Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 5 March 2014

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

5 March 2014

1. Situation in Crimea

UN Representative Robert Serry was threatened by unknown gunmen in Crimea, and told to leave Crimea. Ukrainian armed forces headquarters and bases in Crimea continue to be blockaded by Russian forces. In some cases, local populations (often family members of the blockaded soldiers) are providing food and other necessities by passing it over the walls of the bases. In other cases the Russian troops and “protestors” blockading bases are not allowing food through, and according to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine have cut off power and water.  The captain of the warship Ternopil stated that his ship has been cut off from land by “unknown armed people.” Ukrainian ombudsman V. Lutkovska stated that the Ukrainian soldiers are “under terrible moral pressure, knowing about the possible danger to their families who are also with them in Crimea” but noted that they have behaved with honour and bravery.

2. Court rules decisions of Crimean Parliament illegitimate

According to the General Prosecutor of Ukraine, the Kyiv District Administrative Court has ruled that the decisions taken by the Crimean parliament to vote non-confidence in the Cabinet of Ministers of Crimea, appoint A. Aksyonov head of the Cabinet of Ministers, and to hold a referendum on the status of Crimea are illegitimate.

3. OSCE sends mission to Ukraine

The Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe sent a delegation of 35 unarmed military personnel to Ukraine in response to the Ukrainian government’s request. 18 countries, including Canada, agreed to provide 2 members each to the delegation. The delegation will be in Ukraine from 5 to 12 March, and will provide the OSCE with an objective assessment of the facts on the ground. OSCE Secretary General L. Zannier stated his hope that the mission will help to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine. The OSCE media freedom representative D. Mijatović is also visiting Crimea today.

4. European Commission agrees on support package for Ukraine

The European Commission agreed on a support package for Ukraine, of which the main points are: €3 billion from the EU budget; €1.6 billion in macro financial assistance loans (MFA) and an assistance package of grants of €1.4 billion; Up to €8 billion from the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Potential €3.5 billion leveraged through the Neighbourhood Investment Facility;  Provisional application of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area when the Association Agreement is signed; and Organisation of a High Level Investment Forum/Task Force; Modernisation of the Ukraine Gas Transit System and work on reverse flows; Acceleration of Visa Liberalisation; Offer of a Mobility Partnership; Technical assistance on a number of areas.

5. Paris Meetings on Budapest Memorandum

The Foreign Ministers the UK, Ukraine and the US Secretary of State met in Paris as parties to the Budapest Memorandum. The Russian Foreign Minister was invited but did not attend. The three sides issued a statement, which included a call for direct talks between Ukraine and Russia, facilitated as needed by the international community, and that international observers should be deployed immediately to Ukraine. “The three governments reaffirmed the importance of protecting the rights of all Ukrainian citizens, and believed that international observers would help address any concerns regarding irregular forces, military activity and the treatment of all Ukrainians irrespective of their ethnicity or spoken language.”  French Foreign Minister Fabius stated that if Russia does not de-escalate the situation in Crimea, tomorrow’s meeting of Heads of State or Government at the European Council will likely “block visas, take action against the property of a certain number of oligarchs and stop economic talks with Russia”.

6. Donetsk rallies for Ukrainian territorial integrity

A rally of over ten thousand people in the city of Donetsk took place to support Ukrainian territorial integrity and independence. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has had the effect of consolidating solidarity for Ukrainian territorial integrity in all regions of the country.

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