EWI offers a daily situation report on Ukraine.
Internal Security News:
- Anti-separatist military actions in Sloviansk were ‘temporarily’ halted in response to reported Russian troop increases along Ukraine’s eastern border. Ukrainian intelligence indicated that the risk of Russian troops crossing the border had increased dramatically. Moscow indicated that it would begin military drills in response to escalations in eastern Ukraine.
- Ukrainian forces repelled an overnight attack on an Artemivsk military base.
- Ukrainian forces recaptured the city council building in Mariupol, which had been held by pro-Russian militants since April 13.
- (Interfax Ukraine) Fighting in Sloviansk between government troops and pro-Russian militants resulted in the deaths of five separatists and prompted a warning from Russian President Putin.
- The leadership of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic announced a general mobilization of separatist forces and said that "a combined arms operation has been launched in Sloviansk. This means only one thing: a civil war."
- The Ukrainian Interior Ministry claimed that the self-proclaimed mayor of Sloviansk threatened to shoot civilians if they cooperate with Ukrainian law enforcement authorities, who are distributing flyers warning people to remain peaceful.
- Ukraine’s Security Service released a YouTube video that it says implicates high-ranking Russian Military Intelligence officers in the April 17 abduction and subsequent killing of Horlivka City Councilman Volodymyr Rybak.
International Observation News:
- (Interfax Ukraine) In a statement, the head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said that escalation of violence in Donetsk violates the April 17 Geneva agreements.
- The OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine will increase to 500 people by summer, Russia's Permanent Representative to the OSCE Andrei Kelin said.
- (ITAR-TASS) Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the military is undertaking drills near Ukraine’s border, in response to Ukrainian operations against pro-Russian separatists, and NATO exercises in Eastern Europe. The Kyiv Post reported that citizen journalists in Novoshakhtinsk (Russia) had captured video of Russian forces mobilizing 10 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
- (ITAR-TASS) Referring to Kiev’s military actions against protesters in Sloviansk, Russian President Putin said: “If the regime has begun using the army against the population inside the country, then this is undoubtedly a very serious crime.” Putin referred to the Ukrainian government as “a junta, some kind of clique,” and stated that the move will have “consequences.”
- U.S. President Obama announced that implementation of a new round of sanctions against Russia may be only a matter of days, “not weeks,” away, and noted that such measures were already “teed up.” He accused Russia of failing to abide by the “spirit or letter” of the Geneva accord.
- (Interfax Ukraine) The EU, via diplomacy chief Catherine Ashton’s spokesman, reiterated that it trusts Ukrainian leadership in protecting the country's sovereignty, and called on all parties to implement the Geneva agreements.
- The first contingent of U.S. troops landed in Poland for military exercises amid tensions with Russia over Ukraine.
- (ITAR-TASS) Sweden announced that it will increase its defense spending over the next 10 years in response to the situation in Ukraine.
- (ITAR-TASS) The head of Ukraine’s Central Election Commission stated that despite tensions in the east, the country will still hold presidential elections on May 25.
- (Interfax Ukraine) The quadrilateral gas talks involving representatives of the EU, Ukraine, Russia, and Slovakia, scheduled for 24 April in Bratislava, will not be held, according to Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuriy Prodan.