Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 9 May 2014, 8:00 PM Kyiv time

Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing

9 May 2014, 8:00 PM Kyiv time


1. Kremlin-backed “separatism” in Eastern Ukraine

The active phase of the anti-terrorist operation in Eastern Ukraine continues. In Mariupol, “separatists” stormed a police headquarters. In the resulting battles with law and security enforcement units, 20 of the “separatists” were killed, 4 injured, as of 4:15 PM Ukraine time.  One law enforcement officer was killed, 4 injured, according to the Minister of Internal Affairs. According to the Minister, the “separatists” have taken positions in residential buildings surrounding the headquarters. In Donetsk, armed “separatists” stormed and occupied a sanatorium that was housing troops of the internal army. The State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reports that on May 8, two men were detained at the border in Luhansk, who were acting on orders of the Russian State Security Service (FSB) to collect intelligence on organizations in Donetsk and Luhansk who could be used to create a “controlled ideological Russian position” in the eastern oblasts. An Orthodox priest was killed at a roadblock controlled by armed “separatists” in Kostantynivka, Donetsk oblast. The General Prosecutor stated that he was shot 8 times. According to the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, a District Election Commission in Luhansk was attacked twice on 6 May by masked, armed men who demanded that they cease preparations for the presidential elections and begin to prepare for the 11 May referendum. The head of the Commission was injured. The CVU reported that either heading the group or participating in their actions was a city council deputy from the Party of Regions, O. Tarasyuk. In Kharkiv, the “separatist” organization “Ugo-Vostok” stated that they will not be holding a “referendum” in Kharkiv on 11 May; in Donetsk and Luhansk, “separatists” are still planning to go ahead with “referenda.”

2. Assistant Sec. of State Nuland: “High confidence” that Russia is behind instability

Testifying at the House Foreign Relations Committee on 8 May, Assistant Secretary of State V. Nuland stated that the State Department has “high confidence that Russia’s hand is behind this instability. They are providing material support. They are providing funding. They are providing weapons. They are providing coordination, and there are Russian agents on the ground in Ukraine involved in this.” Nuland also stated that the US is prepared to “exact a higher cost if Russia takes further steps to destabilize Ukraine including disrupting the May 25 elections.”

3. Putin visits illegally occupied Crimea for 9 May Victory Day commemorations

Russian President V. Putin visited illegally occupied Crimea during 9 May Victory Day commemorations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stated that, “This provocation once again underlines that Russia is intentionally further escalating tensions in Ukrainian-Russian relations and does not want to regulate problem questions of bilateral relations through a diplomatic path.”

4. General Prosecutor opens investigation into falsification of vote in Parliament on January 16 “laws”

The General Prosecutor of Ukraine has opened an investigation of Members of Parliament V. Oliynyk, former head of the vote verification committee, and former deputy speaker I. Kaletnik for falsifying the result of the vote of the draconian anti-protest laws “passed” by Ukraine’s parliament by the former ruling coalition of the Party of Regions and the Communist Party on 16 January. The “adoption” of these laws was a catalyst for increased tensions and violence during the Euromaidan protests.

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