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Ukrainian crisis: March 24 (live updates)

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

Ukrainian crisis: March 24 (live updates)
The National Veche on Kyiv's Independence square, Crimean flag
Фото: EPA/UPG

Read previous news on the topic: Ukrainian crisis: March 20

Ukrainian crisis: March 21

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.

In response to Russia's actions, the EU, the U.S. and Canada have introduced a number of sanctions against Russian officials.

08:17. Leaders of G7 on Monday, March 24 will discuss a crisis in relations with Russia at a summit in the Hague. A topic of nuclear safety, which was originally supposed to be the main topic of the summit, has been completely superseded by the need to response to the annexation of Crimea by Russia.

08:17. In the night from Sunday to Monday Russian troops seized Ukrainian marine base in Feodosia, Crimea.

'The invading troops were using stun grenades and also firing automatic weapons. The interior of the compound is full of Russian troops', said Vladislav Seleznyov, a Ukrainian military spokesman in Crimea, describing a capture of the base.

Seleznyov said Russian forces were taking away all Ukrainian officers from the base to another location in the city for questioning.

Russian troops used armoured vehicles, automatic gunfire and stun grenades to take the Ukrainian Belbek airbase on Saturday. Ukrainian forces also abandoned a naval base after attacks by pro-Russian protesters, and had to surrender two flagship vessels to Russian forces over the recent days.

08:35. Acting Foreign Minister says believes that the danger of the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine has increased.

08:53. The EU suggests that Moldova could become the next victim of Russian aggression, stated former Prime Minister of Luxembourg and former chairman of the Eurogroup Jean-Claude Juncker.

09:09. An international summer camp for children 'Artek' and two departmental resorts in Crimea refused to work with the official Kyiv, Minister of Social Policy Lyudmila Denisova stated.

09:18. On Monday, March 24, Russian ruble has become an official currency in Crimea.

09:30. From 60 to 80 Ukrainian officers who were detained by Russian troops while storming Ukrainian marine base in Feodosia are being threatened with criminal charges, said Vladislav Seleznyov, a Ukrainian military spokesman in Crimea, describing a capture of the base.

09:50. Armed men in speedboats are trying to board Ukrainian trawler 'Cherkasy', Vladislav Seleznyov, a Ukrainian military spokesman in Crimea wrote on Facebook.

09:57. Acting President Oleksandr Turchinov instructed the Cabinet of Ministers and the State Administration to sell the property, which is managed by the State Administration of affairs and is not used to support the activities of the President of Ukraine. Money raised from the sale will be used for social needs.

10:33. Russia has begun laying fiber-optic lines through the Kerch Strait to provide telephone and internet access in Crimea, which in this respect is completely dependent on the mainland of Ukraine.

10:54. Poland's Foreign Ministry has received an official letter from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, which contains a proposal on division of the territory of Ukraine.

In particular, Zhirinovsky offers Polish ministry to focus its efforts on holding a referendum on the accession of five western regions of Ukraine - Volyn, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil and Rivne - to Poland.

In addition, Hungary and Romania received similar 'suggestions' from Zhirinovsky. He offered them to annex Transcarpathia and Chernivtsi.

Ukraine, according to Zhirinovsky's plan, should only consist of its current central part.

'Zhirinovsky has receive a polite (rejection - Ed.) response, without reference to the contents of his letter', the Polish Foreign Ministry stated.

11:00. The National Commission on regulation of financial services has warned Ukrainian insurance companies that their cooperation with Russian financial institutions in Crimea will soon be regarded as collaborationism.

11:23. The National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine has instructed the Ministry of Defence to conduct redeployment of military units located in Crimea and evacuate their families from the peninsula.

11:40. Russian government is planning to create a special economic zone on the territory of Crimea, Deputy Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Republic of Crimea Rustam Termirgaliev stated.

Investors on the peninsula have been promised tax havens.

11:46. Leader of the 'Svoboda' party Oleg Tyagnibok has offered the Parliament to adopted an appeal to the United Nation, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe to take the decision to exclude Russia from these organizations.

11:55. Former Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine Eduard Stavitsky has been declared wanted, Attorney General Oleh Mahnitsky stated.

