Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 15 April 2014

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

15 April 2014


1. Kremlin-backed Unrest in Eastern Ukraine

Government buildings and law enforcement headquarters in several eastern Ukrainian cities continue to be occupied by Kremlin-backed “separatists,” who violently seized the buildings. On Tuesday morning, acting president O. Turchynov announced that the anti-terrorist operation in northern Donetsk oblast began. Turchynov stated that the “goal of these actions is to protect the citizens of Ukraine, stop terror, criminal activity and attempts to tear our country to pieces.” First Deputy PM V. Yarema stated that personnel of the Russian 45th Airborne regiment have been identified as being present in Slovyansk and Kramatorsk. The airport in Kramatorsk, Donetsk oblast, has reportedly been freed of “separatists” who previously seized the airport. According to several reports, Ukrainian military units have moved into Slovyansk. The 1St Reserve Battalion of the National Guard has been deployed to the eastern oblasts. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) stated that they have identified the leader of the diversionary group in eastern Ukraine that is responsible for controlling the “separatists” who have seized government buildings and police headquarters. According to the SBU the man is a citizen of the Russian Federation and an officer of the Intelligence Service of the General Staff of the armed forces of the Russian Federation. The Ministry of Internal Affairs reports that special units responsible for civil order in eastern oblasts in Ukraine have been formed in Dnipropetrovs’k, Kharkiv, Poltava, Donetsk, Mykolaiv, Kherson, and Luhansk oblasts. The Border Service of Ukraine reports that it detained a group of 4 couriers who were bringing 1.8 million UAH into mainland Ukraine from occupied Crimea to pay for “anti-Ukrainian demonstrations.”

2. Ukraine Parliament declares Crimea “occupied territory”

Ukraine’s Parliament passed legislation “On the protection of rights and freedoms of citizens and the legislative regime on temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine.” The legislation states that all citizens of Ukraine can enter mainland Ukraine from Crimea on Ukrainian documents, guarantees social payments and pensions to citizens of Ukraine in Crimea. The legislation places responsibility for the “violations of the rights and freedoms of citizens on temporarily occupied territory on the Russian Federation, as an occupying state, according to the norms and principles of international law.” Parliament will meet in camera on Wednesday to hear reports from the security ministries.

3. US, Ukraine sign loan guarantee; US working with Ukraine on Security

The US and Ukraine have signed a loan guarantee that unlocks $1 billion in funding to Ukraine to “bolster its ability to provide critical services as it implements necessary reforms, while protecting vulnerable Ukrainians from the impact of much-needed economic adjustments.” Treasury Department and USAID technical advisors are currently working with the National Bank of Ukraine, Ministry of Finance and Deposit Guarantee Fund. The State Department stated that the US is “currently working with Ukraine to determine its requirements across the security sector. Based on those requirements we will review options for potential additional security assistance.”

4. Obama-Putin phone call on Ukraine

In a phone call initiated at Moscow’s request, President Obama “urged President Putin to use his influence with these armed pro-Russian groups to convince them to depart the buildings they have seized…The President noted Russia’s growing political and economic isolation as a result of its actions in Ukraine and made clear that the costs Russia has incurred will increase if those actions persist.” In a stunning display of cynicism, Putin called on Obama “to use the American side’s capabilities to prevent the use of force and bloodshed.”

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