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Ukrainian crisis: March 19

LB.ua chronicles the latest events in Ukraine in English for foreign readers.

Ukrainian crisis: March 19
Vladimir Putin and Crimean authorities signing a treaty in Moscow
Фото: EPA/UPG

Read previous news on the topic: Ukrainian crisis: March 18 Ukrainian crisis: March 17

Defying Ukrainian protests and Western sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty in Moscow on Tuesday, March 18, making Crimea part of Russia again. He also said he didn't plan to seize any other regions of Ukraine.

On the same day a Ukrainian serviceman protecting one of the remaining Ukrainian bases in the main town of Simferopol on the peninsula came under attack - the first death in Crimea from a military clash since Russia seized control in late February. The Ukrainian authorities said the attackers had been wearing Russian military uniforms, and responded by authorizing its soldiers in Crimea to use weapons to protect their lives, reversing previous orders that they should avoid using arms against attack.

As of March 10 there were around 20 thousands Russian soldiers on the territory of Crimea, and their number keeps growing. Also, there are about 220 thousand Russian soldiers on the Russian side of the south-eastern borders of Ukraine and Crimea.

00:35. In Crimea, the priests of the Moscow Patriarchate along with armed pro-Russian activists have started making an inventory of the property which belongs to the representatives of the Kyiv Patriarchate, Crimean Archbishop Clement stated.

00:53. In Kyiv, the press service of acting President Oleksander Turchinov announced new military orders. 'In connection with the death of a Ukrainian serviceman... Ukrainian troops in Crimea have been allowed to use weapons to defend and protect the lives of Ukrainian servicemen', the Defence Ministry order said.

Chief of General Staff, Commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Mikhail Kutsin offered his Russian counterpart Valery Gerasimov to establish a commission on the level of defence agencies to prevent the escalation of conflict in Crimea.

01:03. The 'Praviy sector' ('Right sector') civil movement stands for non-aligned status of Ukraine, movement's leader Dmitry Yarosр said.

The 'Praviy sector' doesn't support Ukraine's accession to the EU or NATO, because we believe that Ukraine should be a subject and not an object of geopolitics. We stand for the neutral status of the country, he said.

08:30. Ukrainian inspection team of four experts arrived in Belgorod (Russia) for inspection under the Vienna Document of 2011. It should be noted that most Russian troops are believed to be concentrated in areas that won't be visited by the inspectors.

08:44. Australian authorities have promised to freeze the accounts and ban entry to a number of Russian and Ukrainian officials due to Crimea's annexation to Russia. The sanctions will affect 12 people - 8 Russians and 4 Ukrainians.

09:19. Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksenov believes that south-east of Ukraine needs support from Russia. According to him, there is patriotism in a desire to enter the Russian Federation.

10:00. Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Defenсe, former Black Sea Fleet commander Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov said that up to 20 warships and support vessels, including submarine 'Zaporozhye' and corvettes 'Lutsk' and 'Ternopil' of the Naval Forces of Ukraine may join the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

10:25. Leader of the 'Svoboda' party Oleg Tyagnibok said that MP Igor Miroshnichenko, a member of his party, is ready to voluntarily withdraw his parliamentary immunity and defend his case before the court after an incident of beating a head of the First National (TV) Channel Oleksandr Panteleimonov, who wrote a letter of resignation afterwards.

On Tuesday, the 'Svoboda' MPs Igor Miroshnichenko, Andriy Ilienko, Bogdan Benyuk and others came to the office of Panteleimonov, hit him several times and forced to write a letter of resignation. Video of the incident was posted on the Internet by the 'Svoboda' party member Oleksandr Aronets, but later he deleted it. However, the record was copied and remained in the Web.

10:42. The General Prosecutor's Office opened criminal proceedings into the incident between the "Svoboda' party MPs and Oleksandr Panteleimonov - head of the National Television Company of Ukraine, told journalists Attorney General Oleg Mahnitsky.

10:43. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk believes that bank deposits starting from 50 thousand UAH (nearly $5 thousand) should be taxed.

10:57. Some members of Kyiv's 'Berkut' riot police have, involved into the killings of Euromaidan activists, addressed the Russian authorities on their desire to obtain Russian citizenship.