Currently Stavitsky is accused of appropriation, embezzlement of property or possession of it by malpractice (Art. 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

12:05. Dnepropetrovsk Commission Board of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport has decided to abandon the national anthem of Dnipropetrovsk performed by Joseph Kobzon when opening sessions of the city council.

The decision was taken on the results of consideration of a petition of residents of Dnipropetrovsk, Andriy Bogatiryov wrote on Facebook.

He offered to deprive the People's Artist of Ukraine and the USSR Iosif Kobzon of a status of an honorary citizen of Dnopropetrovsk in connection with his statements on the need to act tough against radicals and extremists supporting Euromaidan.

Signatures for petition will be collected until March 26, and then they'll be handed over to the city council.

Iosif Kobzon, commenting on the decision of the Board of Dnipropetrovsk, said he did not want to be the honorary citizen of the city if nationalists will come to power there.

12:54. Ukraine intends to resume nuclear fuel procurement from American company Westinghouse, which had been stopped under Viktor Yanukovich's rule, said Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan.

13:20. Passenger aircraft flying between Moscow and Simferopol (Crimea) have started flying around the territory of Ukraine. As a result, the flight duration has increased from half to two hours and a half.

13:21. The U.S. is ready to impose additional sanctions against Russia in the event of a further escalation of the situation in Ukraine, President Barack Obama said in an interview with a Dutch newspaper 'Folkskrant'.

13:44. On Tuesday, March 25, Ukrainian ships from Sevastopol and Odesa naval units will start protecting the state border, territorial sea and exclusive (maritime) economic zone of Ukraine, the State Border Service of Ukraine reported.

13:54. Moscow has begun checking companies belonging to Lenur Islyamov, owner of a Crimean channel ATR, which supports Ukraine. He is being accused of Russophobia.

14:28. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has appointed Rear Admiral Denis Berezovsky as Deputy Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

On March 1 Acting President Oleksandr Turchinov appointed Denis Berezovsky as Commander of the Ukrainian Navy, but on March 2 he betrayed Ukraine and supported illegitimate Crimean government. Kyiv has filed a criminal case for treason against him, he was dismissed. Admiral Sergei Haiduk has been appointed to his former position.

14:38. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has called for consultations in Kyiv its ambassador to Belarus Mikhaylo Yezhel.

On Sunday, March 23, Lukashenko made a number of statements concerning Ukraine. In particular, he stated that 'Crimea today - is a part of the territory of Russia". He also suggested that the Ukrainian authorities have made a lot of mistakes that resulted in the loss of Crimea.

14:56. Russian Foreign Ministry said that on March 21 men dressed as the Ukrainian Insurgent Army soldiers (there is no such uniform - Ed.) entered train number 65 Moscow-Chisinau, which made a stop in the city of Vinnitsa, and started checking documents and taking money and jewellery from the passengers who presented Russia's passport.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry stated that Russia's Foreign Ministry statement on robbery of Russians in Vinnitsa was a misinformation.

'I personally contacted the press service of the railway, where I was informed that $140 and 10 thousand rubles had been stolen from a Russian citizen who was travelling in the train. She did not know, who stole her money. At one of the stop operatives went and took testimony from the victim, having driven her to the station 'Zhmerynka'. Nobody withdrew anything from anybody', speaker of Ukraine's Foreign Ministry Yevhen Perebiynis said.

15:04. In the village of Strelkovo, which is on Arabatskaya arrow near the border with Crimea and refers to Ukraine's Kherson region, unidentified men under the protection of Russian military dismantled gas drilling rig worth about 450 million UAH.

People dismantling it said that on Monday evening the tower will be transported to Crimea.

15:19. Moscow State Institute of International Relations on March 24 dismissed the historian and political scientist, professor of philosophy Andrei Zubov because of his criticism of Russian policy towards Ukraine. In particular, Zubov in his blog on LB.ua pointed to the similarity of actions of Russia and Nazi Germany.

15:36. At around 2.30 p,, unidentified men shot at three representatives of Euromaidan Self-Defence near Kharkivska metro station in Kyiv. One of them was wounded in the leg, the second was shot in the chest, and the third - in the legs. All the victims survived and have been hospitalized.

According to preliminary information, the unknown men blocked entry to Kyiv to a minibus from Kirovohrad that was carrying aid for Euromaidan Self-Defence. Since the car has been blocked on the entrance to Kyiv for a few days, the carrier asked Euromaidan for help. Three representatives of the Self-Defence came to the place of conflict to learn what the problem was. Then the criminals opened fire with a gun and a rifle. Afterwards then got into a silver Mercedes Vito and left in the direction of Boryspil.

