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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ukraine is in turmoil for the second day. First statements of officials and authorities start to appear

Massive protests against the regime of Victor Yanukovich
in Kyiv
(Image: UK Wikipedia)
Ukrainian revolution is ongoing for the second day with tens of thousands of people protesting in downtown Kyiv and in other cities all over Ukraine and several administrative buildings taken by protesters.

Massive rally against Ukrainian current authorities and President Victor Yanukovich has started in Ukraine on Sunday, 1 December, after riot police and security forces have violently beaten the peaceful protesters in the sit-in on Independence Square in Kyiv. According to the estimations of the journalists and participants of the protests there were between 750 thousand and 1 million people in Ukrainian capital. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians are protesting in other cities as well including Lviv, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk and other cities, even in Southern and Eastern regions, the regions traditionally supporting Victor Yanukovich and his political power.

Though several anti-European rallies have reportedly taken place in some Ukrainian cities as well with the demonstrators expressing their support of Ukrainian President and Cabinet of Ministers and supporting also the decision to postpone the signing of the Association Agreement with the countries of EU. Most of these people were brought to the sites of demonstrations organized, on the buses, they have been carrying symbolic of Party of Regions (Victor Yanukovich’s Party) and Ukrainian flags. But in this case all of the banners the protesters have been holding have been manufactured, what gives an idea these meetings have been organized by the authorities in attempt to create an impression of divisions within the society.

Massive protests in Kyiv.Independence Square.
(Image: Zaxid Net)
The demonstrations on the Independence Square and on Mykhaylivska Square were peaceful, with politicians, artists, activists and prominent persons delivering their speeches to the protesters. The issue of European integration isn’t the central one at the moment, though the flags of EU and Ukraine are together symbolizing the unity of Europe and Ukrainian people. 

The main demand is fall of the corrupt and criminal regime of Victor Yanukovich which has crossed the line and proved its illegitimacy. People refuse to recognize Yanukovich as their President.

Provocators attacking conscripts in front of Administration of
(Image: ZK)
Demonstrators have filled all the center of Kyiv protesting against the regime of Yanukovich and demanding its fall. Protesters have managed to take several administrative buildings including Kyiv City Council, building of Trade Unions; both of them were turned into the revolutionary headquarters.

Though the demonstrations on the Independence Square were peaceful, the horrible scenes have been seen on the Bankova Street, the street which leads to the Administration of President. The street leading to the building of Administration was blocked by the buses of riot police and security forces. Several hundreds of “Berkut” soldiers (special armed forces) and police have been standing in lines protecting the building and creating the barricade in front of the demonstrators gathered there. Young conscripts without weapons and even shields and having only helmets and some protecting items have been placed on the front lines as a human shield.

Violent attacks of Administration of President
(Image: 24 TV)
The situation there has escalated as the group consisting of several hundred young and aggressive people in masks started to approach the lines of soldiers. They had a bulldozer and with its help they attempted to break the lines of soldiers and to attack the Presidential Administration. This youth was very radical and they came prepared for the fight as they had sticks, chains, fires, smoke bombs and other kinds of weapons with them. According to the latest information most of these people belonged to the radical ultra-right groups and ultras.

These people made several attempts of attack trying to provoke the demonstrators to join them and to provoke also the riot police. Violent clashes erupted there as riot police started to disperse the crowds on the street. Horrible videos of violent beating of people by “Berkut” are circulating in media and internet showing an unprecedented level of brutality shown by the representatives of security forces, as they were taking the people from the crown and beating everybody they’ve mange to catch. Event journalists couldn’t escape the attack. Police has also fired tear gas, sound and lights bombs and smoke bombs. Provocateurs have been also firing gas and throwing bombs and fires.

Video of Че Гевара

The clashes have been stopped later as the oppositional leaders appeared at the scene calling for people to leave and to come back to the Independence Square. Peaceful demonstrators have been urging to do the same during the clashes as well. As the people left the scene the situation has normalized there and was relatively calm, though the atmosphere was still tense.
According to the official information of Ministry of Health, at least 168 people have been injured after the violent clashes, among them 40 journalists including foreigners and nearly 50 police and security forces personnel. Most of the injuries are serious.

