#AceWorldNews – UKRAINE – April 16 – Timeline of Events and Latest
Wednesday, April 16
Part of police force in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, have sided with anti-Kiev protesters, Ukraine’s parliament-appointed Vice-Premier Vitaly Yaryoma told journalists on Wednesday.
“The situation in Donetsk is complicated. We are in touch with the city mayor and the administration chief. Some policemen are defending Ukrainian independence. However, there are policemen who have put on the ribbons of St. George,” Yaryoma said.
At least 300 supporters of Ukraine’s federalization rallied outside the regional administration building in Donetsk on Thursday, the Ukrainian media reports.
The protesters demand holding a local referendum on the status of the Donbas region.
Donetsk’s South-East Movement for Federalization has made a list of demands to the authorities in Kiev, reports Itar-Tass. Following the results of its first session, the group demanded a constitutional reform aimed at the federalization of the country, a pardon for anti-government protesters, a cancellation of the mobilization of forces, and an end to military operations in Ukraine. The gathering was chaired by presidential candidate Oleg Tsaryov.
Three people were injured after Ukrainian troops heading for Kramatorsk airfield in armored vehicles fired at a car attempting to block their way, RIA Novosti reports citing anti-government activists.
The incident took place near the village of Pchyolkino, south of Kramatorsk. The car was placed in the way of a convoy of an unknown number of vehicles, which then continued driving towards the airfield.
According to the activists, two people received leg injuries and a third one was shot in the shoulder. The wounded activists sought medical help.
Ukraine’s acting prosecutor general, Oleg Makhnitsky, says that criminal proceedings have been launched against 14 banks – including Russia’s biggest bank, Sberbank, RIA Novosti reports.
“The US Department of State feverishly collects all speculations distributed by the current Kiev authorities in order to substantiate accusations against Russia of instigating and all but organizing disorders in Ukraine’s south-east,” the ministry said in a statement.
By saying that “law must be enforced” in the south-east of Ukraine, the US is, in fact, giving its approval to Kiev’s war against its own citizens, the Russian Foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Washington must realize the catastrophic consequences of such reckless support for their Kiev proteges,” the ministry said.
The activists in Donetsk have replaced the Ukrainian flag in front of the mayor’s office with the flag of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
#Donetsk city mayor office, flag change. Activists remove #Ukrainian one and put #Donbass and #Oplot. #Kiev #protest pic.twitter.com/saImkbe8a0
— Maria Finoshina (@MFinoshina_RT) April 16, 2014
An arms depot owned by the Right Sector radical ultranationalist organization was discovered on Wednesday in the south-western Ukrainian city of Odessa, local media reported.
The depot contained rounds of ammunition, cold weapons, clubs, Molotov cocktails, firecrackers and other munitions
The depot contained rounds of ammunition, cold weapons, clubs, Molotov cocktails, firecrackers and other munitions.
It was discovered by representatives of Odessa Cossacks, who help law enforcement bodies to ensure order on the streets. They called the police. The Odessa department of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry confirmed the report on the search, but provided no details.
The troops from the disbanded Berkut special police force who were injured in the line of duty during the Maidan riots in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, will receive financial assistance of 200,000 roubles (around $5,500), Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev announced.
Germany will send up to 6 Euro-fighter jets to patrol airspace over Baltic countries, as part of a campaign to set up security of NATO’s easternmost member-states in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine, a spokesman for the German Defence Ministry said Wednesday.
Protesters in eastern Ukraine have hoisted flags of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic above the buildings of the District Councils in the towns of Novoazovsk and Krasnoarmeisk, local media reported on Wednesday.
In Novoazovsk, several dozen supporters of Ukraine’s federalization gathered near the building of the local administration demanding that it support the plebiscite. During the rally, the participants replaced the Ukrainian flags and with Donetsk People’s Republic’s ones.
In Krasnoarmeisk, the protesters did not pull down the Ukrainian or Donetsk region’s flags, hoisting the Donetsk People’s Republic’s flag next to them. Later, protesters walked to the local police department and hung out the Donetsk People’s Republic from one of the windows.
Flag of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in Donetsk
A new element may have appeared in the stand-off between the population of Ukraine’s eastern regions and the forces loyal to the central government, as unknown people blocked a crucial railway between the city of Kramatorsk and the town of Druzhkovka on Wednesday, the Donetsk Railway Department press service says.
“In the wake of an unauthorized blocking of the railway between the stations of Kramatorsk and Druzhkovka by unidentified individuals, changes have been made in the routes of long-distance and commuter trains, which are diverted to a different line until the unauthorized blocking is lifted,” the press service said.
NATO is strengthening its military presence in the Baltic and Mediterranean due to the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis. The organization is to deploy ships and intensified aerial patrols in the region.
Around 60 soldiers manning Ukrainian armored vehicles sent to Kramatorsk to carry out military operations against anti-government protesters have switched sides and joined the local self-defense forces, RIA Novosti reports, citing the self-defense forces.
“We have seen here that these are neither separatists nor terrorists, but ordinary local residents, with whom we are not going to go into battle,” one of the defecting soldiers said.
