Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 31 March 2014

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

31 March 2014

1. Situation in Crimea

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, the number of Russian troops in Crimea continues to increase. The Ministry reports that in Armyansk and Krasnoperekopsk, Russian military personnel are being given private apartments. The Ministry also reports that the Migration Service of the Russian Federation confiscated Ukrainian passport blanks from Crimean departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, and that these passport blanks can be used by the Russian Security Service “for provocations in southern and eastern Ukraine leading up to the presidential elections on 25 May.” The Qurultay of the Crimean Tatar People met on Saturday, and passed a resolution “On Implementation of right to Self Determination by Crimean Tatar People in their Historical Territory – Crimea.” 212 delegates voted for, 1 against and 4 abstained. The resolution announces “the beginning of the political and legal procedures to establish (restore) the national-territorial autonomy of the Crimean Tatar people in their historical territory – Crimea.”

2. Kerry and Lavrov met to discuss Crisis

US Secretary of State J. Kerry and Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister S. Lavrov met to discuss the crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Crimea. No concrete decisions were taken, but Secretary Kerry stated that the US “is consulting with Ukraine at every step of this process, and will not accept a path forward where the legitimate Government of Ukraine is not at the table. This principle is clear: No decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine.” When asked about the Russian proposal for a federated system in Ukraine Kerry stated that, “It’s not up to us to make any decision or any agreement regarding federalization. We talked about it. But it’s up to Ukrainians, and Ukrainians will decide their future for themselves, by themselves, with respect to what kind of definitions work for them. And it will have to be an input, obviously, of what the Russian view is. I think it’s important to take that into account because Russia obviously has long ties and serious interests. But in the end, Ukrainians are going to have to make that decision.”

3. Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) continues fight against provocations

The Security Service of Ukraine reported that on 30 March they apprehended a captain of the Transdnistria Committee for State Security, who the SBU claims was attempting to send arms supplies from Transdnistria to Ukraine in order to “destabilize the sociopolitical situation in the country and attempt to ruin the presidential election.” On 31 March, the SBU apprehended a Russian citizen, one of the leaders of the Eurasian Union of Youth of Russia, who according to the SBU was planning a group of some 200 people to storm the Parliament and Cabinet of Ministers. The SBU claims that the man had informed certain Russian TV channels of his planned provocation in order that they could broadcast it.

4. 25 May Presidential Elections

In a political deal struck between P. Poroshenko and UDAR leader V. Klitchko, Klitchko announced that he will not be running for president and will instead run for mayor of Kyiv, while Poroshenko will run for the presidency. The two leaders agreed to support one another’s candidacies. The Party of Regions supported the candidacy of former Kharkiv governor M. Dobkin. The Batkivshchyna party supported leader Y. Tymoshenko as its candidate. The deadline for submitting registration papers to the Central Election Commission was 30 March. The CEC has until 4 April to review all submissions and publish a final list of candidates.

5. NATO ministers to meet to discuss Ukraine

The Foreign Ministers of NATO members will meet tomorrow. The first item on the agenda will be the crisis in Ukraine and the ministers “will focus on increasing support for Ukraine and on the consequences of Russia’s illegal military actions.”

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