Daily Ukraine Crisis Updates – May 12, 2014
News | May 12, 2014
EWI offers a daily situation report on Ukraine.
Internal Security News
- Ukraine's acting President and Parliament Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov said the situation in Mariupol has stabilized. Turchynov said the military operation in the eastern regions of the country continues, adding that "the situation is more or less stable in the northern part of the Luhansk region."
- (RIA Novosti) The Ukrainian army began an artillery bombardment of the eastern city of Sloviansk following the referendum. Casualties were reported on May 12 following the shelling of a village near Sloviansk by Ukrainian troops. On May 11, the government in Kyiv announced the final phase of its “anti-terrorist” operation, with the Interior Ministry claiming to have razed roadblocks near Andreevka, as well as near other flashpoint cities in the southeast.
- Self-proclaimed “People’s Governor” of Donetsk Pavel Gubarev accused Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, of financing separatism in eastern Ukraine. Akhmetov denied the accusation.
International Observation News
- (Interfax Ukraine) OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Swiss President Didier Burkhalter condemned the referendums held in Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.
- (ITAR-TASS) OSCE Chairman Didier Burkhalter said that the organization would send 1,000 observers to the Ukrainian presidential election on May 25; this represents the largest observation mission in the OSCE’s history.
- (Interfax Ukraine) The OSCE decided to appoint German Diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger as its negotiator on maintaining the dialogue in Ukraine.
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande stated that the OSCE should collect illegal weapons in Ukraine and observe the scheduled May 25 presidential election.
- During a May 9 call with U.S. Secretary of State Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for urgent dialog, mediated by the OSCE, between Kiev and south-eastern regions of Ukraine.
Constitutional Reform News
- (Interfax Ukraine) The Luhansk Regional Council demanded the immediate federalization of Ukraine following the results of the referendum on May 11.
- (Interfax Ukraine) Petro Symonenko, leader of the Ukrainian Communist Party, called on the parliament to immediately discuss the issue of changing the country's state system.
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande urged the Ukrainian government to move ahead with a Ukrainian constitutional reform plan that would ensure minority rights and open the door to decentralizing the government. The Kyiv government should make public their plans for constitutional reform "in the coming days."
- The European Commission planned to meet the Ukrainian Government led by Prime Minister Yatsenyuk on May 13 in Brussels.
- The foreign ministers of the EU member states do not recognize the outcome of the referendums in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said.
- The ministers of the Council of the European Union support a swift convening of a next meeting on Ukraine at the ministerial level in the Geneva format, the Council said in conclusions on Ukraine adopted on May 12.
- The European Union agreed to impose sanctions on two Crimean companies and 13 more Russian and Ukrainian companies.
- German FM Steinmeier intended to fly to Kyiv on May 13 to encourage dialog.
- Russian FM Sergei Lavrov accused Washington and Kyiv of unwillingness to disclose the OSCE roadmap targeting a dialogue between Kyiv and Ukrainian regions, including the southeast.
- (RIA Novosti) A Kremlin spokesman stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin will formulate his opinion towards the referendums held on May 11 after their official results are made public, declaring Putin’s reaction “difficult to forecast” and stating that although Putin recommended that the referendum be postponed, “amid real battle actions being held, citizens were forced to act in line with their own plan and judge from the situation.”
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ruled out new international talks on Ukraine and said that progress in de-escalating the crisis was possible only if the rival sides in Ukraine held direct talks.
- (ITAR-TASS) NATO was ready to take further "defensive measures" on its eastern borders should the situation in Ukraine escalate.
- (Interfax Ukraine) In an interview with Interfax Ukraine, NATO chief Rasmussen stated that, “From a strategic point of view, I do believe that it will be mutually beneficial if Ukraine signs [an association agreement]. And at the end of the day, it will also be beneficial for Russia. This is not what we call a zero sum game. On the contrary - this is a win-win situation, from which Russia, Ukraine the EU and NATO will all gain.”
- (ITAR-TASS) Russian FM Lavrov called on foreign ambassadors to Russia to report to their capitals the real situation in Ukraine. "In Ukraine, the Russian channels are blocked…. But ambassadors in Moscow see live Russian television, and should bring to the attention of their respective governments the truth about what is happening in Ukraine.”
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande urged the Kyiv government to make concessions to the pro-Russian population in Ukraine even as they declared the independence referendum in the country's east illegal and warned of further sanctions against Russia should Ukraine’s planned elections not proceed on May 25.
- (RIA Novosti) Representatives of the European Commission refused to attend a conference on Russian-EU energy cooperation scheduled for May 14 in Brussels.
- Russian Deputy PM Rogozin, one of the senior Russian officials sanctioned by the European Union and United States after Moscow moved to annex Crimea, was barred from Romanian airspace when his plane tried to fly to Moscow from Moldova's breakaway Transdniestria region. Rogozin was also stopped from leaving Moldova with a petition calling on Moscow to recognize the separatist region, but he claimed he had delivered most of the signatures supporting it. Moscow could reconsider its economic ties with Chisinau if Moldova signs an association agreement with the European Union, Rogozin said in an interview.
- A French diplomatic source stated that France will press ahead with a 1.2 billion-euro ($1.66 billion) contract to sell helicopter carriers to Russia because cancelling the deal would do more damage to Paris than to Moscow.
- (ITAR-TASS) U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stated during an interview that the U.S. is “not at war with Russia, so do you define an enemy as being at war or not at war?" However, he asserted that Russia is "an adversary in Ukraine” and continuing to “isolate itself for a short-term gain.”
- Referendums were held as planned in Donetsk and Luhansk. Many reports cited a disorderly process, accounts of individuals voting more than once, and “ballot-stuffing, manipulation, and intimidation.”
- Separatist leader in Donetsk Denis Pushilin declared that the region was not only independent, but also would ask to join Russia.
- Ukrainian media reported that a group of armed rebels were captured in Donetsk on May 10 and were in possession of 100,000 ballots already marked with a ‘yes’ vote for the May 11 referendum. ITAR-TASS claimed that Ukrainian troops blocked the delivery of ballots in some areas.
- Ukrainian President Oleksander Turchynov condemned the unofficial self-rule referendum in eastern regions as a farce inspired by Russia to destabilize Ukraine and topple the country's leaders in Kyiv.
- Separatist election officials reported 89 percent for seceding and 10 percent against doing so in Donetsk Oblast.
- (RIA Novosti) In Luhansk Oblast, Oleksandr Malykhin, a separatist referendum official, said that between 94 and 98 percent of eligible voters voted for greater autonomy from Kyiv.
- (ITAR-TASS) The Verkhovna Rada was set to discuss a "peaceful settlement of the situation in the east of the country" on May 14, according to President Turchynov. He also indicated that a meeting may take place with members of the public, including those from the Donetsk and Luhansk areas.
- "Moscow respects the will of the population of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and hopes that the practical implementation of the outcome of the referendums will proceed along civilized lines, without repeat outbreaks of violence," the Kremlin said in a statement.
- Presidential candidate and independent parliamentarian Petro Poroshenko backed the Ukrainian government's proposal to hold a nationwide roundtable. Poroshenko also stated that it was a mistake for Ukraine to have given up its nuclear weapons after the collapse of the Soviet Union.