All of the troops who decided to side with the self-defense forces come from Dnepropetrovsk, the next-door region to Donetsk.
Kramatorsk residents sit near Ukrainian tanks.
Sit-in citoyen pro-russe devant les tanks de l’armée ukrainienne près de . #Ukraine @RadioCanadaInfo pic.twitter.com/qbdsB1P5i8
— J-Francois Belanger (@belangerjf) April 16, 2014
Self-defense forces in Slavyansk say there’s fighting going on between their people and unknown gunmen at one of the checkpoints.
“Unknown gunmen have arrived at one of the check-points from the side of the livestock feed factory, at the turn-off Izyum. They opened fire on peaceful observers at the checkpoint. A group of self-defense personnel have arrived to help the observers. Fighting is going on,” the self-defense forces’ coordinator told Interfax.
The Russian flags on Ukrainian Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) were a stratagem, Kiev says. According to the acting head of the Batkivshchina Party, Sergey Sobolev, the Ukrainian military raised Russian flags on their vehicles on purpose, to fool the Donetsk region’s self-defense squads and thus be able to get into areas under the control of protesters.
“Those were our military units using guerilla methods of intervention,” Sobolev said, citing the acting Defense Minister. “Very soon, in two to three hours this maneuver is going to be disclosed and you’ll understand that it was actually a breakthrough, which our units thus carried out.”
Three more Ukrainian armored vehicles switched sides in the Donetsk Region, according to RIA Novosti. The vehicles came to the center of Slavyansk, took down their Ukrainian flags and handed their weapons to self-defense squads.
“We decided not to be at war with the people and not to defend authorities like this,” members of the crews explained.
The mayor’s office in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk has not been seized by protesters and such reports could be a provocation, a spokesman for a local militia group told RIA Novosti.
Ukrainian troops have entered the eastern town of Kramatorsk a day after an operation began to recapture areas seized by anti-government separatists.
However, they were blocked by civilians and it is unclear whether they have any control of the town.
In the regional capital, Donetsk, pro-Russian gunmen took control of the mayor’s office.
Ukraine’s interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has warned Russia wants to build a new “Berlin Wall”.
In a televised address he demanded that Russia “stop supporting terrorists in Ukraine”.
The anti-Maidan movement against the Kiev coup-imposed government in the southern city of Odessa has called for protest action.
“From this day on, the Odessa region is declared the Odessa Popular Republic where the power belongs only to the people who live there. Tomorrow at 4pm [13:00 GMT] Odessa should be ground to a halt! Literally! Your task at the indicated time is to block the transport connections indicated on the map with your cars, pedestrians, go to the zebra crossings and stand there. Create as many traffic jams across the city as possible,” the Odessa Anti-Maidan movement website addressed the city’s residents.
09.44 GMT: Russia considering WTO action against USA for sanctions against Russian banks – Russian Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev.
Moscow urges French Foreign Minister not to accuse Russia of all of Ukraine’s problems, but to focus on honouring the liabilities Paris assumed as a guarantor of the February 21 accords – Russian Foreign Ministry.
Ukrainian protesters seize six armoured vehicles of the Ukrainian army which had rolled in the town of Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, as part of the task force to conduct an anti-terrorist operation, local media reported.
Activists surrounded the vehicles and blocked their movement. Then they disarmed the servicemen and drove the APCs towards the village of Ivanivka.
Ukrainian troops sent to reclaim locations seized by pro-Russian militia in recent days, have been seen in the centre of Kramatorsk.
The town’s airfield was recaptured on Tuesday after the acting president announced an “anti-terror operation”.
Armoured personnel carriers in the town were blocked by pro-Russian locals who were talking to the soldiers.
Tension is running high, with Russia’s President Putin warning Ukraine is “on the verge of civil war”.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov believes the current crisis in Ukraine shows “emphatically deep discrepancies between the south-east and the west” in terms of the country’s future.
In his comment to ‘Arguments and Facts’ newspaper, which has been posted at the Foreign Ministry’s webpage, Lavrov has called on Ukrainians to begin “all-embracing and comprehensive dialogue.”
“It cannot be described as a normal situation when, after each presidential election, the Constitution was changed in the country establishing this or that system of government depending on the will of political forces which had won at that moment,” Lavrov said. “Therefore, federalization is a path for each region to feel comfortable and to feel its rights ensured and traditions and a habitual way of life protected.”
Lavrov believes all of the regions and political forces in Ukraine must have their say in the discussion of the country’s future development and in finding a solution to the current crisis.
There will be serious long-term consequences if Russia continues to destabilise Ukraine, Foreign Secretary William Hague has said.
Mr Hague warned that Moscow could face international isolation and lasting economic damage, through a reduction in foreign investment.
The foreign secretary was speaking at the Lord Mayor’s Easter banquet in the City of London.
Mr Hague added that it was a “crucial moment” in the Ukraine crisis.
Canada announced that it will be boycotting an upcoming meeting of the Arctic Council in Moscow, citing Russia’s actions in the Ukrainian crisis.
Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq said she will not be attending the meeting, which is scheduled for later his week.
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