Read previous news on the topic: Ukrainian crisis: March 24
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. Moscow responded with symmetrical sanctions.
As of March 24 there were around 100 thousands soldiers on the Russian side of the south-eastern borders of Ukraine and Crimea. On the same time Ukrainian soldiers were ordered to leave the peninsula.
00:14. Coordinated EU and US sanctions against Russia are not a punishment or revenge, but a call to Moscow to the political and diplomatic settlement of the crisis in Crimea, stated President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy at a joint press conference with U.S. President Barack Obama and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
01:00. Talks about 'gas war' declared by the West to Russia are a political fantasy, Russia's permanent representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov stated.
In a confidential report two representatives of the U.S. administration on condition of anonymity told CNN reporters, that the way Russian troops are regrouping on the border with Ukraine is very similar to those maneuvers that Russia carried out before the wars in Chechnya and Georgia.
According to their data, more than 30 thousand Russian soldiers are standing on the border with Ukraine at the moment.
09:11. A number of Russians who approve Russia's President Vladimir Putin's has exceeded 80% for the first time in six years according to a survey of All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center. Such a growth in his rating is caused by the annexation of Crimea to Russia.
09:54. 62% of Russians believe that the annexation of Crimea to Russia is caused by the threat to Russian-speaking population of the peninsula, evidence the results of a survey hold the Russian analytical centre Levada Center. 88% of respondents support joining of the peninsula to Russia.
10:07. The International Monetary Fund has agreed a $14-18 billion two-year bailout for Ukraine, a deal to help it recover from months of turmoil that will also unlock further credits making a total of $27 billion.
10:27. Gas tariffs for Ukrainians, according to the agreements between the government and the International Monetary Fund, will be rising to market levels for four years, head of the IMF mission in Ukraine Nikolai Georgiev said.
He stressed that the tariff increase will be accompanied by the introduction of a new system of social support, which will cover up to 30% of the population.
At the same time, Ukrainian Cabinet has agreed to freeze wages and pensions.
10:29. Head of the Party of Regions Oleksandr Efremov said that during the voting for the inclusion of 'anti-crisis' bills in the agenda of the parliament, a member of the 'Batkivshchyna' Irina Kupreichik voted twice.
10:45. As part of the economic reforms envisaged in the memorandum with the International Monetary Fund, a Deposit Guarantee Fund for individuals will be modernized, said Stepan Kubiv, head of the National Bank of Ukraine. Guarantees on deposits may be increased to 300 thousand UAH.
10:50. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaking in Parliament on Thursday, introducing bills to save the economy, said that currently Ukraine is on the verge of bankruptcy.
'The country is on the brink of economic and financial bankruptcy. First digit: total fiscal gap, or the funds needed for the survival of the country - 289 billion hryvnia', he said.
10:50. Three groups of protesters with different requirements are holding rallies near the Verkhovna Rada's building, reports LB.ua from the scene (pictures).
Representatives of the 'Democratic Alliance' require the adoption of a bill 0947, which amends a Law 'On Access to Public Information' and allow the public to be fully informed about local and national budget and salaries of officials, etc.
The second group are motorists, protesting against an increase of recycling fees and are holding posters 'No utilization fee' and 'Do not raise the excise tax on gasoline'.
Others demand the government to adopt a law on lustration of judges who had sent Euromaidan activists into custody.
10:56. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk predicts that inflation in Ukraine in 2014 will range between 12% and 14% depending on the exchange rate.
11:14. The government has abandoned an idea of introducing a tax on income from large deposits, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said in Parliament on Thursday, introducing bills to save the economy.
11:18. Ukrainian government intends to introduce a progressive scale of personal income tax in Ukraine. There'll be five rates depending on the amount of monthly income, says a crisis bill number 4576.
A rate of 15% tax will be applied to income of up to 10 living wages per month (about 12 thousand UAH), 17% - to income of 10-17 living wages (12-20 thousand UAH), 17-33% - to income of 20-39 thousands UAH per month. Income of 39-78 thousand UAH will be a subject to 25% tax. A tax for super income will be set to 30%.
Now income tax rate is 15%, and for income excessing 12 thousand UAH per month it is 17%.
11:25. Gas tariffs for the population will increase, but the poor Ukrainians will receive targeted assistance up to 500 hryvnia per month, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk stated.
11:32. Anti-crisis government bill provides a sharp increase in excise duties on cigarettes, beer and alcoholic beverages. Excise tax on alcoholic beverages and tobacco will be raised by 25%, for beer - by 42.5%.
11:48. A volume of government borrowing in 2014, according to a new budget of Ukraine, will make 193.2 billion UAH. It is 35.9 billion UAH more than previously planned.
It includes external loans of 84.15 billion UAH (about $ 7.9 billion at current exchange rate), internal - 109.1 billion UAH.
11:48. The Cabinet of Ministers will freeze a minimum wage and living wage in 2014, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk stated.
12:00. The Cabinet has proposed MPs to amend the 196th Art. of a Tax Code ('Operations that are not subject to taxation'). Thus, parcels from abroad, which cost more than 150 euros will be taxed.
