Monday 28.1.2019 in Latest Developments in Ukraine Country Page
In November 2018, a new crisis between Russia and Ukraine erupted. According to reports, Russia seized three navy vessels and detained several Ukrainian crew members. Russia alleged that vessels were "illegally entering Russian waters". As a result of this incident, on 26th November 2018, citizens held a protest outside the Russian embassy in Kyiv. Reports indicate that demonstrators "fired flares and lit a car on fire". The Ukrainian diaspora also protested outside the Russian embassy in Washington D.C.
Following the detention of the three Ukrainian ships and the 24 Ukrainian sailors in the Kerch Strait, Ukrainian parliament voted to enforce a declaration of martial law in 10 regions that border Russia for a period of 30 days. Martial law allows the government to restrict certain rights, including freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. In that regard, Human Rights Watch issued a statement calling the authorities to "respect human rights under new Martial Law". The organisation added:
"While the Ukrainian government has duties to ensure national security, authorities do not have a carte blanche to restrict rights. Any such restrictions have to be justified as proportionate and necessary to respond to the specific threat and by specific circumstances. The government should not restrict rights simply as a pretext to clamp down on discontent or chill critical voices."
In October 2018, Carnegie Europe published the report The Mobilization of Conservative Civil Society that analyses "what conservative civic activism portends for global civil society". The case studies include countries where the role of conservative CSOs "has become widely debate". In Ukraine, the report stated that two different types of conservative civil society are on the rise in the country: those that focus on "conservative social and religious values" and the radical far-right groups. One of the conclusions of the report was that radical right-wing groups "propagate and justify political violence against “others” who are seen to endanger the nation." This tactic seems to "attract supporters who are frustrated that peaceful civic activism is not bringing quick political change." These actions, according to the report are conducted while "state authorities seem to tolerate [...] and offer them a protective cloak of impunity."