By RFE/RL’s Russian Service
Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty
Based on an interview by RFE/RL’s Russian Service.
Translated by Luke Johnson in Washington.
Amid the two-month occupation by separatist forces in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk and subsequent military campaign by the central government, thousands have fled for other parts of Ukraine. The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 10,000 civilians have been internally displaced after the occupation of Crimea by Russian forces and subsequent fighting in eastern Ukraine.
Sergei Ivanov: There is de jure authority. There is Goveror [Irina] Veryhina, the heads of security and all of the other bodies that regulate and guarantee the daily life of the region. However, their work is paralyzed by the de facto oblast under the control of the “People’s Republic of Luhansk,” which is recognized as a terrorist organization by the Prosecutor-General’s Office. Therefore it is difficult to say that in Luhansk there is now Ukrainian rule. Luhansk Oblast is under the control of and is being internally occupied by terrorists, most of whom are Russian citizens, members of nongovernmental organizations of the Caucasian republics working for the Kremlin, and a motley of mercenaries. There are many criminal elements, especially the group named “the defenders of Donbas” who came from prisons. They took power simultaneously.