The Ministry for Reintegration carries out monitoring of developments in the situation on the temporarily occupied territories within the framework of the information reintegration strategy of territories of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol temporally occupied by the Russian Federation.
During last week (May 8-14, 2020) the following tendencies were observed:
Increased speculation around the crossing of the EECP on the contact line with the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts (hereinafter referred to as “TOT of DLO”) and on the administrative border line with the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol (hereinafter referred to as “TOT of the AR of Crimea”)
During the aforementioned period, all Ukrainian EECPs were working by regular regime, performing activities in compliance with quarantine restrictions. This included ensuring the unhindered crossing of EECP by citizens on humanitarian grounds and assisting international humanitarian organizations and monitoring missions.
In particular, during this period, by a separate decision of the Chairman of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, 21 persons were allowed to the temporarily occupied Ukrainian Peninsula through the EECP on the administrative border line with TOT of the AR of Crimea, and 8 persons crossed EECP from the temporarily occupied Crimea to Kherson Oblast.
Furthermore, by a separate decision of the Commander of the Joint Forces Operations (JFO), there were 6 permits granted for the crossing of the EECP in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. For example, on May 8, a woman has gone through the EECP "Mariinka" from the temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk Oblast (hereinafter referred to as “TOT of DO”), who was on her way for treatment in Kyiv Oblast, and her husband, who provided escort.
In total, since March 22, the Commander of the JFO had granted 283 individual permits to cross the contact line in Donbas, and the Chairman of the State Boarder Guard Service of Ukraine had granted 132 permits to cross the administrative border line with the TOT of the AR of Crimea.
The Ukrainian side also provided comprehensive assistance for the delivery of humanitarian aid from international organizations to the territory of Ukraine temporarily occupied by Russia. In particular, on May 8, assistance from the ICRC was transferred through the EECP "Stanytsia Luhanska" to the temporarily occupied territory of Luhansk Oblast (hereinafter referred to as “TOT of LO”), and on May 14, the next part of cargo, mainly consisting of food kits was transferred through EECP "Novotroitske" to the TOT of DO.
It should be noted that within the framework of the implementation of the agreements of the leaders of the "Norman format" in Paris, Ukraine is fully ready to open another EECP, and locate it near town Zolote (Popasna district, Luhansk Oblast), which would allow to intensify humanitarian activities.
Meanwhile, the representatives of the Russian occupation administrations on the TOT of DLO take an extremely destructive position, violating the rights of citizens and posing a threat to the civilians. In particular:
During the quarantine period Russian-controlled units did not allow more than 20 persons to enter the TOT of DLO, who were granted separate permission by the Commander of JFO to cross the EECP on humanitarian grounds. Therefore, on May 8, a man who was transporting the body of the deceased for burial was not allowed to enter the TOT of DLO;
The leaders of the occupation administrations deliberately obstruct the work of the OSCE SMM and dozens of cases of direct obstructions to the work of the monitoring crews were recorded during the week. They also put forward unacceptable conditions for absurd requirements, ostensibly to "counteract the epidemic", which are actually aimed at reducing the number of monitors and limiting their movement;
The occupying Russian "authorities" complicate the delivery of humanitarian aid and fail to meet their obligation to ensure ICRC' access to illegally detained persons. The opening of the EECP at the TOT of LO in Zolote district is also blocked.
Amidst aforementioned, the Russian occupation administrations are spreading false information for propaganda purposes, accusing Ukraine of non-existent restrictions for citizens.
In particular, the issue of the opening of the EECP in Zolote was raised by representatives of the Ukrainian delegation during the regular round of consultations in the Trilateral Contact Group of the "Minsk Process" (where Russia is an aggressor state, Ukraine is a country against which Russia carries out armed aggression, the OSCE is a mediator in the negotiations). However, the occupation administration of the TOT of LO, instead of fulfilling its obligations to observe the ceasefire regime and create appropriate infrastructure at the EECP in Zolote district, focuses on the fabrication of false stories about the allegedly difficult crossing of the EECP "Stanytsia Luhanska".
