute to the development of diseases.
The reaction of the world
On April 28, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrived in Kyiv. And on the day of his visit, after a three-week lull, the Russians cynically launched rockets into the capital. The rocket hit a living house and one person has already been found dead – the journalist of Ukrainian Radio Liberty Vira Hyrych. Security services are still working in the location. The day before, on April 26, Antonio Guterres visited Moscow and met with Vladimir Putin. Adviser to the head of the President’s Office Mykhailo Podoliak reminded that “the day before yesterday Mr Guterres was sitting at a long table in the Kremlin, and today explosions are heard a kilometer away from him”. Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that such an attack “says a lot about the real attitude of Russia to global institutions, the desire of the Russian leadership to humiliate the UN and everything that the organization represents”.
UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine Osnat Lubrani said she was going to Zaporizhia to prepare for the evacuation from Mariupol.
“Secretary General Antonio Guterres has arrived in Ukraine to meet with President Zelensky. At his request, I am going to Zaporozhye to prepare for, I hope, the evacuation from Mariupol. The UN is fully mobilized to save the lives of Ukrainians and provide assistance to those who need it” – Lubrani wrote on Twitter.
Evacuation from Azovstal is scheduled for today, April 29. citing a source in the office of the President of Ukraine, Reuters. The evacuation of civilians from Azovstal Plant was planned for Thursday, April 28, but the process was stopped by night air shelling of the local hospital. It is noted that after the evacuation of civilians, Ukraine will try to remove the most seriously injured from the plant.
On April 28, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution proposing the immediate establishment of an international tribunal to investigate Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine. The document was supported by 115 PACE deputies.
The US Congress Representatives have supported a bill on land lease and protection of democracy in Ukraine. The last time a similar procedure was in place was during World War II. The bill was supported by 417 members of the Chamber, opposed by ten. It must now be signed by US President Joe Biden.
Heritage: How Lviv Protects Historical Memorials in a Wartime
Work on protecting monuments in Lviv has fled literally from the first days of the full-scale war. The active position of the community – representatives of the fields of architecture, restoration, protection of monuments, museum work, and art history – became decisive. The experience and support of foreign colleagues and partners are no less crucial. How does the Lviv community protect material heritage sites from possible threats, how do they promote the culture and history of Lviv, how can scanning objects and 3D modeling help protect heritage? Read about this work in an article of Cultural Strategy Institute.
Music for those who are fighting and those who have been killed
А concert UNBREAKABLE took place in the Lviv Philharmonic on April 19. The event gathered on the stage quintet of the famous Ukrainian musician Ihor Zakus and the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Myroslav Skoryk of Lviv National Philharmonic under the guidance of conductor Volodymyr Syvokhip. The symphonic poem UNBREAKABLE was broadcasted around the world to raise funds for the Armed Forces, the AZOV Special Operations Detachment in particular.
The UNBREAKABLE programme includes works by Ihor Zakus, orchestrated for symphony orchestra and jazz quintet by the best Ukrainian orchestrators, as well as poems by Ukrainian poets which were written in the first month of the war between Ukraine and russia; poems were read by Marta Bilska (Cultural Strategy Institute) and Oleh Oneshchak, an actor of the Les Kurbas Theater, who joined the Armed Forces when the war began.
“UNBREAKABLE is about Ukrainians. Music is dedicated to them. The poems, which were written in the last month, glorify the Ukrainian people, their spirit and resilience. The compositions describe peaceful Ukrainian who becomes a battler, his parents, children, a Ukrainian woman, a Ukrainian soldier… This is a great musical canvas, flooded with poetry of Ukrainian poets about the heroic struggle of the Ukrainian people for their freedom in the war of aggression of russia against Ukraine, musical and poetic depiction of the path of Ukrainians to victory,” said Ihor Zakus, musician and composer.
Meanwhile, on April 22, the Lviv National Opera hosted an event in memory of the fallen heroes and victims of russian aggression in Ukraine. Stabat Mater by G. B. Pergolesi was performed. It is the most famous work of art of the sufferings of the Virgin Mary before the crucifixion of Jesus. The internally displaced persons were present at the event. And some of the seats were left empty: these listeners are no longer alive, there were only flowers that they could give to artists.
CultureHeadquarters / Lviv
Hnat Khotkevych Palace Of Culture
Mariupol: the «heart» of a war that’s still beating
This is what President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says about Mariupol, which has been surrounded by Russian troops for already a month and a half.
The situation in the city remains not only tense, but terrifying and catastrophic. The Russian military, contrary to Russian media reports, has failed to capture the main locations of Ukrainian defense units in Mariupol – the Seaport, Ilyich Plant in the north and Azovstal Plant in the south. This was announced by the adviser to the current mayor Petro Andryushchenko. The city itself has already been destroyed for 90%, and although civilians remain in it, they still have the opportunity to evacuate by their own vehicles. However, this doesn’t make the situation easier, as many properties, including vehicles, are destroyed, and going out of the basements for a few minutes is tantamount to immediately dying from bullets. The number of dead civilians, according to the head of the Donetsk region Pavlo Kyrylenko, can range from 20 to 22 thousand people.
