International Stakeholders: Russian Military Provokes Conflict in Eastern Ukraine

Kyiv, April 17, 2014. The political and military tension at Ukraine’s Eastern border reached a new high when Russian special forces were caught instigating a series of conflicts in a number of Ukraine’s Eastern cities, namely in Donetsk, Horlivka (Gorlovka), Luhansk, Kramatorsk, Chervony Lyman and Slovyansk. While the pro-Russian media continue to present an image of “Donetsk self-defense units fighting for their freedoms and liberties”, the facts on the ground present an altogether different reality: Russian special forces – Spetsnaz – have invaded Eastern Ukraine, marking a serious escalation in the conflict.

On April 12, 2014, with no insignia to identify them and with no explanation of who they were, people in green uniforms carrying firearms and military ammunition simultaneously poured into the streets of Eastern Ukrainian cities with the distinct aim of seizing administrative and governmental buildings. Using widely accessible photographs and video footage, international politicians, military experts and the media started analysing the unmistakable facts, which confirm Russia’s military involvement in the Eastern Ukrainian upheaval. According to a recent statement of the Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius, the insurgents all had the same assault rifles – AK-100 – which are manufactured for the Russian military and are not available in Ukraine.

Additionally, the shoe type and model worn by the armed insurgents was manufactured by Butex, a Russian enterprise that has been supplying Russian security agencies and military units for the past several years, as reported by Ukrainian journalist Roman Nedzelskyi. Numerous videos depicting the armed military personnel feature officers speaking native Russian; one of the officers, when speaking to local civilians, even used the word “porebrik”, which is not used in Ukraine and is specific to the region around St. Petersburg in Russia.

Earlier, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU, or Sluzhba Bezbeky Ukrayiny) released a tape of an intercepted conversation between several people, including one who was later identified as one of the interlocutors – Igor Strelkov – staff of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of the General Staff (GSh) of the Armed Forces (AF) of the Russian Federation (RF) under a call sign “Strelok” (“Shooter”). According to Ukrainian intelligence sources, he has been in the city of Slovyansk, Donetsk region, since April 12, 2014.

On April 13, 2014, Strelkov was personally in charge of a raid during which personnel of the antiterrorist center of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) who were coming to perform an operation in Slovyansk were attacked and fired upon. As a result of the attack, one officer of the SBU was shot dead and three others wounded. The ambush was confirmed to have been organized by the raiding party of the GRU GSh of the Russian Federation.

Additionally, NATO Secretary General Anders V Rasmussen reported that Russia was at fault in instigating separatism in Eastern Ukraine. “Russia should stop making up conflicts; it should rather look for solutions”, commented Rasmussen at the April 15 session the Council of Europe.
At an extraordinary session of the Security Council of the United Nations, held on March 14, 2014, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power announced that “these events in Ukraine are neither protests, nor demonstrations. They are professionally fabricated military operations planned in Russia”. Reportedly at this session of UN Security Council, none of its members believed Russia’s myth of supporting the Russian-speaking population within the borders of allegedly “neo-fascist” Ukraine.

The situation and possible resolutions of the military confrontation in Ukraine will be discussed at the meeting between Ukraine, Russia, the US and the EU scheduled for April 17, 2014.

# # #
For information please contact the center hotline by phone +38(050) 1578159, +38(050) 1578423, or email: [email protected]