Update on the situation in Ukraine. 15 April

The Ukrainian authorities declared an antiterrorist operation in Donetsk Region. The hottest point on Tuesday was Kramatorsk. Unidentified men equipped as military, with automatic guns, attempted an assault on the local airfield. The attack was beaten off and the city was freed from separatists.

During the shooting, one of the sorderlies at the checkpoint got a gunshot wound in the leg. The Ministry of Internal Affairs disproves the Russian mass media reports on the operation’s casualties.  However, several separatists (it is not reported how many) were taken prisoners. The antiterrorist operation will go on during the next days.

Eight people were treated at the medical institutions of Sloviansk for the last three days: 2 for gas poisoning, 4 for gunshot wounds, 1 for knife wound and 1 for cerebral injury.  In the meanwhile, the militants state that about 30 people were killed as a result of antiterrorist operation in the area of Sloviansk. It is not known if this information is true.

A resident of Sloviansk told about threats received from separatists after he had stated that he stood for unified Ukraine: “They said that they would be shooting anybody who is for unified Ukraine. They have lots of arms which they seized and they threatened me with guns. If I come again, they will shoot me down”, told the man.

New details have become known about complicity of the Russian Federation in the Ukrainian events. According to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the kidnapping of military personnel, activists and foreigners in the Crimea was coordinated by a Russian citizen Igor Strelkov, a special missions officer of the Main Intelligence Department (GRU) at the General Staff of the Russian Federation Armed Forces.  As reported by SBU, the same man leads a Russian raiding party acting in the East of Ukraine.    

SBU also informs on another aspect of Russia’s involvement in what is happening in Ukraine: the terrorist groups in the East of Ukraine are financed with the use of a Russian bank’s assets.  In March-April, bank clerks have arranged a transfer of 45 million Ukrainian hryvnias from non-cash to cash format. According to SBU, the money were used “to do violence to citizens, pogroms and arsons, destroy property, occupy the state buildings and carry out actions aimed at preparation and commitment of terrorist acts”.    

Zn.ua publication got at its disposal snippets of correspondence among the separatists who occupied the building of Donetsk Regional State Administration and their coordinator in Moscow, the wife of the arrested “people’s governor of Donbas” Pavel Gubarev and the represenatives of the Crimean pro-Russian forces. The connection is traced between the Eastern Ukrainian separatists and Moscow via the State Duma Member Yevgeniy Fedorov and their relations with Head of the Crimean “Government” Sergey Aksenov.    

A lot of residents of Donetsk and Lugansk Regions call the hotline with the requests to relocate them to the Western Ukraine.  At least 200 requests for temporary residence in Ivano-Frankivsk Region are received from them daily. For some reason, people from Donetsk and Lugansk prefer the “bloody banderites” to the life side by side with the “liberators”.

Several leaders of the Ukrainian defence and law-enforcement agencies have been replaced in the eastern regions.  In a number of other regions which may potentially be exposed, e.g. in Odessa and Dnipropetrovsk Regions, roadblocks are arranged, volunteers are mobilized and special detachments are created to maintain the public order.