Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 22 April 2014

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Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

22 April 2014

1. Kremlin-backed Unrest in Eastern Ukraine

Several state and police buildings remain under the control of Kremlin-backed “separatists” in Donetsk and Luhansk. As of 15:00 Kyiv time, in Artemivsk, Horlivka, Makiivka, Khartsysk and Mariupol, the city councils are occupied; in Slovyansk the city council, State Security (SBU) and police headquarters are occupied; in Kramatorsk the city council and SBU headquarters are occupied; in Yenakieve the city council, police and Prosecutors’ headquarters are occupied; in Donetsk the city council and Oblast council are occupied, and in Luhansk the SBU headquarters is occupied. The Ministry of Internal Affairs reports that in Kramatorsk, “separatists” have taken a police colonel hostage. The Ministry of Defense reports that a Ukrainian air force plane was shot upon and hit with bullets near Slovyansk but that the pilots were able to land the plane. There are reports that Vice News correspondent S. Ostrovsky has been taken hostage by “separatists” in Slovyansk. A bill has been registered in Ukraine’s parliament that would grant amnesty to those who free buildings and surrender their weapons within three days of the legislation being passed, in accordance with the Geneva declarations signed by Ukraine, the EU, Russia and the US. US Deputy Secretary of State V. Nuland criticized Russia for fuelling the turmoil in Ukraine, all the while pledging its support for de-escalation, stating “You cannot dress yourself like a firefighter and behave like an arsonist.”

2. Acting President Turchynov demands renewal of anti-terrorist action

Acting President O. Turchynov demanded that Ukraine law enforcement organs renew the anti-terrorist actions in eastern Ukraine. He stated that near Slovyansk two dead people were discovered on 22 April, whose bodies showed signs of torture. One of the dead was identified as V. Rybak, a deputy of the Horlivka city council. Turchynov stated that “Terrorists, which have in fact taken the entire Donetsk region hostage, have crossed the line, beginning to torture and kill patriots of Ukraine. They have blatantly challenged not only our country, but the entire world community, when they demonstrably disregarded the decisions taken at Geneva.”

3. US announces Support Package for Ukraine

US Vice President J. Biden is in Ukraine today and met with acting President O. Turchynov and PM A. Yatseniuk. The US announced a support package for Ukraine, in addition to the $1 billion loan guarantee and support for the IMF loan program. The new package provides $50 million “to help Ukraine pursue political and economic reforms.” $11.4 million is earmarked to support the integrity of the May 25 elections. In energy security, a US interagency team arrived in Kyiv to “help Ukraine secure reverse flows of natural gas” from Europe, and US technical experts will work with the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development to “help Ukraine develop a public-private investment initiative to increase conventional gas production from existing fields to boost domestic energy supplies,” and Dept of Energy and USAID specialists will provide advice on maximising energy efficiency. In terms rule of law and anti-corruption, in addition to commitments already made, US Attorney General Holder will co-host an international conference on April 29-30 in London to “help identify, trace and recover proceeds of corruption stolen by the former (Yanukovych) regime.” In addition to the $50 million package, the US announced $8 million in non-lethal military assistance to “allow the Ukrainian armed forces and State Border Service to fulfill their core security missions,” including supplying explosive disposal equipment, handheld radios, engineering and communications equipment, vehicles, and “non-lethal individual tactical gear.” The US also stated that it will “continue to actively review requests for additional support as Ukraine’s government further modernizes its armed forces and deals with evolving threats.”

4. Razumkov Centre Public Opinion Poll: Ukrainians support unitary state; association with EU

The Razumkov Centre, together with the sociological group “Rating” conducted a public opinion poll from 28 March to 2 April. 3011 respondents were polled. The poll was based on the question: “If in the next week a referendum took place on the problems of development of Ukraine, how would you vote on the following questions? To the question “What territorial and political form of Ukraine do you support?” 69.3% answered “Ukraine should be a unitary state, in which decentralization of power should take place and local government organs should receive more powers in the economic, social and humanitarian spheres,” while 16.7% said “Ukraine should become a federated state.” To the question”…Do you support the following propositions?” 60.4% support “signing the agreement on political association and free trade zone with the EU,” while 25.4% are opposed. “The joining of Ukraine to the Russian Federation as a part of the Russian Federation,” 7.5% support, while 84.8% are opposed. “Your oblast leaving Ukraine and joining Russia,” 8.5% support, while 85.3% are opposed.

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