11:02. Ukrainian troops won't withdraw from Crimea despite calls from Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksenov, who declared himself the supreme commander of the ARC and Sevastopol and offered the Ukrainian servicemen there either to side 'the Republic of Crimea' or to resign.

11:26. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has instructed First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Yarema and Acting Defence Minister Igor Tenyukh to depart to Crimea to de-escalate the conflict.

11:48. Russian Constitutional Court upheld the treaty of accession of Crimea to Russia.

12:00. The Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine has closed proceedings on the legality of laying functions of Acting President of Ukraine on the Verkhovna Rada Chairman Oleksandr Turchinov.

12:08. Crimea has disconnected from the Ukrainian electronic payment system, and thus the State Treasury is unable to finance the payment of pensions and social benefits to residents of the peninsula, Minister of Social Policy Lyudmila Denisova stated.

12:47. Ukraine intends to address the FIBA Europe with a proposal to grant Ukraine the opportunity to postpone the European Championships in Ukraine from 2015 to 2017, thus giving another European country the right to host the European championship in basketball in 2015, Chairman of the Eurobasket 2015 Markiyan Lubkivsky stated.

12:55. Russian Foreign Ministry believes that the United States breached the obligations under the Budapest Memorandum concerning safeguard of the sovereignty of Ukraine. According to the statement of the ministry, the West allegedly 'connived coup in Ukraine'.

13:10. The Interior Ministry is considering the issue of the transfer of police officers from Crimea to other regions for further service, says a statement of the ministry's board, published on Wednesday.

13:22. MP from The Party of Regions faction in the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea Boris Deitch has decided to resign.

13:34. Leader of the 'UDAR' party Vitali Klitschko appealed to the 'Svoboda' faction MPs, who forced head of the First National Channel Oleksandr Panteleimonov to write a letter of resignation, to lay down their mandates.

13:43. Russian citizens now possess every tenth of the 200 largest companies in Ukraine. Earlier this week Ukraine's Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko said that Ukraine intends to compensate the damage caused by the nationalization of state-owned enterprises in Crimea using Russian state property (full list here).

14:10. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that NATO does not recognize the inclusion of Crimea to Russia.

He said Russia continues ignoring international law and moving a dangerous path. Annexation of Crimea was illegal and unlawful, and we won't recognize it, he noted.

14:12. Ukraine intends to sue for 'Chernomorneftegaz', nationalized by the self-proclaimed Republic of Crimea that wants to sell it to 'Gazprom'.

14:19. Commander of Naval Forces of Ukraine Sergiy Gayduk has been temporarily detained, reported the Prosecutor's Office of Sevastopol.

The prosecutors explained that, according to their data, Gayduk 'told Ukrainian military units (in Crimea) they received an order to use weapons against civilians from Kyiv'.

14:28. First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Vitaly Yarema and Ukrainian Defence Minister Igor Tenyukh, who flew to the Crimea today on behalf of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, could not get into the territory of the republic, Minister for Social Policy Lyudmila Denisova told journalists after the meeting of the Cabinet.

14:36. The campaign 'Support Ukrainian army' has gathered about 6 million hryvnia on account of the Defence Ministry for one day, and over 16 million hryvnia in total, reported the press service of the Defence Ministry.

14:55. Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Acting President Oleksandr Turchinov signed a law 'On amending some laws of Ukraine concerning service in the military reserve', reports the press service of the President.

15:03. Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted to the State Duma for ratification Treaty on the Accession of Crimea into the Russian Federation and the amendment to the Constitution to create new subjects of the Federation.

15:11. Ukraine has decided to refuse its presidency in the Council of Heads of State of the Commonwealth of Independent States in 2014.

'Ukraine regrets that the functioning of the organization turned into defending the interests of its individual members, including Russia', Director of Information Policy Department of the Foreign Ministry Evgeniy Perebiynis said.

15:32. A criminal case has been initiated under article 'Murder' upon firing at Ukrainian soldiers and fighters of pro-Russian 'self-defence' forces of Crimea in Simferopol, Crimea's Public Prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya reported.

16:03. Acting Defenсe Minister Igor Tenyukh and First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Vitaly Yarema could not fly today to Crimea, 'cause local authorities have denied landing to their plane.

