Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 11 April 2014

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

11 April 2014

1. Situation in Eastern Ukraine

The Security Service of Ukraine administrative building in Luhansk continues to be occupied by “separatist” groups. There are some 1000 people outside the building. In Donetsk, the Oblast State Administration is also occupied by “separatist” groups. There are up to 2000 people either in the building, or in its surrounding territory, which has been surrounded by barbed wire by the building’s occupiers. The head of the Kharkiv State Administration stated that since the operation freeing the State Administration building, “separatist” meetings in Kharkiv are “small in number, [we are] observing individual groups of people, who are not clearly organized.”

Ukrainian PM A. Yatseniuk was in Donetsk today at a meeting with the heads of oblast state administrations, mayors, security officials, and representatives of industry from five eastern oblasts. He called for the groups to surrender their weapons and for a peaceful solution to the crisis. He also guaranteed that nobody will infringe on peoples’ rights to speak whichever language they choose, including Russian.  Acting President O. Turchynov stated that the government is in the process of dialogue with the regions of the country on the question of increasing the powers of regional authorities, but that federalization is not an option being discussed.

2. Occupation of Crimea

The evacuation of Ukrainian military personnel and materiel from Crimea continues. The Minister of Defense stated that the entire Ukrainian Black Sea Fleet will be returned to mainland Ukraine. According to reports over 5000 Ukrainian citizens have left Crimea as refugees, and this number is expected to grow in the coming days, as the Russian occupying forces require residents to refuse Russian citizenship by April 18. According to reports from several sources, the head of the only Ukrainian-language high school in Simferopol, N. Rudenko, was forced to resign at a meeting attended by several dozen people who claimed to be parents of the children attending the school as well as members of the Crimean “self-defense” forces.

3. New poll shows only minority support for separatism in Ukraine

A representative poll conducted by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation from 16 to 30 March shows that the idea of separatism in Ukraine has only minority support. “The idea of separation of your oblast (region) from Ukraine and its unification with another state” has 18.2% support in the Donbas (Donetsk, Luhansk oblasts), 7.3% support in East Ukraine (Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv oblasts) and 6.5% support in South Ukraine (Mykolaiv, Odesa, Kherson oblasts). “The idea of the establishment of an independent state on the basis of southern-eastern oblasts of Ukraine” has 18.2% support in the Donbas, 9.8% support in East Ukraine, and 10.0% support in South Ukraine.

4. US Mission to OSCE: Russia supporting “carefully orchestrated plan” of destabilization

The United States Mission to the OSCE stated that Russia is “ supporting a carefully orchestrated campaign of destabilization of eastern Ukraine,” and that this week’s events in east Ukrainian cities “were not spontaneous expressions of local discontent…there is strong evidence that some of the armed separatists that took over government buildings in these areas were paid to do so, and were not local residents…Russia is clearly attempting to create a pretext for further intervention in Ukraine.” The US Mission called on Russia to reverse the illegal “annexation” of Crimea; draw down the forces on the border; cease destabilizing Ukraine; return Russian forces in Crimea to their pre-crisis positions and numbers “in accordance with existing bilateral agreements” between Ukraine and Russia.

5. State Security Service: diversionary agent detained

The State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reports that a Russian citizen acting on orders of Russian special services was detained trying to enter Ukraine through the Chernihiv border. According to the SBU, the detained man had in his possession a phone number to a representative of the Russian FSB, and that during interrogation he admitted that his assignment was to continue to carry out diversionary actions in southern Ukraine.

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