Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 17 March 2014

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

17 March 2014


1. Situation in Crimea and the “Referendum”

The illegal and unconstitutional “referendum” took place in Crimea yesterday. According to its “organizers,” turnout was over 83% and 96.8% “voted” to join Crimea to the Russian Federation. Several media outlets reported that their journalists were forcibly removed from polling stations before the vote count. No western countries observed the “referendum.” There are widespread reports of multiple voting, people voting with passports from the Russian Federation. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine ruled Friday that the “referendum” is unconstitutional and ordered that preparations for it be stopped – the “referendum” thus has no legal effect. Canada, the US and the EU have all indicated that they do not recognize the referendum as legitimate. The only major power recognizing the referendum is Russia. According to reports, several Ukrainian Catholic clergy have been subjected to intimidation over the last few days.

2. Crimean Majlis Issues Appeal

The Majlis of the Crimean Tatar People issued an appeal yesterday in which they confirmed the Crimean Tatars’ support for Ukrainian territorial integrity and appealed to “the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to: ratify the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; urge to recognize and adopt the laws and other legal acts of Ukraine determining the status of the Crimean Tatar people as an indigenous people of Crimea; urge the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and other supreme bodies of Ukraine along with the international organizations (UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, European Union) to  urgently ensure that the Crimean Tatar people expressed their right to exercise their inherent right to self-determination in their historical territory – Crimea in order to realize the natural right of the Crimean Tatar people provided in the international acts with regards to the rights of indigenous peoples.”

3. Demonstrations in Donetsk, Kharkiv, Luhansk

Pro-Russian rallies took place in the eastern cities of Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk over the weekend. On Sunday, there were some 1,000 people at the Donetsk rally. On Saturday, 2 people were killed and several injured in Kharkiv. There are indications that violence was provoked by citizens of the Russian Federation who were brought in to foment unrest in the eastern provinces as a means to destabilize the situation there –as a pretense for further Russian invasion of Ukrainian sovereign territory in the eastern and southern oblasts.

4. Ukraine’s parliament votes for mobilization

275 deputies in Ukraine’s parliament voted for partial mobilization of the reserves of the armed forces of Ukraine.  According to the Secretary of the Council of National Defense and Security A. Parubiy, the partial mobilization will cover 20,000 reservists in the armed forces and 20,000 people for the National Guard.

5. US imposes sanctions

President Obama issued an Executive Order today authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, “to impose sanctions on named officials of the Russian government, any individual or entity that operates in the Russian arms industry, and any designated individual or entity that acts on behalf of, or that provides material or other support to, any senior Russian government official.” The order blocks the property and interests in property of persons listed and imposes travel bans. The Order names 7 Russian officials who are being designated for sanctions – Vladislav Surkov, Sergey Glazyev, Leonid Slutsky, Andrei Klishas, Valentina Matviyenko, Dmitry Rogozin, and Yelena Mizulina. Sanctions have also been imposed on the self-appointed head of the Crimean Cabinet of Ministers A. Aksyonov, V. Konstantinov, V. Medvedchuk, and V. Yanukovych. The White House stated that “ Today’s actions also serve as notice to Russia that unless it abides by its international obligations and returns its military forces to their original bases and respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the United States is prepared to take additional steps to impose further political and economic costs.”

6. EU imposes sanctions

The European Union is imposing sanctions against 21 Russian and Ukrainian officials responsible for the unrest in Crimea, in the form of asset freezes and travel bans. It is expected that additional sanctions against officials threatening Ukraine’s territorial integrity will be discussed at the EU summit on Thursday-Friday.



Taras Zalusky, Executive Director

Ukrainian Canadian Congress

(613) 232-8822

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