EWI offers a daily situation report on Ukraine.
Internal Security News:
- An “anti-terror” operation was launched to clear the city of Sloviansk of pro-Russian militants. During this operation, militants shot down two of Ukraine's army helicopters; the Ukrainian government said that a pilot and serviceman had been killed, four suspected separatists held and 10 rebel checkpoints seized. Four insurgents in Sloviansk were later detained by Ukrainian law enforcement under suspicion of involvement in the helicopter shooting.
- The Ukrainian Interior Ministry announced that the National Guard had “practically cleared Sloviansk of the terrorists” following the military operation in the city. A source within the pro-Russian militant groups claimed that the Ukrainian military controlled only a few streets in the suburbs of Sloviansk, and that the “self-defense” fighters continued to remain in control of the majority of the city.
- (RIA Novosti) a representative of the self-proclaimed "people's mayor" of Sloviansk said that negotiations on the exchange of captive OSCE observers for arrested militia leaders were held but were halted due to the military operation in Sloviansk.
- A 1,000-person rally for Ukrainian unity in Odessa was attacked by pro-Russian activists. Shots were fired, and some noise grenades were used in the clash. Police were seen interfering in the clash.
- The Interior Ministry said that pro-Russian separatists left the prosecutor's office and television center in Luhansk.
- (Interfax Ukraine) Ukrainian President Turchynov signed a decree reinstituting military conscription for male citizens aged 18-25. The decree cites “undisguised aggression” of pro-Russian armed groups and the “exacerbation” of the sociopolitical situation in southeastern Ukraine as impetus and stipulates that the draft campaign will be conducted in May-July 2014.
- Ukrainian PM Yatsenyuk said that his country was entering its "most dangerous 10 days" since independence in 1991 and was struggling to counter pro-Russian separatists on the verge of taking over the industrialized eastern heartland.
- (RIA Novosti) A Kremlin spokesman called the Ukrainian military’s operation to clear Sloviansk “a punitive operation that destroyed the last hope for Geneva Accords to be effective.”
- The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry rejected the Russian side's accusations that Ukraine is not fulfilling the Geneva agreements.
- (RIA Novosti) A statement from the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Russia said that the Ukrainian military’s operation in Sloviansk was, “fully sanctioned by the U.S. and its NATO allies.” The statement also asserted that, “all this poses a threat to Russia's security."
- Russia's Foreign Ministry called on Western powers to give up their "destructive" policy on Ukraine and urged Kyiv to stop its "punitive operation" in the south-east of the country. "This will allow a real process of de-escalation to begin," the ministry said in a statement.
- (ITAR-TASS) Ukraine banned Russian passenger airline flights to Donetsk or Kharkiv.
- A spokeswoman for EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton told reporters that, “We are following with growing concern the events in eastern Ukraine.”
- (ITAR-TASS) The European Commissioner for Energy said that the EU believes the price of Russia’s gas should be the same for all member countries and noted the need to create a pan-European gas and electricity distribution networks. "We want a single price for (Russian) gas on the common European market.”
- (RIA Novosti) Russian, Ukraine and the EU failed to agree on gas supply issues at a meeting in Warsaw. Further tripartite meetings were expected to take place in subsequent weeks.
- The leader of the Third Ukrainian Republic movement, former Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, said that there are legal grounds to ban the Regions Party and the Communist Party.