Ukraine: Struggle over Mariupol – and tensions over May 9 commemorations

Ukrainian officials said on May 7 that government forces had retaken the city hall in the south-eastern port of Mariupol, media reports said, while plans for celebrations of May 9 were being changed or viewed with concern in Ukraine and elsewhere in the region.

* Kyiv has changed its program of celebrating V-Day this on May 9 in view of possible provocations, the Kyiv administration spokesperson told Interfax, the Kyiv Post said on May 7.

Kharkiv also has cancelled a military parade planned for May 9 because of security concerns, reports quoted the regional state administration as announcing.

* Ukraine’s interior ministry has promised not to allow a repeat of the May 2 tragedy during the Victory Day events in Odessa on May 9.

This was said by Ukrainian deputy interior minister Sergey Chebotar, Ukrainian news website Liga reported.

* In a statement quoted by Russian agency RIA Novosti, the foreign ministry in Moscow said that Kyiv “continues severely violating the human rights and this continues under the silent approval of the West”.

* Ukrainian government forces have retaken the city hall in Mariupol from pro-Russia separatists, officials said, according to a report by the BBC. The Kyiv interior ministry said that rebels who had seized the building last week had left, but some local reports later said they were attempting to return.

* Ukraine’s security service said on May 7 that 14 servicemen, including employees of the Ukrainian Security Service, had died and 66 had been injured since Ukraine deployed forces in a special operation in the eastern part of the country.

The situation in Ukraine continues to reverberate in other countries in the region.

* In Moldova, president Nicoleae Timofti convened an extraordinary meeting with prime minister Iurie Leanca, parliamentary speaker Igor Corman and leading representatives of the military and security forces on May 5, Deutsche Welle reported. After the meeting, Moldova’s army was put on alert, and the Russian ambassador to Moldova Farit Mukhametshin was summoned to the country’s foreign ministry.

Mukhametshin was asked to explain the background of the upcoming visit of Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin to the Transnistrian Capital Tiraspol on May 9.

Domestic celebrations on May 9 in Moldova are expected to add to societal tensions, the report said.

On that day, parts of Moldova will celebrate the EU’s annual Europe Day; other Moldovan citizens will instead be celebrating the victory over fascism on Victory Day, which in former Soviet territories is celebrated on May 9. The latter, made up primarily of pro-Russian oppositional communists and socialists, have announced that they will parade through Grand National Assembly Square on May 9 to celebrate the victory over Nazi-Germany in World War 2. Typically, the pro-European parties celebrate Europe Day on the same square.

* According to a report by RFE/RL, Moldova’s deputy prime minister for reintegration Eugen Carpov met with a senior US national security official in Washington, a day after Moldova placed its border forces on alert because of concerns about the crisis in neighbouring Ukraine.

A White House spokesperson told RFE/RL that Carpov met with Acting US National Security Council Senior Director Tara Leweling at the White House on May 6.

Details of their discussion were not immediately available.

But Carpov said before his talks at the White House that Moldova is deeply concerned about events in eastern Ukraine — which he called “a geopolitical competition between East and West.”

* Romania’s defence ministry said that it was holding military manoeuvres in the Black Sea, in an area that covered both its territorial and international waters. The military exercise, which involved 1600 naval personnel, would be held on May 5-9. “The Vector exercise is carried out every year, as training for all navy departments. The exercise was scheduled a year in advance and was included in the activity plan of the Romanian navy staff,” the ministry said in a statement.



The Sofia Globe staff

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