Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 30 April 2014

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

30 April 2014

1. Kremlin-backed “separatism” in Eastern Ukraine

The situation in several cities in eastern Ukraine remains very tense. Kremlin-backed “separatists” continue to occupy several government buildings and police headquarters in several cities in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. 3 roadblocks on roads leading into Slavyansk were cleared by Ukrainian law enforcement units as part of the anti-terrorist operation. The city hall in Alchevsk, Luhansk oblast, has reportedly been seized by approximately 30 “separatists.” The Ministry of Internal Affairs reports that two organizers of mass unrest in Kharkiv oblast were detained and that the two men “coordinated their actions outside of Ukraine, after which they organized mass unrest and offenses.” In Slovaynsk, Kremlin-backed “separatists” continue to hold hostage a group of seven German-led unarmed military inspectors from OSCE-participating states, together with five Ukrainian armed forces officers, which were taken hostage on Friday. According to reports a member of a District Election Commission for the 25 May presidential election in Krasnoarmiysk, Donetsk oblast, has been kidnapped. Acting President Turchynov announced that the State Security Service (SBU), and Ministry of Internal Affairs will be forming new law enforcement units. The SBU opened a hotline for interested persons with experience in law enforcement and military service.

2. Turchynov meets with Oblast governors

Acting President O. Turchynov met with the heads of Oblast State Administrations (“oblast governors”) in Kyiv on 30 April. Turchynov stated that in addition to Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, there are attempts to destabilize the situation in Kharkiv, Odesa, Dnipropetrovs’k, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson and Mykolaiv oblasts. The threat of destabilization by diversionary groups is especially high in Kharkiv and Odesa oblasts.

3. Ukraine Forum on Asset Recovery, London – 29-30 April

The Ukraine Forum on Asset Recovery, jointly organized by the governments of the United Kingdom and the United States in support of the efforts of the government of Ukraine in their goal of recovering assets that were plundered from Ukraine is being held in London. The meetings are being held in order to “bring together representatives of key financial centres and international organizations to bolster collective action, foster direct exchange between practitioners and plan practical steps towards this goal.”

4. Assassination attempt of Kharkiv Mayor

The deputy prosecutor of Kharkiv oblast announced that the investigation into Monday’s assassination attempt of Kharkiv mayor H. Kernes is focused on four possible motives – the mayor’s professional activities; commercial activities; a possible personal conflict; and the mayor’s opposition to “separatists.” Kernes underwent an operation on his spine; according to doctors his condition is stable but difficult.

5. Ukraine Presidential Administration on 25 May Presidential elections

Acting head of the Presidential Administration S. Pashynsky stated that in the preparation for the 25 May presidential elections, only 5 of 213 District Election Commissions, responsible for the administration of the electoral process, are not functioning – 3 in Donetsk, 1 in Luhansk t, and 1 in Ivano-Frankivsk oblasts. Pashynsky also stated that acting president Turchynov has asked that a law be developed which would simplify the procedure for residents of the illegally annexed territory of Crimea to be able to vote.

6. UN Security Council meets on Ukraine

At a meeting of the UN Security Council UK Ambassador Grant stated that “it is Russia that has taken further dangerous steps aimed at fomenting instability in Ukraine: they have directed paramilitary actions in Slovyansk, Kramatorsk, Luhansk and other towns in eastern Ukraine; Russian military jets and helicopters have made incursions into Ukrainian airspace; Russian armed forces have held further military exercises on Ukraine’s border. These are all clear attempts to escalate tensions within Ukraine.” US Ambassador Power stated that “What we have not seen is a single positive step by Russia to fulfill its Geneva commitments. Instead, Russian officials have refused to publicly call on the separatists to give up their weapons and relinquish their illegal control of Ukrainian government buildings. In fact, Russia continues to fund, to coordinate, and to fuel the heavily-armed separatist movement.”

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