Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine - based on information received up until 8 May 2014, 18:00 (Kyiv time)
The situation in Kharkiv was calm.
In Luhansk the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) observed queues at the ATM machines of a number of banks, especially from those which have been closed for several days. The SMM saw, in front of the occupied governor’s office, a heavy armoured vehicle (type Tiger) with the label of the LDPR (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia). No police presence was seen near the barricade close to the state security service (SBU) building.
The Deputy Governor of Luhansk informed the SMM that the security situation in the region is deteriorating due to activities of the separatists and criminal gangs. Concerns about security in the region were also expressed by the leader of the Communist Party in Luhansk. He told the SMM that both his party and the local branch of the Party of the Regions support the “People's Governor” Valeriy Bolotov in the organization of the 11 May “referendum”.
In the city of Donetsk the SMM observed billboards about the 11 May “referendum”. SMM visited the Donbas Television Channel building. The flags of the Donetsk Region and “Donetsk People’s Republic” were hoisted above the building, which was guarded by two security men with black police uniforms, bulletproof vests and “Berkut” emblems on the arm. The journalists at Donbas TV continue to work. One of the employees informed the SMM, that the staff have been subjected to intimidation and threats.
SMM was held for about 30 minutes at one of the checkpoints in Horlivka (43 km north of Donetsk) by armed separatists. In Mariupol (118 km south of Donetsk) the SMM observed burning tires in front of the building of the local administration. The SMM observed many other checkpoints manned by armed separatists throughout the region.
The situation in Dnepropetrovsk, Kherson and Odessa was calm. The SMM spoke to the leader of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars in the Kherson Region. He informed the SMM about the official warning, signed by Natalia Poklonska, “General Prosecutor of Crimea”, of the possible dissolution of the Mejlis in Crimea if its “extremist activities” were not halted. The interlocutor noted that seven representatives of the Crimean Tatars’ Mejlis had also received individual warning notifications related to this issue.
The Western Ukrainian cities of Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv were calm. SMM observed the official commemoration of WWII victims in Lviv. About 300 people attended, including representatives from regional and local authorities, higher army and police representatives, civil society members, veterans and ordinary citizens of Lviv. A joint prayer by priests and believers of the Greek and Roman Catholic churches, as well those of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate took place.
SMM met with representatives of the Russian-speaking community in Lviv. They claimed that the status of the Russian community had worsened post-2010 when the Svoboda Party had gained power in the local elections. The interlocutors reported the absence of Russian-speaking kindergartens, despite their recent request to open these in 2012. They also said that attitudes to the Russian minority had improved in recent months because of the support of the Maidan movement by many Russians; but that some community members are still fearful and many expressed a willingness to leave the city.
In Kyiv a roadblock on the motorway towards Boryspil/Kharkiv has been reinforced by more tires and additional sandbags. Police Special Unit members stated that they are there to guard Self-Defence activists, who were checking all suspicious vehicles. The SMM received, from a Maidan activist group, a copy of a list with the names of 126 persons, who have been missing during recent months. The SMM spoke also to the representative of a Jewish organization. The interlocutor said that there were a few provocations against Jews during the Maidan protests.