Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine - based on information received up until 27 April 2014, 19:00 (Kyiv time)
This update is provided for the media and the public.
Western and Central Ukraine, including Kyiv, as well the southern part of the country, remained calm. The situation continued to be tense in the Luhansk region and particularly tense in the Donetsk region. Two Special Monitoring Mission monitors were temporary detained by the so-called People’s Militia of Donbas in Yenakiveve (55 km northeast of Donetsk. The situation in Sloviansk, where the military observers as well as accompanying Ukrainian military officers were taken captive, remains a source of concern.
In Kharkiv clashes between around 400 opponents and 500 to 600 supporters of a unitary Ukrainian state occurred. Police attempts to prevent the clashes between the two groups proved to be unsuccessful. Both protesting groups were joined by 15 to 20 cars with flags and people inside, some of them wearing masks. Conflicting versions were conveyed to the monitors as to which group started the provocations when supporters from both sides encountered each other in the city.
The situation in Luhansk surrounding the occupied state security service (SBU) building remained relatively calm, despite reported movements of armed men around the area on 26 April.
The situation in Donetsk remained particularly tense due to the continuing presence of armed opponents of the central Government occupying and barricading administrative buildings in the region. In Donetsk, leaflets by the so-called “People’s Republic of Donetsk” were distributed on 26 April, inviting citizens to participate in a referendum to be held on 11 May 2014 on the question of whether or not they support the proclamation of “state sovereignty” by the “Donetsk Peoples Republic”.
On 27 April, two members of the Donetsk Special Monitoring Mission team were detained by a group of unarmed men at around 11.15 in Yenakiyeve (55 km northeast of Donetsk). They claimed to be part of the so-called People’s Militia of Donbas, which refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the central government. The monitors were taken afterwards to the City Administration building. The Special Monitoring Mission Head of Office in Kyiv reached out to the capturers and sent a letter re-confirming the identity of the monitors. The monitors were allowed to return to Donetsk around 14:45.
At the same time, another Special Monitoring Mission team, upon receiving permission to enter the heavily barricaded police building in Horlivka (43 northeast of Donetsk), was approached by five heavily armed and partly masked individuals. The monitors were cross-examined, accused of espionage and held for a short period of time. After a brief discussion with the occupants, the team was able to leave the scene. The Special Monitoring Mission also visited and observed a small, unmanned roadblock in Horlivka.
The general situation around Makiyivka Administration building was assessed as quiet and stable. The teams noticed five different flags flying at half-mast: a Donetsk Republic, a Makiyivka, a Soviet Airborne forces, a St. George and a Donbas People’s Militia flag. In front of the back entrance, there were six unarmed men, four of whom were wearing uniforms with no insignia.
Around 11:20, the team arrived in Khartzysk (30 km east of Donetsk). The administration building was open with a passable barricade surrounding it. The general situation at the scene was calm.
Also in Maryinka (34 km west of Donetsk) and Novohrodivka (56 km northwest of Donetsk) the security situation was assessed as calm and stable. The team noticed several roadblocks in the area, one of which was manned by representatives of the self-proclaimed Republic of Donetsk in camouflage clothing.
The situation has remained calm in Dnepropetrovsk. According to the Deputy Head of the “Right Sector”, whom the team met, the decision to move the headquarters of the organization to Dnepropetrovsk aimed at facilitating faster and more effective support to the Ukrainian forces in repelling possible attacks by armed opponents of the central government. To date, around 300 “Right Sector” activists have moved to Dnepropetrovsk from other regions.
The general situation remained largely unchanged in Kherson, Mykolaiv and the surrounding area. In Mykolaiv and in the region the team observed bolstering of the existing checkpoints with additional sandbags and tires. Also, more police wearing body armour as well as civil defence volunteers were observed in the area.
In Odessa the situation at both the “7th Kilometre” and “2 Stolba” checkpoints at the main road junctions west of the city was calm following the explosion incident on 25 April at the “7th Kilometre” checkpoint. Armed traffic police (around the “7th Kilometre checkpoint”) and police (around the “2 Stolba” checkpoint) appeared to be more active in monitoring traffic around them. Several public meetings and gatherings in the city organized by different parties were held without major incidents.
The overall situation in Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv as well as in Kyiv was calm. The Chernivtsi team visited the border post in Porubne, where it observed co-operation between the border police and the local citizens belonging to the “Public Formation” volunteer group, composed of local residents.
The Kyiv monitors met with Pavlo Hubariev (in Russian: Pavel Gubariev), self-proclaimed Donetsk governor, who had been detained in Donetsk on 6 March. Hubariev stated that he had obtained sufficient legal assistance. However, he complained about initial harassment by the staff of the detention facility, which had ceased after the public was informed. Since 17 April he is on a hunger strike, which he intends to continue until the situation in eastern Ukraine changes.