Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 7 April 2014

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

7 April 2014

1. Unrest in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatist “demonstrations” took place in Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk. The Donetsk Oblast State Administration building was seized by the demonstrators; in Luhansk demonstrators seized the Security Service of Ukraine building – some 8 people were injured; in Kharkiv pro-Russian protestors attacked a Ukraine unity rally – some 10 people were injured – and seized the Kharkiv Oblast State Administration. In Donetsk, separatists declared an “independent Donetsk republic,” said that they will hold a “referendum” on the status of Donetsk, and asked Russia to send in “peacekeepers.’ The Donetsk General Prosecutor stated that those responsible for the seizure of buildings and declarations of separatism have been identified, and measures are being taken to detain them. Ukrainian authorities stated that the protests are the result of a plan of the Russian Federation to destabilize the situation in eastern Ukraine. According to reports many of those who seized government buildings are in fact citizens of the Russian Federation. The pro-Russian protests in Eastern Ukraine carry similar characteristics to actions in Crimea leading up to the Russian invasion of Crimea; the threat of Russian invasion into eastern Ukraine remains very real.

2. Turchynov addresses nation on separatist actions in Eastern Ukraine

Acting President of Ukraine O. Turchynov addressed the people of Ukraine on separatism in eastern Ukraine. Turchynov stated that “Yesterday the second wave of a special operation by the Russian Federation began, the goal of which is the destabilization of the situation in Ukraine, the overthrow of the Ukrainian [government], undermining the election and tearing apart our country.” Turchynov stated that the separatist actions are an attempt to institute the “Crimean scenario” in eastern Ukraine. The government of Ukraine has formed an Anti-crisis headquarters, and will carry out anti-terrorist actions against armed groups of separatists. The eastern border has been strengthened, and “taking into account the passivity of some of the local law enforcement bodies,” the units will be strengthened with personnel from other regions. First deputy premier V. Yarema, Minister of Internal Affairs A. Avakov and Security and Defense Council Secretary A. Parubiy and head of the State Security Service V. Nalyvaychenko have been sent to Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk, respectively, to regulate the situation. Turchynov also stated that on Tuesday Ukraine’s parliament will consider imposing criminal responsibility for separatism and other crimes against the state. Parliament will also consider a ban on political parties and organizations that support separatism and are “working for the aggressor, against their own state and people.”

3. Situation in Crimea – Ukrainian serviceman killed

On 6 April, in Novofedorivka, a Russian serviceman shot and killed a Ukrainian armed forces major, S. Karachevsky. 2068 military personnel and their families have been evacuated from Crimea.

4. State Security Service: Organizer of diversionary group detained

The State Security Service detained R. Bannykh, a Russian citizen registered at an address that is a building of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff Intelligence Service, when he tried to cross the border into Ukraine. According to the State Security Service, Bannykh “directly organized and coordinated from the Russian Federation the work of a diversionary group that was active in Ukraine.” The goal of this group was the “overthrow of the constitutional order and seizure of power, carrying out terrorist acts, the support of separatism, and destabilization of the situation in the eastern regions of [the] state.”

5. NATO denies access to Russian Mission

Effective April 8, all representatives of the Russian Mission to NATO, except the Ambassador, Deputy Head of Mission and two support staff, will be denied access to NATO Headquarters. “Should any other staff require access for official business, standard visiting rules will apply.” The denial of access is the result of NATO’s decision to cease all practical cooperation with Russia as a result of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.

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