Photo: Atlantic Council

Tuesday’s Coverage: Zelenskiy — Approval of US Aid “Critically Important”

Map: Institute for the Study of War


A Russian court has sentenced a St Petersburg woman to eight days in jail for writing “No To War” on a ballot during the staged Presidential election.

Alexandra Chiryatyeva was also fined 40,000 rubles ($433/) for “hooliganism”, damaging state property, and “discrediting the Russian armed forces”.


The UN Human Rights Council has concluded that Russia’s forces have tortured and arbitrarily detained people in occupied Ukraine.

Based on more than 2,300 interviews, the HRC’s report cites “widespread violations” of human rights law with a “culture of fear” to suppress Ukrainian identity.

Russia imposed its “language, citizenship, laws, court system, and education curricula on the occupied areas”. Peaceful protests were met with “force” from the Russian military as it restricted free expression and pillaged homes and businesses.

From the onset, Russian armed forces, acting with generalised impunity, committed widespread violations, including arbitrary detention of civilians, often accompanied by torture and ill-treatment.

UN Human Rights Commissioner Volker Türk said, “The actions of the Russian Federation have ruptured the social fabric of communities and left individuals isolated, with profound and long-lasting consequences for Ukrainian society as a whole.”


The US has sanctioned two individuals and two entities for providing services to Russia’s political warfare abroad, including attempts to impersonate legitimate media outlets.

The US Treasury said those blacklisted had launched a network of more than 60 websites impersonating outlets through misleading social media accounts.

Treasury Undersecretary Brian Nelson said in a statement:

We are committed to exposing Russia’s extensive campaigns of government-directed deception, which are intended to mislead voters and undermine trust in democratic institutions in the US and around the world.

The US, along with our allies and partners, remains steadfast in defending our democratic principles and the credibility of our elections.


The European Commission has delivered the first €4.5 billion ($4.88 billion) of support to Kyiv under the EU’s new Ukraine Facility.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen posted the news, with footage of her meeting on Wednesday with Ukraine President Denys Shmyhal.

She added, “This payment, in the form of bridge financing, is crucial to help Ukraine maintain the functioning of the State in this difficult moment.”

Shmyhal posted:

said in a social media post on X that after “fruitful discussions in Brussels”, he was “pleased to share good news”.

“Today we received a first tranche in amount of €4.5bn through the Ukraine Facility Exceptional Bridge Financing,” he wrote. Shmyhal also said he was “grateful” to von der Leyen for “her invaluable support”.

“This strengthens our economic and financial stability,” he added.


A rattled Kremlin is complaining loudly about the imminent European Union plan (see Original Entry) using the profits from frozen Russian assets as military aid to Ukraine.

Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said:

Europeans are well aware of the damage such decisions can do to their economy, their image, and their reputation as reliable, so to speak, guarantors of the inviolability of property.

The damage will be inevitable. The persons who will be involved in making such decisions, the states that will decide this, of course, they will become the objects of prosecution for many decades.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova blustered, “It is simple banditry and theft.”


The European Union has provisionally approved a one-year extension of the waiver of import duties on Ukraine’s agricultural products.

The European Parliament and European Council announced in a joint statement: “The temporary suspension of import duties and quotas on Ukrainian agricultural exports to the EU will be renewed for another year, until June 5, 2025, to support Ukraine amidst Russia’s continuing war of aggression.”

Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, who is visiting Brussels today, posted:

Amid protests by farmers in Ukraine’s neighboring countries over the waiver, the Commission pledged to take “swift action and impose any measures it deems necessary should there be significant disruption to the EU market or the markets of one or more EU countries due to Ukrainian imports”.


Moldovan officials say Russia is continuing its campaign to undermine the government and destabilize the country, part of which has been occupied by Russian forces since 1992.

The Moldovan Foreign Ministry expelled a Russian diplomat this week, following the organization of polling stations in Russian-occupied Transnistria for Moscow’s managed Presidential election.

Russia’s Ambassador Oleg Vasnetsov and Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova threatened retaliation for the “unfriendly” action.

Through Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Moldova’s President Maia Sandu, Prime Minister Dorin Recean, and intelligence services have warned of an attempted coup by Russia through espionage, disinformation, and funding of Moscow-friendly politicians and “protest” groups.

Last week Ilan Shor, pro-Russian Moldovan politician under US sanctions, told the Russian diaspora-focused outlet RTVi that he plans to become the Moldovan Prime Minister following the 2025 Parliamentary elections.

Shor, who lives in Israel, fled Moldova in 2019 to avoid serving a prison sentence over his conviction of fraud and money laundering. Last year the Moldovan Constitutional Court found that the pro-Shor Party is unconstitutional.

The pro-Russian Governor of the autonomous region of Gagauzia, Yevgenia Gutsul, said on Tuesday that she will sue Sandu for defamation. The President told journalists on Tuesday that she will not sign the decree to include Gustul in the Moldovan Government, as the governor works for a “criminal group and not the residents of Gagauzia”.

Gutsul is being investigated by the Moldovan Prosecution Service completed its investigation over corruption and bribery in the gubernatorial election that put her in power.

Moldova’s Presidential election is expected in late 2024, with Parliamentary elections in summer 2025.

There are signs that Russia’s tactics are not working, including in occupied Transnistria.

Only 46,000 Russian citizens, about 20% of the electorate, turned out for the staged election. It was the lowest figure since 2006, and a sharp decrease on the 73,000 who participated in 2018.

Armand Goșu of the University of Bucharest assessed, “Even if they are assaulted by Russian propaganda, some of the residents of Transnistria have begun to emancipate, look for alternative sources of information and lose interest in the Russian ‘elections’.”

ORIGINAL ENTRY: The European Union has prepared draft legislation for the transfer of profits from frozen Russian assets to Ukraine as early as July.

The plan, which must be supported by all 27 member states, would use an estimated €3 billion ($3.3 billion) from a windfall tax on Moscow’s assets. It would fund the supply of weapons to Ukraine and boost the Ukrainian defense industry.

The EU Executive is expected to announce the legislation on Wednesday as Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal visits Brussels. EU heads of government will convene on Thursday.

Ukraine’s international partners froze around $300 billion in Russian assets at the start of Vladimir Putin’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. About 2/3rds are held at the Belgium-based financial services company Euroclear.

The EU head of foreign policy, Josep Borrell, said on Tuesday that the bloc should transfer 90% of Russia asset revenue to the fund for military assistance. The remaining 10% will be transferred to the EU budget and used to boost the capacity of the Ukrainian defense industry