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MARCH 5-6, 2014

EU, US, NATO Officials Express Support to Ukraine “If Russia does not choose to de-escalate, if it is not willing to work directly with the government of Ukraine, as we hope they will be, then our partners will have absolutely no choice but to join us to continue to expand upon steps we have taken in recent days in order to isolate Russia politically, diplomatically and economically,” commented the United States Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kyiv, March 6, 2014. Top officials of the European Union, the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization expressed their support to Ukrainian people and called for negotiations to mitigate the crisis as Eastern European state appears at a brink of war. Earlier, the President of the Russian Federation held a press conference, where he announced that Russian troops in Crimea will undertake action, “only to protect local people.” On March 2, 2014, President Vladimir Putin got “green light” from Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, to send troops to Ukraine. Taking into account Russia’s unexpected and covert military intervention on Ukraine’s territory soon after the violent events in Kyiv and President Yanukovych fleeing from the country, the West offered help in de-escalating the military crisis. The U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that economic and other necessary measures will be taken, to isolate the Russian Federation, if the conflict escalates further and President Putin sends more troops to Ukraine.

President Obama briefly added, that “If, in fact, they [Russia] continue on the current trajectory they’re on, then we are examining a whole series of steps — economic, diplomatic — that will isolate Russia and will have a negative impact on Russia’s economy and status in the world.” Additionally, European Energy Commissioner, Günther Oettinger reported that the European Union is ready to financially support Ukraine. Top EU official was referring to a loan, which will help Ukraine get out of debt for Russian imported gas. “The European Union is ready to provide financial aid to bailout Ukraine from close dependency on Russian energy resources. This is a part of aid package, prepared by the European Commission to help Ukraine,” concluded Oettinger. Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced that North Atlantic Treaty Organization is calling for a peaceful resolution of Ukraine-Russia crisis. In the meantime, he strongly condemned Russian foreign policy, which by violating multiple international conventions, agreements and fundamental principles maintained attacking Ukraine in Crimea. Notably, at a press conference, held on March 4, 2014 Vladimir Putin denied the use of military force against Ukrainian people and said that “Russia will use any means according to the international law to protect its citizens on Ukrainian territory.”

Ukraine’s MFA: Despite Putin’s Public Statement, Russian Troops Remain in Crimea Moreover, Perebiynis highlighted that president can decide on bringing in foreign troops on the basis of the motion by the Secretary of State Council of Security and Defense of Ukraine, while the president’s decision should be approved by the Verkhovna Rada. Therefore, even if Yanukovych still were Ukraine’s acting president, his request to bring in Russian troops would still be illegal; it fringes Ukraine’s laws and Constitution.

Kyiv, March 6, 2014. Following the public appearance of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his comments on the Crimea situation, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry rebutted his statements. Despite President Putin’s assurances that the alleged military trainings of the Russian Armed Forces on Ukrainian border were curtailed, the Russian military remain in place of their earlier reported location. The press secretary of Ukraine’s MFA Yevhen Perebiynis also commented on the statement, that the former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych allegedly requested Vladimir Putin to bring in Russian troops to Ukraine. According to the MFA, such a request has no legal power because the armed forces of a third country can enter and remain in Ukraine exclusively in accordance with Ukrainian legislation. Particularly, the law regulating the respective issue reads that foreign armed forces can be stationed in Ukraine in accordance with the international agreements.

It was also mentioned that Russia’s representative at the UN Security Council meeting demonstrated a letter, allegedly written by Viktor Yanukovych, however not bearing his signature. Importantly, this fact was noted by a number of other participants of the meeting. During the latest meeting of the Council, a number of participating states, including western countries as well as China and Kazakhstan expressed their support for Ukraine.

Russia Maintains Military Tension on Ukraine “We were hoping Russia would alleviate their military intervention in Ukraine, at least for the period when foreign officials are in the country,” reports Informatsiynyi Sprotyv. In the meantime the information confrontation is reaching its peak in Crimea. There has been a new report, launched by one of Sevastopol’s local channels, claiming that if Ukraine’s troops fail to surrender, they would be arrested and jailed for 15 years. Earlier, a military briefing at Sevastopol military base was held; Ukraine’s soldiers and their officers adopted a common decision to stay true to Ukraine and its people until the end.

Kyiv, March 6, 2014. Shortly after political crisis in Ukraine’s capital mitigated the spotlight moved to the Southern region of Ukraine – Crimea. According to the decision passed by the upper house of the parliament, the Federation Council, and enforced by President Vladimir Putin on March 2, 2014, the Russian military took over Crimean territory. Reportedly, Ukraine’s military units have been threatened by a siege; however at the moment no direct violence or blood shed was observed. Nevertheless, Ukrainian troops are left without food and medicine, sieged at Sevastopol military base, reported Informatsiynyi Sprotyv on March 5, 2014. Up until now, the situation remains tense, as Russian armed forces siege Ukraine’s military bases and headquarters calling for Ukrainian military officers and soldiers to surrender and flee. Reportedly, soldiers at military headquarters in Sevastopol were left starving as Russian troops blocked the base and cut off the food supply.

Currently, military bases of Ukraine’s air defense units are occupied by the Russian military; Ukraine holds only military administrative offices. While holding positions, the Russian forces incapacitate equipment at Ukraine’s air defense units or use it for their own purposes. Interestingly, Russia and Ukraine army uses same aerial defense facilities - Buk-1. Informatsiynyi Sprotyv confirms that Russia seeks for aerial defense specialists to be working on the occupied Crimean territory. In Yevpatoria, Russian military was forcing Ukrainian soldiers to create a joint force to monitor and keep control of Crimean aerial territory. Ukrainian troops rejected the proposal. Reportedly, 60 Russian army tanks have been delivered to Crimea from Russia. Crimean cities of Kerch and Sevastopol continue to be occupied by the Russian heavy military units.

Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Issue 1  
Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Issue 1