Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 19 March 2014

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1. Situation in Crimea

After the death of a Ukrainian soldier yesterday, acting President Turchynov issued an order allowing Ukrainian armed forces in Crimea to fire their weapons to defend themselves “according to military statutes.” The Ministry of Defense reported that the Commander of the Navy in Crimea, S. Hayduk, was kidnapped by unknown persons. As of 14:30 Kyiv time, his whereabouts are unknown. Several army and navy bases are blockaded by Russian troops or Crimean “self-defence” forces. There are reports that the occupying authorities are issuing ultimatums to the blockaded soldiers. The Ministry of Defense reported that there are constant provocations by Russian troops on the Crimea-Kherson administrative border at the Perekop isthmus, but that the administrative border remains under control of the Ukrainian army. 1st deputy Prime Minister V. Yarema and acting Defense Minister I. Tenyukh attempted to travel to Crimea to negotiate but their airplane was not allowed to land. There are reports that the self-appointed illegal authorities in Crimea and Russian occupying authorities are handing out Russian passports to residents of Crimea. The head of the EU Delegation in Ukraine, Ambassador Jan Tombinski, issued a statement today on the human rights situation in Crimea, in which he stated that since the seizure of power on 27 February “a growing number of Ukrainian citizens have fallen victim to serious Human Rights abuses. Reported violations include enforced disappearances, ill-treatment and torture, violent attacks against journalists, restrictions to freedom of the media, freedom of movement and freedom of peaceful assembly.”

2. Council for National Security and Defense announces series of measures

The Council for National Security and Defense announced today that the Council ordered a) the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to establish a visa regime with the Russian Federation; b) the Cabinet of Ministers to immediately appeal to the UN to recognize Crimea as a demilitarized zone and use measures to have the Russian army leave Crimea and to guarantee conditions for the relocation of Ukrainian armed forces to continental Ukraine, and to develop a plan for the evacuation of civilians who want to leave the occupied territory. The Council also announced that Ukraine will leave the Commonwealth of Independent States, and that the armed forces are ordered into full battle readiness.

3. Higher Administrative Court closes case against Parliament decisions

The Higher Administrative Court closed the case regarding the constitutionality of decisions passed by Parliament of 22 and 23 February on the stripping of presidential authority from Yanukovych and appointment of O. Turchynov as acting president. The court ruled that cases regarding the constitutionality of decisions of Parliament are strictly in the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court, and not an administrative matter.

4. Svoboda deputies attack head of 1st National TV channel

Yesterday a group of Svoboda deputies, led by I. Miroshnichenko, came to the office of the head of the 1st National TV channel, O. Panteleymonov, to demand his resignation. When Panteleymonov refused, the deputies bullied and abused him physically. PM Yatseniuk condemned their actions and the General Prosecutor has opened an investigation under 2 statutes – impeding the work of journalists, and hooliganism. Three Svoboda deputies acknowledged that they behaved incorrectly and have indicated that they will not make use of their parliamentary immunity and are ready to answer for their behaviour before the courts.

 

 

Taras Zalusky, Executive Director

Ukrainian Canadian Congress

(613) 232-8822

taras.zalusky@ucc.ca

 

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