Daily Ukraine Crisis Updates – May 6, 2014

Commentary | May 06, 2014

EWI offers a daily situation report on Ukraine.

Internal Security News

  • Donetsk authorities reported 8 dead and 16 injured in Sloviansk.
  • 24 individuals remained hostages in Donetsk.
  • (ITAR-TASS) Russian media reported that 48 people remained unaccounted for following an Odessa fire on May 2. Additionally, approximately 20 bodies remained unidentified out of the 46 recovered.
  • Militants imposed a curfew in Konstantinovka (Donetsk), and reportedly refused entry to vehicles. A similar curfew was in place in Sloviansk where heavy fighting took place.
  • (Interfax Ukraine) Ukraine’s State Aviation Service temporarily closed the Donetsk airport, before abolishing the resolution to suspend flights later in the day.
  • (Interfax Ukraine) The Verkhovna Rada supported assigning combatant status to people involved in eastern Ukraine’s anti-terrorist operations.
  • Speaking to journalists in the Verkhovna Rada, billionaire presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko said there was evidence that toxic chemicals were used in the Odessa fire.

International Observation News

  • UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffry Feltman is scheduled to visit Ukraine from May 7-8. According to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, the visit was initiated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to assist with a diplomatic settlement.
  • (RIA Novosti) A senior Russian diplomat called on UN officials to be as impartial as possible while assessing ongoing events in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
  • (ITAR-TASS) Russian President Vladimir Putin is slated to discuss the Ukrainian crisis with Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, current Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE, on May 7.

Constitutional Reform News

  • (Interfax Ukraine) The Verkhovna Rada did not back the idea of holding a referendum on decentralization on May 25. The decision resulted from a closed-door session. "It needs to be held, but not during a war…. a referendum cannot be held at a gunpoint," parliamentarian Oleksandr Bryhynets wrote on Facebook.
  • (Interfax Ukraine) The Verkhovna Rada will hold the first vote on a bill amending the Ukrainian constitution in May, and the bill should be adopted by October or November, Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroisman told journalists.

Diplomacy News

  • Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov ruled out holding fresh talks in Geneva to defuse the crisis, unless pro-Russian opposition groups are involved.
  • The Russian Foreign Ministry released its White Book on Violations of Human Rights and Rule of Law in Ukraine. The report was presented to President Putin and alleged “widespread and gross violations of human rights and freedoms on the part of the self-proclaimed government and its supporters.”
  • The Foreign Ministers of Ukraine and Russia were scheduled to meet in Vienna for a "working dinner" after a Council of Europe committee meeting on May 6.
  • (ITAR-TASS) Ukraine is willing to hold another round of Geneva talks “if Russia is ready to support elections and stop the threat,” said Ukrainian FM Andrei Deshchytsa.
  • (ITAR-TASS) European Council President Herman Van Rompuy ruled out military intervention in Ukraine, stating that the EU should "use other tools" to help resolve the crisis.
  • White House spokesman Jay Carney stated that the U.S. is prepared to escalate sanctions if necessary. “We have a wide range of tools available to us up to and including sectoral sanctions.  And should Russia take actions that we and our partners decide or view as meriting further escalation costs on Russia, then that's what we will do.  We will impose those costs.”
  • Foreign Minister Lavrov urged national dialogue in Ukraine as foreign ministers met in Vienna, Austria, in the latest international effort to rein in the spiraling crisis. Lavrov called on Kiev’s interim authorities to listen to opposition activists who want greater autonomy in Ukraine's south and east.

Governance News  

  • Foreign Minister Lavrov said it would be "unusual" to hold a presidential election in Ukraine while the army was being deployed against Ukrainians.
  • Ukrainian President Turchynov dismissed the Odessa governor in response to the fire and violence that took place there.
  • (RIA Novosti) The Party of Regions, Ukraine’s ruling party under ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, warned Kiev’s current authorities that Ukraine’s disintegration is becoming irreversible. The party, which draws most of its electoral support from rebel eastern and southeastern regions, laid the blame for mounting tensions on the “coup-imposed” government.