EWI offers a daily situation report on Ukraine.
Internal Security News
- At least 21 people died in clashes between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol (Donetsk), according to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. Reports indicated that the police station was burnt to the ground, and a Ukrainian brigade commander was killed by a pro-Russian sniper. The police chief of Mariupol was abducted by militants.
- More than 100 armed separatists surrounded the residence of government troops in Donetsk and fired some shots at the building, which holds 120 soldiers.
- (ITAR-TASS) Russian media quoted the leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic as claiming Ukrainian troops “opened fire on civilians” in Mariupol.
- Chemical factories Stirol and Azot, based in Ukraine’s two eastern oblasts, where Kremlin-backed separatist violence is high, said that they would temporarily suspend production until the situatlon settles down.
International Observation News
- (ITAR-TASS) The Russian Foreign Ministry alleged that Kiev has essentially jeopardized the OSCE efforts to launch an inclusive dialogue in Ukraine.
- Russian President Putin made his first visit to Crimea since the region’s annexation, arriving to take part in Victory Day celebrations. Putin hailed the return of Crimea to Russia as the restoration of "historic justice". The government in Kiev called the visit a “gross violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.”
- Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin took part in ceremonies in Moldova's breakaway region of Transdniestr to mark the anniversary of the end of World War II. Rogozin, the Russian president's special representative for Transdniestr, said that Russia would do everything possible to guarantee the security of the self-declared republic.
- (ITAR-TASS) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had a telephone call in which Lavrov urged the U.S. to influence Kiev authorities by encouraging them to de-escalate the situation and create conditions for direct and equal dialogue with representatives of the southeastern regions.
- (RIA Novosti) Putin’s visit was met with criticism from world leaders, including the White Hosue and NATO Secretary General Rasmussen, who called it "inappropriate," adding: "we consider the Russian annexation of Crimea to be illegal, illegitimate and we don't recognize it."
- (Interfax Ukraine) EU foreign ministers will consider the issue of expanding criteria for a second phase of sanctions against those who are involved in confiscating Ukrainian property in Crimea, a high-ranking European diplomat said.
- French President Francois Hollande arrived in Germany for two days of talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, during which the Ukraine crisis will figure prominently.
- (ITAR-TASS) A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center concluded that 83% of Russian citizens are confident that President Putin is doing the right thing in world affairs.
- Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said he suspects Moscow is planning some form of "skirmish" to discredit Kiev when the country celebrates Victory Day, based on Putin’s remarks.
- (Interfax Ukraine) President Turchynov and PM Yatsenyuk issued a joint statement announcing that Ukrainian leadership is initiating all-Ukrainian national unity roundtables with the participation of political forces from all regions, as well as public and scientific circles.
- (ITAR-TASS) The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office opened a case against two deputies of the Verkhovna Rada under suspicion of "rigged vote counting" during the plenary session of Parliament on January 16.
- (ITAR-TASS) The U.S. expressed its support for the Ukrainian national unity roundtable initiative.
- The governor appointed by the "Donetsk People's Republic," Denis Pushilin, predicted a "good result" for the May 11 secession referendum.