Crisis in Ukraine: Daily Briefing
22 May 2014, 5PM Kyiv time
1. Kremlin-backed “separatism” in Eastern Ukraine
Тhe active phase of the anti-terrorist operation in Donetsk and Luhansk continues. Increased fighting took place in several regions; 13 Ukrainian armed forces personnel were killed and 20 wounded as “separatists” tried to break through encirclements. Casualties on the side of the armed “separatists” were reportedly high, but accurate numbers have not been reported. The Ministry of Defense reported that “separatist” strongholds have been encircled in several areas. On the night of 21-22 May armed “separarist” militants attempted to break through the encirclement at two places – near the Russian border in Stanychno-Luhansk district and near Olhino, about 40 km south of Donetsk. “Separatists” opened fire on Ukrainian army checkpoints with heavy weaponry; the Ukrainian army responded and held the checkpoints. Deputy Secretary of Ukraine’s National Defense and Security Council V. Syumar stated that “Today the terrorists are very worried. They are frightened, because there are signs that Russia is getting ready to withdraw its armies. It has become clear to the terrorists that they will not receive military support, as happened in Crimea. And because of this they are using radical measures.” 4 mines in Lysychansk, Luhansk oblast, have reportedly been seized by armed “separatists.” The “leader” of the so-called Luhansk “Peoples’ Republic” has asked Russian President V. Putin to send the Russian army into Luhansk oblast.
2. Parubiy: “Separatists” being trained near Rostov-On-Don
National Defense and Security Council Secretary A. Parubiy stated that Kremlin-backed “separatists” are being trained at a base near Rostov-on-Don and being sent to Ukrainian territory. “At this base a very large amount of militants are being trained by Russian instructors after which in organized, armed groups they attempt to cross onto Ukrainian territory,” Parubiy stated. According to Parubiy, from northern Luhansk west to Slovyansk, 11 counties – are under the full control of the Ukrainian government. Roadblocks have been set up to ensure that Russian-trained “diversionists” are not allowed to cross into Ukrainian territory.
3. Mahera: Several districts in Donetsk and Luhansk are not ready for elections
The deputy head of the Central Election Commission, A Mahera, stated that 22 oblasts and Kyiv city are prepared for the elections, but that 5 State Voter Registry maintenance bodies in Donetsk oblast and 7 in Luhansk oblast are blocked by “separatists.” More than 50 % of election precincts in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts have not received ballots yet.
4. Yatseniuk calls for meeting of UN Security Council
Ukraine PM A. Yatseniuk called for a meeting of the UN Security Council, at which, he stated, the Ukrainian representative will present evidence that “there are attempts at escalation of the conflict, the spilling of blood, the seizure of Ukrainian border posts and [attempts at ensuring] the failure of the presidential elections” by the Russian Federation.
5. NATO reaction to Russian troop movements near Ukraine border
NATO Secretary General A.F. Rasmussen stated that there has been limited Russian troop movement near the Ukraine border; “It is too early to say what this means, but I hope this is the start of a full and genuine withdrawal. At present, most of the previously deployed Russian force remains near the Ukrainian border and we see continued Russian exercises in the same areas.” stated Rasmussen.22-May-Ukraine-briefing