Daily Ukraine Crisis Updates – July 4-7, 2014
Internal Security News
- (Interfax Ukraine) Tensions in the area of the army operation in eastern Ukraine are the highest in Donetsk, Horlivka, Luhansk, Snizhne, Antratsyt, Krasnodon and Severodonetsk, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry press service said on July 7.
- Ukrainian forces recaptured the city of Sloviansk on July 5, driving pro-Russian militants from the city and hoisting the Ukrainian flag over the city council. Militants fled to Kramatorsk, from which they were subsequently driven as Ukrainian forces retook that city. Ukrainian forces also regained the eastern cities of Artemivsk and Druzhkivka. Additionally, the state flag of Ukraine was reportedly raised over the town council building in Kostiantynivka (Donetsk region) on July 7.
- Pro-Russian rebels were reportedly regrouping in Donetsk over the weekend after being driven from Sloviansk. Rebels retreating from Sloviansk, some driving armored vehicles flying Russian flags, drove 110 km (65 miles) south into Donetsk over the weekend. About 1,000 of them held a bellicose rally in the central square on July 6, and on July 7 many were visible on the streets, having established checkpoints to check the documents of drivers. The city of Luhansk also remained under separatist control.
- The Ukrainian government forces will not use aviation to fire against the militant positions in Donetsk and Luhansk, said Andriy Lysenko, a spokesperson for the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC).
- Mykhaylo Koval, a senior Ukrainian security official, said government troops were preparing to continue the operation against the separatists by blockading Luhansk and Donetsk. "There is a clear strategic plan, which has been approved. The plan is focused on two major regional centres: Luhansk and Donetsk. These cities will be completely blockaded," Mr Koval said. Deutsche Welle reported that Ukrainian forces had arrived and begun blockading Donetsk in the late afternoon of July 7.
- Three bridges were destroyed on roads leading into the city of Donetsk on July 7 ahead of an expected offensive from government forces.
- (ITAR-TASS) Russian media, citing a source from people’s militia of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, reported heavy artillery fire in Luhansk on July 7, during which several people were killed and several buildings damaged.
- (ITAR-TASS) Ukraine’s army delivered an air strike against Luhansk’s suburb of Alexandrovka and the city’s Kamennobrodsky district on July 6.
- The secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), Andriy Parubiy, admitted that martial law could soon be declared in the country's eastern region and a document for such a case has already been drafted.
- (ITAR-TASS) The leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic, Valeriy Bolotov, dismissed the "republic's" government on July 4, according to a decree published on the LPR Web site. The ministers will continue to work until a new cabinet is formed.
- (Interfax Ukraine) The secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), Andriy Parubiy, stated that martial law could soon be declared in the country's eastern region, and said the NSDC has already drafted a document that permits the introduction of martial law in these parts of the country.
- (RIA Novosti) The Russian Foreign Ministry’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of said that the ministry continues to record humanitarian and war crimes in the southeast of Ukraine, and is striving to put a halt to the violence in the region.
- The conditions set by the Ukrainian government for total disarmament of the unlawful armed groups are impeding the peace process in the southeastern Ukraine, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
- (Interfax Ukraine) The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) officially confirmed that the airspace over Crimea belongs to Ukraine and the organization denied information spread by Russian mass media on the negotiations with Russia on the transfer of airspace to its management.
- (RIA Novosti) The staff of the Novoshakhtinsk checkpoint in Russia’s southern Rostov Region had to evacuate on July 7 due to shelling at the adjoining Ukrainian Dolzhansky border crossing, Russia’s Southern Customs Administration said.
- (ITAR-TASS) Russia’s emergencies ministry (EMERCOM) organized seven more temporary accommodation facilities for refugees coming in from Ukraine.
- (ITAR-TASS) Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini embarked on a four-day trip that includes visits to Kyiv and Moscow. The Italian minister said that by paying the first visits to Ukraine and Russia after Italy assumed the EU presidency, Rome wants to highlight the priority of the search for ways of settling the Ukrainian conflict and find an equilibrium in relations with Moscow after the signing of the EU association agreement by Kyiv.
- (ITAR-TASS) The United States is ready to impose additional sanctions against Russia over the situation in Ukraine, US Vice President Joseph Biden said in a phone call with Ukrainian President Poroshenko.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin called for better relations with the United States in a congratulatory message to President Barack Obama marking U.S. Independence Day on July 4.
- (ITAR-TASS) Moldova’s TV and radio broadcast authorities banned the Russia 24 TV news channel in Moldova until January 1, 2015.
International Observation Missions
- Representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE in Europe met on July 6 to discuss the situation in eastern Ukraine, but OSCE officials said no breakthrough was achieved.
- (ITAR-TASS) Russia’s Union of Journalists called on the OSCE to create a contact group to investigate crimes against news professionals.
- (Interfax Ukraine) Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk proposed that Ukrainian MPs begin consultations on the reformatting of the composition of the Ukrainian government.
- (RIA Novosti) The Ukrainian Ministry of Finance and other government agencies involved in the process have developed proposals for the replacement of natural gas imports, particularly from Russia.
- (ITAR-TASS) The Ukrainian parliament voted against the government’s reform plan for the national gas transportation system.
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