Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 5 May 2014, 7PM Kyiv time

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

5 May 2014, 7PM Kyiv time



1. Kremlin-backed “separatism” in Eastern Ukraine

The active phase of the anti-terrorist operation in Eastern Ukraine continues. A Ukrainian armed forces helicopter was shot down near Slovyansk. According to reports checkpoints around Sloviansk are under control of Ukrainian law enforcement units, and there is fighting in the city between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and armed “separatists.” According to a spokesperson for the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) there have been 6 deaths and over 100 injured in battles in and surrounding Slovyansk. The seven military inspectors from OSCE participating states and their Ukrainian officer hosts, who were taken hostage by armed “separatists” on 25 April, were released. As of the morning of 5 May Kyiv time, government buildings and/or police/security services headquarters remain under the control of “separatists” in Slovyansk, Donetsk, Kramatorsk, Konstantynivka, Horlivka, Makiivka, Khartsysk, and Mariupol in Donetsk oblast, and Luhansk and Atratsyt in Luhansk oblast.

2. Unrest in Odesa

On May 2 a Ukrainian unity march, composed by fan clubs of the Odesa and Kharkiv soccer teams, who were joined by regular citizens, were attacked by young people in masks with clubs. Clashes ensued, and the Professional Unions building was lit on fire. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 42 people were killed and 125 injured in the clashes and fire. According to reports most of those who died in the fire were pro-Russian demonstrators. The head of the Odesa oblast department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs was fired. The Security Service of Ukraine stated that “The provocations, which took place on 2 May in Odesa and caused clashes and mass casualties…happened due to external interference and were financed by former high-ranking officials in the Yanukovych government, who are hiding in the neighboring country – S. Abruzov [former acting PM] and O. Klymenko [former Revenue Minister].” The Minister of Internal Affairs, A. Avakov, stated on 4 May that the militia acted terribly, possibly criminally, in its inability to prevent mass casualties. On 4 May pro-Russian demonstrators stormed the city’s department of Internal Affairs, as a result of which several dozen people who were detained during the unrest on 2 May were released.

3. Threats against Crimean Tatar people by Crimean “authorities”

The illegal “authorities” in Russian-occupied and annexed Crimea are threatening the political institutions of the Crimean Tatar people. In a statement read to R. Chubarov, the head of the Mejlis (the supreme representative institution of the Crimean Tatar People) Crimean “Prosecutor” N. Poklonska stated that if the leaders of the Mejlis continue to engage in “extremist activities” the Mejlis will be disbanded. The “extremist activity” referred to is the organization of protests by Crimean Tatars on 3 May in response to the Crimean “authorities'” refusal to allow M. Dzhemiliev, leader of the Crimean Tatar people, to enter Crimea. Dzhemiliev stated that in the event of disbandment, the Mejlis would go underground.

4. Turchynov calls closed session of Parliament

Acting president and Parliament speaker O. Turchynov stated that on 6 May Parliament will meet in closed session to hear reports from the security ministries as to the situation in the country and measures being taken to stabilize the situation. Turchynov also stated that Parliament will take important decisions connected to the security of Ukraine, and requested that all members of Parliament attend the session.

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