Digest of events in Ukraine - April 7-8
Confrontation continues in the eastern regions of Ukraine with the number of victims and hostages rising. Journalists are among the main targets of aggression – as was the case in Crimea.
Information is emerging about mass arrests of Ukrainians in Russia. EuromaidanSOS recorded the story of one of the victims who was detained for alleged hooliganism and interrogated as a "terrorist of Maidan." The story can be read in full on the website of the group "Information Resistance".
Since the beginning of the year, 196 cases of attacks on journalists have been noted in Ukraine. The Institute of Mass Information notes that most of the cases of harassment of journalists from March 2014 took place in Crimea.
The regional control room of the Security Service of Ukraine, captured by pro-Russian activists on Monday has been relinquished. However, the regional administration building continues to be held by separatists. It is reported that they are armed with machine guns and grenade launchers. From a makeshift stage set on the steps of the regional administration, individuals announced the establishment of a "Donetsk republic" and its entry into Russia.
At the same time, the Committee of the Patriotic Forces of Donbass on behalf of the People said that the decision to establish a Donetsk republic should be annuled. Miners of Donbass also do not intend to support the pro-Russian activists. This was declared by the chairman of the Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine, Mykhailo Volynets. "The miners will not support the separatists. And for good reason. They are well informed about the fact that in Russia investment in the coal industry decreased by 40% last year", the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine quotes Volynets. According to him, in Russia there are no budget subsidies for the coal industry, and accordingly, it will not subsidize Ukrainian mines.
At about one o’clock in the afternoon on Monday, several hundred people sporting St. George ribbons and armed with sticks, attacked activists holding Ukrainian flags. Pro-Russian activists surrounded the "Euromaidan-ers" and began to drive them into separated, small groups and then attacked and beat them, throwing bottles and vials of green paint at people. Two explosions were reported. There is also a photo of a young man opening fire with a non-lethal gun. A group pro-Ukrainian activists detained the shooter and turned him over to the police, but he was immediately released by the members of "law enforcement".
On Tuesday in Kharkiv, an operation was carried to secure the release of the regional administration building. Among the 64 arrested for the seizure of the regional administration building in Kharkiv, none claimed to be Russians. According to the regional police Chief Anatoly Dmitriev, all detainees alleged that they are citizens of Ukraine. Their documents are currently being verified. They had being preliminarily charged with organizing mass unrest.
16 people were injured as a result of the events outside the Kharkiv regional administration building on Tuesday night, including two policemen. There were a total of 48 victims from the various clashes in the city center.
On Tuesday in Kharkiv, journalists picketed, demanding that the media be allowed to work without hindrance. More than 30 employees of central and local media outlets gathered at Freedom Square with Ukrainian national flags and placards reading: "Fear not!", "Police, work", "All is not fractured." During the demonstrations, the Kharkov journalists were repeatedly attacked, had their equipment smashed and sustained injuries. In addition, on Monday, about 50 young, athletic people in masks and armed with bats invaded the ATN television company. They smashed windows, demanded to be broadcast live and destroyed hardware. Police arrived, but remained inactive.
Pro-Russian activists proclaimed a "People's Republic of Kharkiv" and "elected" their own authorized government institutions. Police removed the pro-Russian activists from the Kharkiv Regional Administration building. Those inside the building threw "Molotov cocktails", but the fire was extinguished.
An activist of “Antimaidan”, Igor Kromskoy (nicknamed "Topaz"), cut his electronic bracelet and fled from house arrest, and, according to eyewitnesses, was present on Monday afternoon during the seizure of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration building by pro-Russian activists. As previously reported, Kromskoy was arrested on March 28 under criminal charges of participating in the open assault of the Kharkiv Regional Administration on March 1. He is suspected of organizing riots.
According to a Euromaidan SOS mobile group, a meeting of 5,000 separatists was held near the building of the Security Service of Ukraine in Lugansk. "They listened to Russian patriotic songs. Groups of 6-7 men go around the city – they are obviously separatist patrols. There are witnesses that the men in these groups were surprised by the look of Ukrainian money when they were in a store. It is suspected that most of them are ‘newcomers’."\
On Tuesday it was reported that about 60 people are being held hostage in the Security Services building in Lugansk, captured by separatists.