There have recently appeared horrific reports of mobile crematorias in the city, in which invaders suppose to burn the bodies of slain and murdered Ukrainian civilians. Mariupol officials say that after the world saw the consequences of the Russian occupation of Kyiv oblast, in the cities of Bucha, Irpin, and Gostomel, the Russian authorities decided to “cover their tracks” with the help of terrorists of the so-called DNR who collect and burn bodies. Journalists believed that they would use these devices to hide losses among Russian militaries in Ukraine. It is possible that crematoria are used for both purposes.
The first news about mobile crematoria, allegedly prepared by the Russian military leadership for the war in Ukraine, appeared shortly before the full-scale invasion in February. For example, with reference to the Minister of Defense of the United Kingdom Ben Wallace, this was reported by the publication The Telegraph and Mirror.
On April 11, the Azov National Guard Regiment, which together with the 36th Marine Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as border guards, Security Service of Ukraine and police, is holding Mariupol, declared the use of “unknown poisonous substance” by the Russians:
“Yesterday the occupiers used a substance of unknown origin against the military and civilians in Mariupol. The epicenter of the substance was removed from the location of people, so it helped them minimize contact with the substance, which may have saved their lives,” said Azov commander Denys Prokopenko.
The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine stated that it is still checking the data on the possible use of chemical weapons, but admits that it could be phosphate munitions, which Russia has already used several times in this war. The Kremlin has not commented on the accusations of a chemical attack.
— The world has not seen the scale of the tragedy in Mariupol since the Nazi concentration camps. The racists turned our whole city into a death camp. Unfortunately, the eerie analogy is gaining more and more confirmation. This is no longer Chechnya or Aleppo. This is the new Auschwitz and Majdanek. The world must help punish Putin’s villains — said incumbent Mayor Vadym Boychenko.
The final stop: insidious strike on Kramatorsk railway station
Shooting at evacuation corridors, shelters, hospitals, railway stations, places of concentration of civilians – this is a typical practice for Russian troops. On April 8 the rocket attack from the Point-U complex hit on the Kramatorsk railway station in the Donetsk region where people were gathering to evacuate. The day before a cruise missile strike blocked the departure of three evacuation trains from Kramatorsk. As a result of a missile strike on the Kramatorsk railway station, 52 people died and 109 were injured.
The Pentagon confirms that the “Point-U” missile at the station in Kramatorsk was released by Russia.
“Obviously, we are not buying the denial by the Russians that they weren’t responsible [for the missile attack]. I would note that they originally claimed a successful strike, and then only retracted it when there were reports of civilian casualties,” the official said.
The Pentagon also added that since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia has fired 1,500 missiles at Ukraine.
The life will win no matter what
Dmytro Yurin, the Mariupol citizen, escaped from the occupied city by swimming in the Sea of Azov. Dmytro fled by swimming 4 km in freezing cold water along the shoreline to reach the neighboring village and then with the help of emphatic compatriots got to Ukrainian-controlled territories. Preparing for the swimming he took two rubbish bags to tie around his socks, some string, and four 5-litre plastic bottles, for use as buoyancy aids.
Another Mariupol resident, Viktoria Dubovitskaya, said she managed to flee with her two children – Artem, six, and Nastia, two – in a private car. They had been sheltering in the drama theatre when the building was obliterated. “It was quiet. Then there was an explosion. We had to run,” she said.
Viktoria remembers the terrible hunger and fear of the days spent in the blockade. “You feel guilty when you can’t feed your kids,” she said. Ukrainian militaries then brought food including frozen fish, which was cooked outside on a wood fire. Only children were allowed to eat. Volunteers looted a shop and brought warm clothes, she said.
When the bomb fell on the Mariupol Drama Theater on March 16, Victoria Dubovitska and her two children were in the projector room. The blast was so strong that the woman was thrown and hit the wall. Another wall separating the room from the concert hall was destroyed. Two-year-old Nastya was covered with stones.
“After the explosion, screams and moans were heard, and my child was silent. And it was the worst. Only then I heard her voice. She shouted, ‘Mommy!” the woman said. Fortunately, the little girl was under the covers. This probably softened the blow. Victoria managed to dig her daughter out of the blockages of stones. She was alive. Read the uneasy and inspiring stories in the Guardian material.
I wanted to gift the gladness!
