Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
The situation in Ukraine was calm with the exception of the Donetsk region. The overall security situation in the Donetsk region has further deteriorated, with the outbreak of fighting in Mariupol on 9 May.
The situation in Kharkiv was calm. Celebrations for Victory Day took place. No incidents were reported.
In Luhansk, the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) observed a public gathering to mark Victory Day at Shevchenko Square with approximately 2,000 participants. Many St. George’s flags could be seen, as well as former Soviet Union red flags. The event was secured by both the police (many police officers wore St. George’s ribbons on their uniforms) and approximately 50 persons, some dressed in unmarked military fatigues and some in civilian clothes, armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and hand-held Kalashnikov machine guns.
In the Donetsk region, the situation further deteriorated, mainly with the outbreak of fighting in Mariupol. Due to the security situation, the SMM was unable to gather first-hand information. The Chief Doctor in Mariupol Hospital said to SMM that the hospital had received 23 wounded and three dead resulting from clashes occurring when the city police station was stormed by unidentified individuals and government forces tried to dislodge the occupiers. He added that other local hospitals were also receiving casualties.
In Donetsk, the SMM observed gatherings for the commemoration of Victory Day. The first event monitored was at Victory Park, where around 1,500 people of various ages were in attendance, including WWII veterans. Most of them were wearing St. George ribbons. The SMM noted the presence of numerous “Red Banners” as well as “Communist Party” flags, and flags with the insignia “East-South” in Russian. The SMM did not observe “Donetsk People’s Republic” flags in the crowd. There was significant police presence, with some patrolling on horseback. The gathering seemed well organized.
The SMM monitored another gathering with around 600 people in front of the City Administration building. Twelve other individuals, not police officers, in camouflage uniforms with St. George ribbons were staying at the parking area behind the building. The overall atmosphere was peaceful. Opposite the Administration building the SMM noted two large Kamaz open-bed trucks painted blue with yellow stripes. In each of the trucks there were approximately 40 armed men in camouflage, some in masks. On top of the trucks there were several flags, including the “Red Banner” and another one marked “Ossetia”.
The SMM observed a further gathering of around 6,000 people at Lenin Square. Several speakers on the platform said they were from the “Donetsk self-protection forces”. Invitations to take part in their “referendum” scheduled for 11 May were voiced. In the vicinity of the event, the SMM observed the presence of armed individuals with AK-47 assault rifles.
The situation in Dnipropetrovsk remained calm. At the Victory Day gatherings SMM observed several hundred police; 150 of them wore riot gear. Some Ukrainian security services individuals in civilian clothes were also observed. There were about 4,000 people present. No incident was reported.
In Kherson the general situation remained calm. The SMM observed the Victory Day commemorative events in Kherson, Mykolaiv and Ochakiv, which ended peacefully and without any incidents. During the event in Kherson approximately 2,500 people gathered. In Mykolaiv the SMM noted presence of 3,000 participants celebrating Victory Day. The events were accompanied by a large police presence, including an anti-riot unit and red berets special forces in Kherson.
In Odesa the situation was assessed as stable. The city witnessed several small-scale events commemorating Victory Day. The SMM observed a group of 250 activists opposed to the Government commemorating the victims of the 2 May events; the gathering ended peacefully.
The Western cities of Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv were calm. In Chernivtsi the SMM noted increased police presence compared to previous days. In Ivano-Frankivsk an enlarged police presence was noted. The SMM noted visibly more law enforcement personnel present in the city center of Lviv and at memorial sites.
Kyiv remained calm with significantly heightened security around the centre and the government buildings. Members of “self-defence” groups and police established checkpoints from the early morning in the centre of town thoroughly checking all vehicles. The SMM observed that around the Maidan there was an increased number of “self-defence” personnel and more personnel at the entry points to barricades.
Source: OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine press service