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Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine - based on information received until 18:00 hrs, 19 May (Kyiv time)
21 May 2014 01:32

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The situation in Kharkiv remained calm. On 17 May SMM was present at the second roundtable of the National Dialogue, held in Kharkiv. Approximately 100 participants included Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk; former Presidents of Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk and Leonid Kuchma, Acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia; Valeriy Holenko, the head of the Luhansk Regional Council, and Serhii Chernov, the Head of Kharkiv Regional Council. There were also representatives of the church and religious communities, civil society and social movements. The meeting provided those in attendance an opportunity to express their positions. Some officials from eastern Ukraine criticized the government for not paying enough attention to the grievances of the eastern regions, and called for an end to "antiterrorist operations" in the east.

In Luhansk region the situation remained volatile. SMM learned from a representative of the “South-Eastern Army” that about 20 Nigerian students were detained in the night hours of 17 May after leaving a nightclub (see Latest News issue of 19 May). According to the “South-Eastern Army” representatives, four students remain in custody.

SMM observed 30-40 civilians in an unsuccessful attempt to seize the local police station in Leninskiy district in Luhansk. The building remained in the hands of the police and the crowd eventually left.

In Donetsk Region the overall situation remained volatile. SMM spoke to the Regional Administration in order to get more information about two journalists reported missing in Kramatorsk. It was confirmed that the two journalists are from “LifeNews”, and that they were detained in Kramatorsk on 18 May. SMM was informed that they were transferred to Kyiv, and are now in the SBU premises in Kyiv.

In Telmanove (95 km south of Donetsk) SMM visited the Regional Administration building and saw a crowd of about 250 people supporting the “Donetsk People’s Republic”. They demanded the resignation of the Head of the Local Administration. An unarmed man approached the SMM vehicle followed by a small crowd, and inquired whether SMM carried guns. Two armed men also approached the team and started searching the OSCE vehicle. After a discussion the SMM team left the spot. The Head of the Local Administration informed SMM that as of 19 May, under the pressure of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” activists, she would resign from all her duties.

In Selydove (60 km north-west of Donetsk) inhabitants expressed anxiety to SMM concerning “Right Sector”, which would, according to them, create chaos and disorder. SMM was told by the inhabitants that they do not wish to have the presidential elections on 25 May.

The situation in the cities of Dnepropetrovsk, Kherson, Odessa and Chernivtsi remained calm.

In Lviv the situation remained calm. On 18 May SMM observed a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars. Citizens of Lviv and citizens from Crimea currently living in Lviv attended presentations organized by the NGO “Crimea SOS”, illustrating the history and traditions of Crimean Tatars. No incidents were reported.

The situation in Ivano-Frankivsk was calm. SMM observed approximately 60 representatives from the “Self-Defence” group demonstrating in front of the Regional Police building. They had blocked the building with tires and chained the doors. The demonstrators protested against the appointment of the new Head of Regional Police, who has not yet assumed his duties. The protest also targeted for the first time the current local Head of the SBU. The demonstration ended peacefully after approximately four hours.

In addition, a roundtable discussion took place within the Regional Administration building headed by the “Self-Defence” group. Different NGOs and “self-defence” groups discussed the current security issues of the region and questioned the Head of the SBU. SMM will follow up on the outcomes of this roundtable.

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