Tag Archives: Police

Russian Occupied #Crimea: Crimean #Tatar #Mejlis raided, searched by police (PHOTOS)

The Mejlis is the self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars, most of whom opposed Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March and many of whom boycotted local elections on September 14.The Mejlis is the self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars, most of whom opposed Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March and many of whom boycotted local elections on September 14. © Anastasia Vlasova

Russian security forces raided the Crimean Tatar assembly and the home of one of its members. Reporting from the site, an RFE/RL correspondent said 10 police officers and six armed, masked men in military uniform surrounded the Mejlis in Crimea’s capital, Simferopol, on September 16 and were not letting anyone enter or leave the building.

The Mejlis is the self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars, most of whom opposed Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March and many of whom boycotted local elections on September 14. Police inside the building on September 16 were said to be searching the offices of the Crimean Tatar newspaper “Avdet” (Return).

Police also searched the home of Mejlis member Eskender Bariyev and confiscated his computers. On September 15, three masked, armed men removed a Ukrainian national flag from the Mejlis building.

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Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Russia has many ways to wreak havoc in Ukraine

by Nataliya Trach.
Serviceman of the 30th mechanized brigade of the 8th Army Corps at the front in Luhansk Oblast on July 8. © Oleksandr Klymenko/Holos Ukrainy (Voice of Ukraine)Serviceman of the 30th mechanized brigade of the 8th Army Corps at the front in Luhansk Oblast on July 8. © Oleksandr Klymenko/Holos Ukrainy (Voice of Ukraine)

While Russian-backed proxies openly wage war in eastern Ukraine, there are many other fields where Russia implicitly persists to destabilize the situation in order to preserve its influence over Ukraine.

Experts say Kremlin agents are embedded in Ukraine’s security services, the police, army, and parliament. An ongoing Russian trade and information war against Ukraine, as well as the constant threat of terrorist attacks, might contribute to more turmoil in the country.

Apart from that, professional incompetence on the part of certain officials in government and law enforcement bodies stand in the way of marshaling effective resistance to Russia’s aggression, according to analysts.

More destabilization from Russia expected

Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to maintain Russia’s grasp over the entire post-Soviet territory. And Moscow sees Ukraine’s recent democratic breakthrough following the EuroMaidan Revolution and possible integration with the European Union as a threat to Putin’s hold on power, analysts believe. “All Russian international integration projects like the Russian World or Slavic Unity have no meaning without Ukraine,” says Oleksiy Melnyk, security analyst at the Kyiv-based Razumkov center think tank. “I am afraid that Putin will raise his bets again to keep Ukraine under his control. We can expect even Russia’s direct invasion into Ukraine.”

Mykola Malomuzh, a retired army general and former foreign intelligence chief in 2005-2010, says that according to his information, Russia-backed terrorists plan to shell Russian territory from Ukraine so that Putin could have an excuse to send so-called “peacekeeping troops” into Ukraine. Malomuzh warns that there is a high probability that Russia’s war against Ukraine could spark World War III.

Russian spies, supporters in Ukraine

After former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s hasty retreat at the end of February to Russia, the heads of law enforcement agencies were dismissed, yet the middle management of the Ukrainian Security Service, known by its SBU acronym, and law enforcement structures still hold their positions. Some of them are still working for Russia, Malomuzh believes.

He believes dozens of Russian agents in the SBU work in Kyiv and a few operate in the regions. “A scant 0.001 percent of Russian agents among the 45,000 on the SBU staff are enough to betray the state’s interests,” adds the former foreign intelligence chief.

The large number of police officers in Donbas that quickly started cooperating with the separatists make the whole security situation even worse. “Donetsk and Luhansk police are sabotaging commands from the center,” former Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Viktoriya Siumar said on April 29.

Military expert Dmytro Tymchuk, who heads the Kyiv-based Center for Military and Political Studies, considers local police units to be a weak link in combating Russian-backed guerillas, estimating that 70 percent of the Donetsk police support the rebels. “A Ukrainian police officer gets $300 a month while a Russian police employee receives $1,200. That’s why the traitors (among Ukrainian police) want to become part of Russia,” Tymchuk wrote on his facebook page on April 14.