The delegation was supposed to negotiate safeguards to Ukrainian servicemen in Crimea.

16:26. The Prosecutor's Office of Sevastopol on Wednesday refuted the information spread by the media, on the provisional arrest of the commander of the Office of the Naval Forces of Ukraine Sergei Gaiduk.

16:38. Ukrainian government is preparing an action plan for the evacuation of Ukrainian citizens from Crimea and their placement on the mainland territory of Ukraine, Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Ostap Semerak stated.

16:45. Britain warned President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that Russia could face permanent exclusion from the G8 if the Kremlin took further steps against Ukraine.

'I think we should be discussing whether or not to expel Russia permanently from the G8 if further steps are taken', Prime Minister David Cameron told the British parliament.

Cameron said that Russia would face economic sanctions if it took further steps to destabilize Ukraine such as sending troops into eastern Ukraine.

'If we turn away from this crisis and don't act we will pay a very high price in the longer-term', he said.

16:50. Russian Premier League can be expanded to 18 teams. Two vacancies will be occupied by the Crimean clubs 'Tavria' and 'Sevastopol'.

16:53. Prime Minister of the Republic of Crimea Sergey Aksenov urged Ukrainian servicemen to swear allegiance to Crimea or leave the republic. Perpetrators of this decree shall bear criminal responsibility, he noted.

17:10. Ukraine in the near future plans to decide on the future of bilateral relations with the Russian Federation, Director of Information Policy Department of the Foreign Ministry Evgeniy Perebiynis stated.

17:24. Shevchenko District Court in Kyiv on Wednesday sentenced 29-year-old activist and organizer of the pro-Russian 'AntiMaidan' in Odessa Anton Davidchenko to two months in a remand prison. Davidchenko may be sentenced for up to five years in prison for separatism.

17:25. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation to build two bridges across the Kerch Strait (Crimea).

17:32. Crimean enterprises were allowed to pay taxes in rubles. This is evidenced by an instruction on filling accounting documents for the payment of taxes, which operates on the peninsula since March 19. The document was published on the website of the Black Sea Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

17:36. Citizens of Ukraine, who left the Crimean autonomy and Sevastopol after the Russian troops entered there, created a public Committee of Crimean refugees, reported the press service of the organization.

The Committee will assist those Crimeans who left their homes and went to mainland Ukraine as well as those citizens of Ukraine, who remain in Crimea and are being persecuted.

Environmentalist and social activist Nikolai Podolyaka, who previously lived in Sevastopol, was elected as Coordinator of the Committee.

17:47. Violence and kidnappings in Crimea turned into one of the most dangerous regions of the world, EU Ambassador Yang Tombinsky stated.

17:56. Russian law enforcement authorities on Wednesday blocked an entrance to the candy factory 'Roshen' in Lipetsk. The company belongs to Petro Poroshenko, one of the potential candidates for the presidency of Ukraine.

17:59. Famous Russian writer, sociologist and political scientist Stanislav Belkovsky stated his desire to obtain Ukrainian citizenship. He wrote about this in his blog.

The reason lies in Russia's decision to join Crimea to Russia. He said he prefers European Ukraine to corrupted Russia.

18:16. Russian soldiers are throwing grenades at an area around a corvette 'Ternopil' standing in Sevastopol Bay, commander of the corvette 'Ternopil' on educational work Captain of the 3rd rank Oleksandr Serdyuk told LB.ua by telephone.

Ukrainian soldiers have asked the Ukrainian government to prevent a transfer of the Ukrainian Navy to Russia.

18:23. Six countries - partners of the European Union - have decided to join the sanctions against Ukrainians, accused by the EU of embezzlement of public funds, says a communique issued on behalf of the head of European diplomacy Catherine Ashton.

'These are countries - candidates (for entering the EU) Montenegro and Iceland, potential candidates Albania, members of the European Free Trade Association countries Liechtenstein and Norway, which are also included in the European Economic Area, as well as Moldova, align themselves with the decision of the European Council', says a communique.

18:35. Acting President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov has given three hours to the Crimean authorities to release all hostages. Otherwise, measures of technical and technological nature against Crimea will be taken.