The traffic police has announced a plan 'Interception' in Kyiv.

15:44. About 50% of the personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Crimea have sided Russia, Deputy Chief of the command center of Ukrainian Armed Forces, Major-General Alexander Rozmaznin said at a press briefing.

15:49. A Russian company 'Rosseti' intends in year and a half to run a cable for power supply of the Crimean peninsula, a head of 'Rosseti' Oleg Budargin said.

Russian government is also working on proposal of the Crimean authorities to build two power plants on the peninsula, which would work on gas.

16:15. About 40 AutoMaidan activists on 20 cars and a few motorcycles picketed the Interior Ministry's building demanding lustration of the Ministry's staff (pictures).

16:16. Romania's President Traian Basescu on Monday said the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) must reposition its resources in the wake of Moscow's military operations in recent months, without offering specifics, reports Reuters.

Romania, a former Communist state which joined the European Union in 2007, has been among the staunchest advocates of Western sanctions against Moscow, after Russia annexed the Ukrainian province of Crimea.

Romania is especially wary that its neighbour Moldova, a tiny state with a Russian-speaking minority, could be next in Moscow's sights.

'I will ... take advantage of the opportunity that many heads of states are gathered here and also outside the summit and inform them about the situation in the region, the need to reposition NATO's military resources as a result of military activities of the Russian Federation over the past months and so on', Basescu told reporters on Monday, on his departure to a nuclear security summit in The Hague.

16:27. Acting President of Ukraine, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Oleksandr Turchynov called for the urgent need for a law on the preservation of average wages and jobs to the people who have been called into the Armed Forces in the current extreme conditions. h

16:39. Ukraine will not get compensations for loss of its property in Crimea from Russian individuals and companies located on its territory.

'The question will stand solely on the objects of (Russia's) state property on the territory of Ukraine and neighboring countries', said the Minister of Justice Pavlo Petrenko at a briefing at the Cabinet of Ministers on Monday.

The list of such objects will become know as soon as the lawsuits are filed in the courts, he added.

16:49. Ukraine has not received from Russia any official reports of unilateral denunciation of the Kharkiv agreements and compensation of $11 billion, Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko said.

On March 21 the Kremlin stated that the Kharkiv agreements between Russia and Ukraine, according to which Kyiv received a discount on gas in exchange for an extension of stay of the Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine for 25 years, will be reviewed. Russia is no longer obliged to pay for the BSF stay in Crimea, the Kremlin stated.

16:52. Border control of Ukrainian citizens at a 'Borispol' airport and other major airports of the country has begun to take place in places of registration of the EU citizens.

17:10. Boxing champion Volodimir Klitschko has appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin because of illegal annexation of Crimea to Russia. In particular, Klitschko said:

'Vladimir Vladimirovich, do not repeat the mistakes of history... All that is currently happening in Ukraine is in some sense the echoes of the Soviet era. We should always remember that all former Soviet republics see their future in their own way. Each of them has their own needs and wishes. Each former Soviet republic has already chosen in which direction it wants to move: the East, West, South or North.

Ukraine and Russia have brotherly relations. People say that Russia - is the elder brother of Ukraine. It's like comparing me with Vitali. However, this does not mean that I should obey my older brother, who tells me, 'You should do what I think is right'. If he did so, I would say to him: 'Calm down', and would ask him not to interfere in my affairs. After all, I have my own character, my own life and my vision of the future'.

Volodimir Klitschko addressing Vladimir Putin

17:14. Russian Foreign Ministry has announced sanctions against 13 senior Canadian officials, parliamentarians and public figures in response to Canadian sanctions against Russian officials because of the situation in Ukraine and Crimea.

17:21. Russian manufacturers have begun to request the assignment of Ukrainian barcode to their goods due to the fact that Ukrainian buyers have been increasingly ignoring Russian products, reported the Ukrainian association of retailers.

17:22. Another Euromaidan activist, 48-year-old Petro Myronovych Gaja died on March 23 in his own house. Until yesterday he was recovering for over a month from gas burns of lungs.

