Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 28 March 2014

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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

28 March 2014

1. Situation in Crimea

The Kherson Oblast State Administration (directly north of Crimea) reports that the number of cars leaving Crimea has tripled from about 2000 a day to about 6000. MP Mustafa Dzemiliev, one of the leaders of the Crimean Tatar people, speaking at the Council of Europe, stated that Crimean Tatars are leaving Crimea, in fear of repression. He also stated that the Crimean Tatar people will hold a referendum regarding the future of Crimea. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance issued a statement on the situation in Crimea stating “its grave concern at serious allegations of intimidation and discrimination against Ukrainian speakers and Tatars in the Crimean region…while not accepting the legitimacy of the Russian Federation takeover of that region, ECRI calls on the Russian Federation to ensure the protection of Ukrainian speakers and Tatars in the Crimea.”

2. Threat of Russian Invasion of Mainland Ukraine increased

According to intelligence reports the Russian troop and materiel movements on the eastern and northern borders of Ukraine points to an increased threat of Russian invasion of mainland Ukraine. Tens of thousands of Russian troops are massed close to the northern and eastern borders. President Obama stated that the moves may simply be an attempt to intimidate Ukraine, but that Russia may also have “other plans.”

3. US bans arms sales to Russia

State Department officials stated that the US imposed a ban on the issuance of licenses for the export of defense items and defense services, which follows the ban by the US Commerce Department on the export to Russia of dual use materials – that could be used for military applications.

4. Russia’s Security Council denounces Kharkiv Agreement

The Security Council of the Russian Federation, at the initiative of President Putin, stated that they will no longer honor the Kharkiv Agreement, and several other treaties by which the Russian Black Sea Fleet is allowed on the territory of Ukraine and pays rents to the government of Ukraine for the base in Sevastopol.

5. Parliament passes financial legislation

With 246 votes, Parliament passed the “Law on the Prevention of a Financial Catastrophe and Creation of Conditions for Economic Growth in Ukraine,” which will raise government revenues by an estimated 44 billion UAH (approx. $4 billion). The legislation is part of the package of reforms that Ukraine will need to undertake to obtain financing from the IMF.

6. Parliament passes law on Access to Information

Parliament passed laws that significantly ease restrictions on access to information, and includes changes to 53 laws that will allow for wider access by the public and media to government information. The legislation was supported by 235 MPs.

7. Parliament passes legislation on mobilization

Parliament passed a law “On changes to some Ukrainian legislation to ensure mobilization,” which provides for regulations on mobilizing population into the armed forces, National Guard and other reserve forces, including allowing citizens between the ages of 40 and 55 to sign up.

8. Parliament establishes Commission on the death of Oleksandr Muzychko

Parliament established an Investigative Commission to investigate the circumstances around the death of Right Sector member Oleksandr Muzychko (Sashko Biliy). The head of the Commission will be MP Y. Derevyanko, and it will consist of proportional representation of parliamentary factions and MP groups. 232 MPs voted for the establishment of the Commission.

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