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Newsletter of PEN Ukraine (April 12)

Last update: 14 April 2022
Newsletter of PEN Ukraine (April 12)
In the village of Kapytolivka in the Kharkiv region, Russian occupiers detained the writer and volunteer Volodymyr Vakulenko and his son. Volodymyr’s ex-wife says the reason lies in the writer’s pro-Ukraine stance. He was last reachable on 7 March. We are calling upon all of you to talk and write about his case on all possible platforms. Words are also weapons.  

What’s going on?

  • Russia continues to commit war crimes and kill Ukrainian civilians. In the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine, Russia is launching missile, air and artillery strikes on cities and villages. On April 8, in striking the Kramatorsk railway station — the central hub for migrants from Donetsk and Luhansk regions — Russia killed at least 57 people, and 109 were wounded.
  • Evidence of war crimes by the Russian occupiers continues to be recorded in the newly liberated Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions. Horrifying photos of dead residents of the Kyiv region, whose bodies were left on the streets, or hastily buried, continue to shock Ukrainians and the rest of the world. The “special operation” of the Russian troops is quite literally a genocide of the Ukrainian people.
  • In liberated Irpin, evidence emerged that Russians had destroyed the Writers’ Creativity House, where famous Ukrainian writers used to work and live. In Borodianka, Russian soldiers damaged a monument to Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko. In the ancient city of Chernihiv, the Russian occupiers committed more than 20 crimes against cultural heritage, including ancient cathedrals, ramparts and a citadel.
  • In Mariupol, the Russian invaders organised a collection point for the bodies of their victims, and are using mobile crematoria to hide their war crimes. Russia has left overwhelming  evidence of torture, indiscriminate murder, rape and plunder in Bucha and other Kyiv region cities. The Kremlin is now hiding evidence of its war crimes in Mariupol, where, according to authorities, Russians killed over 10000 civilians.
  • According to Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, 1,700 Ukrainians are currently being held by Russia and pro-Russian separatists. President Zelensky said hundreds of thousands of citizens in occupied regions had been deported to Russian concentration camps.

Russian crimes against media

  • On April 2, journalist Yevhen Bal died in Melekine near Mariupol. On March 18, he had been arbitrarily detained by Russian soldiers. Yevhen’s house was raided and he was tortured. Severely beaten, he was released three days later. The death of Yevhen Bal is a direct consequence of the injuries inflicted by his captors. Yevhen died six days short of his 79th birthday. Bal was the author of numerous reports about the war in Ukraine, a writer, and a volunteer.
  • On April 3, in Nova Kakhovka, the Russian occupiers abducted a local journalist and writer, the editor of the online publication Nova Kakhovka City Oleksandr Hunko. Prior to that, his apartment was searched. A few hours earlier, Nova Kakhovka.City had published a report about the forced dispersal of a pro-Ukrainian rally in the occupied city.
  • On April 11, it emerged, that the Russians had killed the video engineer of Chernihiv regional TV channel  “Dytynets” Roman Nezhyborets.
  • Find out more about Russian crimes against the media in Ukraine in our report.

PEN Ukraine webpage on war

PEN Ukraine launched one page with the latest news and materials on Russia’s war against Ukraine with information on the situation in Ukraine, links on important materials and information resources, petitions, addresses, the list of editions about Ukraine to read in English, and books by Ukrainian authors recommended for translation. The page is being continuously updated with the latest news and links. Go to the page and share with colleagues: war.pen.org.ua.