Daily Ukraine Crisis Updates – April 22, 2014

News | April 22, 2014

EWI offers a daily situation report on Ukraine.

Internal Security News: 

  • Pro-Russian militants continued to occupy official buildings in at least nine towns and cities in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
  • A group of armed, masked men took control of the Kramatorsk city police station and kidnapped the police chief, according to the Interior Ministry. Armed men also seized the local Kramatorsk SBU building. Ukrainian airborne troops repelled an attack by three armed, masked men on motorcycles in Donetsk’s Dobropilsky District. 
  • (ITAR-TASS) Presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko will participate in negotiations for the release of the regional administration building in Donetsk.
  • Ten armed men captured Ukraine’s Internal Troop training grounds in the village of Vasylivka, located in Donetsk’s Yasynuvatsky District. 
  • A shooting occurred in Sloviansk on April 20, leaving three pro-Russian militants dead at a checkpoint. Ukrainian Security Services asserted that the incident was staged as a “cynical provocation.” Russia’s RIA Novosti blamed Ukraine’s Right Sector group, though they denied taking part in the incident. Russia’s Foreign Ministry stated: “The Russian side is outraged with the provocation, which indicates that Kyiv is unwilling to put in check and disarm nationalists and extremists.” 
  • Ukraine called a truce over Easter weekend, suspending “anti-terrorist” operations in the country’s eastern regions. 
  • The Ukrainian government released photos that it says show Russian soldiers among militants holding official buildings in eastern Ukraine. 

Constitutional Reform News:

  • (Interfax Ukraine) Ukrainian constitutional reform is aimed at ensuring the balance of power through greater regional independence, said Prime Minister Yatsenyuk. Through reform, the central government should allow regions to pursue independent fiscal and financial policies, and provide special status for national minorities and their languages, including Russian.

International Observation News: 

  • The chief mediator for Europe's OSCE security body in eastern Ukraine met with leaders of the pro-Russian separatists occupying buildings in Donetsk, and called their talks "constructive."
  • The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said it is ready to cooperate with the OSCE mission and provide information on the situation in eastern Ukraine. 

Diplomacy News:

  • Ukrainian PM Yatsenyuk accused Russian President Putin of having a dream “to rebuild the Soviet Union.”
  • Russia accused the U.S. of treating it like a “guilty schoolboy” by threatening to impose further sanctions should Moscow fail to fulfill its part in the Geneva peace deal.
  • U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Kiev and voiced U.S.  support for the Ukrainian government. Biden met with Ukrainian PM Yatsenyuk, and during a joint press conference, said that Russia must "stop talking and start acting" to defuse the Ukraine crisis. He also said that authorities in Kiev must fight against “the cancer of corruption.” Biden stated that the U.S. will never recognize Russia’s occupation of Crimea (Interfax Ukraine).
  • (Interfax Ukraine) The U.S. State Department denied supporting Maidan protesters in Kiev, calling it a spontaneous movement. 

Governance News: 

  • (ITAR-TASS) Ukrainian PM Yatsenyuk stated that the new government’s main task will be to fight corruption. 
  • U.S. Vice President Joe Biden pledged an additional $50 million from the U.S. to help Ukraine's government with political and economic reforms.
  • (RIA Novosti) Biden stated that the U.S. will provide assistance to help Ukraine gain energy independence from Russia. “More teams are coming to support long-term improvements so that no nation—to be precise, Russia—can use energy as a political weapon against Ukraine and Europe,” he said.