Updates and Analysis on Ukraine Crisis - April 8, 2014

News | April 08, 2014

EWI offers a daily situation report on Ukraine's unfolding crisis, featuring key developments and links to analytical pieces from foreign policy experts around the world.  

Key Developments

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday that Russia and the U.S. are discussing ways to de-escalate tensions over Ukraine. According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, "we are continuing to engage in a dialogue with Russia over moving down the road of diplomatic resolution.”

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the two countries have agreed to hold direct talks involving representatives from the U.S., Russia, the EU and Ukraine to search for a peaceful resolution to the crisis in the next 10 days.

Any further efforts to destabilize Ukraine will incur costs for Russia, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned in a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Kerry said that the U.S. is watching events in eastern Ukraine with "great concern," and noted that they "do not appear to be a spontaneous set of events.” Kerry urged Russia to "publicly disavow the activities of separatists, saboteurs and provocateurs," according to Psaki. 


Internal Security News:

  • Russian commentary suggests that unlike the case of Crimea, protests in other predominantly Russian areas of Ukraine aim to achieve a federal system in Ukraine.
  • According to Russian news agency ITAR-TASS, participants in a meeting in Kharkiv proclaimed an independent state named the Kharkov People's Republic. They stated that the decision would take effect after being approved by a regional referendum.
  • As the Ukrainian government moved to restore order in the cities of Kharkiv and Donestk, it threatened tougher measures against separatist agitators.  
  • Ukrainian special forces have been deployed to the region after authorities reported the capture of a Russian special forces officer involved in provocateur activities. The moves followed a declaration of independence or autonomy from a small group of demonstrators in Donetsk.
  • In Kharkiv, an occupied building that had been set on fire was cleared of protesters by authorities who said they did not use firearms in the operation. 
  • In Donetsk, authorities surrounded the occupied government building, but indicated that no effort would be made to storm the building. 


Constitutional Reform News:

  • At a meeting to review security plans for Eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk said that the proposal for federalism as part of constitutional reform is an attempt to destroy the country’s unity.  
  • Deputies of the Donetsk regional council proclaimed formation of an independent and sovereign Donetsk People’s Republic with an Act on State Sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic. Further, the regional council transformed itself into a Council (Soviet) of the Republic.


Diplomatic Interaction News:

  • The Russian Foreign Ministry reaffirmed its offer of international assistance to start a national dialogue between Ukraine’s political and regional forces, and stated its preparedness to take part in efforts alongside foreign partners. However, Russia also issued a statement warning Ukraine that any use of force in the east could provoke civil war.
  • Latvia followed Lithuania in banning Russian state television broadcasts about the Ukraine crisis, which they fear may threaten national security interests.
  • Canada expelled junior military attachés and warned Russia that it will face increasing sanctions if it does not change course. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird issued a statement condemning Russia's "provocative actions in Crimea and elsewhere." 
  • The leader of Moldova's pro-Moscow breakaway region, Transdniestr, urged the country's politicians to start discussions that would allow it to formally join Russia.
  • Russia did not attend a meeting on Ukraine held by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
  • The EU is close to freezing plans to complete the $50bn (£30bn) South Stream gas pipeline traveling from Russia through the Black Sea, the first serious EU action to punish the Kremlin for seizing Crimea. Key details emerged in a leaked briefing by the European Commission's chief, Jose Manuel Barroso, to Bulgarian politicians.
  • The European Space Agency will not follow NASA’s lead in breaking cooperation with Russian partners. 
  • G20 finance chiefs are expected to discuss financial aid to Ukraine at their meeting later this week, Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso said Tuesday.

Governance and Economy News: 

  • Russia's Ukrainian imports in the period from January to February 2014 decreased by 30.5 percent to $1.59 billion USD–compared to $2.289 billion a year ago–the RF Federal Customs Service (FCS) has reported.