12:00. Government has offered to double a rent for the use of mineral resources, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk stated on Thursday while introducing bills to save the economy.
12:01. The Cabinet of Ministers has proposed to impose collection of mandatory pension insurance on currency purchases, at a rate of 0.5% of the transaction amount.
12:07. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk that Government will reduce number of officials of the state executive power by 10%.
12:23. Anti-crisis bill offered by the Cabinet provides for tougher estate tax: the tax rate will be calculated depending on the total area of the property instead of its living area.
12:41. The Cabinet of Ministers has offered to reduce the total number of the Interior Ministry employees by 79.4K people. Employees of the Security Service of Ukraine, the State Guard and prosecutors will be fired as well.
12:51. The Cabinet of Ministers in its anti-crisis bill proposed a change in the amount of financial aid after a birth of a child. Thus, under the new rules, the amount of assistance will be 41280 ($4000), regardless of the number of children in the family. First 10320 ($1000) will be paid immediately at birth, and the rest of the amount - during the next three years in equal parts.
13:04. The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine believes that exhibits of an exhibition 'Crimea: Gold Secrets of the Black Sea', which are now in the Netherlands, should be returned to Ukraine. Vladimir Putin strongly disagrees to return the historical values to Ukraine.
13:10. Donetsk Governor Sergiy Taruta at a meeting of the board of the regional administration said that an assertion that Donbass feeds all Ukraine (often used by Russians) is a myth, since Donetsk is a subsidized region.
13:16. The Party of Regions faction in the Verkhovna Rada has sent a petition to the Constitutional Court constitutional to clarify the possibility of granting a status of the second state language to Russian.
13:32. Ukraine intends to strengthen its broadcasting signal to inform Crimea on Kyiv's position, said Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defence council Victoria Syumar said.
13:46. Crimean residents without official registration on the peninsula must leave Russia's territory during a month, until April 19, a representative of Russia's Federal Migration Service Victoria Gichko said at a press conference in Sevastopol.
13:49. European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will increase investment in Ukraine, reported the bank's press service after the news of the agreement between Ukraine and the International Monetary Fund. The amount of investment will be about 1 billion euros per year.
14:11. Servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, supported by armored personnel carriers and several military vehicles, on March 26 took control over a navigation station 'Mars-75' in Henichesk (Kherson region of Ukraine), which has been controlled by the Russian Black Sea Fleet until recently, says the Defence Ministry's statement.
14:33. The Interior Ministry, referring to the results of a ballistic expertise of a bullet in a body Oleksandr Muzychko (Sashko Bily), a member of the hard-line 'Praviy sector' ('Right sector') civil movement and the group's coordinator for western Ukraine, said he was killed with his own weapon as he tried to escape from police in the western Ukrainian region of Rivne.
14:35. Ukrainian former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, released from jail last month after her arch-foe Viktor Yanukovich fled from power, said on Thursday she would run again for president in an election on May 25.
She also pledged to build a strong army and said she hoped to be able to recover Crimea from Russia, which annexed it last week.
'I plan to run for president', she told her first news conference since being released from jail a month ago. 'None of the politicians understand the depth of lawlessness (in the country) and nobody wants to end it as desperately as I do', she said.
On Thursday she eschewed her hair-braid and was carrying a stick, a reminder of the back trouble that plagued her in prison and for which she has had treatment in Berlin since being released.
'I must stand for president because I am the only person who has realistically shown how to end corruption in all spheres', she said.
'I can find words and arguments for my mother and that means for those who represent the east and live in the east', she said.
With an eye to Russia's annexation of Crimea, she said she would build a powerful security system and a strong army.
'I am convinced that I will be able to defend the country from aggression. I hold out a hope for the return of occupied Crimea', she said.
14:36. Ukraine has begun negotiations with Russia to increase tariffs for gas transit, the 'Batkivschyna' party leader Sergiy Sobolev stated.
14:44. The Crimean State Council published a list of persons whose stay on the peninsula is undesirable, reported the press service of the State Council.
The list includes 320 Ukrainians, among them: government officials, heads of security agencies, and Ukrainian MPs.
14:49. Yulia Tymoshenko, who has openly declared his intention to run for president, has refused to conduct a traditional advertising campaign and urged all other candidates to do the same.
14:55. Yulia Tymoshenko at a press conference has denied any connection with the leadership of the Russian Federation and said Russia's president 'Vladimir Putin is Ukraine's enemy number one'.
15:10. If the presidential elections held on May 25 will be won by Poroshenko, ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko intends to do everything to preserve the unity and will work for the benefit of Ukraine, she said.
15:41. Azerbaijani diaspora in Ukraine has supported Ukraine on the issue of Crimea and supported the territorial integrity of the country, chairman of All-Ukrainian public organization 'Association of Ukrainian Azerbaijanis Diaspora' Hikmet Javadov said, suggesting that Russia has raised the Crimean issue to divert attention from a process of Ukraine's European integration.
15:42. The Russian leadership believes that Crimea is able to become self-sufficient region from a budgetary point of view, and perhaps even a donor.
