Update on the situation in Ukraine. 18 April
Pro-Russian militants in the Eastern regions of the country continue their attempts to seize buildings, keep people captured and detained and announce a hunt on Ukrainian-speakers. Besides, according to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), unidentified people and arms are being transported by sea from the Crimea to Zaporizhzha Region.
The SBU says there might be Russian soldiers, diversionist, militants and weapons on board those boats. Despite these facts, Ukrainian law enforcements announced temporary cancellation of an active phase of the anti-terrorism operation in the Eastern regions of the country “due to the Easter and the Geneva agreements”, to cause mixed attitude towards such news from a great part of the Ukrainian society.
Another way Russia shows a very peculiar understanding of “the Geneva agreements” is its ultimatum about the Pravyi Sektor (Right Sector) and other groups that were involved in events at Maidan in February 2014. Russia keep calling those Ukrainian organisations “pro-fascist” and insist the events were nothing but “February coup-d’état”. A Russian diversionist who acts under a nick-name Romashka (“Camomile”) told Ukrainian soldiers he tried to persuade to go over to Russia that he had participated in a sniper group who had acted at Maidan in Kyiv.
A meeting for territorial integrity of Ukraine took place in Lugansk; no incidents are reported.
A meeting in Slov’yansk that demanded pro-Russian militants to free the town was dispersed by the ones people protested against. Armed people attacked the meeting participants. Later, the leader of local separatists appealed to local inhabitants with a request to inform him about “any suspicious people”, especially those who speak Ukrainian. Pro-Ukrainian political parties, like Udar, Svoboda or Bat’kivshchyna, are forbidden in the town.
The Ukrainian authorities prepared a draft law on amnesty for those separatists, who lay down arms and free the seized buildings voluntarily. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry plans to involve representatives of the OSCE monitoring mission to the process of re-assignation of the seized administrative buildings.
Ukrainian law enforcements investigate several cases on kidnapping of people by pro-Russian militants. For instance, the police in Horlivka look for Volodymir Rybak, a member of the City Council. He was kidnapped on 17 April; a car stopped next to Mr. Rybak and unknown people forced him to get to the car and left. His mobile phone is switched off.
Another criminal investigation looks into a case of kidnapping of two Ukrainian officers in Krasnyi Liman, Dnipropetrovsk Region, on 14 April. After they were captured armed people demanded a local airborne troops brigade to lay down their arms in return for two of its officers.
17 out of 77 people, who were detained for an attack on a Ukrainian military base in Mariupol on 16 April, had been previously convicted of crimes; 90% of the detained attackers have a serious record of administrative offence, such as hooliganism or drunk driving. Two of the attackers were killed during the assault; one of them was previously convicted in Russia, the other had four items of weapons on him. This shows what kinds of people are involved in pro-Russian attacks in Ukraine.
Ukrainian Red Cross announced its property worth of 5 million US dollars was in fact seized in the Crimea. Russian Red Cross organised a new organisational branch in the Crimea and seized the property, buildings, office supplies and humanitarian aid that belongs to the Ukrainian Red Cross.
The Court of Appeals in Kharkiv Region changed the measure of restraint to 16 activists of Anti-Maidan who had been detained during a police operation at the building of the regional administration that had been occupied by pro-Russian activists. 16 of them will stay under a house arrest. 41 others are still kept in pre-trial detention.
In general, the Ukrainian law enforcement services investigate 223 criminal cases connected to threats to territorial integrity of the country. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, six cases are connected to the facts of failure to act by the authorities of law enforcement officers in Donetsk Region; another criminal case is against the commander of Patrol Battalion of the police in Horlivka who went over to pro-Russian militants.
As of 18 April, 13,500 Russian citizens were refused entry to Ukraine by border guards. Most of them are men aged between 20 and 50. 162 of them are found to be involved in “extremist activities”, 98 are refused entry to Ukraine for long terms.
The update is prepared by Euromaidan SOS initiative and the Civic Solidarity Platform