17:33. Russian invaders in a gulf Donuzlav have started storming a large Ukrainian landing ship 'Konstantin Olshansky', Vladislav Seleznyov, a Ukrainian military spokesman in Crimea wrote on Facebook.

17:34. Russian ruble would cost ten percent more if it was not for the Crimean crisis, head of Russia's Sberbank German Gref stated.

17:56. Russian invaders in a gulf Donuzlav have seized Ukrainian landing ship 'Konstantin Olshansky', Vladislav Seleznyov, a Ukrainian military spokesman in Crimea wrote on Facebook (pictures).

Russian troops used rifles and stun grenades while storming the Ukrainian ship.

18:09. G-8 summit, which was supposed to take place in June in Sochi, will not take place, British Prime Minister David Cameron said at a meeting with the heads of European countries in the Hague.

18:13. As of March 24 10K people have been mobilized in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

18:25. The National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine has instructed the Security Service and Prosecutor General's Office to investigate the activities of Russian TV channels in Ukraine.

18:34. Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council Andriy Parubiy said that there are about 100 thousand Russian soldiers in full combat readiness on the border with Ukraine.

18:48. Andriy Parubiy said that Ukraine has completed the deployment of combat units of the army in the border regions on the north, east and south of the country, and is waiting for a diversion from Transnistria.

19:18. 20 kilometers long ditch may be dug on a border between Kherson region and Crimea. Such proposal was made during a meeting of Kherson's Governor Yury Odarchenko with heads of the military recruitment, customs, planning and architecture offices.

19:27. Ukraine will do everything possible to free Ukrainian military and civilian hostages in Crimea, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council Andriy Parubiy stated.

19:44. Ternopil Mayor Sergiy Nadal addressed acting Defence Minister Igor Tenyukh with a request to consider relocation of a military base, which is located in Crimea, to the territory of a former military base in the city of Ternopil.

19:56. A Chapel will be built in the memory of heroes of so-called 'Heaven's hundred' on Instytutska Street near Kyiv's Independence Square.

20:09. Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov has introduced into the action a decision of the Council of National Security and Defence Council on the redeployment of the Ukrainian troops from Crimea to other regions of Ukraine.

The cabinet has been instructed to ensure the evacuation of servicemen families and other interested persons from Crimea.

20:24. Ukraine needs 'a full-scale constitutional reform', Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters after meeting with Acting Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Andriy Deshchytsa.

21:08. Ukrainian marines from a seized base in Feodosia (Crimea) have passed pictures of their base after the assault to Ukrainian media.

21:23. Ukraine does not consider an issue of resuming nuclear weapons and reaffirms its commitment as a non-nuclear state, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsa stated during a Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague.

21:32. Russia does not cling to a format of the 'G8' if it does not need the West, today the world's major problems can be discussed within the framework of 'G-20' and other forums, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated.

21:51. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the beginning of the summit on nuclear security, which runs from 24 to 25 March in The Hague warned against the use of the crisis in Ukraine as a reason for wanting to get nuclear weapons.

22:12. European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule will lead a delegation of the European Commission, which will work in Kyiv on March 25-26 to develop a 'road map' of reforms in Ukraine.

A series of reforms is needed to be held in the field of democratic institutions and the economy of Ukraine, he said.

22:28. Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has received complaints from national minorities of Crimea about violations of their rights, stated OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Astrid Thors in an interview with Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergiy Kislitsa. 

22:43. The 'UDAR' party MP Sergiy Kunitsyn said he resigns from a post as Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in Crimea because he is ashamed that Ukraine can not properly respond to the situation in Crimea.

22:55. Leaders of the seven major world powers (G7) have agreed to hold a meeting in Brussels in June, instead of participating in the previously scheduled summit in Sochi (Russia).

23:30. Commander of the 204th Combat Aviation Brigade of Ukraine in Belbek (Crimea) Juliy Mamchur is still in Russian captivity, his wife Larisa Mamchur told reporters.

On March 22 Russian military rammed the gate with the APCs and using weapons seized a military base near a 'Belbek' airport. Juliy Mamchur was abducted that day. 

23:44. Leaders of the seven major world powers (G7) have adopted a declaration which supported the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

In addition, they threatened Russia with serious consequences in the case of stirring up the situation. They also strongly condemned the illegal attempt to annex Crimea to Russia in violation of international law.

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