As Russian forces continue their offensive in Donbas without securing any significant territorial gains, the situation on the ground is growingly dire for civilians left behind.
Ukrainian news website Livy Bereg reports on significant water, food and other supply shortages in the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic. Tap water has been scarce since the beginning of Russian occupation on February 24, and it is now available only every three days. Residents collect rainwater or otherwise buy it when they can afford to.
Prices of staple products have gone up significantly since the start of the war. Butter used to cost 90-100 rubles per 100g and is now 130-150 rubles, while the prices of sugar quadrupled. Overall supplies are scarce because of Western sanctions hitting Russia, which controls these regions, and some products such as baby diapers have become hard to find, and incredibly expensive.
Men are also nowhere to be seen on the streets: they have either been recruited or are in hiding, reports Die Welt. Pro-Russian forces in the self-proclaimed republics are running out of military personnel and are forcing every man to join, even if they are pro-Ukraine. Initially, men between the ages of 18 and 55 were drafted, but on March 19, the age limit was raised to 65 years. Men are being picked up regardless of their medical condition.
Serhiy, a man who has been hiding in Luhansk for over two months, told Die Welt: "If I go to the store now, I'll probably be picked up. If I go into the garden with my child for just a short time, I'm sure they'll pick me up."
500 Civilians Evacuated From Mariupol, As Russia Continues Assaults
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine - 06 May 2022\n \nFind out more about the UK government's response: http://ow.ly/c7On50J0SpK\u00a0\n\n #StandWithUkraine pic.twitter.com/7ViaoqSnAV— Ministry of Defence \ud83c\uddec\ud83c\udde7 (@Ministry of Defence \ud83c\uddec\ud83c\udde7) 1651812303
New efforts are underway to evacuate more civilians stuck inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told the AFP news agency about the new operation: “We are praying for its success."
So far, nearly 500 civilians have been evacuated from the city thanks to a UN-led operation, Andriy Yermak, head of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, said on Telegram.
The humanitarian operation is underway while Russian airstrikes continue, even if most Russian troops have now headed north towards Donbas, according to the Pentagon. The UK Ministry of Defence said the attacks are linked to “Putin’s desire to have a symbolic success” for the upcoming May 9 celebration.
Grandmother With USSR Flag, More Soviet Symbols Spread By Pro-Russian Forces
File photo of Soviet Flag Flying at Museum of the Great Patriotic ...commons.wikimedia.org
Soviet symbols have increasingly slipped into pro-Russian propaganda about the war in Ukraine, reports independent Russian media, Meduza.
In Russian cities and Ukrainian areas occupied by Russian troops, posters and graffiti have appeared dedicated to the “grandmother with the Soviet flag.” The Ukrainian woman captured in this video had come out of her home with a Soviet flag to meet Ukrainians soldiers, mistaking them for Russians, and ultimately refusing to accept food from them after they trampled the flag.
The use of these symbols of the USSR is linked to the justification of the Russian invasion to “denazify” Ukraine as the Soviet army did in World War II.
Orban Blocking EU Oil BanRussian-Hungarian talks • President of Russiaen.kremlin.ru
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the current European Union proposal to ban Russian oil imports by the end of the year would amount to “dropping an atomic bomb” on his country’s economy.
European leaders continue to seek an accord to punish Moscow for the war in Ukraine, without crippling the EU countries, including Hungary, which are most dependent on Russian-supplied energy.
Teaching Class Remotely — From The Trenches
Fedir Shandor, a professor of Uzhgorod National University, gives a lecture to his students while dug into position with his unit in the Ukrainian military.
Signs Of Germany-Ukraine Tensions Easing
“Zelensky invites Steinmeier” “Irritations in the phone call cleared up – Chancellor and Federal President are to visit Ukraine"
Germany will send more heavy weapons to Ukraine, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced on Friday. The delivery will include seven self-propelled howitzer artillery systems as well as the necessary training to operate them.
The news came a day after a phone call between Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky and Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier — a sign that tensions between Germany and Ukraine may be dissipating.
“Had a good, constructive, important conversation with Federal President Mr. Steinmeier,” tweeted Zelensky, adding that German leadership was important to counter Russian aggression.
China Cites 1999 Belgrade Embassy Attack As Warning To NATO About Ukraine
A memorial service at the site of the bombed embassy in Belgrade
Wang Hui/Xinhua via ZUMA
China’s stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to be a key question, with Beijing considered the only country that could persuade Vladimir Putin to change his war aims. Yet the latest statement by China's Ambassador to the United Nations offered scant hope that Xi Jinping intends to push Putin.
Indeed, UN Ambassador Zhang Jun, while again calling for a ceasefire, was particularly focused on castigating the West and NATO for its “eastward expansion” and “anachronistic doctrine of security,” Chinese state media China Daily reported.
In particular, Zhang reminded his UN colleagues that May 7 is the anniversary of the 1999 attack during the bombing of Belgrade, during the Kosovo War, when NATO fired five precision-guided missiles at the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia. Three Chinese journalists were killed in the attack, and 20 Chinese diplomats injured. "The Chinese people will never forget this barbaric atrocity and will never allow such history to repeat itself," said Zhang.
He concluded that NATO "wantonly launches wars against sovereign countries, causing colossal casualties and humanitarian disasters." In the remarks, during a UN session on the Ukraine war, he made no mention about Russia’s invasion of a sovereign country.