Good morning from Kyiv.
Russia attacked the Odesa region overnight, with kamikaze drones. Fourteen were shot down by Ukrainian air defenses but one struck a commercial property. There are no reports of casualties at this time.
On a positive note, there are signs that life in Ukraine continues despite Russian aggression, authorities in Kyiv have announced the dates of the tulip season, three million of which will be publicly viewable in Dobropark from April 27.
What’s happening today?
It’s an absolutely massive day on the international stage as Finland officially joins NATO.
The country becomes the 31st member of the world’s largest military alliance, in a strategic shift provoked by Moscow's war on Ukraine, which doubles the length of the alliance's border with Russia.
You can read more about that story and what happens next here (LINK TO EXPLAINER).
In Kyiv, Ukrainska Pravda reports that more than 30 people's deputies want make a proposal to the Cabinet of Ministers, on behalf of the Verkhovna Rada, to terminate the lease agreement with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate for the Pochaiv Assumption Lavra.
Elsewhere, Russia's commissioner for children's rights, who is wanted by the International Criminal court alongside Vladimir Putin, is likely to address the UN Security Council this week, Reuters reports.
What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?
During his daily address on Monday evening, President Zelensky reflected on his recent visit to Chernihiv region which he described as “one of the most emotionally difficult trips.”
He added: “We visited Yahidne, an ordinary small village in our Chernihiv region which, last year, Russian savages turned into one of the world's worst examples of human abuse.
“Russian soldiers made a command post at the school in Yahidne, and drove all the villagers into the basement of the school. Just like a human shield. From March 3 to 30 of last year, the occupiers kept more than three hundred people in the basement of this school ...
“We will never forgive the evil conditions in that basement, this concentration camp in Yahidne, just as for all other crimes of Russia against people and humanity. And not only us.”
President Zelensky then once again outlined his desire to hold Russia accountable for its crimes in a Special Tribunal.
The Kremlin will not be able to hide behind a chair in the UN Security Council, gas pipes or anything else. There will certainly be legal and fair responsibility for every 🇷🇺 crime committed on Ukrainian soil. In the Special tribunal, in the @IntlCrimCourt, in Ukrainian courts. pic.twitter.com/YfbgL3okVH— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) April 3, 2023
What’s the latest military situation?
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on April 4 focuses on Russia’s desire to encourage alternative private military companies to reduce its reliance on the Wagner Group.
The MoD notes: “However, no other known Russian PMC currently approaches Wagner’s size or combat power.
“Russia likely sees continued utility for PMCs in Ukraine, because they are less constrained by the limited pay levels and inefficiency which hamper the effectiveness of the regular army. Russia’s leadership probably believe heavy casualties amongst PMCs will be better tolerated by Russian society compared to regular military losses.”
The Institute for the Study of War’s April 3 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:
· Russian security services reportedly continue to confiscate the passports of senior officials and state company executives, to limit flight from Russia.
· Russian officials likely remain concerned about a potential Ukrainian threat to Crimea, amid continued fortification and logistical efforts.
· It is likely that Ukrainian partisans used an improvised explosive device (IED) to target a former Russian occupation official in Melitopol, Zaporizhia Oblast.
And that’s it for today’s Morning Memo.
Kyiv Post will bring you the latest news throughout the day and we’ll be back with another edition tomorrow.
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