Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing – 20 May 2014, 5PM Kyiv time

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1. Kremlin-backed “separatism” in Eastern Ukraine

The active phase of the anti-terrorism operation in Donetsk and Luhansk continues. Donetsk businessman Rinat Akhmetov called a “warning” strike at noon at his companies to protest against the violence caused by armed “separatists” of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “Peoples’ Republics.” The strike was also joined by cars that proceeded to Donbas Arena, the soccer stadium in Donetsk. There are reports that some 30 people attacked and vandalized cars that were supporting the strike. “Separatists” who represent the so-called Donetsk “Peoples’ Republic” stated that they will begin “nationalizing” Akhmetov’s companies for his refusal to pay taxes to the “Republic.” Armed “separatists” reportedly blocked one of the roads leading into Donetsk and are turning back all buses that are heading into Donetsk from the Horlivka and Yenakieve roads. Armed “separatists” attacked a precinct election commission in Mariupol. One member of the district election commission (DEC – commissions responsible for the administration of the 25 May elections) in the city was injured. According to the Central Election Commission, of 22 DECs in Donetsk oblast, 6 have been seized by armed “separatists.” In Luhansk, of 12 DECs 5 are blocked from working, and three are being pressured by armed “separatists.” 2 “separatist” roadblocks in Kramatorsk, have been cleared by anti-terrorism operation forces. There were no casualties reported on the Ukrainian side.

2. UN: at least 10,000 people displaced because of crisis

The UN refugee agency stated that an estimated 10,000 civilians have been displaced in Ukraine because of crisis in Ukraine. At least one-third of the displaced are children. A representative of the UN stated that “among accounts we’re hearing from displaced people is that they have left either because of direct threats or out of fear of insecurity or persecution.” Most of those displaced are Crimean Tatars. Most internally displaced people are now in central Ukraine and western Ukraine. The crisis began with the illegal occupation and annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and continues with violent Kremlin-backed “separatism” in eastern Ukraine.

3. Parliament passes legislation on right to vote of armed forces personnel

Parliament passed legislation that provides for a guarantee of the right to vote of armed forces personnel located in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts to vote by presenting their military identification.

4. Medvedev: Russia never undertook any obligations

In an interview with Bloomberg media Russian Prime Minister D. Medvedev refused to guarantee that Russia won’t incorporate Donetsk and Luhansk. “We don’t have to guarantee anything to anyone because we never undertook any obligations on this matter.” The Budapest Memorandum, to which the Russian Federation is a signatory, guarantees the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

5. 6038 Crimean residents will vote in presidential elections

6038 residents of Crimea, most of them displaced because of the illegal occupation and annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation have registered to temporarily change their voting address for the 25 May presidential elections. Over 1400 have registered in Kyiv city and over 400 in Kyiv oblast.

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