Crimea and Sevastopol have officially joined Russia as President Putin signed a final decree. The US and the EU are moving forward with more sanctions, targeting Russian officials, businessmen and economic sectors.
Sunday, April 6
Protesters in the city of Lugansk have stormed a local administration office and a Russian flag has been hoisted over the building.
Pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk have stormed a local administration building after breaking through a riot police cordon. Water cannon have been deployed at the scene, according to the Itar-Tass news agency.
— Pan Santa (@PanSanta) April 6, 2014
A council of paramilitary commanders in Kiev’s Independence Square announced that it will enforce a curfew between 01:00 a.m. and 05:00 a.m.
No public gatherings will be allowed at the square during this time without permission from the so-called Maidan Commandant’s office. People would be discouraged from visiting during the curfew, with paramilitary patrols checking IDs of those who do.
The commanders cited security concerns and the need not to disturb people living near the Maidan during night hours to explain their move.
Over the past five months the Maidan was a noisy place, with regular rallies held into the late hours. At first they were directed against the government, but since the ouster of President Yanukovich the activists remained in the square as a way to keep pressure on the new authorities.
There are reports of frequent violence in and near Maidan at night, as competing paramilitary factions camping clash there with for various reasons.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has decided to deploy some 900 military vehicles preserved for long-term storage as part of its military build-up. Among them are infantry-fighting vehicles, tractors, mobile repair stations and supply trucks.
Kiev’s failure to mount a military response to the Crimean secession made the issue of army build-up one of the hottest in political debate, with virtually every presidential candidate promising to create a powerful modern military force in the country. Many of the vehicles captured at Ukrainian military bases in Crimea by the peninsula’s self-defense forces proved to be non-operational or in bad condition.
The Crimean Parliament has ordered the nationalization of 16 resort facilities. Among them are the historic Yusupov palace, which was used as a residence by Joseph Stalin during the Allied conference in Yalta in1945, and the Zarya resort, where the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was kept under house arrest during the failed coup attempt in 1991.
Saturday, April 5
A subsidiary of Raiffeisen Bank – Aval, in which Austrian Raiffeisen Bank International holds 96.41 percent of shares – will close all its branches in Crimea by April 15, a bank spokeswoman told Reuters.
“Because of the changes in the region’s geopolitical situation, there has been a decision to close the branches,” one representative said on condition of anonymity.
Crimean authorities say that local viewers will have open access to Ukrainian channels, as long as their content complies with Russian laws.
“I think the more channels and other mass media there are in the public space, the better, as they create a more objective picture of the situation for citizens, who have all the information,” Crimea’s information minister, Dmitry Polonskiy, said during an interview on local television.
The issue arose after free-to-view Ukrainian cable channels were cut off last month, but Polonsky said the reason was the channels’ refusal to pay transmission and frequency fees to the local TV retransmission center. He added that the channels are still available through satellite packages.
Protesters have attempted to storm the prosecutor’s office in Mariupol in eastern Ukraine, after police arrested the self-proclaimed ‘People’s Mayor’ of the city, Dmitry Kuzmenko, who had been campaigning against the authority of the coup-appointed government in Kiev.
The Kiev regime has called the act a “flagrant violation of public order.” Kuzmenko has been charged with “undermining the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
NATO is to strengthen its presence in Poland in a matter of weeks, according to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. The move is intended to quell the fears of eastern European states who are currently on high alert. Tusk made the comments three days after NATO announced plans to bolster its eastern European defenses.
Acting energy minister Yury Prodan has said that Ukraine may take Russia to the Stockholm international arbitration court, if Moscow refuses to lower the gas prices it agreed between Yulia Tymoshenko and Vladimir Putin in 2009.
“If we do not agree with the Russian side, there is a provision for an appeal to Stockholm in the original contract,” said Prodan.
Russia has said that “there are no grounds for a review.”
“The current contract has been operational for five years, and was complied with by the Ukrainian gas importer Naftogaz. In terms of international commercial practice, this means that they accepted the agreement as valid,” said Gazprom representative, Sergey Kupriyanov.