Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 16 April 2014

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

16 April 2014

1. Kremlin-backed Unrest in Eastern Ukraine

State buildings and police headquarters in several cities in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, seized in the last several days by Kremlin-backed “separatists,” remain under their control. In Slovyansk and Yenakieyeve the City Council, State Security (SBU) building, and the police headquarters are occupied; in Kramatorsk the SBU and City Council are occupied; in Makiyvika, Mariupol, Horlivka, Kharchyzk, and Artemivsk, the City Council is occupied; in Donetsk the Oblast Administration is occupied and the City Council was seized on Wednesday morning; in Luhansk the SBU building is occupied. Six armored personnel carriers of Ukraine’s armed forces were reportedly seized by “separatists” in Kramatorsk. Ukraine security forces have set up roadblocks on highways between Donetsk and Kharkiv oblasts. The SBU released taped phone calls which they claim are discussions among Russian military intelligence personnel – specifically, the 45thregiment of special forces – discussing the operations of seizures of state buildings. Ukraine’s Parliament held an in camera session and representatives of the Security Ministries reported to Parliament. Parliament adopted a resolution supporting the actions of the Security Ministries and the anti-terrorist operation currently under way. Minister of Defense M. Koval has been dispatched to Kramatorsk.

2. Four-Party Talks on Situation in Ukraine to begin tomorrow

Four-Party Talks – Ukraine, Russia, European Union, USA – are set to begin tomorrow in Geneva on the situation in Ukraine and efforts to de-escalate the crisis. Ukraine’s Parliament passed a resolution in which it outlined Ukraine’s position in the negotiations: De-escalation of the situation; ceasing the threat of Russian invasion into mainland Ukraine; redeployment of Russian armed forces away from the border of Ukraine, and from Ukrainian territory in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea; Cessation of aggressive actions and sabotage by Russia, which threaten the territorial integrity of Ukraine and are intended to provoke separatist sentiment; Renewal of Ukraine’s territorial integrity within international recognized borders, guarantee of Ukrainian sovereignty in its entire territory, including the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

3. German Utility Company starts sending natural gas to Ukraine

German company RWE began sending natural gas to Ukraine through reverse-flow deliveries from Germany via Poland. The deliveries can reportedly be ramped up to provide approximately one-fifth of Ukraine’s gas consumption. About one-third of the gas being delivered originally comes from Russia; the rest is from Norway, the UK, the Netherlands and Germany.

4. National Council of Broadcasting presents evidence of Russian disinformation

At the Kyiv District Administrative Court, the National Council of Broadcasting of Ukraine presented 40 pages of quotes showing evidence of Russian broadcasters’ disinformation campaign regarding the current crisis in Ukrainian-Russian relations. The Council has brought a case against the provider “Torsat,” which broadcasts four Russian channels in Ukraine, which have been temporarily banned from broadcasting by court order. The deputy head of the Council stated that most of the evidence presented shows broadcasting of materials that “incite national hatred, violation of territorial integrity, steps to distort available information, manipulation of citizens’ consciousness.” Speaking at the European Parliament in Brussels, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy S. Fule stated that “…Russian propaganda: it is more aggressive than at the time of the Cold War and it is also more dangerous because it is not contained anymore by the Iron Curtain of the Cold War.”

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