According to available information, in the near future, by the orders of the Russian curators, there will be attempts to organize imitation "protests" and provocations at the EECP. Analysis of the data shows that the purpose of these provocations will be to destabilize primarily the work of the EECP "Stanytsia Luhanska" and "Novotroitske", through which the delivery of humanitarian assistance is carried out. Responsibility for the possible consequences falls entirely on the leaders of the occupying Russian "authorities".
Complications of the epidemiological situation in the context of the spread of COVID-19
As of May 14, 2020, the Russian occupation administrations have published the following information on the incidence:
in Crimea - 245 confirmed cases (4 fatal, 84 recovered, more than 1700 in different medical surveillance regimes),
in Sevastopol - 132 confirmed cases (2 fatal, 57 recovered, more than 1500 persons in different medical surveillance regimes),
in the TOT of DO - 214 confirmed cases (5 fatal, 29 recovered, around 9000 persons in different medical surveillance regimes),
in the TOT of LO - 308 confirmed cases (1 fatal, 53 recovered, more than 5000 persons in different medical surveillance regimes).
During the week, the number of infected, according to the occupation “authorities”, increased by 38% on the TOT of the AR of Crimea. Since May 12 a "mask regime" has been introduced in the temporarily occupied Crimea, the "high readiness" regime has been extended until May 31 amidst certain breaks for economic entities.
On May 13 a n outbreak of incidence was recorded in Saksky district hospital, which was transformed into an observatory on May 10 due to the presence of infection: 23 new cases per day, including 15 medical workers were identified.
According to the occupation administration, a significant drop in passenger traffic was recorded during May holidays compared to last year. In particular, during the first 10 days of May, the number of passengers at "Simferopol" airport decreased by 14 times. However, cases of coronavirus import from Russia continue to be recorded, and not only through the airport. In particular, on May 14, the infection was identified in a railway worker who arrived by train from Rostov-on-Don.
During the week an uneven pattern of hospitalization of citizens through the ambulance service were recorded on TOT of the AR of Crimea. Therefore, on May 10 there were recorded 4 calls with suspected pneumonia (3 persons were hospitalized) and 79 with symptoms of SARS (29 persons were hospitalized, including 12 with suspected coronavirus). At the same time on May 12 there were 31 calls with suspected pneumonia (30 persons were hospitalized) and 93 calls with SARS (35 persons were hospitalized, including 22 with suspected coronavirus).
In Sevastopol, the regime of self-isolation of citizens was prolonged till May 17, the regime of “high readiness” was prolonged till May 31. At the same time, mass events took place in the city on May 9 and 13, posing a danger of spreading the virus.
On May 11 the "Head" of the Russian occupation "authorities" in Sevastopol, Mykhailo Razvozhaiev stated that none of the coronavirus patients were connected to the artificial respirating unit. At the same time, it became known that city medical institutions have recently received 10 artificial respirating units (manufacturer - JSC "Ural instrument-making plant"), similar to those that previously caused a fire in hospitals of the Russian Federation (on May 9 in Moscow, 1 person died, on May 12 in St. Petersburg, 5 persons died). In the period when the causes of the fire are studied, the Ural-made artificial respirating units will not be used.
Lack of adequate control over those who arrive from Russia, as well as concealment of cases among the occupation military contingents testify about deliberate distortion and understatement of the figures of "official statistics".
According to the evidence so far, the most difficult situation with the epidemic remains in the TOT of LO. In the period from May 5-14, the number of infected "officially" increased by 90%. At the same time, the nature of the publication of "official data" indicates the presence of manipulation and lack of tests. The information is submitted unevenly and intermittently for several days.
Despite the statement of the occupation administration controlled by Russia on controlling the spread of the disease, Luhansk City Children's Hospital No.1 is being reorganized for the admission of persons who have been in contact with coronavirus patients, the infectious diseases department of hospital No. 15 (settlement Yuvileine, Luhansk) is already 100% filled with patients. According to available information, as of May 12 a doctor died in Dovzhansk, infected with coronavirus, but the occupation administration is hiding this case.
Amidst the partial ease of quarantine, which are carried out for propaganda purposes, the regime of strict isolation for residents of Alchevsk, Perevalsk, Pervomaisk and Dovzhansk towns is preserved. The village Sentiakivka (previosly known as Frunze, Slovianoserbskyi district) was added to the list of settlements with strict self-isolation. Therefore, on May 13, a meeting of entrepreneurs took place in Alchevsk, who demanded the abolition of strict quarantine, because they completely lost their earnings.
