Unexpected development of Lugansk political crisis: 3rd day report

The 3rd day of the Lugansk government crisis passes calmly in the streets of the LPR capital. The parties to the standoff have published new statements, but no settlement has yet been reached at the cabinet level. The Head of State, Igor Plotnitsky, is still in charge of the Republic and the previously dismissed Minister of the Interior seems to preserve control over the notable state security apparatus.

New and rather unexpected information concerning the Ukrainian involvement in creating the standoff has appeared, shedding light on the complicated nature of the root of the crisis, which has unquestionably made it much harder to find a solution to the already developed volatile situation in the Republic.

Thus, the evening of Wednesday, November 22, was abundant in statements by the parties to the political standoff in Lugansk.

The Head of the LPR, Igor Plotnitsky, gave a press-conference, addressing residents of the Republic and those following the situation in the state from abroad, namely, the Russian Federation, with a call “not to believe whatever is published on the Internet,” despite the rumours spread by both internal and external enemies of the Republic. The Head of State promised that the situation would be settled soon, as power structures of the Republic were actively working on it.

Later on the day, Igor Kornet also gave a press-conference, during which he answered questions of Russian and foreign journalists.

According to him, at the moment, measures and search activities are being implemented in the LPR to eliminate the remains of a large sabotage and reconnaissance group that has infiltrated the territory of the Lugansk People’s Republic. “It is high time the operational development, conducted jointly with the State Security Ministry of the LPR, was completed,” he said, adding that in the course of this long-lasting development “there had been identified numerous agents of influence of the Ukrainian special services, who had penetrated deeply into the authorities of the Republic.”

Kornet emphasised that “the rule of law had not been violated in the Lugansk People's Republic,” as all the power-wielding structures of the Republic were working “jointly as a single force.”

We can arrive at the conclusion that the nature of the government crisis comes more and more clear on the 3rd day of the political argument. The most important thing is to understand that the standoff in Lugansk is a highly internal affair, bearing signs of previous external impact, exerted by the common enemy of the state. We should not wait for any third party to settle it. At the early stages, lots of indicators contributed to a perception that statements from abroad could somehow settle or affect the ongoing situation.

At that, both parties were nurturing the hope for a mediator to come up with a settlement of the developed confrontation. As the negotiations are still underway in the Lugansk People’s Republic, eventually, a solution is to be brought to the table from inside.

Reportedly, all the bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are operating in a regular mode, no bursts of crime have been detected.

Ukrainian sabotage group exposed in LPR

“At the moment, in this situation, our friendly people, our friendly law enforcement agencies of the Donetsk People's Republic are helping us,” Igor Kornet said, not revealing further details of the operation.

The same evening, on November 22, Kornet held a working meeting of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Lugansk People’s Republic. All the heads and deputy heads of the structural units of the Ministry, as well as the heads of the territorial bodies of internal affairs, arrived to participate in it.

The statement by Igor Alexandrovich of November 23 morning points to the main objectives brought to the discussion in the course of the meeting.

“The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Lugansk People's Republic, its structural units, as well as territorial bodies of internal affairs are working in the regular mode. The Republic's Police is in full exercising the functions assigned to it to protect and maintain law and order.

I have conducted a working meeting of the LPR Ministry of Internal Affairs with the participation of all heads of the structural units of the Ministry and territorial bodies of internal affairs, as well as their deputies. During the meeting, I set the task to keeping vigilance regarding the suppression of the actions of Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance groups, to direct the main efforts to the fulfilment of the primary task of the police: to combat crime and maintain law and order in the Republic.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Lugansk People's Republic confidently holds the internal situation in the state under its complete control. A routine work of law enforcement officers is being conducted.”

In a few hours, later on the day, the LPR Ministry of the Interior published another statement by Igor Kornet, providing clearly stated information on the operation held against the sabotage group which had been operating in the Republic.

A relevant statement confirming the line of the LPR bodies was given to the public on the official web-site of the Ministry of State Security of the Donetsk People’s Republic a bit earlier, close to the midnight of November 22.

“The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Lugansk People's Republic and the Ministry of State Security of the Lugansk People's Republic report that the activities of the key members of the criminal group that had operated under the command of the 3rd separate special purpose regiment of the Head Intelligence Office of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine was suppressed as a result of joint counter-intelligence and anti-diversion measures with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the DPR and the Ministry of State Security of the DPR.

The main task of the group was to prepare and conduct a series of terrorist acts in the territory of the LPR to destabilize the political situation in the People's Republics. To this end, in order to achieve a more effective result, agents of the special services of Ukraine from among the high-ranking LPR officials carried out purposeful work to discredit the activities of the law enforcement agencies and special services of the People's Republics. There was to be held a massive dissemination of directed tendentious disinformation, compromising the activities of senior officials of the law enforcement bloc of the People's Republics to paralyze their activities and evacuate the failed agents.

Currently, operative search activities are being carried out to document the criminal activity of detainees, as well as to identify their accomplices for the purpose of their criminal detention and prosecution.”

Big national security operations underway in LPR

On Thursday, November 23, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Lugansk People's Republic made another statement, saying that the agency had received at its disposal further evidences of the involvement of Anastasiya Shurkayeva, Director General of the LPR State Television and Radio Company, in the subversive activities of the Ukrainian special services. The claim was supported by a video published on the official web-site of the department.

The chief of the engineering service of the 8th special purpose regiment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Major Sergey Ivanchuk, who had been detained earlier under the case of the murder of Colonel Anaschenko, stated this in the course of one of the interrogations. According to the Ukrainian soldier, one of the members of his group was Vadim Boyko – an uncle of Shurkayeva.

"My group used Vadim Boyko's garage as a warehouse. We stored explosives in it, parts of improvised explosive devices. Vadim also fed us with information for conducting reconnaissance and sabotage activities. Well, he was not trying to conceal the fact that his niece Nastia [Anastasiya Shurkayeva – ed.], working as Director General of the State Television and Radio Company, was the key informer of his. She told him that the Ministry of Internal Affairs had found their their track, they were already looking for us," Ivanchuk said. The detainee also added that some of the members of the sabotage and reconnaissance groups, including Vadim Boyko, had managed to escape thanks to this warning.

Conclusion

Based on all the official materials published on the third day of crisis in the Lugansk People’s Republic, we can conclude that the standoff between the two political leaders is of wider national importance than it could be expected.

Both parties to the confrontation have seen the events, being guided by very different approaches, mixed with tendentious information introduced by external forces. We can expect that, once the entire bulk of the materials related to the crisis is made public, certainly, all politicians and, especially, deputies of the Lugansk People’s Council are expected to start the process of bringing the situation to a logical conclusion. And neither political script can envisage this outcome.

We have already heard deputies’ demands to keep the law above the power. And this atmosphere is also clustering among troops and commanders of various armed units. The people, the media, and the troops are still waiting for the results of the negotiations and the large-scale security operations, which are taking place at the very moment, as reported by an authorised source close to the parties.

The DONi News Agency keeps following the development of the situation in Lugansk. So far, there has been no unrest or violence reported. The conflict seems to be in the process of peaceful settlement, thus causing local residents no concern.

DONi News Agency, editorial article, Janus Putkonen, director

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