OSCE: Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine – based on information received up until 02 May 2014, 19:00 (Kyiv time)
by The Daily Lede
Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine – based on information received up until 2 May 2014, 19:00 (Kyiv time)
This update is provided for the media and the public.
The situation in eastern and southern Ukraine has deteriorated. Reports of more occupations of buildings and violence in Odessa and Sloviansk-Kramatorsk reportedly left at least 40 dead. In central and western part of the country the situation remained calm.
The situation in Kharkiv, remained generally calm. SMM observed a group of 50 opponents of the central government gather in the city in order to express their dissatisfaction with the ongoing “anti-terrorist operation” in Sloviansk. SMM spotted policemen on the rooftop of the Regional Administration building.
In Luhansk SMM met with the staff of Regional Prosecutor’s Office building which had been vacated on 1 May. Ukrainian police officers were guarding the building. SMM was informed that employees of the Regional Prosecution Office were invited on 2 May to pick up any personal belongings left in the building.
The overall situation in Donetsk has deteriorated and has been tense for the last several days. The Government officially informed the SMM that its anti-terrorism campaign resumed in the morning of 2 May in the Sloviansk-Kramatorsk region. The aim of the operation had been to unblock checkpoints controlled by separatists surrounding the city. Two Ukrainian army helicopters had been shot down- reportedly by unidentified armed groups used man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS). Multiple casualties were reported in Sloviansk. In Donetsk SMM noted a barricade consisting of concrete which was placed in front of the Regional Prosecutor’s Office.
Around 30 people gathered in the street outside the building. The front door was guarded by 4-5 people in uniform wearing masks and bulletproof vests. In addition, 4-5 other people with iron bars walked around the building. The police commander of the Regional Police Station expressed concern regarding the safety of SMM’s staff.
In Dnepropetrovsk and Kherson the situation was assessed as calm.
In Odessa the situation deteriorated. SMM monitored clashes. Smoke grenades and rocks have been thrown and shots fired. Riot police, ordinary police and Special Forces have been deployed to separate the opposing groups. SMM observed about 400 football fans from the “Chornomorets” and “Metalist” (Kharkiv) football teams who held a rally in favour of Ukraine’s unity, about 600 metres away from the opponents of the government. SMM noted about 100 pro-unity activists in camouflage, with sticks and shields.
According to media reports and official Ukrainian statement, as for 22:00 on 2 May, the number of casualties was 37; about 200 people were injured among them 22 police officers. 130 people have been detained. This is the most significant clash in Odessa so far and is likely to increase tension and incidents over the weekend and in the run-up to the Day of Victory on 9 May.
In Chernivtsi the situation remained quiet. SMM met with the local Rabbi who explained that his community members expressed worries about the current situation in the country. He however highlighted that so far no threats or any kind of hate speech can be reported.
The situation in Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv remained generally calm.
In Kyiv SMM monitored the situation around the Parliament of Ukraine and the Government Administration. No unusual activities have been observed.