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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

EU Catherine Ashton visited Kyiv. Riot police started dispersal of protests despite reassurances of Yanukovich that force won’t be used again

Massive anti-government protests in Kyiv
(Image: Radio Svoboda)
Massive anti-government protests continue in Ukrainian capital Kyiv and in other Ukrainian cities as well despite the frosts and snow and threats of forces dispersal of the protests.

Special Forces and police have cleansed on Monday, 9 December, the perimeter of the governmental district, earlier blocked by the protesters, and has pushed demonstrators back to Independence Square, but people remain there and protests are ongoing. People organize themselves, their life and security on Maidan and also take measures to clean the snow. Situation is still tense, but the spirits are really high.

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for EU, has arrived on Tuesday, 10 December, in Kyiv in order to meet with Ukrainian President and government and with the oppositional leaders as well. The meeting aimed to help Ukrainian political forces to start negotiations and to resolve current political crisis in a peaceful way as EU supports Ukraine and aspirations of its citizens and welcomes democratic changes in the country.

Catherine Ashton has met with Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich at nearly 5 p.m. and discussed with him current political situation and possible ways out. Mrs. Ashton has called on Ukrainian President and government to listen to the demands of the citizens and to start talks with the oppositional forces in order to prevent escalation of the situation. She also stressed that EU strongly condemns any use of force against peaceful demonstrators and call for the government to avoid violence.

Catherine Ashton meets with oppositional leaders Arseny
Yatsenyuk, Vitaly Klichko and Oleg Tyagnybok
(Image: Liga UA)
Catherine Ashton has also met later with the leaders of opposition, Arseny Yatsenyuk, Oleg Tyagnybok and Vitaly Klichko. They have discussed the situation and the crisis in the country and the ways that enable this crisis to be resolved. Catherine Ashton stated EU supports Ukrainians and their peaceful protests and declared that negotiations could be the best solution under current circumstances.

After official meeting with the representatives of Ukrainian opposition Catherine Ashton has visited Euromaidan – the main venue of the protests on Independence Square. She was accompanied by Arseny Yatsenyuk and other oppositional politicians. Catherine Ashton was met very friendly and warm by the protesters who have been greeting her and chanting her name. Mrs. Ashton expressed her support of the protesters.

Earlier on Tuesday Ukrainian opposition has met with Victoria Nuland, US Deputy of State Secretary John Kerry, who also arrived in Kyiv to mediate the talks between opposition and government.

EU Catherine Ashton and oppositional leaders on Euromaidan
(Image: European Commission)
It’s worth mentioning that on Tuesday there was held a meeting of four Ukrainian Presidents, current President Victor Yanukovich and his predecessors Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Victot Yushchenko. Meeting was initiated by the first President of independent Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk.

The meeting was held in the Ukraine Palace. During the meeting ex-Presidents call for Mr. Yanukovich to organize negotiations between the government and opposition as it is the only one possible way to resolve the crisis peacefully. National dialogue is planned for Wednesday, 2 p.m. local time, oppositional leaders and representatives of the oppositional parties have reportedly received invitations to participate in the talks.

Opposition though states it will hold negotiations with the current government only of the following demands will be met: release of all the unlawfully detained protesters, journalists and activists; withdrawal of special security forces and army from the streets of Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities and granting people security; resignation of Ukrainian Minister of Interior Vitaly Zakharchenko and all the persons responsible for the dispersal of the protests and beating of demonstrators.

Meanwhile thousands of demonstrators remain in Kyiv downtown protesting against the current government. Oppositional leaders have warned earlier about the information they’ve received about the planned storm and dispersal of the protests, thus the revolutionary headquarters have called for the general mobilization of protesters.

Riot police in Kyiv
(Image: Radio Svoboda)
Security and special forces have started storming of Euromaidan at 1.30 a.m. Wednesday. Lines of riot police are moving towards the lines of protesters trying to push them back from the streets leading to the governmental quarter. Barricades erected by the protesters have been destroyed by the police and security forces, Block posts of the demonstrators have been stormed.

There are reports that the barricades in front of Kyiv City Council have been also removed by the riot police, policemen and personnel of security forces are storming the building. Protesters on Independence Square are surrounded by the lines of riot police approaching from all the directions.

Protesters and activists are calling for the soldiers to disobey these orders. Situation is extremely tense with the serious threat of dispersal of the protests.

Storming of Euromaidan is happening only several hours after official meeting of Victory Yanukovich with US and EU diplomats and President’s claims there will be no force used against protesters.