Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
21 April 2014
1. Kremlin-backed Unrest in Eastern Ukraine
The situation in Eastern Ukraine remains extremely tense. On the night of 19-20 April, according to reports three people were killed in a shootout near Slovyansk at a roadblock controlled by “separatists.” According to the State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) the shootings were a provocation carried out by “diversionists.” The SBU stated that “it has been established that on that night there were no organizations, except diversionists and criminal elements, who are being supported and armed by officers of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. This is confirmed by operational-investigative actions being carried out in situ by law enforcement organs of Ukraine.” A new head of the Donetsk SBU – Valeriy Rudnytsky, formerly first deputy head of the Main Department of the Internal Army of Ukraine – was appointed by acting president O. Turchynov. The Department of Defense stated that on 20 April in Dobropilsk district, Donetsk oblast, an “important state object” was attacked by “people in masks” who opened fire on the military unit guarding the object. The military unit returned fire; one of the attackers was wounded and two were detained. There are reports that the Kramatorsk police headquarters has again been seized by “separatists,” who are demanding that arms in the headquarters be turned over to them. There are reports that a journalist and a long-term election observer from OPORA were attacked and beaten at a “separatist” rally in Luhansk on 21 April. Several state buildings and police headquarters remain under control of “separatists” in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
2. Mejlis in Crimea Attacked
The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People was attacked by unknown people in camouflage, according to representatives of the Mejlis. They did not say who they were and attempted to remove the Ukrainian flag from the building – three female employees of the Mejlis were apparently injured during the attack.
3. Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs: no readiness from Russia to carry out Geneva Agreements
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the “unlawful, armed formations controlled by the Russian special services continue to act to destabilize the situation in the eastern oblasts of our country and to create a reason for a new stage of Russian military aggression…the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, and Kremlin-controlled mass media have started another wave of disinformation to mislead the world community regarding the real reasons for the dangerous situation in the eastern regions of Ukraine…We constitute that there are no signs by the Russian side of readiness to carry out the Geneva agreements. Because of a lack of support for the separatists from the population of the eastern oblasts of Ukraine, Russia is searching for new ways to destabilize the situation in the region, preparing and carrying out numerous provocations through its agents.”
4. Russia Foreign Minister speaks with US Secretary of State
Russian Foreign Minister S. Lavrov spoke with US Secretary of State J. Kerry on 21 April. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Lavrov stated that “the inability or unwillingness of the Kyiv government to put an end to the violent actions of ‘Right Sector’ and other ultranationalists…to stop arrests and free protest activists in southern-eastern regions threaten the implementation of the provisions of the Geneva declaration.” In much the same way that Russian President Putin denied that the “little green men” in Crimea were in fact Russian troops (until admitting the fact on Thursday April 17), Lavrov did not mention the fact that “separatists” in eastern Ukraine are obviously backed, supplied, supported and controlled by the intelligence services of the armed forces of the Russian Federation.
5. US VP Biden arrives in Ukraine
US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Ukraine April 21.He will meet on April 22 with Ukraine’s acting President O. Turchynov, as well as other officials. He will hold a joint press conference with Ukraine PM A. Yatseniuk at 12:15 pm ET, which will be carried live at www.whitehouse.gov.21-April-Ukraine-briefing