Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine - based on information received until 18:00 hrs, 16 May (Kyiv time)
This update is provided for the media and the public.
The overall situation in the country remained unchanged. Tensions continued in the Donbas region whereas other parts of Ukraine remained calm.
In Kharkiv, the SMM was informed by an EU member state consulate of a significantly higher demand for Schengen and national visas of that state since the unrest in Donbas region began.
The situation in Luhansk continued to be tense – the city remained under de facto control of armed supporters of ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’. The SMM observed that more than half of the ATMs in the city centre did not work and those which were operating had strict limits for cash withdrawals. The SMM observed that several petrol stations in the city were closed.
The situation in the Donetsk Region remained tense. SMM observed a first-ever roadblock erected in the center of Donetsk; pedestrians were able to use the sidewalk whereas the vehicular traffic was checked. The Mayor of Volnovakha (60 km south of Donetsk) informed the SMM that technical preparations for the elections were underway. The Mayor added that he had been pressured to recognise the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’. In Kurakhove (60 km west of Donetsk), the SMM was informed that several businesses had ceased to operate due to the current situation.
The SMM observed a roadblock located between Shakhtarsk and Torez (approximately 60 km east of Donetsk). It was manned by supporters of “Donetsk People’s Republic”, some of which wore camouflage outfits and were armed with clubs and knives. These individuals pointed out to economic problems in the region and stated that supporters of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” had peaceful intentions.
The situation in Dnepropetrovsk, Kherson and Odesa was calm.
In Dnepropetrovsk, the SMM met with a priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyivan Patriarchate who stressed that both priests and believers of his church maintain good personal relationships with members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate).
The presence of “self-defence” organizations was visibly increased in the northern and south-western part of Odesa Region.
The situation in Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv was calm. According to representatives of the Polish cultural association, there are no conflicts between nationalities in the region.
The situation in Kyiv was assessed as calm. The SMM met with representatives of the ‘Kyiv City Guard’ (Kyivska Miska Varta), an organisation that was founded, as described to the SMM, as response to the clashes in Kyiv Maidan and can be described as a kind of local militia consisting of around 400 volunteer members. The ‘Kyiv City Guard’ representatives informed the SMM that they support the regular police activities and that petty crime, abuse of alcohol and an influx of dubious characters became an increasing problem for the Maidan movement.