Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine – Information received as of 15 April 2014 24:00
The situation in Western and Central Ukraine (Kyiv, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi) remained calm and stable with a routine police presence. Teams judged the situation in Kharkiv, Odessa and Kherson to be calmer, but the situation remained tense in the Dnepropetrovsk region, where roadblocks were being built to protect the region from groups opposed to the Kyiv government. In Luhansk and Donetsk the situation was cause for serious concern due to the ongoing occupation of some administrative buildings and capture of other strategic locations by armed individuals.
In Kharkiv, police presence was notably reduced in comparison to previous days.
The situation in Luhansk around the state security service (SBU) building remained unchanged. Representatives of the local population had previously expressed concerns to the Team that Ukraine’s signing of an Association Agreement with the European Union and the current political instability would have a negative impact on businesses and the labour market in the region. According to an interlocutor representing the “Euromaidan” movement, the occupiers of the SBU building, as well as the local police, were controlled by “local elites”, and people occupying the building came mostly from Stakhanov and Alchevsk– towns in the Luhansk district.
The Donetsk Team continued to observe the situation in the district. “Donetsk Republic” flags were seen flying over town council buildings in Snizhne, Druzhkivka and Kramatorsk. The Team also noted an increased presence of roadblocks and checkpoints, some of which were under construction. The roadblocks encountered by the team, e.g. in the vicinity of Horlivka and Drushkivka, were manned by dozens of unarmed individuals, including some women.
In Kramatorsk, the Team observed barricades in front of the police station and saw around 100people inside, mostly civilians, all unmasked and unarmed. One local policeman interviewed by the Team claimed that the police were maintaining order, but he refused to confirm his loyalty to the Kyiv government. According to an interlocutor from Horlivka, the town’s residents had removed their mayor from office on 14 April, because of his pro-Kyiv inclination, and around half of the local administration staff had been afraid to resume work, but the local administration was still providing some basic services.
The Team also visited a checkpoint on the Ukrainian-Russian border at Marynivka. Large concrete barriers were in place as well as sandbags. The level of border traffic appeared to be minimal. The Team also observed around 15 border guards armed with automatic weapons and flak jackets.
The situation in Dnepropetrovsk was generally calm and quiet. The Team confirmed the existence and location of a roadblock on the highway from Dnepropetrovsk to Zaporizhzhia, approximately seven kilometres from the city sign in the northbound lane. According to the Team’s interlocutors, 27 roadblocks had been established around the city, and a total of100 were planned. The roadblock visited by the Team was manned by five civilians carrying sticks. Ten metres to the south of the roadblock were two police cars and four officers stopping traffic. An adviser to the regional administration informed the Team that roadblocks had also been established along the regional administrative border with eastern districts.
The Team in Kherson observed the daily protest against the Kyiv government in Mykolaiv, near Kherson, numbering around 100 protesters. Some protesters were brandishing Russian imperial flags (yellow, white and black), while one protester held a red Communist flag. Overall, the event was very calm and disciplined. The police also seemed calm and of lower rank than observed during previous demonstrations.
The Lviv Team was told by Right Sector activists that they had begun recruiting for their paramilitary structure on 14 April. They said that approximately 100 paramilitaries had already been deployed to Donetsk region and were being trained in the eastern part of the country. One of the paramilitaries seen in Lviv was wearing a new military uniform, including a flak jacket, but carried no weapons.
There was a demonstration in Kyiv in support of Ukraine’s unity, attended by approximately 400people, about two thirds of whom were members of the Self-Defence force. The Team observed around 50 people armed with iron bars, baseball bats or makeshift clubs. Some protesters demanded the resignation of Interior Minister Avakov and more decisive action by the Kyiv authorities in Eastern Ukraine.
The Odessa and Ivano-Frankivsk teams had nothing of significance to report.
This update is provided for the media and the public.