Update on the situation in Ukraine: 30 March

Five Ukrainian military officers and an activist are released from captivity, but the fate of five more missing people remains unknown.

Crimea

On the 25th of March theactivist Vladyslav Polischuk was released from captivity in Crimea. By the 27th of March he had arrived in Kiev. Vladyslav was a participant of EuroMaidan, where he worked in the kitchen and later as a medic. The ‘Crimean self-defence’ fighters kidnapped him during a rally in Sevastopol on the 9th of March and kept him as a hostage for more than two weeks. Unlike most of the other ‘captives in Cimea’, Polyschuk wasn’t beaten. Instead, he was kept in solitary confinement and subjected to psychological pressure. One of the ‘self-defence’ fighters threatened to cut off Polyschuk’s ear and take it as a souvenir. This fighter was referred to as ‘Chechen’ by other guards and wore a t-shirt with ‘Chechnya’ written on it and Ramzan Kadyrov’s portrait. In the place where Polyschuk was kept, he noticed a constant rotation of prisoners including Ukrainian officers. Polyschuk didn’t have an opportunity to speak to any of them.

As ‘Ukrainska Pravda’ reported, with reference to a Defense Ministry spokesman, Vladislav Seleznyov, five more Ukrainian military officers detained in Crimea have being released. There is still no information on the 2nd rank Captain Vyacheslav Demyanenko’s fate. According to military expert Dmitriy Tymchuk, Demyanenko is being kept at the Russian Black Sea Fleet commandant’s office in Sevastopol.

Attempts to find out about border guard Ivan Nicolus’, known to be kidnapped, are still unsuccessful. The state border guard service of Ukraine refuses to confirm or refute information about whether Nicolus’ is still imprisoned or released.

Three activists are still missing: Abu Yusuf (aka Sergei Selenzov), who is probably kept in remand (a lawyer’s presence is still being prevented), and two activists from Rovno – Ivan Bondarets (1990 y.o.b.) and Valerii Vashuk (1985 y.o.b.). Ivan Bondarets’s wife confirmed to EuromaidanSOS  that both activists went missing after entering Crimea. On the 7th of March at about 7:30am, Valerii Vashuk told his sister in a telephone conversation that he and Bondarets had arrived in Simferopol. He also complained about a document check and personal inspection at the station. There has been no connection made with either of them since. Both activists participated in Maidan’s Self-Defense. Both have young children left in Rovno. Active groups have started collecting money to support Bondaret’s family — his wife is currently unemployed and taking care of a 2-year old child and a disabled mother. Information on how to help Bondatret’s family can be found here.

According to information from CrimeaSOS, a Ukrainian soldier was severely beaten in the territory of an anti-aircraft missile battalion. He came back to pick up his belongings, but ‘green men’ didn’t let him pass through and started beating him. The victim suffered severe facial injuries. According to his doctors, he may be needing plastic surgery.

Crimean Tatars have made a decision to establish national-territorial autonomy in Crimea. Crimean Tatars voted to begin ‘political and legal procedures to establish national-territorial autonomy of the Crimean Tatar people in their historic territory – Crimea’ as stated in a document adopted March 29th at the Congress of the Crimean Tatars.

On the ‘Spil’nokosht’ website, a campaign was launched to support the independent Crimean Tatar TV channel ATR. The channel is broadcasted in three languages: Crimean Tatar, Ukrainian and Russian. ATR is the most popular regional channel in Crimea and the 5th among 57 TV channels currently broadcasting on the peninsula together with Russian and Ukrainian channels.

 Donetsk

The investigation into the installation of the flag of a foreign country above the Donetsk City Council is completed. The local resident (born 1995) is suspected of ‘hooliganism’: on the 23th of March, during a demonstration in Donetsk, he tore off the Ukrainian State flag from the flagpole, damaging it, and then hung a flag of the Russian Federation instead. The criminal case was sent to the Voroshilov District Court of Donetsk.

 Kharkiv

On Friday, a Kharkiv EuroMaidan and ‘Anti-Maidan’ joint press conference took place. The opponents found common ground and have presented common demands: the Governor and the Prosecutor should be elected and not appointed; the budget should be decentralized and the local authorities should have more powers; the murders during the clashes on the 15th of March on Rymarska street must be investigated without any political involvement. The EuroMaidan and ‘Anti-Maidan’ representatives agreed to patrol the streets of Kharkiv and protect monuments jointly.

Ignat Kramskiy, a so-called ‘titushka’ who is better known by his nickname ‘Topaz’ was arrested in Kharkov. He is suspected of committing acts to forcibly change the constitutional order or the seizure of power, as well as infringement of the territorial integrity of Ukraine. ‘Topaz’ is suspected in the beatings of Maidan activists in Kharkiv. He is also well known for his request to the Russian President Putin to deploy troops in Ukraine. During the pretrial investigation, Kramskiy will be under the house arrest. He could face imprisonment for five to eight years.

One of two suspects arrested in connection with the shooting on the 15th of March in the centre of Kharkiv has been released on bail. This information is confirmed by Kharkiv Region’s Security Service. During the incident on the 15th of March, two people were killed and five were injured. The total number of detainees is 38, two of which were imprisoned.

 Odessa

Russian citizen Anton Raevskiy, a member of the neo-nazi organization ‘Chornaya Sotnya’(the Black Hundred) was deported from Ukrainian territory for ‘attempts to create a subversive sabotage group aimed to destabilize the social and political situation in the region’, as reported by ‘Ukrainskaya Pravda’ with the reference to Security Service of Ukraine.

 Kyiv

‘On the 20th of February protesters were shot by AK’s that are not officially listed’ – said Sergei Bordyug, an activist that is participating in one of the initiatives investigating the mass shooting on Institutskaya street in Kyiv. The creation of such initiative groups (currently there are about ten of them) is another Maidan phenomenon.  The activist groups are made up of lawyers, journalists and simply concerned citizens that conduct independent investigations on the bloody events of the 20th of March and help the official investigation.

In Sergei’s opinion, most of those killed that day on IInstitutskaya had been shot with AK’s and not with sniper rifles. According to Sergei, modern AKs allow direct fire targeting to the neck, chest and head. It was precisely these injures that caused most of the protesters’ deaths. Judging from a publicly available video, the uniform of the shooters is not typical for Ukrainian special forces.

 Russian journalist, ‘Voice of America’ correspondent Roman Osharov, experienced problems when entering Ukraine. The Ukrainian border service denied him the right to cross the border of Ukraine, on the basis that the journalist couldn’t confirm the purpose of entering the country (although he explained the purpose of entrance verbally). Eventually the journalist managed to enter Ukraine.

 The update is prepared by EuromaidanSOS initiative, International Group of Human Right Defenders on Ukraine and The Civic Solidarity Platform

civicsolidarity.org

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