Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 20 March 2014

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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

20 March 2014

 

1. Situation in Crimea

Russian military continue to blockade Ukrainian armed forces bases and headquarters. According to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine there was an attempt to storm the army base near the Balbek airport, but the attempt was repulsed. The Ministry of Defense also reported that the corvette Ternopil had grenades thrown at it. The ultimatum issued yesterday by acting President Turchynov to release all hostages, was honored. The commander of the Navy in Crimea S. Hayduk and all civilian hostages held by Russian forces and Crimean ‘self-defence’ forces were released. The Ministry of Defense announced that it has not decided yet whether to relocate Ukrainian army units from Crimea to the mainland of Ukraine.

2. State Duma “ratifies” “Treaty”

The State Duma of the Russian Federation “ratified” the illegal “treaty” signed between President Putin and the illegal, self-appointed authorities of Crimea, which annexes Crimea to Russia. The upper legislative house of the Russian Federation, the Federation Council, is expected to “ratify” this “treaty” tomorrow. 

3. Parliament passes resolution “Guaranteeing the rights of the Crimean Tatar people”

Ukraine’s parliament passed a resolution guaranteeing the rights of the Crimean Tatar people, by which Ukraine “guarantees the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious rights of the Crimean Tatar people as an indigenous people of Ukraine, and all national minorities of Ukraine,” recognized the Mejlis, guarantees that relevant laws be drafted in consultation with the Mejlis, and ordered the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to prepare for Ukraine signing the UN Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.

4. Parliament passes “Declaration on the battle to free Ukraine”

Ukraine’s parliament passed a resolution in which they declare “in the name of the people of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada declares that Crimea was, is and will be a part of Ukraine. The Ukrainian people will never, under any circumstances cease their fight for the liberation of Crimea from occupation, no matter how difficult and long it may be.”

5. US announces more sanctions against Russia

US President Obama announced more sanctions against 20 Russian officials and associates of President Putin. Obama also signed an Executive Order that gives the US authority to impose sanctions on key sectors of the Russian economy. According to reports, the EO gives the Department of the Treasury the authority to “target individuals and institutions in Russia’s financial services, energy, metals and mining, defense and engineering.”

6. Security Service: “Diversionary” group in Luhansk identified

The Security Service of Ukraine reports that they have detained three persons suspected of organizing “diversionary groups” in Luhansk oblast. According to the Security Service, 5 apartments have been searched in which detailed instructions and orders on the destabilization of the situation in the country have been found, including on seizure of state buildings, and provocations to prevent the presidential elections in May. Weapons, money and lists of participants were also found. A criminal case has been opened, on the “formation of a terrorist group.”

7. European Commission proposes additional aid to Ukraine

The European Commission has proposed an addition 1 billion Euros in medium-term loans to Ukraine, conditional on a successful completion of negotiations over financing between the government of Ukraine and the IMF.

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