21.05.2015 Ukraine Crisis News

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The Ukrainian forces have shelled the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic 33 times over the last 24 hours, DPR defense ministry said on Wednesday. According to the DPR defense ministry, the Kiev forces shelled Donetsk (Kievsky district and the airport), Gorlovka, Zhabichevo, Nizhnee Lozovoye, Shirokino, Kalinovka, Ozeryanovka and Belaya Kamenka.

The Donetsk People’s Republic has returned to Kiev 550 prisoners since the commission on prisoners of war was launched in August 2014, Liliya Rodionova from the commission told the Donetsk news agency on Wednesday. “The Ukrainian side, for its part, has returned to us 564 prisoners, less than 200 of them being militias,” she said. She also said those returned to Kiev had been seized in combat, while most of those released and returned to the republic were civilians. The “all for all” prisoner swap is one of the key points in the Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk agreements, signed in Minsk on February 12.

A protest against the construction of a new shopping mall in Kiev turned into a violent confrontation when a melee broke out among two camps of protesters and police. Fifteen police officers were reported injured in the incident. Activist campaigning against construction of a new mall, ‘Le Boulevard,’ near Kiev’s “Osokorky” metro station tried to demolish a fence surrounding the construction site late on Tuesday, succeeding in inflicting much damage to the property. They were confronted by an unknown group of men wearing camouflage and masked in balaclavas. Local media outlets branded these as ‘titushki’ – Ukrainian slang for hired thugs. However, for independent observers ‘titushki’ look similar to ‘democratic activists of Euromaidan’. Thus, one pro-maidan group clashed with another pro-maidan group in order to defend economic interests of their owners.

Russia will take retaliatory measures to protect itself if Ukraine decides to station US anti-missile defense systems in its territory. “In case there are missile defense systems stationed in Ukraine, Russia will have to take retaliatory measures to ensure its own safety,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday. He was commenting on a recent statement by Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine Aleksandr Turchinov, which claimed that Ukraine want to station components of an anti-missile defense system in Ukraine. The statement also calls for additional international sanctions against Russia, including blocking the Bosphorus strait from Russian navy vessels and shutting Russia off from the international SWIFT financial transfer system.

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