Day 119: missiles on Mykolayiv, hopes high for Ukraine’s EU candidate status

Russia strikes Mykolayiv with seven missiles. On June 22, Russia fired seven missiles on Mykolayiv, head of the regional military administration Vitaliy Kim said.  

Three people were wounded by the missile strike. It also damaged apartment houses and commercial buildings, mayor of Mykolayiv Oleksandr Senkevych said on television. “Two privately-owned industrial sites were damaged. They have fuel depots. Windows were blown out and the roof damaged in a school. Windows and doors were blown out in five five-story apartment buildings,” Senkevych said.

The attack caused fire as a missile hit an industrial facility. Mykolayiv is covered in black smoke, the mayor said.

“There is smoke haze above the city. Firefighters work, but it has to burn out naturally, it is not possible to extinguish it,” he added. Doors and windows were blown out in four private houses.

Journalist Levin was executed by Russian soldiers, RSF investigation finds. Ukrainian journalist Maks Levin found dead in Kyiv region on April 1 after the area was liberated from Russian troops, was executed by Russian soldiers, investigation by Reporters Without Borders found. “Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is releasing a report with information and evidence indicating that Levin and his friend and bodyguard were executed by Russian soldiers in a forest near Kyiv on 13 March, possibly after being interrogated and even tortured,” RSF said.

Levin and Chernyshov were possibly executed by members of the Russian Guard’s 106th airborne division or a special forces unit, the RSF’s report reads. Reporters’ assumptions are based on evidence collected on the spot where bodies of Levin and his friend were found. 

The journalists recorded 14 bullet impacts in Levin’s burned car. They also found material evidence of Russian presence at the crime scene including food packaging and plastic cutlery that could still contain DNA traces.

Reporters Without Borders passed the evidence to the Ukrainian authorities in charge of the investigation. Maks Levin was 40 years old. 

Ahead of EU summit, President of European Commission calls on EU leaders to grant Ukraine candidate status. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen called on EU leaders to assume historic responsibility ahead of the summit that can possibly grant Ukraine EU candidate status. At the summit in Brussels on June 23-24, the EU leaders will adopt a recommendation of the European Commission to grant Ukraine and Moldova EU candidate status, a draft decision says.  

Ukraine expects to implement the European Commission’s recommendations for the country’s EU membership status by the end of the year, Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna said at a news conference at Media Center Ukraine on Wednesday. 

“We expect to complete all these steps by the end of this year. We will be able to implement most of them even faster including adoption of laws and completion of technical tasks,” Stefanishyna said.

The European Commission will assess Ukraine’s progress in implementation of the recommendations at the end of the year, the Vice Prime Minister added. 

“It is in our interests as we would like to begin [accession] negotiations,” Stefanishyna said. “Ukraine will not give up on its EU candidate status,” she proceeded.

The Ukrainian government will formulate a vision of reforms to meet the demands by the European Commission for EU candidacy including appointment of the head of the Specialized Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, Olha Stefanishyna said.

Ukraine in Flames #104: Foreign aid to Ukraine and helping Ukraine as a foreigner

Russian aggression against Ukraine has shocked the world deeply – and it brought powerful demand for justice along. Foreign governments in the West are united in their support for Ukraine, and in some cases, like Germany, people feel that the response and assistance should be even stronger. Because, ultimately, the governments in democracies are driven by their people – who have spoken and who are overwhelmingly supportive of Ukraine. 

Speakers: Christine Donovan, fishmonger, Canada 

Jud Weidner, Irish musician 

Olga Mozkova, Ukrainian volunteer in Canada