Bomb Threats in Ukraine

There were two explosions in eastern Ukraine, in the industrial city of Makiivka on Thursday, January 20, 2011. The explosions went off near a shopping mall and a regional state coal mining company. The bombs reportedly only damaged windows; none of the city’s 400,000 inhabitants were injured.  However, even more frightening than the actual bombs, was the threat letter left at a nearby building. The Deputy Interior Minister, Farynnyk, stated that the threat letter promises five more explosions, if the authors do not receive a large sum of money. The authors referred to themselves as “people well known in Makiivka” and they included instructions for a money transfer. The Ukranews reported that the blackmailers were demanding four million Euros.

The threat letter was left on a municipal administration building, requiring that all the money be received by 5:00 pm. This forced the building to be evacuated and the area was cordoned by the police. It is still speculation as to whether the threat letter is connected to the two earlier bombs. It was also rumored that a third bomb went off in a supermarket, but this information was dismissed by the city’s Mayor, Maltsev.

These events lead the Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych to shorten his official visit in Japan, and return to Ukraine. Yanukovch has instructed law enforcement to tighten security throughout the nation and is planning to meet with the Security Service upon his return. The Anti-terrorist center of the Security Service is taking extensive measures to find those responsible and prevent any future attacks. Farynnyk reported that two hundred bomb specialists have been sent to the city to prevent further explosions.

The UN Security Council’s main objective is to maintain international peace and security. Although Ukraine appears to be taking appropriate measures in response to the threats, do the explosions and threats merit intervention by the UN Security Council? Should the UN adhere to Ukraine’s sovereignty in handling the matter? If the bombs were planted by terrorist organizations, should the UN Security Council be required to make recommendations to the Ukrainian government?


  1. Following September 11th, in 2001, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1373, which requires all states to take measures against terrorist organizations via economic, criminal, and legislative means. In addition, the Security Council established the Counter-Terrorism Committee to monitor states’ anti-terrorist implementations along these lines.

    Anti-terrorism, in effect, has already taken on a distinct international character and scope. The Security Council has established affirmatively that it will have a hand in maintaining peace and security when it comes to terrorist concerns within countries across the globe.

    Of course, however, I don’t know how concerned the Counter-Terrorism Committee or the Security Council is about controlling seemingly random acts of terror. There’s certainly a very powerful discourse surrounding the word ‘terrorism’ nowadays, but I don’t know if it actually has any legal definition. Is terrorism only embodied by militant fundamentalism? Does it reach political insurgencies? Has it anything to do with Makiivka? Perhaps the answer to these questions explains the relationship between current national and international anti-terrorist regimes vis-à-vis who gets to stipulate what classifies as terrorism and why.

  2. Once this plays out, it will be interesting to see what type of terrorists these are and what there purpose is. Ukraine has had so many political problems since its independence from Russia and defining itself as a people, socially, culturally, and politically. If these terrorists are national terrorists trying to cause chaos within the country, it is ultimately up to Ukraine to decide what to do and whether to allow international interference.
    However, if these are international terrorists causing national problems in successive different countries, at what point may the international community join? If such terrorists are continually treated as separate national problems, they will much more difficult to catch. I propose that the UN Security Council should have a subsection designed to study these issues and offer help at the invitation of the country. This could provide a scapegoat for the current administration in the country and a sharing of information among countries to put an end to terrorism.

  3. I think that if this is the first bombing connected to these “terrorists” it is a bit soon for the UN to intervene but not too soon for it to be on their radar. It should by up to the Ukraine to handle it as they see fit while taking into serious consideration that this could be an act of terrorism and as such they should take the measures outlined in the UN resolution cited by Judith above. Since there has not been another bombing yet nor have they discovered who is responsible for it, I think that the best they can do it secure the area themselves and continue to search for the bombers. However, if it does escalate and become evident that they are terrorists, perhaps even members of a global terrorist organization then it will become increasingly important for the UN to have a presence.

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