Senior lady Nadiya Krupenych from west Ukraine Ivano-Frankivsk region sent flower and tree saplings to Kharkiv after hearing on TV that Kharkiv will be planted with greenery no matter what – even during the war. Apple, cherry, peach trees and many hibiscuses were shared by Mrs Nadiya. She cried right in the post office because of sympathizing with the people of Kharkiv, which now remains one of the most damaged cities of Ukraine and still being shelled every hour.
As a token of gratitude, Nadiya Krupenych will receive flower seedlings from Kharkiv City Greening Company. The company’s employees thanked the woman for the gift and noted that the received seedlings will be planted right in the city center in the near future. In addition, it was agreed that fruit tree seedlings will be exchanged with her in the fall.
Mrs Nadiya’s gesture symbolizes something more than community in landscaping – the victory of generosity, unity and love in the gesture of humanity. That always wins.
CultureHeadquarters / Lviv
Hnat Khotkevych Palace Of Culture
Many many minutes of silence would be needed to pay tribute to all of our fallen citizens and find the ability to speak after Bucha, Irpin, Hostomel, Borodyanka, Izyum, Mariupol… For us, Ukrainians, the world has changed and will never be the same as before. We ask you to remain silent with us – in memory of the hundreds of civilians of Ukraine who were tortured and killed by the Russian regime and the Russian military. And further we will demand in the world in memory of these terrible victims together with us to condemn this evil and its culprits.
Bucha Massacre: city of horror and pain
Since the last two days, the world has been shaken by horrible footage from liberated cities near Kyiv: Bucha, Irpin, Borodyanka, Vorzel, Hostomel and others. Freed in the sense of Russian troops. “Freed” in the sense of completely devastated.
From the first days of the war, fierce fighting broke out in these regions between Russian and Ukrainian Armed forces. Due to the capture of a strategically important object – the Hostomel Airport – Russian troops have long kept the neighborhood under siege. In the first week of April, after suffering heavy losses and failures in the attack on Kyiv, Russian troops withdrew to pursue the so-called “second stage of denazification”, when in fact they acknowledged their inability to resist the Ukrainian army. When the Ukrainian military and journalists (the first of whom were Reuters and the French Press) entered the city of Bucha, they encountered an unthinkable in the 21st century picture: on the roads and in the suburbs, in yards and basements, alone and in piles – the bodies of civilians, cruelty violated, lay everywhere.
Many of them had their hands tied behind their backs, with marks of bullets and blows on their bodies. Among those tortured on the streets are both women and men. In particular, teenagers and children. Some bodies were left where they were killed. Others piled up and covered with tires. Burnt clothes indicate attempts to set them on fire. With shrieks in the wells, with distended bellies, torn genitals. Parents were killed in front of children. The Russian military tortured and massively raped… 9 years old girl. Bucha Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk told the French Press on the phone that “280 people have already been buried in mass graves”. New horrific testimonies appear every day, the stories of those who survived this hell. Inhuman crimes leave no words to fully describe the horror inflicted on Ukraine.
Russia calls the photos and videos from Bucha staged and provocative, but all the arguments it has cited in support of this have been refuted by experts. On the evening of April 4, the New York Times published satellite images of Bucha taken between March 9 and 21, when Russian troops, by Moscow’s own admission, were in control of the city. They can be seen silhouettes, many of the corpses found in the same places in early April can be recognized. That is, all this time the murdered lay in these places in the middle of the street and as well – refutes Russia’s claims that civilians were killed in Bucha after its troops left the city.
Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said that 410 bodies of killed civilians had been removed from the territory of the Kyiv region liberated from the russian occupiers. The remains of other people are still lying on the streets of Bucha, since the sappers in the city have not finished their work, they can be removed only after several days of demining.
Ukraine demands that the world community investigate these crimes. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba called on the missions of the International Criminal Court and international organizations to come to Bucha and other cities and towns of Kyiv region to gather evidence of Russians committing war crimes and crimes against humanity and stresses that it is genocide. The recognition of Russia’s genocide in Ukraine is stated in a joint statement of the foreign ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Romania, Poland and the Czech Republic, said Oleksandr Merezhko, chairman of the Foreign Policy and Interparliamentary Cooperation Committee.
“We are already doing everything possible to identify all Russian servicemen involved in these crimes as soon as possible.” In a new address, Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Ukraine is interested in a full and transparent investigation into Russia’s crimes against civilians, including the European Union and the International Criminal Court.
The president also noted that Russia is already launching an information campaign to hide its guilt, and the Russian military is now likely to try to hide the traces of its crimes and set things up as if they were not doing it. See the appeal in ful, in Ukrainianl: https://youtu.be/r5hVNS3lE2k
The need to investigate Russia’s war crimes was stated by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen: “An independent investigation is urgently needed. The perpetrators of war crimes will be brought to justice.”
