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Troubling events in Eastern Ukraine, Sunday, April 6, 2014

Troubling events in Eastern Ukraine, Sunday, April 6, 2014

Photo: Rally in Donetsk

Oleksandr Turchynov urgently convened officials from the law enforcement and defense ministries and agencies due to the troubling events in Eastern Ukraine this Sunday, as reported by Ukrainska Pravda.

Oleksandr Turchynov, Acting President of Ukraine and Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament, urgently canceled his visit to Lithuania, where he was to participate in the Conference of Speakers of European Union Parliaments. The acting President convened an urgent meeting of the heads of the law enforcement and defense ministries and agencies, taking the urgent situation that occurred in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts due to separatist demonstrations and violent clashes under his personal control.

Seizure of SBU office in Luhansk

Today’s separatist demonstrations in Donetsk and Luhansk resulted in the seizure of Donetsk and Kharkiv Regional State Administrations, the governor’s office in Kharkiv, and the seizure of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) office in Luhansk. Demonstrations  continue.

Journalists are being forced to leave the area of clashes in Donetsk, except for a group of Russian journalists who had arrived with masked men. Russian TV, especially Russia 24, is broadcasting non-stop fabricated news using old videos that show the square filled with protesters and saying that 10,000 demonstrators took the building after 4 weeks of non-stop demonstration, adding that “CIA and NATO teams unsuccessfully tried to suppress the movement.”

After a day of a pro-Russian rally in Kharkiv (involving approximately 1,000 to 1,500 demonstrators) and Donetsk (1,500 to 2,000 demonstrators), a group of 200 masked men appeared in Donetsk and used stun grenades against the police before penetrating the regional Parliament, removing Ukrainian flags, announcing the dissolution of local Parliament and called for assistance from Russia. According to a police spokesman, the police didn’t counteract separatists to avoid bloodshed.

Photo @euromaidanpr

The name of the group, never heard before, is “Russian Sector”. The events were well planned in advance: food, water, and barricades were immediately delivered to the building. They urged the public to enter the building using public address loudspeakers; the public, however, did not heed these calls.

These violent events are likely related to the seizure of 300 automatic weapons by the SBU on April 5, the arrest of 15 persons, and the SBU’s action plan with respect to this group that was planned for April, 10.  The group appears to have decided to take action to pre-empt any further arrests arising out of the SBU investigation.

Tires by the entrance to Donetsk administration seized by pro-Russian separatists. Photo by @mikekomar

The move resembles the attack on the Parliament of Crimea by 50 heavily armed men and its subsequent dissolution, except that this group has been deprived of its weapons by the SBU’s successful action on April 5.

The EU flag being burned in Dnipropetrovsk

A separatist rally was also held in Dnipropetrovsk this Sunday, April 6. Some protesters burned the EU flag. Around 200-300 protesters addressed the residents of Dnipropetrovsk to support the idea of a referendum on unification with Russia.

Clashes in Kharkiv

Violent clashes between anti-Maidan and Maidan supporters also took place in Kharkiv today. Police tried to separate protesters to avoid casualties. Pro-Russian separatists forced Madian supporters –  members of the Right Sector – to creep down a “corridor of shame”. Arsen Avakov, Minister of Interior, said the police is not going to shoot paid provocateurs. The Kharkiv separatists seized the regional administration building, raising the Russian flag.

The attack on public buildings took place in Kharkiv simultaneously with the attacks in Donetsk and with the same modus operandi. It is clearly organised in a military fashion and does not appear to be a spontaneous movement, featuring stun grenades, seizure of the building, the immediate delivery of food and water, and construction of barricades, with non-Russian journalists being forced to leave. Some vehicles carrying supplies are identified as coming from Belgorod.

Compiled and translated by Vitalii Usenko, Alya Shandra, and Edmond Huet, edited by Alya Shandra and Lesia Stangret




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