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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ukraine: Crimean crisis continues as Russia refuses to de-escalate the situation

Ukrainian military in Crimea
(Image: CBC)
After Russian backed illegitimate and unrecognized by the international community referendum in Crimea and Putin’s decree about Crimea’s annexation to Russian Federation situation on the Peninsula remains tense, as Russian troops remain in Crimea and continue their attacks and provocations against Ukrainian soldiers, and additional troops and technique is being deployed along the border with Ukraine.

Crimean pro-Russian puppet government refuses to recognize authority of Kyiv prepares for the joining of Russia on all the levels and refuses to hold any talks with Ukrainian government. Ukrainian vice Prime Minister Mr. Yarema and Minister of Defense Mr. Tenyukh have arrived today in Crimea for the talks and resolving the crisis, but Crimean authorities backed by Russian military and pro-Russian local militia didn’t allow them to enter Crimea, claiming they are in the black lists of Crimea.

Official Kyiv reacted on the latest developments in Crimea with the extraordinary sessions of Parliament, National Security and Defense Council and Cabinet of Ministers. Parliament has voted for several draft laws, including the law about the status of occupied territories. National Security and Defense Council, headed by Andriy Parubiy, has taken several important measures and gave the orders to Ukrainian government regarding security and defense measures due to the military aggression of Russia and annexation of Ukrainian territories.

Ukrainian military is in state of alert
(Image: Global Post)
Thus, National Security and Defense Council has ordered Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense, SBU (Special services of Ukraine and intelligence) to lead all the troops of Ukrainian Armed Forces embattled, along with the ongoing trainings of the recently formed National Guard, to increase security measures on the borders and at nuclear facilities and other important and potentially vulnerable strategic objects and to start evacuation of Ukrainian citizens, soldiers and their weapons from Crimea. Cabinet of Ministers has already approved the plan of evacuation and took decisions regarding other orders of Mr. Parubiy.

Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent a protest note to the Russian side condemning Russian military aggression and illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories and demanded an immediate withdrawal of the military forces and start of the talks in the presence of the international organizations and observers. Ukrainian Ambassador was summoned from Moscow.

In addition to that, Ukrainian interim government has addressed UN to recognize Crimea demilitarized zone and to support Ukraine. Ukraine has also officially addressed to the two countries-guarantors of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine according to the 1994 Budapest Treaty, USA and Great Britain, to support Ukraine and to start joint military training on the territory of Ukraine.

Ukrainian Minister of Justice Pavlo Petrenko stated that Ukraine has also started preparation of the economic measures due to the financial losses caused by Russian invasion.
Among the other important decisions taken by Ukrainian government and National Security and Defense Council is also a decision, that Ukraine officially quits CIS. Ukraine hasn’t ratified the Statute of CIS, thus, it has an observer’s status in the organization, and it started the procedures af quitting it.

Andriy Parubiy, Secretary General of National
Security and Defense Council
(Image: Kyiv Post)
In addition to that Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs starts its work on visa regime and imposing entry visas for Russian citizens. The task for the nearest future includes forming the mechanism allowing Russians to enter Ukraine only with the international passports, and the next stage should be visa-regime, stated Ukrainian government.

Though the situation in Crimea remains tense and dangerous threatening not only the region, but the entire Ukraine and the whole Eastern European region as well. Numerous attacks, kidnappings, assaults, human rights violations and abuses continue to happen in Crimea, and Russian military and pro-Russian militia are blocking and attacking the bases of Ukrainian soldiers and still holds several people as hostages. Ukrainian acting President Oleksandr Turchinov has issued an ultimatum to the Crimean authorities on Wednesday, demanding to immediately stop the provocations and to unconditionally release all the hostages. In case it won’t be done, Ukrainian government will take all the “adequate measures”, including “technical and technological”, stated Mr. Turchinov. The talks have reportedly started, and Mr. Turchinov claimed that Ukrainian hostages might be released this night.
International reaction remains harsh, as none of the civilized countries supported Putin’s policies in Ukraine and refuses to recognize the referendum and annexation of Crimea. Germany has stopped its military cooperation with Russia, EU is preparing the package of the new harsher sanctions.
UN Security Council has held its 8th emergency meeting over the Crimean crisis and situation in Ukraine on Wednesday, 19 March. Russian representative Mr. Churkin has delivered false information in his statement again, claiming that Ukrainian soldier wasn’t killed by Russian military as there was no attack. He also accused Ukrainian current government of being “ultra-right and fascist” and claimed that Western countries don’t pay attention to it. Russia seems to become totally isolated amid n increasing international pressure.

US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki has stated that US knows that Russia has started the shooting in Crimea, and its recent actions and annexation of Crimea will have serious consequences. Representative of US in UN Samantha Power called on UN not to ;eave Crimean annexation by Russia without consequences, as it is unacceptable politically, judiciary, diplomatically and historically, it destabilizes situation in the region and in the whole world and is extremely dangerous threatening the world’s order and security.

NATO Head Anders Fogh Rasmussen has declared on Wednesday, that Russia destabilizes situation in the whole Eastern European region, and it causes the most serious crisis since the Cold War. NATO has stopped its cooperation with Russia, but it leaves the doors of the talks opened as there is still hope for the peaceful and diplomatic resolving the crisis. Mr. Rasmussen has also mentioned in his statement several “frozen conflicts” including South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Karabakh, Transnistria.

Jan Tombinski, EU Ambassador
(Image: Kyiv Post)
UN General Secretary Ban KiMoon is deeply concerned over the policies of Russian in Crimea and condemned its annexation of the territories of Ukraine. Ban Ki-Moon will visit Moscow and Kyiv with the visits in order to discuss the situation in Ukraine and to find the ways to resolve the deepening crisis. Moscow visit is planned for 20 March, and on 21 and 22 March Ban Ki-Moon will visit Ukraine and meet Ukrainian government.

EU Ambassador Jan Tombinski has declared that the situation is extremely tense, as Crimea could turn into one of the most dangerous regions in the world, as more and more Ukrainian and Crimean Tatars suffer from human rights’ violations and abuses, cases of kidnapping, torture and killing of people are increasing, journalists are being systematically attacked, and freedom of speech and information is violated. He also stated that negotiations are needed to resolve the crisis, and international observers of OSCE, UN, EU and EU Council should be granted entry to Crimea.