Participants in a rally near the building attacked journalists of NTN and TRK "Ukraine", aggressively demanding that they remove the camera. Pro-Russian activists react with aggression to any photo or video recording systems. At the same time, the police launched an investigation into an incident with the operator of the channel "LOT", which suffered an injury during a rally in front of the local Security Service.
Police in the Lugansk region opened a criminal case regarding the occupation of the regional Security Services building and the armory room. Separatists who seized it began to erect barricades near the building. At the same time, information about the occupation of the local office of the National Bank has not been confirmed.
On the border of Ukraine, Russian citizen Roman Bannikh was detained. According to the Security Services, he tried to enter Ukraine for "direct coordination of secessionist acts in Lugansk." Over the course of one day, almost 200 Russian citizens "who could participate in extremist activity" were denied entry into Ukraine.
Pro-Russian activists tried to break through police lines and capture the regional administration building. At least 15 people were injured in clashes between Euromaidan supporters and anti-Maidan activists armed with stun grenades and firecrackers.
Local Euromaidan activists detained three unknown people carrying the black-yellow-white flag of imperial Russia, non-lethal “traumatic” guns, gas cans, chains and sticks. The detainees were handed over to the local police.
One of the activists missing in Crimea has been found - Peter Abroskin. His phone and money had been stolen, so he had not been able to inform his family about his whereabouts. Four people remain missing: Alexey Potapov, Ivan Bondarets, Valery Vashuk, Vasily Chernish.
As of the 7th of April, 2,068 servicemen and members of their families arrived in "mainland" Ukraine from Crimea.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not rule out that "the Russian side, having placed under military occupation and annexation a part of the sovereign territory of Ukraine, began the practice of extrajudicial executions in Crimea in relation to Ukrainian soldiers who remained loyal to the military oath and refused to go to the Russian side."
This statement was made in reaction to the murder of a Ukrainian officer, noted yesterday in the Crimea. Colleagues of slain General Stanislav Karachevsky described how the shooting started.
The newspaper Black Sea News, moved from Yalta to Kiev. According to its editor, Andrei Klimenko, "continuing to work under the occupation was impossible for us from all points of view."
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is set to condemn Russia's actions with regard to Ukraine and support its integrity and unity. This is stated in a draft resolution entitled "Recent Developments in Ukraine: a threat to the functioning of democratic institutions", which was prepared by the Monitoring Committee and will be submitted to the plenary session of the Assembly on Wednesday.
"The Assembly strongly condemns the Russian military aggression and the subsequent annexation of Crimea, which is a clear violation of international law, including the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of the OSCE and the basic rules Council of Europe", the document says.
Hearings on Ukraine will be held by PACE on April 9 at 15:30. On this occasion, at 12:00pm on Wednesday, Ukrainians staged demonstrations near the building of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. "The demonstration is for peace in Ukraine and against the aggression of the Kremlin, annexation of Crimea and Russia’s open intervention in the internal affairs of Ukraine", - the organizers said in a statement.
The EU will not introduce preferences for unilateral reduction or elimination of customs duties on Ukrainian products for goods produced in Crimea. The Government Plenipotentiary for European Integration, Valeriy Piatnitski, told reporters. "In connection with the occupation of Crimea, the issuance of certificates of origin from the territory of Crimea or veterinary permits, to date is almost impossible. The European Union will not apply autonomous preferences for goods that will be produced from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea ", the UNIAN quoted Pyatnitskiy.
The Alliance closed access to its headquarters for all employees of Russia's mission to NATO, except for the ambassador, his deputy and two assistants. The new rules provide that the members of the mission should announce in advance their intention to visit the headquarters. They must register and the visit will be accompanied by a staff member of NATO. "It still provides Russian diplomats access to the headquarters of NATO which was never granted to any of the Russian Ministry or agency employees of NATO working in Moscow", - the report says.
This update is prepared by EuromaidanSOS initiative and the Civic Solidarity Platform