'I am confident that Crimea could, if region's economy is properly organized, become self-sufficient region', President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
16:16. Russian President Vladimir Putin has allowed to spend on Crimea pension contributions of Russian citizens in the amount of 243 billion rubles (about $7 billion). This amount has been frozen in a special anti-crisis budget reserve of Russia.
16:20. President of the National Sports Committee for Disabled Valery Sushkevich has expressed the hope that the world-famous center of sports training and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities in Yevpatoria will not be nationalized by the new authorities of Crimea.
16:37. Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Republic of Crimea Sergey Aksenov believes a gaming zone should be created in Crimea, ha said at a press conference in Simferopol.
16:50. Ukraine intends to downsize its embassy in the Russian Federation, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yevheniy Perebyynis stated.
17:22. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic, commenting on the situation with disabling broadcast of the Russian TV channels in Ukraine, called this kind of practice justified if it serves the 'protection of fundamental values'.
17:32. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry has handed a diplomatic note to the Kazakh side, expressing concern about a content of statements by Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev with regard to Ukraine, made on March 25 in The Hague.
17:35. Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday he sees no way for Russia to return to the Group of Eight industrialized powers unless President Vladimir Putin changes course.
'The difficulty is that notwithstanding all of our efforts to make Mr Putin a partner, he has no desire to be partner, he has desire to be a rival', Harper said at a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
'Personally - and I only speak for Canada here - I don't see any way of return of Mr Putin to the table unless Russia fundamentally changes its course'.
Leaders of the Group of Seven nations, which does not include Russia, agreed this week to suspend their participation in the G8 unless the Kremlin changes course on Ukraine.
17:43. International security agreements were 'seriously undermined' by Russian actions in Crimea, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Andriy Deshchytsa said speaking at the UN General Assembly.
17:54. The European Union is not yet ready to offer Ukraine the prospect of membership in the Union, Ukraine itself is not ready for this, said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
According to him, in order to offer membership to Ukraine the EU member state have to reach consent on this issue.
18:00. The U.N. General Assembly on Thursday passed a non-binding resolution declaring invalid Crimea's Moscow-backed referendum earlier this month on seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia.
There were 100 votes in favor, 11 against and 58 abstentions in the 193-nation assembly. A number of countries did not participate in the vote. Western diplomats said the number of yes votes was higher than expected despite what they said was Moscow's aggressive lobbying efforts against the resolution.
The countries that voted against are Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
18:19. Ukraine's parliament has adopted a bill number 4575 'On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine' On State Budget of Ukraine for 2014'. 228 members of the parliament supported the bill.
18:55. U.S. President Barack Obama has called the agreement on loan from the International Monetary Fund to Ukraine an important step forward.
'This transaction will stabilize the economy of Ukraine', he said.
19:08. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives easily passed bills on Thursday to provide aid to Ukraine, back a $1 billion loan guarantee for the Kiev government and impose sanctions over Russia's annexation of Crimea.
The Senate passed its legislation by voice vote. The House voted for its legislation by 399-19.
The two chambers will have to agree on how to handle minor differences between the two pieces of legislation before a final bill can be sent for President Barack Obama to sign into law.
Senator Robert Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he believed leaders of the Senate and House had agreed on final wording, which would be sent for a House vote shortly.
"I expect it (the House vote) before they leave this week," he told a news conference shortly after the Senate vote.
19:39. President Barack Obama has acknowledged that the possible imposition of economic sanctions against Russia could have a negative impact on the American and European business in Russia.
20:13. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has adopted a government bill on preventing financial disaster and creating prerequisites for economic growth. 246 out of 333 registered members of the parliament supported the bill.
This law introduces a permanent application of the basic rate of corporate income tax at 18% and VAT at 20%.
20:41. Representatives of the 'Praviy sector' ('Right sector') civil movement are holding an extraordinary veche on Kyiv's Independence Square. As of 8:15 p there were about 3 thousand activists on the Maidan who demand the resignation of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. They accuse him of activist Oleksander Muzychko's (Sashko Bily) death.
20:45. Activists of the 'Right sector' are storming a building of the Verkhovna Rada. A group of masked men came to the building's door with bats in their hands.
20:55. Ukraine's parliament adopted in the first reading a draft law 'On Amendments to the Tax Code of Ukraine' (concerning the abolition of excise duty and utilization fee for the conversion of the vehicle).
21:27. The requirement of protesters on the resignation of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has been handed to the Verkhovna Rada MPs, activist of the 'Right sector' Oleg Odnorozhenko said.
21:54. A rally of the 'Right sector' under the Verkhovna Rada has ended. Activists promised to hold another rally on Friday, activist of the 'Right sector' Oleg Odnorozhenko said.
22:13. Ukraine's parliament adopted a Law 'On amendments to some legislative acts of Ukraine in connection with the adoption of the Law of Ukraine' On Information' (as amended) and a Law of Ukraine 'On access to public information'. The bill expands the access of citizens to information.
22:29. Radical union 'Right sector' does not want to publicly discuss the death of one of their leaders Oleksandr Muzychko (Sashko Bily) with the Interior Ministry, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said. According to the minister, these people have 'different scenario'.