Ukraine Crisis Updates – April 14, 2014

Commentary | April 14, 2014

EWI offers a daily situation report on Ukraine.

Internal Security News:

Over the weekend, there appeared to be a coordinated outbreak of violence throughout Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast region:

  • Kiev is mobilizing troops in eastern Ukraine after a series of coordinated attacks by pro-Russian separatists.
  • Ukrainian forces repelled an attack on the Donetsk prosecutor general’s office, and an attack on the Shakhtarsk police station.
  • Armed pro-Russian protesters seized the police station in the district center of Chervony Lyman. The attack was repelled within hours.
  • Armed pro-Russian protesters seized government buildings in Sloviansk. Mobile communications towers were destroyed, says Interior Minster Arsen Avakov.
  • Later in the day, gunmen seized the interior ministry branch in Donetsk.
  • A shootout took place near the Kramatorsk police department. Attackers were armed with Russian-made AK 100 submachine guns that are only used by Russian military forces, said Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.
  • Protesters seized the city council building in Mariupol.
  • Ukraine's acting President Turchynov called an emergency meeting of Kyiv's national security council after pro-Russian separatists seized control of government buildings in the eastern city of Slovyansk. Separately, Turchynov stated that “Ukraine does not object to the holding of joint anti-terrorist operations with peacekeeping forces of the UN in the East of our state.”
  • At least three people were killed in Donetsk region clashes, including a Ukrainian security services officer killed in Sloviansk. According to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, five others were wounded.
  • (ITAR-TASS) Donetsk’s regional police chief Konstantin Pozhidayev resigned “in order to prevent conflict escalation and possible bloodshed” after approximately 1,000 protestors gathered at the MDV main department building calling for his resignation.
  • City administration buildings in the towns of Yenakievo and Makiyievka were held by protesters.
  • A Ukrainian government deadline for pro-Russian activists to lay down their arms and leave occupied buildings passed on Monday with no sign of adherence in eastern cities of Donetsk or Slaviansk. At present, protesters are occupying buildings in Donetsk, Sloviansk, Makiyievka, Mariupol, Kharkov, Kramatorsk, and Yenakievo.
  • Pro-Russian protesters forced police out of a building in Horlivka, according to eyewitness reports provided to CNN.
  • Roughly two dozen pro-federalization protesters seized the Zhdanovka city council building in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Constitutional Reform News:

  • Ukrainian PM Yatsenyuk visited the country’s southeastern area, promising that constitutional reform will satisfy the regions’ call for more power.

International Observation News:

  • The UN Security Council held an urgent, previously unscheduled meeting to discuss the worsening Ukraine situation, with members trading strong condemnations and accusations. Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, UN assistant secretary-general for political affairs, said that Ukraine "teeters on the brink.”
  • (ITAR-TASS) Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling on the UN and OSCE to address the situation in Ukraine: “We are demanding that the ‘Maidan’ protesters who overthrew Ukraine’s legitimate president immediately stop a war against their own people and meet all their commitments under the February 21 agreement.”
  • OSCE monitors visited Slavyansk, the besieged eastern Ukrainian city. The OSCE special monitoring mission said that the situation in Ukraine’s eastern regions is tense. OSCE experts also said that the situation remained tense in Kharkiv and Luhansk, where several thousand pro-Russian activists were seen.

Diplomacy News:

  • (RIA Novosti) Russian FM Sergei Lavrov stated that Russia considers any peacekeeper deployment to Ukraine an unnecessary measure that should not be brought up in the UN Security Council.
  • (ITAR-TASS) The Russian Foreign Ministry expects to receive the U.S. reply to a proposed agenda for a four-party meeting on Ukraine by April 14, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.
  • At the UN Security Council’s emergency meeting on Ukraine, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power stated that Russia is behind Ukraine’s unrest. She argued that Moscow was the only entity able to organize the instability and unrest occurring in the east. Power cited “professional forces, carrying weapons–Russian-made weapons, as it happens–carrying out sophisticated, complicated military operations across a substantial number of eastern Ukrainian cities.”
  • The U.S. State Department said that “Russia continues to spin a false and dangerous narrative to justify its illegal actions in Ukraine. The Russian propaganda machine continues to promote hate speech and incite violence by creating a false threat in Ukraine that does not exist.”
  • (ITAR-TASS) Belarus President Lukashenko said federalization will lead to the breakup of Ukraine.
  • If Kiev fulfils its threat to use force against southeastern Ukrainians, it will undermine the prospect of a four-sided meeting in Geneva, as well as other cooperation on the Ukrainian crisis, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov told his US counterpart.
  • Ukraine's foreign ministry said that it had proof Russian forces had been behind the "separatist operation," and that it would present its evidence at a Geneva meeting later this week.
  • Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans expressed confidence that the EU must be ready to switch to the third economic phase of sanctions if the situation in Ukraine does not change.
  • German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel warned of an escalation of the Ukrainian crisis, saying "Russia was clearly prepared to allow tanks to roll across European borders."
  • The EU is still ready to help Ukraine–through financial assistance, technical assistance and helping to transform state institutions–said Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Jan Tombinski.