European Council President Charles Michel said the EU would help Ukraine gather evidence of Russian military crimes near Kyiv. “Shocked by the atrocities committed by the Russian army in the liberated Kyiv region,” he wrote and attached the hashtag “Bucha massacre.” He also said that the European Union was preparing new sanctions against Russia.
List of convictions and reactions from around the world: https://bit.ly/3Keagjd
Crimes of the Russian military in Bucha and other cities will be considered at a meeting of the UN Security Council on April 5: https://bit.ly/3xaabt1
Cases of such atrocities are not isolated and not only in Kyiv region; Murders, tortures, rapes have been recorded in Chernihiv region as well, and due to the occupation by Russian troops, complicated logistics and communications, we do not know for sure what is happening in other territories – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, Chernihiv, Sumy.
Mined country, mined Ukraine
Ukraine today is one of the most dangerous places in the world. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted that 80,000 square kilometers of Ukraine’s territory are mined – this is one of the highest figures in the world. Even before the ongoing military offensive, more than 1.8 million people in Ukraine had lived surrounded by mines for eight years.”
MFA of Ukraine: After the first wave of russian armed aggression against Ukraine in 2014, about 16,000 square kilometers of Luhansk and Donetsk Regions were contaminated with mines and ERW. Today, according to preliminary estimates, contamination reaches 80,000 square kilometers of the territory of Ukraine.
Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action https://bit.ly/3wZIgMq
“Every Ukrainian photographer dreams to take a photo that will stop the war”
These words belong to Maks Levin, а photojournalist, documentary photographer who became a victim of the Russian military while he did his journalistic job.
On April 1, after long searches in the area of the village of Huta Mezhyhirska in Kyiv region, the police revealed Maks Levin dead. Maks, accompanied by Oleksiy Chernyshov, a serviceman and former photographer, went to Huta Mezhyhirska on March 13 to document the consequences of the Russian aggression. They left a car and headed towards the village of Moshchun. Since then, the connection with both men was lost. Later it became known that intense fighting broke out in the area where Maks was going to work. The whereabouts and fate of Oleksiy Chernyshov have not been established yet. According to the preliminary information released by the press service of the Prosecutor General’s Office, unarmed Levin was killed with two shots from small arms by servicemen of the Russian Armed Forces.
Most of Levin’s documentary projects are related to the war in Ukraine. In 2014, together with his colleague Markiyan Lyseyko, Levin founded the AFTER ILOVAISK, a documentary project to save and reconsider the significance of the events of August 2014 for the fighters, their families, and for all the citizens of Ukraine. Maks was one of those who managed to get out of the Ilovaisk trap alive. We also saw a Revolution of Dignity through Maks’s camera lens. In an interview, Max once said that he must be at the epicenter of events, otherwise he will feel like a fish out of water.
For more than 10 years, he worked for LB.ua, Reuters, BBC, TRT World, Associated Press, Hromadske. His photos were published by the Wall Street Journal, TIME, Breaking news Poland, EU AGENDA, World news, and other media. Maks created dozens of photo and video projects for international humanitarian organizations, such as the WHO and UNICEF. The Ukrainian President awarded Maks Levin with a state award. Sources: Ukrinform, LB.ua.
Mantas Kvedaravičius, a Lithuanian filmmaker, anthropologist was killed on Saturday, April 2, during the Siege of Mariupol, with a camera in his hands. Mantas is an author of a documentary film Mariupolis, that tells about life in the city of Mariupol, where everyday life since 2014 is framed by the constant anticipation of war and its presence nearby. The film premiered at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda mourned the death in a statement. “We lost a creator well known in Lithuania and in the whole world, who, until the very last moment, in spite of danger, worked in Russia-occupied Ukraine.”
This is not the only case of the journalist’s death at the hands of Russian soldiers since the beginning of the full-scale invasion Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The Prosecutor General informed that the Russian occupiers have committed crimes against at least 56 members of the media.
Ukrainian voices on Grammy Awards 2022
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi, singer Mika Newton and poet Lyubov Yakymchuk delivered a speech at the 64th annual Grammy Awards. Video of performance is here. Volodymyr Zelenskyi spoke about what is happening in the country and what, in particular, the musicians are doing.
“The silence of ruined cities and killed people. Our children drew swooping rockets, not shooting stars,” Zelensky said. “Over 400 children have been injured and 153 children died. And we will never see them drawing.”
Zelensky has been outspoken in gathering international support for his country since the invasion began in February. He tied that to the music industry’s biggest night by saying, “The war doesn’t let us choose who survives and who stays in eternal silence.”
Ukrainian poet Lyubov Yakymchuk performed her poem “Gospel” from “Apricots of Donbass” collection.
While she was declamating her verse John Legend performed his song “Free” with the accompany of ukrainian singer Mika Newton and bandura player from Odesa Susanna Iglidan.
CultureHeadquarters / Lviv
Hnat Khotkevych Palace Of Culture