Day 117 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Kyiv will limit Books and Music created by Russian Citizens
Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
Ukraine has confirmed that it has lost control of a settlement near Sievierodonetsk
Ukraine has said it has lost control of a settlement near the key eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, for which it has been fighting fierce battles with Russian troops for weeks.
"Unfortunately, we no longer control Metolkine. The enemy continues to send a huge number of reservists to Sievierodonetsk, "said the Luhansk regional governor. Serhiy Haidai also said that the nitrogen plant "Azot", where hundreds of civilians are alleged to be hiding, was fired at by Russian forces "constantly".
Meanwhile, Sievierodonetsk Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk told Ukrainian television that Moscow's army controls most of the city's residential areas. According to him, there are round-the-clock street battles. The evacuation from Sievierodonetsk has not been possible for days after the last bridge over the river connecting it with Lysychansk was blown up.
Zelensky expects Russia to step up attacks
In a video address last night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed that he expects Russia to step up its attacks not only on Ukraine. He said a historic week was beginning for his country.
"I think it is obvious to everyone that there have been few fateful decisions for Ukraine since 1991, such as what we expect. And I am convinced that only a positive decision is in the interests of the whole of Europe. Obviously, we should expect more hostile activity from Russia - purposefully and demonstratively. Exactly this week. Not only against Ukraine, but also against other European countries. We are preparing. We are ready!"
Ukraine and the EU
President Zelensky signed his country’s candidacy for EU membership just days after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.
Bloc members are expected to decide later this week whether to give Kyiv "candidate status".
This move will begin the process of Ukraine's accession to the alliance, which could take years.
Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Russia's blockade of millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain was a war crime and called on Russia to lift the blockade on Ukrainian ports.
Ukraine will limit books and music created and performed by Russian citizens
Ukraine's parliament passed two laws Sunday that would severely restrict Russian books and music as Kyiv seeks to sever many cultural ties between the two countries after Moscow's invasion.
One law will ban the printing of books by Russian citizens unless they renounce their Russian passports and accept Ukrainian citizenship. The ban will apply only to those who had Russian citizenship after the collapse of Soviet rule in 1991.
The same text bans the commercial import of books printed in Russia, Belarus and the occupied Ukrainian territory while requiring a special permit for the import of Russian-language books from any other country.
Another law will ban the release of music by Russian-born authors and performers in the media and public transport since 1991 while increasing quotas on Ukrainian language and Ukrainian music content on television and radio broadcasts.
The laws must be signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky to take effect, and there are no signs that he is against them. Both laws received widespread support from the entire parliament, including from MPs who have traditionally been seen as pro-Kremlin by most Ukrainian media and civil society.
Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said he was "happy to welcome" the new restrictions.
"The laws are designed to help Ukrainian authors share quality content with the widest possible audience, which after the Russian invasion does not accept any Russian creative product on a real level," the Ukrainian cabinet's website quoted him as saying.
The new rules are another chapter in Ukraine's long road to rejecting the legacy of hundreds of years of Moscow's rule.
Ukraine says this process, formerly called "decommunization" but now more commonly called "de-Russification", is needed to repeal centuries of policies aimed at belittling and destroying Ukraine's identity.
Moscow disagrees, saying Kyiv's policy of consolidating the Ukrainian language in everyday life oppresses the large number of Russian-speakers in Ukraine, whose rights it claims it supports in what it calls its "special military operation" and is widespread around the world defined as aggressive war.
This process has gained momentum since Russia's 2014 invasion of Crimea and support for separatist pro-Russian circles in Ukraine's Donbas but has taken on new dimensions since the full-scale invasion began on 24 February.
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