Daily Ukraine Crisis Updates – May 22, 2014
Commentary | May 22, 2014
EWI offers a daily situation report on Ukraine.
Internal Security News
- Ukraine's government confirmed a deadly attack on troops in eastern Donetsk, with reports of at least 13 soldiers were killed.
- (Interfax Ukraine) Valeriy Bolotov, leader of the self-proclaimed "Luhansk People's Republic," urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to deploy peacekeeping troops in the territory and declared martial law throughout Luhansk.
- (Interfax Ukraine) 18 of 34 district election commissions in Donetsk and Luhansk had been captured by separatists as of May 22.
- Ukraine’s Defense Ministry reported that a Russian MI-8 helicopter had crossed into Ukrainian airspace in northeastern Ukraine’s Sumy Oblast on May 21.
- (ITAR-TASS) The Supreme Council of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” asked Russia to recognize its independence.
- Ukrainian border guards thwarted an attempt by “several groups of armed militants carrying weapons and ammunition from the Russian Federation to break through the state border of Ukraine.” The groups attempted to enter Ukraine at the border of the Krasnodonsky region of Lugansk Oblast.
- (ITAR-TASS) Leadership of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) said that it does not rule out that Kiev authorities may attempt to storm Donetsk and stage provocations ahead of the May 25 presidential election.
- (ITAR-TASS) Government of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) said it is ready to sit down to the negotiating table with Kiev if Ukrainian authorities terminate a “punitive operation” in southeast Ukraine.
- Ukraine's largest bank announced that militants affiliated with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics have hijacked 15 cash-in-transit vehicles since early May.
- (Interfax Ukraine) Ukrainian PM Yatsenyuk appealed to the UN to convene a Security Council session as soon as possible. "We will provide evidence that it is Russia trying to escalate the conflict, attempts to seize Ukrainian state border checkpoints and scuttle the presidential election," he was quoted as saying by his office.
- Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich called Kiev's allegations that Russia is trying to disrupt the upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine as unfounded and doubted that the UN Security Council will address the issue.
- (ITAR-TASS) Ukraine asked Russia for permission to organize a regular observation flight over Russian territory. The request was handed over via the OSCE in accordance with provisions of the Open Skies Treaty.
- NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that there were indications that Russia may be preparing to pull back some of its forces that are amassed near Ukraine's border. NATO has seen "limited" Russian troop activity "that MAY suggest that some of these forces are preparing to withdraw," Rasmussen said via Twitter.
- NATO’s top military commander then stated that the Russian military force close to the Ukrainian border remains very large and threatening despite some movement of Russian troops.
- A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said that Moscow thinks that Viktor Yanukovych remains the legitimate president of Ukraine.
- (RIA Novosti) Ukraine’s Security Service released Russia Today contributing journalist Graham Phillips to the consul of the British embassy in Kyiv. Graham indicated that the LifeNews reporters still being detained were safe.
- (ITAR-TASS) US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the U.S. believes the Ukrainian government should free detained Russian journalists if they are not involved in illegal activity. Ukrainian authorities ignored the call to free LifeNews journalists detained by National Guards servicemen near Kramatorsk, LifeNews director-general Ashot Gabrelyanov told ITAR-TASS.
- Russian Deputy ambassador Alexander Kramarenko was due to meet British Foreign Office officials in London to “ask for clarification” regarding a statement allegedly made by the Prince of Wales in which he likened Russian President Putin’s actions in Crimea to those of Hitler. A spokesman for the Russian embassy in London called the alleged remark “outrageous” and “propaganda against Russia.”
- (ITAR-TASS) Australia’s sanctions against Russia will not be unanswered, the Russian Foreign Ministry pledged. “We have been repeatedly saying that Russia does not accept attempts to speak to it in the language of sanctions,” the ministry said.
- The Russian Ministry of Culture demanded the return of a Scythian gold collection on loan to a museum in the Netherlands since February, stating that a failure to return it could be considered “embezzlement.” The Netherlands does not recognize Crimea's unification with Russia, which took place after the opening of the exhibition, and the question arose as to whom the collection should be returned to once the exhibition closes in August. Ukraine previously requested that the gold be returned to Kiev.
- (RIA Novosti) The Moscow Commercial Court upheld a claim of the Russian Ministry of Culture and the Russian State Library, ordering the U.S. to return seven books on loan from the collection of Yosef Yitzchok Schneerson to Russia.
International Observation News
- (RIA Novosti) Russian monitors working with the OSCE special mission to Ukraine have noted that not all of their messages have appeared in the mission's final reports, Russia's permanent representative to the OSCE said.
- (Interfax Ukraine) The OSCE special monitoring mission in Ukraine will be expanded to 750 people, according to Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, head of the mission.
- (Interfax Ukraine) The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office opened a criminal case against Ihor Hyrkin (Strelkov), the defense minister of the self-proclaimed 'Donetsk People's Republic,' on charges of the establishment of a terrorist organization and commission of terrorist attacks on Ukrainian territory.
- (Interfax Ukraine) The Right Sector organization was officially registered by the Justice Ministry as a political party, the party's information coordinator, Boryslav Bereza, said.
- (Interfax Ukraine) German diplomat and OSCE negotiator on dialogue in Ukraine Wolfgang Ischinger said that it would be good for Ukraine to conduct one more nationwide roundtable on national unity before the May 25 elections.