Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 10 April 2014

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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

10 April 2014

1. Situation in Eastern Ukraine

The Security Service administration building in Luhansk continues to be occupied by “separatist” groups. According to reports there are some 500 people in the building and several hundred surrounding it. In Donetsk, the Oblast State Administration building is also occupied by “separatist” groups. Deputy head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs S. Yarovyi stated that the Ministry is prepared to negotiate with the groups who have seized the buildings, and that the position of the Ministry remains unchanged – that citizens have the right to peaceful assembly, without weapons. Acting President O. Turchynov stated that he is ready to sign a decree guaranteeing amnesty for those who seized the buildings in Donetsk and Luhansk in the event that they free the building and turn in their weapons. According to the Kharkiv Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs 14 of the 65 people detained for the seizure of the Kharkiv State Administration building have previous criminal records – mostly for robbery and assault. Ukraine’s Human Rights Ombudsman stated that there have been no reports of infringements of rights of Russian-speakers in Luhansk, Kharkiv and Donetsk oblasts, which was also the case in Crimea before the Russian invasion, supposedly under the pretext of defending the rights of the Russian-speaking population.

2. Occupation of Crimea

2,716 personnel of the Ukrainian armed forces from Crimea and their families have been evacuated from Crimea. In the last 24 hours, 223 personnel and their families have been evacuated. They have been redeployed to garrisons in Kyiv, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia and Odessa oblasts. The Ministry of Defense reports that agreement has been reached to return three more ships to the Ukrainian navy. There are 4 places in Crimea where residents can submit an application to keep their Ukrainian citizenship – Sevastopol, Simferopol, Bakhchysaray and Bilohorsk. According to media reports, every day there are very long lines outside these offices – in Simferopol, for example, between 250-300 people line up daily, despite the fact that the office can process only about 120 applications each day. There are as yet no accurate estimates about how many Crimeans are choosing to refuse Russian citizenship and keep their Ukrainian citizenship.

3. PACE strips voting rights of Russian Delegation

According to the Resolution “Reconsideration on substantive grounds of the previously ratified credentials of the Russian delegation”, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council (PACE) of Europe suspended the voting rights of the Russian delegation in response to the “military occupation of Ukrainian territory, threat of military force, recognition of the illegal so-called referendum and annexation of Crimea, [which] constitute, beyond any doubt, a grave violation of international law… The Assembly believes that by violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, Russia has created a threat to stability and peace in Europe. The annexation of Crimea and the steps leading to it, have set a pattern which is now being followed by other parts of Ukraine, as demonstrated by the developments in Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lugansk since the beginning of the week.” The PACE, in response, resolved to suspend the following rights of the Russian delegation a) voting rights; b) right to be represented in the Bureau of the Assembly, Presidential Committee, and Standing Committee; c) right to participate in election observer missions.  The vote was 145 in favor, 21 against, and 22 abstentions.

4. NATO: 40,000 Russian troops in vicinity of Ukraine border

Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) of NATO released satellite imagery showing that approximately 35,000-40,000 Russian troops are amassed near the Ukraine border. Brigadier G. Deaken, Director of the Comprehensive Crisis Operations and Management Centre at SHAPE stated that “The Russians have an array of capabilities, including aircraft, special forces, tanks…and these could move in a matter of hours…These forces have a destabilizing effect and present serious implications for the security and stability of the region.”

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