Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine - based on information received until 18:00 hrs, 14 May (Kyiv time)
In Donetsk and Luhansk the situation remained volatile. Other parts of Ukraine remained calm.
The situation in Kharkiv remained calm.
In Luhansk region the situation remained volatile. The SMM was informed about the abduction of a school teacher by unknown uniformed armed men on 14 May. Reportedly, the teacher was abducted in the office in the presence of pupils and teachers and taken into a car and allegedly held at the SBU building which is occupied by “South Eastern Army”. The teacher was released after two hours.
In Donetsk the situation remained tense. After a re-assessment of the security situation, the SMM visited the city of Sloviansk (120 kilometres north of Donetsk). The SMM met high-level representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). The self-declared mayor, Ponomaryov, was also present at the meeting. The Church representatives suggested that the end of all violence can lead to a dialogue between Ukrainian authorities and those opposing the Government. The self-declared mayor, Ponomaryov, informed SMM that there were two preconditions to start negotiations: Firstly, withdrawal of all military forces from Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions and secondly, mutual release of all detainees. According to him at present there are 40 detainees[i] in Sloviansk. The self-declared mayor also made reference to a draft of the “Constitution of Donetsk People’s Republic”. In the SMM’s presence, Irma Krat (a journalist who has been detained since April by Ponomaryov’ forces) was allowed to call her husband.
In Mariupol (115 kilometres south of Donetsk), the SMM observed several groups of traffic police and security personnel of “METINVEST” on joint patrols. The SMM was informed that joint patrolling in the city commenced on May 11. ‘METINVEST’ informed SMM that a workforce of 300 workers will help to remove the barricades from the city centre. The SMM observed that the City Administration Building was being cleaned, the barricades removed, with only a few tyres remaining at the street corners around the City Administration building.
The situation in Dnipropetrovsk remained calm. The Chief of Police in Pavlohrad (75 kilometres west of Dnipropetrovsk) informed the SMM that manpower at the roadblocks has been increased; a new contingent of Ukrainian National Guards has been deployed to assist police officers with the manning of the roadblocks. He stated that the co-operation with “Self Defence” had been strengthened. The SMM visited a roadblock located in the eastern outskirts of Pavlohrad but did not observe any changes in terms of manpower.
In Kherson the general situation remained calm. The SMM spoke to the authority in charge of the northern Crimean Canal in Kherson region, near Kalanchak (85 kilometres southeast of Kherson). According to him communications breakdown between local and central authorities had affected the co-ordination of the integrated water management system. Reportedly, this resulted in reduced water flows to the Crimean peninsula with consequences on irrigation and drinking water supplies.
In Odesa the situation was assessed as calm. The SMM attended the first dialogue-planning meeting where experts from the Odesa national university of international relations, ethnic relations and history, and a representative of the student body were present. The group was convened by the “Odesa Mediation Group” which has been appointed by the Vice Governor of Odessa region to foster dialogue. The group agreed to engage in dialogue with groups who oppose the unitary Ukrainian state. There was consensus on the need and possibility to initiate dialogue among moderate groups. The need to establish the truth about the tragic events in the Trade Union Building on 2 May was identified as a priority and key to reconciliation and developing trust within society.
The situation in Chernivtsi was calm. In Hlyboka district, the SMM met with the district police chief. He explained that the police closely co-operate with “Self-Defense”, a registered non-governmental organisation consisting of 120 members. The members of the organization wear black uniforms and are unarmed. The police check their criminal records and provide training before conducting joint patrols.
In Lviv the situation was calm.
The situation in Ivano-Frankivsk was calm. The SMM met, in Kosiv (100 kilometres south of Ivano-Frankivsk), the head of the local “Self-Defence” organization. He informed the SMM that the “Self-Defence” tent from the local Maidan had been removed at the beginning of March and that there were approximately 100-200 active members of the local “Self- Defence” group.
In Kyiv the situation remained calm. On 14 May, upon invitation of the Ukrainian Government, the SMM Chief Monitor attended the launch of the Ukrainian-led and Ukrainian-owned broad-based National Dialogue. The plan envisioned that this dialogue will encompass a series of round tables, across the country.
The SMM learnt, from an activist group on Maidan, about attempts by various political and oligarchical groups to exert influence over these groups on the Maidan. The activists reported aggressive behaviour towards them by some of the “Self-Defence” members and a fear that ”Self-Defence” that currently "protect" them are beholden to the decisions of the political groups that support them.
[i] According to various sources SMMU is aware of about the figure of around 20 detainees. The figure mentioned by Ponomaryov is however not confirmed.