On the TOT of DO, the number of recognized cases of the disease increased by 25% during the week. The highest number of new cases was recorded on May 9 - 24, and also 15 new patients recognized on May 12. Meanwhile, the tendency of concealing fatal cases on the TOT of DO continues.
According to available information, on May 7 there was an outbreak of COVID-19 disease among medical personnel of the hospital in Dokuchayevsk. On May 8, one of the nurses of the gynecological department died, but she was diagnosed with "bilateral pneumonia" without mentioning coronavirus. The hospital has been switched to a limited regime of work, workers and patients are strictly forbidden to provide any data, and on May 8 their phones were temporarily seized in order to prevent the dissemination of information about the real state of the situation.
Continued commitment to the militarization of the TOT of the AR of Crimea and Sevastopol amidst flagrant violations of the human rights
During the practice flights on May 7 of strike team of 39th Helicopter Regiment of 27th Composite Aviation Division of 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Army of Russian Federation in the area of Dzhankoy (TOT of the AR of Crimea) one of the crews lost control of the helicopter, causing the helicopter crash (1 pilot is dead, 4 are wounded). It should be noted that the manoeuvring took place in the immediate vicinity of residential buildings and gas stations, which could have resulted in civilian casualties.
Overall, the intensity of the military training of the Russian occupation contingent slightly decreased last week due to preparations for May 9 celebrations. At the same time, the planned activities were not ceased.
In particular, a meeting of the enlistment commission was held in Sevastopol on May 14, during which it was noted that the first scheduled deployment of conscripts to the armed forces of the occupying state is expected on May 20. The enlistment campaign will last until July 15. Conscription of the civilians of the occupied territory into the army is a violation of international humanitarian law and a war crime.
Criminal pressure continues with the use of security forces and the judicial system.
Chairman of the Sudak regional mejlis Ilver Ametov has been fined another RUB 150 000 for violations of entrepreneurial activity by the court. This is the fourth trial for the six months. The total amount of fines was about RUB 275 000. Ilver Ametov is sure that such actions by the occupation Russian "authorities" are caused by his political position and public activities.
The so-called "Central District Court of Simferopol" resumed consideration of the criminal case against the Crimean Tatar activist Edem Bekirov, who was released from jail in September 2019 as a result of the exchange.
On May 14, the military court of appeal in Vlasiha (Moscow Oblast) left unchanged the sentence of the Crimean blogger and journalist Nariman Memedeminov, who was sentenced to 2.5 years in a penal colony settlement on charges of "public calls for terrorist activities."
The same day, the so-called "Supreme Court of Crimea" rejected the appeal of activist and civil journalist Rustem Sheikhaliev, extending his detention until June 15, 2020. He was detained during mass searches on March 27, 2019.
On May 13-15, court sessions will be held on the “Hizb ut-Tahrir case" against the so-called "Second Simferopol Group" and "Second Bakhchysarai Group."
According to human rights defenders, at least 14 residents of Crimea were detained in pre-trial detention center No.1 in Rostov-on-Don (Russia), deprived of their liberty under politically motivated criminal cases. Due to the "quarantine" measures, the visits of lawyers to the defendants are significantly limited.
On May 8, Andrii Kolomiiets, an activist of Maidan from Kyiv Oblast, turned 27 years old, was captured on May 15, 2015 in his wife's house on the territory of the Russian Federation and who has been behind bars for 5 years because of fabricated allegations of attempted murder of Crimean "Berkut" during the events on Maidan. In 2016, he was demonstratively convicted in Crimea to 10 years of strict regime colony and was transferred to the Penitentiary No.14 in Krasnodar Krai, Russia.
The Ministry for Reintegration draws the attention of the international community to the failure of the occupying state to comply with its obligations to protect the life and health of civilians in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.
The information was prepared with the assistance of the intelligence community of Ukraine, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, Mission of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Civil-military administrations of Donetsk and Luhansk, Kherson Regional State Administration.
We thank colleagues for their cooperation.