Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 9 April 2014

1. Situation in Eastern Ukraine

In Donetsk, negotiations are under way between the ‘separatist’ groups that continue to occupy the Donetsk State Administration building. The governor of Donetsk, S. Taruta, stated that all possible measures will be taken to ensure that the crisis is solved in a peaceful manner without casualties. About 200 people are currently surrounding the Luhansk department of the State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU); according to the SBU 56 people without weapons left the building during the night, but the building is still occupied. Negotiations are under way to free the building.  According to reports there are no longer protests in front of the Kharkiv State Administration, which was freed yesterday. The Minister of Internal Affairs, A. Avakov, stated that he believes that “the resolution to the crisis will be found in the next 48 hours…The anti-terrorist operation in all three oblasts [Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk] is in force and at any moment we can carry out planned actions.”

2. State Security Service: anti-diversionary operations

The State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reports that they have detained a citizen of the Russian Federation who was “carrying out the orders of special services to destabilize the situation in the southern oblasts of Ukraine.” According to the SBU the citizen met with a series of pro-Russian groups in Kherson, then took part in the clashes in Mykolaiv on 7 April. She was also supposed to report on the state of readiness of the Border Services of Ukraine at the border between mainland Ukraine and Crimea. The SBU detained a group – one citizen of the Russian Federation and three citizens of Ukraine – that was trying to pass on server discs that had been stolen from an SBU department in eastern Ukraine to Russian special services. According to the SBU they also discovered and stopped a network that was gathering information for the Intelligence Department of the Russian Black Sea Fleet as to the battle readiness of Ukrainian armed forces in Kherson oblast. The SBU reported that “according to experts, the information that was being gathered and passed to a foreign power contains state secrets, and its disclosure hinders the defensive capabilities” of Ukraine. The organizer of this network was detained and a criminal investigation for treason has been opened.

3. Putin: Ukraine should pay for gas up front

At a meeting with the Russian Cabinet, President Putin stated that Ukraine should pay for gas deliveries before they receive Russian gas and that Gazprom should prepare a plan for such an arrangement, and that negotiations with “Ukrainian partners” should begin.  Last week Russia unilaterally raised gas prices to Ukraine on two separate occasions.  Ukraine  Minister of Energy Y. Prodan stated that Ukraine will stop buying Russian gas until the price dispute is resolved through negotiations.

4. Assistant Secretary of State: Russia supporting provocations in Eastern Ukraine

Assistant US Secretary of State V. Nuland stated that “this week’s violent occupation of government buildings in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol deepen our concern. Far from a spontaneous set of events these incidents bear all the hallmarks of an orchestrated campaign of incitement, separatism and sabotage of the Ukrainian state, aided and abetted by the Russian security services.” Nuland also stated that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has agreed to meet in the next ten days with Ukraine, US Secretary of State Kerry and the EU to discuss de-escalation. Nuland stated that “We do not have high expectations, but it is important to keep the door open to a diplomatic solution.”

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