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Ukraine Updates: Escalation in the East

After the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation, concerns now grow over separatist movements and Russian influence in the Eastern parts of Ukraine. The weekend of April 12-13 2014 saw several cities in the east of Ukraine come under control of well-armed separatists. Acting president Oleksandr Turchynov announced that in response to the provocations, a “full-scale anti-terrorism operation” will be underway. Stay with New Eastern Europe for continuing updates as the situation unfolds.

April 14, 2014 - New Eastern Europe - Articles and Commentary

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Photo by Shutterstock: Donetsk Ukraine

Ukraine Resumes “Anti-terrorist operation”; Russia Prepares Invasion?

Last updated April 25th 2014, 11.50 CET

– Serhiy Pashynskyi, head of the presidential administration, stated on April 25th that: “In the case that Russian soldiers will cross the Ukrainian border, either in Donetsk oblast or anywhere else, they will be treated as an invading force and will be liquidated. We will not accept any false claims about humanitarian actions.” 

– “The aggressive actions of Russia against Ukraine shows that Moscow wants to spark a third world war,” said Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenuk, on Friday.

– There are reports of massive explosion at Kramatorsk airport

 – Kyiv Post: Senior government official cites Russian activity on Ukraine’s border. “The risk of Russian troops crossing the border has increased dramatically,” reports the Kyiv Post. 

– At least five separatists killed during “anit-terror operations” by Ukrainian military in Sloviansk. Operations remain ongoing.

– Ukrainian BTR on the road to Sloviansk. Photo by NEE contributor Paweł Pieniążek: 

– Arsen Avakov, minister of the interior, has announced that the city administration building in Mariupol has been cleared of occupiers and back under control of the Ukrainian government

– Reports from Artemivsk state that early morning military operations were taking place; shots and explosions were reported by local residents via social media.

Lavrov: “Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation”

– Sergey Lavrov in an interview with RT stated that Russia is prepared to defend its interests: “If we are attacked, we would certainly respond. If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia for example, I do not see any other way but to respond in full accordance with international law. Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation,” Lavrov said.

April 22nd 2014 

 

– Oleksandr Turchynov, Ukraine’s acting president, has called for a renewal “anti-terrorist operations” against pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Turchynov cites the death of two men, including Volodymyr Rybak, member of the Horlivka Town Council.

– United States Vice President Joe Biden is on a visit to Kyiv. Biden met with leaders from Ukraine’s parliament as well as candidates in the upcoming May 25th presidential election.

  

April 18th 2014 

 

Ukraine, Russia, USA, and EU agree on terms during the April 17th Geneva dialogue:

– All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-Semitism.

– All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated.

– Amnesty will be granted to protesters and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes.

– It was agreed that an OSCE Special Monitoring Mission should play a leading role in assisting Ukrainian authorities and local communities in the immediate implementation of these de-escalation measures wherever they are needed most, beginning in the coming days. The U.S., E.U. and Russia commit to support this mission, including by providing monitors.

– The announced constitutional process will be inclusive, transparent and accountable. It will include the immediate establishment of a broad national dialogue, with outreach to all of Ukraine’s regions and political constituencies, and allow for the consideration of public comments and proposed amendments.

April 17th 2014 

– President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, gives a live Q&A session with the media. Putin acknowledged that there are no Russian troops in eastern Ukraine.

Diplomats from the European Union, United States, Ukraine and Russia will meet today in Geneva to discuss the onging crisis in Ukraine. 

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– At least six Ukrainian personnel carriers are blocked by pro-Russian activists in Sloviansk. 

– In the night of April 16th, unidentified assailants attacked a Ukrainian military battalion in Mariupol. Their attack was repelled by Ukrainian forces. Ukrainian Ministry of Interior reports that three people from the assailants side were killed and 13 people are injured.

April 15th 2014 

– Ukrainian acting president Oleksandr Turchynov asserts that the airport at Kramatorsk is now back in government hands. Reports that military forces are clashing with separatists in Sloviansk remain unconfirmed.

– Ukrainian forces are moving towards east in anticipation of the “anti-terrorist” campaign announced by Acting President Turchynov.

– Danylo Lubkivsky, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, has called escalation in the east of Ukraine “full-scale war” on the side of the Russians.

– Demonstrators in Kyiv protest in front of the parliament building, demanding decisive action against separatists in the east of the country.

April 14th 2014

– Acting President Turchynov has called for a United Nations peacekeeping mission to help stabalise the situation in the east of Ukraine. 

Where the unrest is happening?

– The major eastern Ukrainian cities which have at least one public building under pro-Russian separatist control include: Donetsk, Horlivka, Luhansk, Kharkhiv, Kramatorsk, Mariupol, Slaviansk and Yenakiieve.

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– Acting President Turchynov has signalled the possibility for including a referendum about the unity of Ukraine during the May 25th presidential election, stating “I am convinced that the majority of Ukrainians would support a whole, undivided and democratic Ukrainian state.”

– Pro-Russian separatist clash with police in Horlivka, in eastern Ukriane, capturing and occupying the police station.

– In an interview with Polish press, Polish minister of interior, Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, responds to inquiries about the Polish border and security. He assured the situation on the border with Ukraine is stable and the government is prepared for different scenarios. “Ukraine is our neighbour and there exists a real threat. But it is important to remember that Poland is not a side in this conflict. This is a conflict between Russia and Ukraine,” Sienkiewicz said. 

– Speaking to Hromadske.tv, Andriy Parubiy, head of Ukraine’s office of national security and defence, has said that Ukraine has detained agents of Russia’s GRU (main intelligence directorate). He noted that among those detained are Ukrainian citizens who were “sleeper agents” activated to participate in the attacks in the east of the country. 

– Turchynov’s ultimatum has passed for pro-Russian separatists to disband. The ultimatum was not heeded.

– Ukraine’s interim president, Oleksandr Turchynov, announced an ultimatum to the pro-Russian separatists – if they put down their weapons they will not be punished. If not, there will be a response, which may include Ukraine’s military. The  ultimatum was set for 8.00 AM Ukraine time (7.00 CET).

– The events unfolding in Eastern Ukraine have been labelled by Turchynov as a “war which is being carried out against Ukraine by the Russian Federation.”

– “We will not allow a repeat of the Crimea situation in eastern Ukraine,” Acting president Turchynov said Sunday April 13th.

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