Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
12 March 2014
1. Situation in Crimea
Russian military units continue to blockade Ukrainian armed forces bases and headquarters. According to reports an ultimatum was issued to the mechanized battalion in Bakhchysaray to surrender its weapons and swear loyalty to ‘Crimean forces.’ The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine stated that the officers have refused this ultimatum and remain loyal to their oath to the people of Ukraine. The acting Minister of Defense stated that there are 18,430 Russian military personnel in the Crimea. The acting Minister also stated that the main goal of these personnel is to provoke the Ukrainian side. The State Border Service of Ukraine reports that 47 of its headquarters and other objects are either blockaded or seized by Russian troops. They also report that 557 people have fled Crimea as refugees.
2. State Security Service: Russian Reconnaissance Group captured in Kherson
The State Security Service of Ukraine reports that a Russian armed forces reconnaissance group was captured in Crimea in the early morning of 12 March in Kherson oblast, north of Crimea. According to the Security Service, the goal of this group was to collect information on the location and readiness of Ukrainian armed forces units deployed in Kherson.
3. Council of National Security and Defense: Russia is massing troops on border
According to the Secretary of the Council of National Security and Defense of Ukraine, A. Parubiy, the Russian Federation is massing troops along the Ukraine-Russia border. The Council does not count out the possibility of armed aggression from the Russian Federation. Ukrainian armed forces are currently on full alert. According to Parubiy the Council will propose legislation to Parliament tomorrow, which will establish a National Guard. Further, some 20,000 citizens have volunteered for military service at recruitment centres.
4. Leaders of G7 Statement on Ukraine
The leaders of the G-7 together with the Presidents of the European Council and European Commission, issued a statement on Ukraine, calling on the Russian Federation “to cease all efforts to change the status of Crimea contrary to Ukrainian law and in violation of international law,” and calling on Russia to “immediately halt actions supporting a referendum on the territory of Crimea regarding its status, in direct violation of the Constitution of Ukraine. Any such referendum would have no legal effect.” They also stated they would not recognize the results of the referendum, concluding – “In addition to its impact on the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea could have grave implications for the legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states. Should the Russian Federation take such a step, we will take further action, individually and collectively.”
5. OSCE: “Referendum” must be considered illegal
The Chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Swiss Foreign Minister D. Burkhalter, stated that the referendum in Crimea is “in contradiction with the Ukrainian Constitution and must be considered illegal.” He also called on “all actors to refrain from supporting unconstitutional activities.” The OSCE will not observe the referendum, because “the basic criteria for a decision in a constitutional framework was not met.”