Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
3 April 2014
1. Situation in Crimea
The evacuation of Ukrainian military personnel and materiel from Crimea continues. Armed Forces Captain V. Demyanenko was freed from captivity. An estimated 1500 Ukrainian military personnel remain in Crimea.
The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people has begun work on the organization of a Crimean Tatar referendum as to the future of Crimea, which will be held in the event of “necessity.” The head of the Organizing Committee, E. Bariev, stated that “an indigenous people have the right to self-determination and the right to express in which country they will live.” Representatives of the Mejlis stressed the importance of the fact that the referendum take place according to Ukrainian legislation and international law, in particular the UN General Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
2. State Security Service: Evidence of Russian special services involvement in planning of Maidan killings
The Minister of Internal Affairs, General Prosecutor, and Head of State Security Service held a press conference to present the findings of the investigation into the mass killings during the Euromaidan protests. The State Security Service (SBU) of Ukraine reports that the former head of the SBU in the Yanukovych Administration, O. Yakymenko, and former Minister of Internal Affairs V. Zakharchenko, were personally responsible for giving orders to law enforcement to shoot at protestors and storm the professional union building on Maidan. SBU head V. Nalyvaychenko stated that the planning of the so-called “anti-terrorism” operation, in fact the organization of mass killings, took place “under the direct command of former President Yanukovych.” Nalyvaychenko further stated that between 19 and 23 December 2013, and 26-29 January 2014, there were groups (24 and 6 people, respectively) from the Russian FSB (KGB successor) present at the SBU premises in Koncha Zaspa outside Kyiv. “We have reasonable grounds to believe that these people took part in planning and carrying out actions of the so-called anti-terrorist operations…Yakymenko himself came to report to this group on more than one occasion.” Nalyvaychenko stated that there are two important questions to the Russian Federation – “what were these representatives of the FSB doing there, and what are their ranks and positions – and, what were their orders and what were they planning?“ The SBU also stated that from 21 to24 January, 5 tons of different types of grenades were delivered from Russia by plane to Ukraine to use against protestors.
3. US Justice Department Indicts Ukrainian Oligarch
D. Firtash, one of Ukraine’s most influential oligarchs, involved in the gas trade, among other businesses, in Ukraine, was indicted by the US Justice Department for participating in an alleged international racketeering conspiracy to bribe officials in India to obtain mining contracts. Five other people were named in the indictment. According to the indictment, “Firtash was the leader of the enterprise and caused the participation of certain Group DF companies in the project. Firtash allegedly met with Indian government officials, including Chief Minister Reddy, to discuss the project and its progress, and authorized payment of at least $18.5 million in bribes to both state and central government officials in India to secure the approval of licenses for the project.” Firtash is currently out on bail in Austria awaiting extradition proceedings.
4. Prices for Russian gas export to Ukraine to increase
The price for Russian gas to Ukraine will be $485/1000 cubic meters after the cancellation of the Kharkiv Agreements by the Russian Federation – an increase of about 80%. Russian PM D. Medvedev announced that he is cancelling the 2010 government resolution that put tariffs for the export of Russian gas to Ukraine at 0% and that regular export tariffs will apply to the export of gas to Ukraine.3-April-Ukraine-briefing