Commentary | April 09, 2014

Updates on the Crisis in Ukraine - April 9, 2014

EWI offers a daily situation report on Ukraine.

Recent Developments: 

  • President Putin called on Gazprom to hold off on demanding an up-front payment from Ukraine for gas supplies.

Internal Security News:

  • The Russian Foreign Ministry accused Right Sector members and U.S. citizens, specifically Greystone agents, of joining Ukrainian troops disguised as soldiers. Acting interim Ukrainian presidential chief of staff Sergei Pashinsky denied Russia’s allegations. 
     
  • The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that Ukraine and the U.S. have "no reason for concern" over the presence of Russian troops near the border.
     
  • Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov vowed to end Eastern Ukraine’s separatist crisis within 48 hours, either by force or through negotiations.
     
  • Separatists released 56 people from the Lugansk security services building, but remain in control of the building.
  • A fistfight broke out in Ukrainian Parliament after a communist leader accused nationalists of playing into the hands of Russia by adopting extreme tactics early on in the Ukrainian crisis.

Diplomacy News:

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testified in front of the U.S. Senate, stating that pro-Russian demonstrations in Kharkiv and Donetsk were contrived and a pretext for military intervention. Kerry called Russian involvement in Ukraine “clear and unmistakable.” “The U.S. and its allies “will not hesitate to use 21st century tools to hold Russia accountable for 19th century behavior. he said. Watch Secretary Kerry’s full statement.  
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton discussed possible international efforts to find a solution to the Ukraine crisis, according to a Russian Foreign Ministry statement.
     
  • Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov held a press conference, telling the U.S. to “stop laying the blame at our door.” The situation in Ukraine will not be stable unless Kiev stops ignoring interests of Russian-speaking citizens, Lavrov said. He added that southern and eastern Ukraine should be engaged in multilateral consultations about a potential settlement.
     
  • UK Foreign Minister William Hague issued statement saying that he is “gravely concerned” over a situation that “bears all the hallmarks of a Russian strategy to destabilize Ukraine.”
  • The U.S. Navy warship USS Donald Cook is scheduled to enter the Black Sea no later than Thursday as part of the latest U.S. military effort to demonstrate support for Eastern European allies concerned over Russia's troop buildup. The Donald Cook will join the USS Truxtun, which is already conducting “extended drills” with Romania and Bulgaria.
  • U.S. and Russia suspended a bilateral nuclear safety program. All joint works in the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (also known as the updated Nunn-Lugar program), have been suspended, Moscow's Kommersant newspaper quoted U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) representative Anne Harrington as saying.
     
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Russia is not contributing to de-escalation. She indicates willingness to engage in talks with Russia but asserts that “Ukraine must decide its own future.” 
     
  • Catherine Ashton, John Kerry, Sergei Lavrov, and Ukrainian FM Andriy Deshchytsia are scheduled to meet next week at an unspecified European location.
     
  • The EU announced creation of a Brussels-based Support Group for Ukraine, which will provide structure and guidance for the EC’s Ukraine work. It will also help to mobilize member states' expertise, and will further enhance coordination with other donors and international financial institutions.

International Monitoring News:

  • OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović expressed her concern about the deteriorating media freedom situation in eastern Ukraine, especially regarding journalists’ safety. Her statement followed protestors’ attacks on television stations in Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Lugansk on April 7. 
     
  • The Russian Foreign Ministry criticized OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Astrid Thors for “one-sided” comments in which she expressed concern for Crimean Tatars and Crimea’s Ukrainian community.
     
  • The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement urging the U.S. and the other OSCE member-states not to use the organization for fanning tensions over Ukraine.