Lawmakers from Ukraine’s Communist Party, Party of Regions and the For Peace and Stability factions which many say represent the pro-Kremlin lobby in Ukraine’s parliament are not expected to challenge Russian aggression. “Those lawmakers might block the tribune, block the adoption of European integration laws and they will obviously prevent any law that is disadvantageous to the Kremlin (from being adopted),” political analyst Oleksiy Haran says adding that pro-Russian lawmakers spread Moscow’s propaganda in mass media, which promotes separatism. Continue reading

Australia sends 100 more police for #MH17 mission, as rhetoric softens

Tony Abbott and AFP commissioner Tony Negus in Canberra on Friday. Photograph: Alan Porritt/AAPTony Abbott and AFP commissioner Tony Negus in Canberra on Friday. Photograph: Alan Porritt/AAP

Australia is sending 100 more federal police officers to Europe in the hope they will be able to join a Dutch-led mission to secure the site of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Tony Abbott said some of the police could be armed and backed up by defence personnel, as he rejected suggestions the fall of the Ukrainian government could affect the completion of a deal with Ukraine to enter the site.

The Australian prime minister also emphasised that the mission’s aim was merely to bring back the remains of loved ones, not to engage in “the politics of eastern Europe” – an apparent signal that he would refrain from further forthright criticism of Russia or pro-Russian rebels as efforts continue to seek acceptance for an international mission to enter the site.

The 298 people who died in the apparent shooting-down of the plane in eastern Ukraine last week included 38 Australian citizens or permanent residents. On Friday evening the Australian government revised that number up from 37 after information came to light about a New Zealand citizen who was a long-term resident in Victoria.

The pre-deployment of 100 Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers is in addition to the 90 officers who have already been sent to Europe to take part in the international police mission.

The AFP commissioner, Tony Negus, said 50 officers had been sent to London while 40 were in Ukraine and the Netherlands. It would be one of the largest overseas police delegations since the 2002 Bali bombings, Negus said.

In an update to the media on Friday, Abbott said Ukraine had formally delegated leadership of the investigation to the Netherlands, and Australia was close to finalising an agreement with Ukraine to allow the deployment of federal police to the site.

Abbott said the deal was unaffected by the resignation of Ukraine’s prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, after the collapse of the governing coalition. He said Australia’s agreement would be with the president, Petro Poroshenko, and would require the approval of the Ukrainian parliament “but nothing that’s happened overnight is expected to hinder that”.

The Netherlands will provide about 40 unarmed police to the MH17 crash site, media reports indicate.

But Abbott raised the prospect of some of the AFP officers being armed and backed up by the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

“Many of the AFP deployed won’t be armed, some of them could be armed, and yes there will be some ADF as part of this deployment,” Abbott said.

Abbott said a “very modest” ADF team was in Ukraine, led by a colonel who was a liaison officer, several planning personnel and a personal protection team for the envoy and former defence chief Angus Houston.

Negus said the safety of officers was paramount and it had been “well documented this is a difficult part of the world at the moment”.

“We will be deploying in there in an unarmed capacity,” Negus said.

“There may be some members that can be armed, but if this mission goes ahead, it will be led by the Dutch. We’ll be working hand in glove with the Dutch to make sure that this mission is done as safely as possible.”

Abbott said the mission was still “very much in the planning stages” and humanitarian in nature. He said the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, had been “full of sympathy, as you’d expect from another human being, for what’s happened to 37 families in Australia and he certainly has been publicly and privately supportive of securing the site”.

Abbott said the discovery of more wreckage and remains in a heavily wooded area showed it was more important than ever to properly secure the crash site.

“Others can engage in the politics of eastern Europe. All we want to do is claim our dead and bring them home,” he said.

Asked whether this was a sign he was stepping away from strong criticism of Russia to increase the chances of a team being allowed to enter the crash site, Abbott said: “What I’ve tried to do over the last week since this atrocity took place has been to respond appropriately to the events of the particular time. What we are focused on now, what we are solely and wholly focused on now, is Operation Bring Them Home. That’s what we’re focused on.”

The acting opposition leader, Tanya Plibersek, said Labor supported the deployment of AFP officers and potential ADF back-up.

“This is a very dangerous area of Ukraine, there are heavily armed rebels on the site,” she said. “They have been haphazard about allowing access to the site, it’s plain that not all of the rebel groups are cohesive, that there are different units operating that don’t follow a clear command structure.

“So, making sure that Angus Houston, that our police, federal police … any consular officials who are on the site are safe – if that takes Australian defence personnel, then of course we support that.”

