Daily Ukraine Crisis Updates – May 20, 2014

Commentary | May 20, 2014

EWI offers a daily situation report on Ukraine.

Internal Security News

  • An unknown number of masked gunmen stormed nearly a dozen district election commissions in eastern Donetsk and Luhansk and demanded at gunpoint that officials turn over ballots and other documents pertaining to the May 25 presidential elections.
  • Steel magnate Rinat Akhmetov , Ukraine's richest man, called for a mass peace rally in the east, accusing separatists of leading Ukraine towards "genocide." Akhmetov urged tens of thousands of his employees to lead the protests. A similar initiative last week led to ethnic Russian separatists losing control of Mariupol.
  • (Interfax Ukraine) According to Interfax Ukraine, a 20-minute Peace March protest was held in the Donbas-Arena stadium in central Donetsk without incident.
  • Ukrainian Colonel Yuriy Lebid, acting head of the Eastern Operative-Territorial Junction, was released after being abducted by separatists on May 15, according to the Ukrainian National Guard press service on Facebook.
  • The head of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's Department for Mass Public Events said that over 75,000 personnel, including 55,700 policemen and more than 20,000 volunteers, will maintain public order in Ukraine for the May 25 presidential elections.

Diplomacy News

  • The European Commission paid out a first loan tranche of 100 million euros ($137 million) to Ukraine, launching a €1.6 billion euro macro-financial assistance loan program to prop up the beleaguered economy.

Governance News

  • (Interfax Ukraine) According to a poll conducted by the Institute of World Policies, 70 out of 80 surveyed political science experts included Poroshenko on a list of three people worthy of the title of "European president," with 54 of the respondents putting him in first place. The project was supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
  • (Interfax Ukraine) Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council Secretary Andriy Parubiy said that new methods of so-called "hybrid warfare" have shown that Ukraine's defense sector requires comprehensive reform, in which NATO is ready to help. The statement was issued after a meeting of the joint NATO-Ukraine working group on defense reform in Brussels.