18:39. Ukrainian activists hold an action urging Ukrainians not to buy Russian goods (pictures).

18:46. Strelkovo village council in Kherson region, on the southern edge of which stand both Ukrainian and Russian checkpoints, decided to move Ukrainian checkpoint to the northern outskirts. Regional prosecutor's office has opened criminal proceedings.

18:55. Federal Migration Service (FMS) of Russia in Crimea has started issuing Russian passports to local residents, head of department Konstantin Romodanovskiy said.

19:13. About 3 thousand National Guard troops loyal to Ukraine remain in Crimea, Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov said at a press conference.

The Ministry has already worked out a plan for the withdrawal of these employees from the territory of Crimea.

19:21. The National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine (NSDC) al Security and Defence Council of Ukraine (NSDC) has decided to introduce a visa regime with the Russian Federation, NSDC Secretary Andriy Parubiy stated at a briefing.

Referring to his demilitarization proposal, Parubiy said he hoped the United Nations would support the idea.

'This formula is the best for de-escalation ... We hope that common sense will prevail', he said.

19:32. NSDC on Wednesday proposed that Crimea, scene of a Russian-backed armed takeover, be declared a demilitarized zone by the United Nations with a pull-out by both Russian and Ukrainian forces., NSDC Secretary Andriy Parubiy stated.

20:01. Ukraine is leaving the Commonwealth of Independent States, Andriy Parubiy said.

20:37. NSDC claims to have 25 thousand places for refugees from Crimea on the mainland Ukraine.

21:01. Russia will cover Crimea's estimated 55 billion ruble ($1.53 billion) budget deficit with funds from the federal budget, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Channel 1 state television on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

'The volume of the (budget) deficit of Crimea and Sevastopol is about 55 billion rubles', Siluanov said in an interview televised by Channel 1.

'The whole sum will definitely be covered with federal budget'. ($1 = 35.9170 Russian Rubles)

21:25. Acting President Oleksandr Turchinov instructed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to sign a political part of an Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union.

The corresponding decree was published of March 19 on the website of the president.

The signing of the document is expected on March 21.

21:44. In Sevastopol, representatives of the Crimean 'self-defence' and the Russian servicemen have robbed a number of offices at a command headquarters of the Naval Forces of Ukraine, captured by the Russian military earlier today, a representative of the Ukrainian Navy Command said.

21:57. Representative of Ukraine to the UN Yuriy Sergeyev during a meeting of the UN Security Council on March 19 urged the international community not to recognize the illegal declaration of independence of Crimea and its annexation to Russia.

22:15. Germany on Wednesday made its first public intervention in business dealings with Russia since the escalation of the crisis over Ukraine, telling defense contractor Rheinmetall it could not send combat simulation gear to Russia, reports Reuters.

Germany has close economic ties with Russia, its main supplier of gas. But Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken a leading role in diplomatic efforts to stop President Vladimir Putin from annexing the Ukrainian region of Crimea.

After Rheinmetall said earlier on Wednesday it intended to honor contractual obligations to deliver about 100 million euros ($139 million) worth of technology to a Russian combat training centre.

22:27. The UN has received an invitation from the government of Crimea to visit Simferopol to assess the human rights situation on the peninsula, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations Human Rights Ivan Simonovic said at a meeting of the UN Security Council. Earlier he was denied from entering Crimea by local 'self-defence'.

22:47. People of Crimea have exercised their right to self-determination in accordance with international law, in a democratic way and without any external influence, Russian permanent representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin said at the Security Council meeting.

22:58. Ukrainian people must unite and fight selflessly in defence of their country during Russia's 'treacherous attack', Patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine Filaret commented on Russia's annexation of Crimea.

23:38. In the evening of March 19 unidentified men broke into a building of a charity fund 'Spiritual Heritage', which houses three museums (pictures).

23:40. Shooting incident at a Ukrainian military base in Crimea was rigged in 'the Maidan style', Russian permanent representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin stated during the UN Security Council meeting.

23:47. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu appealed to the leadership of the Republic of Crimea, to release detained commander of the Naval Forces of Ukraine Rear-Admiral Sergei Gayduk and do not hinder his departure to the territory of Ukraine.

Read next: Ukrainian crisis: March 20

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