Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
13 March 2014
1. Situation in Crimea
Troops of the Russian Federation continue to blockade Ukrainian armed forces bases and headquarters. The self-appointed head of the Council of Ministers of Crimea A. Aksyonov signed a resolution which “nationalizes” (brings under the control of the self-appointed pro-Russian ‘government’ in Crimea branches of Ukrainian banks and has banned the withdrawal of more than 300 HRY (a little more than $30 USD) from ATMs, in an attempt to stave off a run on banks in Crimea. There are several reports of extremely long lines at banks. There were public meetings in Yalta and Simferopol today in support of Ukrainian territorial integrity and against the scheduled ‘referendum’ and Russian occupation. There were violent clashes with pro-Russian “demonstrators” – most of whom were young men of athletic build – at the Yalta meeting.
2. Parliament forms National Guard; supports course for Euro-integration; appoints new Constitutional Court justices
Ukraine’s parliament established a National Guard of Ukraine today. 262 deputies voted for. Among the functions of the National Guard will be guarding the border, taking part in anti-terrorist activities, and security functions. Together with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard could take part in armed defense of Ukrainian territory. Parliament appointed new justices to the Constitutional court through secret ballot – the first ballot failed, but on the second ballot 4 new justices were appointed.
3. Ukrainian PM and US President Meet
Ukraine’s PM A. Yatseniuk met with US President B. Obama yesterday. President Obama reiterated that the US supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and that if the Russian Federation “continues on the path it is on then not only U.S., but the international community – the European Union and others – will be forced to apply a cost to Russia’s violations of international law.” He reiterated that the Administration is asking Congress “to act promptly to deliver on an aid package” and that the US will continue to work with the IMF to develop a package to institute reforms. He also stated that “the interests of the United States are solely in making sure that the people of Ukraine are able to determine their own destiny.” PM Yatseniuk stated that Ukraine is “absolutely ready and open for talks with the Russian Federation.” He also stated that “next week or in 10 days, Ukraine is to sign the political part of — association agreement with the European Union, and we want to be very clear that Ukraine is and will be a part of the Western world, and our Russian partners have to realize that we are ready to make a new type or craft a new type of our relationship where Ukraine is a part of the European Union, but Ukraine is a good friend and partner of Russia.” PM Yatseniuk will speak today at a meeting of the UN Security Council.
4. European Parliament Resolution on Ukraine
European Parliament today passed a resolution on the situation in Ukraine. The resolution condemned the Russian Federation’s “act of aggression in invading Crimea,” calls for the immediate withdrawal of all forces from Crimea, and states that Russia was in “clear breach” of international law. The EP also declared the “referendum” in Crimea “illegitimate and illegal.” The resolution also stated that in the event of Russian annexation of Crimea, the EU should “quickly impose and arms and dual-use technology embargo, restrictions on visas, an asset freeze and measure against Russian companies, particularly in the energy sector, in full compliance with EU law.”13-March-Ukraine-briefing