Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 26 March 2014

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

26 March 2014


1. Situation in Crimea

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported that negotiations over the evacuation of Ukrainian armed forces and materiel are almost completed, and that a plan for evacuation of Ukraine’s armed forces will be ready tonight. On 9 May, article 280 of Russian criminal code will come into effect in Crimea – according to this article, public calls or actions that violate territorial integrity of the Russian Federation can be punishable by up to 5 years in jail. This article can be used as a pretext to persecute those in Crimea who speak out or act against the Russian invasion and occupation.

2. New EU visa regulations for Crimean residents

The European Union will only issue Schengen zone visas to residents of Crimea who apply at consulates in Ukraine. European consulates in the Russian Federation will not be permitted to issue such visas to residents of Crimea.

3. Ukraine-Russia border

The Ukraine Border Service reports an increase in provocations on the Ukraine-Russia border by Russian military. They stated in the last day there have been over 40 flyovers of Ukrainian territory by Russian camera drones, and 11 violations of Ukrainian airspace in Crimea. According to reports there have also been troop movements on the Northern border, and more Russian armed forces are being deployed close to the border, particularly in Bryansk oblast.

4. New Presidential election public opinion poll released

A new poll, conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology and Razumkov Centre was released. P. Poroshenko leads in the presidential race (24.9%), followed by V. Klitchko (8.9), Y. Tymoshenko (8.2) and S. Tihipko (7.3). 65.8% of respondents believe that there should be early parliamentary elections. In terms of party support, 15% support Batkivshchyna; 14.8% Solidarnist (led by Poroshenko); 11.3% UDAR; 10.5% Party of Regions; 4.9% Communist Party.

5. EU-US Summit

The EU and US held a summit in Brussels, at which President Obama stated that if Russia stays on its current course, “the consequences for its economy will continue to grow.” He also stated that Russia stands alone, and that all the members of both the EU and NATO are united against Russia’s actions. The President of the European Council H. Van Rompuy stated that the illegal annexation of Crimea is a “disgrace in the 21st century.”

6. Ukraine PM meets with EU officials

Ukraine’s PM A. Yatseniuk met with officials from the European Commission in Kyiv to discuss implementation of the Association Agreement. Yatseniuk signed a regulatory package to bring Ukrainian legislation in line with the Association Agreement, which will be voted on by Ukraine’s parliament. EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy S. Fule stated that the EU is ready to expedite the process to relax visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens.

7. Court orders blackout of Russian TV channels

The Kyiv District Administrative court issued an order to suspend broadcasting the Russian channels RTR, 1st channel, Rossiya-24 and NTV, as it considers a case brought by the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting, as to whether these channels are broadcasting according to Ukrainian legislation, and whether there are instances in their broadcast of incitement of ethnic hatred, war or separatism.

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