In a phone conversation with Abbott on Friday, the US president, Barack Obama, praised Australia’s leadership and indicated the US would co-ordinate closely with Australia, a White House spokesman said.

Abbott later told reporters it was an international mission “not a US operation”, but Obama had voiced his “full support for what Australia and other countries have in mind”.

Abbott said the personnel leaving Australia would include Dr Simon Walsh, a trauma expert who led the response to the Indian Ocean tsunami.

via Australia sends 100 more police for MH17 mission, as rhetoric softens | World news | theguardian.com.

A #Guide to #Ukraine’s #Fighting #Forces

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko visits the headquarters of Ukrainian’s anti-terrorist operation near Izium in Kharkiv Oblast and finalizes a plan with Ukraine’s army on July 8 for a military offensive against Kremlin-backed insurgents.Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko visits the headquarters of Ukrainian anti-terrorist operation near Izium in Kharkiv Oblast and finalizes a plan with Ukraine’s army on July 8 for a military offensive against Kremlin-backed insurgents. More than 200 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the fighting since mid-April, but Ukraine’s fighting forces are showing gains. They have liberated the Donetsk Oblast cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk and have promised to free Donetsk and Luhansk soon. © Anastasia Vlasova

With the West wimping out on tough sanctions against Russia or significant military aid to Kyiv, Ukraine is pretty much going it alone in defending the nation against the Kremlin-backed war that began with the Feb. 27 military invasion of Crimea.

More than 30,000 troops are engaged in what increasingly looks like a fight to the finish in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Forces have been marshaled from the army, police and border guard.

Also, some 2,000 of them are volunteers who provided muscle during the EuroMaidan Revolution that succeeded on Feb. 22 in ousting President Viktor Yanukovych, who is hiding from mass murder charges in Russia.

Andriy Parubiy, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, says their presence is crucial for bolstering the nation’s broken army and raising its combat spirit. “People came forward asking for weapons and saying we will fight,” Parubiy recalls. “We had to find a mechanism to channel this. The fact that we managed to direct this huge energy of Maidan towards protection of the motherland, this helped a lot.”

The nation has 22 volunteer battalions, but only eight to 10 of them are taking part in the anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine at any given time. They are all part of the official law enforcement structure and take orders. Their names, however, are informal, a reference to their revolutionary history.

Fighters of the Donbas Battalion train at an Interior Ministry base in Novi Petrivtsi near Kyiv on June 5.Fighters of the Donbas Battalion train at an Interior Ministry base in Novi Petrivtsi near Kyiv on June 5. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)

“These are the guys who stood on Maidan,” says Parubiy, who was in charge of self-defense troops during the revolution. After taking on his new role, he continued to coordinate the self-defense units and oversaw their training and incorporation into the formal structure of Ukraine’s law enforcement bodies.

Parubiy describes them as “high level professionals” and says that “none of the battalions act on oligarch orders, or act on their own.”  Continue reading

Ukraine: Maidan no longer a safe place for journalists?

Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square)Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square)

On July 2 a Channel 5 film crew came under attack on Maidan Nezalezhnosti, with a cameraman injured.  The film crew explain that they were taking footage in order to ascertain whether the barricades at present on Horodetsky St are safe.  The aggressive behaviour was explained as being because the people on Maidan did not want their faces shown, and because they didn’t trust the work of the press.  Four young men in camouflage gear demanded that the footage be wiped, and when the cameraman refused, used force against him. Channel 5 also reported that an STB film crew had been threated.

The police report states that at around 13.00 on Tuesday the film crew arrived on Maidan Nezalezhnosti.  While working they were approached by the men in camouflage and told to stop filming and to delete the footage already filmed. When the cameraman refused, he was punched in the stomach by one of the men.  The four then fled, the police say.

Telekritika reports that this is not the first aggression against journalists trying to film on Maidan and near European Square since the EuroMaidan protests ended.

On June 20 members of the ‘self-defence’ unit whose headquarters is in Ukraine House were rough in throwing out an ICTV film crew and removed the footage they had filmed. The Shevchenkivsk District Prosecutor and police have launched an investigation over suspected obstruction of journalists carrying out their work.

On May 31 journalists were driven away from Maidan when they came to cover the work on removing the barricades. One man tried to block the camera of a streamer, while others were verbally aggressive.

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group