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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ukraine: four officials held accountable for dispersal of protests amid the ongoing protests and plans for million-man march on Sunday

Massive anti-government rallies in Kyiv, Euromaidan
(Image: Aleksander Dvoretsky)
Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich has stated on Saturday during the round table attended by the representatives of the government, opposition and civil society, that the persons responsible for violent dispersal of protests on 30 November have been found and they will be punished.

On Sunday, 14 December, Mr. Pschonka, Ukrainian Prosecutor General, announced that four high ranking officials will be held accountable for the 30 November night’s events and they will be punished as well. Among those accused are Kyiv deputy governor Oleksandr Popov, Secretary of National Defense Council Volodymy Sivkovich, Head of Kyiv police forces Valery Koryak and his deputy Petro Fedchuk. All of them will be held accountable and are accused of alleged organization and giving the orders to disperse the sit-in of protesters. Mr. Pshonka stated all of them have been called for questioning to the Prosecution. President in his turn has issued decree to remove them from office.

Oppositional leaders though aren’t totally satisfied with this decision of President and find in insufficient as government decided to remove just some persons only obeying the orders, but all of these officials have the authorities above them, and these representatives of authorities couldn’t stay not informed about the plans of dispersal. In addition to that opposition has held its own investigation on the case and they claimed they can name the organizers and those responsible for the dispersal with names.

Massive demonstrations against government
(Image: Aleksander Dvoretsky)
Thus one of the oppositional leaders Arseny Yatsenyuk declared during the press conference of opposition in the House of Trade Unions on Saturday, that the high officials and the first persons of state are responsible for these events. Gennady Moskal, one of the oppositional MPs, declared that among those responsible persons are Minister of Interior Vitaly Zakharchenko, heads of the troops of “Berkut” (special security forces troops) of Crimea, Poltava, Chernigiv, Sumy, Lugansk governorates, Head of the Department of Civil Security Oleg Marynenko and his deputy Sergy Karandyuk. These persons should be held accountable and be punished for the direct involvement in the violent dispersals.

Mr. Moskal thus stated that the evident found during investigations show that Ministry of Interior, not another authority, has received the orders to prepare for dispersal of protesters’ sit-in. He also added that if Ukrainian Court and Prosecution won’t take any measures and will refuse to take the case, these persons will be sued in Hague Tribunal.

Massive anti-government and pro-European protests are ongoing in Kyiv, and the numbers of protesters have significantly increased on the eve of the Sunday fresh Million-man march called by the opposition and named “Day of Dignity”. Nearly 200 thousand people have gathered on Saturday on Kyiv Independent Square, called Maidan, and more people are expected to join on Sunday. Ukrainian prominent rock band Okean Elzy has performed in front of the demonstrators on Saturday and dedicated their concert to all the victims of the recent clashes and dispersal. Independence Square, Khreshchatyk Street and the neighboring streets have been packed with people.
Pro-government and pro-Yanukovich rallies in Kyiv
(Image: Euromaidan)

At the same time another rally has been also held on Saturday in Kyiv. This rally consisted of supporters of President Victor Yanukovich and his Party of Regions. According to the estimations of government  and organizers nearly 200 thousand people from other regions of Ukraine, mostly Eastern and Southern ones, have gathered on European Square, located just 200 meters from Euromaidan. But unlike Euromaidan this event looked more like carefully organized and planned event, as dozens of buses and trains arrived on the previous day in Kyiv carrying people from other regions. Many of them are workers of budget organizations and have been forces to participate in the pro-government rally under the threats of being fired, according to the interviews with some of them. There were also paid people, who said to journalists they have been promised daily payments for their participation in the rally. Though there were probably also the real supporters of the ruling regime as well. There were many worries that these events could provoke clashes between two protests’ sides, and there were reports about so called “titushki” (hired thugs used to provoke the clashes), but the clashes and provocations have been avoided today. The pro-government meeting has started at 10 a.m. and was finished at 4 p.m. with the remaining supporters moved to Maryynsky Park, close to the building of Parliament.

USA Senator John McCain
(Image: Kyiv Post)
Government claims that really huge rally of Yanukovich’s supporters is expected to be held on Sunday, 15 December. Oppositional leaders worry about possibility of provocations and clashes in order to justify using force, but protesters call on each other to remain peaceful and ignore all the possible provocations avoiding any violence.

USA Senator from Republican Party John McCain has arrived on Saturday in Kyiv in order to participate in the talks with the current government of Ukraine and opposition and to study the situation closer as US and also EU governments are monitoring the situation closely.

John McCain has met oppositional leaders in the building of Trade Unions and was watching the demonstrations and the following concert from the upper floors of the building. US Senator has really amazed by these protests, according to the reports of journalists presented there. He expressed his amazement and made several pictures of Euromaidan.

John McCain has also made an official statement regarding the current situation and political crisis in the country and declared that the resolution regarding imposing the sanctions against Victor Yanukovich and other high officials responsible for the recent violence and the decisions led to it was presented to USA Senate and it will be voted positively and unanimously.