Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 27 March 2014

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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

27 March 2014

 

1. Situation in Crimea

According to the Migration Service of the Russian Federation, all people in Crimea who do not have local registration must leave Crimea by April 19 and then re-enter, otherwise they will be considered to be in Crimea illegally. According to reports in the Catholic News Service, many Catholics are leaving Crimea because they face persecution. A priest from Kerch estimated that two thirds of his parishioners have left Crimea. He stated that “the situation remains very serious and we don’t know what will happen – the new government here is portraying us all as nationalists and extremists.” 4 Ukrainian army officers have been released from detention by Russian forces. According to reports several officers are still being held by Russian occupation forces. The Qurultay National Congress, the supreme representative and plenipotentiary body of the Crimean Tatar people, will hold an extraordinary meeting on 29 March in Bakhchysaray. On 31 March peoples’ deputy M. Dzhemilev, one of the leaders of the Crimean Tatar people, will address the UN Security Council on Crimea.

2. UN General Assembly passes resolution on Ukraine

The General Assembly of the UN passed a resolution on the situation in Ukraine. The resolution “affirms commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.” It also calls on States “to desist and refrain from actions aimed at the partial or total disruption” of the country’s national unity and calls for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. The resolution also states that the 16 March “referendum” has “no validity, (and) cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or of the City of Sevastopol.” 100 countries supported the resolution, 11 voted against (Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Sudan, Syria Zimbabwe, Venezuela). 58 countries abstained, including China.

3. Parliament passes changes to budget

Ukraine’s parliament passed changes to the 2014 budget, in which state revenues decrease by 22 billion UAH (approx. $2 billion) and spending decreases by 25 billion UAH. The state deficit for 2014 is set at 78 billion UAH. Parliament is also considering a package of legislation – Law on the Prevention of a Financial Catastrophe and Creation of Conditions for Economic Growth in Ukraine – that would allow for Ukraine to obtain financing from the IMF. The first attempt to pass the legislation failed and negotiations between lawmakers are ongoing.

4. House Armed Services Committee alarmed by Russian actions on border

Members of the US House Armed Services Committee sent a letter to President Obama, in which they stated that based on “new information in the committee’s possession” they are “gravely concerned about the aggressive posture of Russian forces along the eastern border of Ukraine.”  The letter points to reports of “tens of thousands of Russian troops massed near the eastern border…the presence of Russian Spetsnaz special forces in eastern Ukraine fomenting civil unrest and chaos.” The Committee members called on the president to convene an emergency session of the North Atlantic Council. They also sent a separate, classified letter.

5. Tymoshenko declares candidacy for president

Former PM Y. Tymoshenko has declared her intention to run for president in the 25 May elections. It is expected that the Batkivshchyna party will support her candidacy at the party’s convention on 29 March.

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