Video of unprecedented violence of riot police dispersing the crowds. Video Liga NET:

The situation was extremely tense after the clashes, especially considering the fact that there was no statement or comment from the President or any other official persons of the country. Victor Yanukovich has reportedly gathered emergency meeting in his residence outside of Kyiv in order to discuss the situation in Ukraine and to take a decision how to solve the crisis.

There were also reports about the intentions of President to declare state of emergency, but this measure requires difficult and numerous procedures and voting of Parliament. Speaker of Ukrainian Parliament Aleksander Rybak has stated though that there are no intentions to impose state of emergency in the country. Spokesperson of Prime Ministers Mykola Azarov has also declared on Monday, that President is not going to declare state of emergency and there are currently no reasons for that. President and government are holding the negotiations in order to find the political solution of the crisis, according to Mr. Azarov.

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov
(Image: Business Ukraine)
In addition to that Mykola Azarov said neither he nor President knew about the violent dispersal of the sit-in on Independence Square and of the clashes on Bankova and it should be investigated who gave such brutal orders to the soldiers. Though this explanation looks weird as it shows the authorities and President either are preparing for the special scenario or they are simply unable to control the situation in the country.

Parliament in its turn has already started its reshaping with the pro-Yanukovich majority being divided. Several prominent members of Parliament and representatives of Party of regions have left their positions and exited the party. There are reports the numbers of such MPs will increase during the coming days.

Oppositional forces have submitted to the Parliament the projects of impeachment of President and resignation of Cabinet of Ministers. Special committee of Parliament has held an emergency meeting on Monday, 2 December, in order to discuss these projects. The meeting was attended by the leaders of opposition Arseny Yatsenyuk, Vitaly Klichko and Oleg Tyagnybok. They have voiced the key demands of the revolutionaries which are following: resignation of President or his impeachment through the Parliament, resignation of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers, investigations of the recent violent clashes and beating the protesters by the riot police and security forces, penalty for all those responsible for the orders and their performance, resignation of the command staff of power structures and their reforming, release of Yulia Tymoshenko and all other political prisoners.
Barricades in downtown Kyiv
(Image: TSN)

After meeting and discussion special committee of the Parliament has taken a decision to support the request regarding resignation of government and recommended the Parliament to vote for it during the Tuesday session.

David Zhvania from Party of Regions, who recently left this political power, declared today that the new majority could be formed in the Parliament during the coming days and the voting for the resignation of government could be positive. In addition to that there is also a possibility that the Parliament will come back to the previous 2004 Constitution in order to form a wide coalition in the Parliament.

As for the leaders of the country, they have appeared in public for the first time since the beginning of these events with their statements and comments.

Victor Yanukovich, President of Ukraine
(Image: Bloomberg)
President Victor Yanukovich gave an interview to the journalists of four state TV channels in order to answer the questions, discuss the details and give his comments. During this interview Mr. Yanukovich has stated that the course of international and internal policies of Ukraine remains without changes and it is the course for European integration. President said that he hopes the cooperation and negotiations with EU could be renewed in the nearest future and the Association Agreement could be signed during the Conference of Eastern Partnership to be held in spring 2014. He also commented his refusal to sign the Association Agreement during the Vilnius Summit with the economical situation in the country and the necessity of revising of some of the treaty’s terms. The conditions of the current agreement aren’t profitable and comfortable for Ukraine, so negotiations should continue, stated President. He also declared he is strongly disappointed and concerned over the recent violent events in Kyiv with the dispersal of the peaceful sit-in and clashes on Bankova Street. He said the investigations are ongoing, and all those responsible for the violence should be held accountable.

In addition to that Victor Yanukovich called for the opposition to stop their massive actions and protests in the country and proposed to wait until 2015 Presidential election when the oppositional forces will have the chance to achieve their goals through the elections. “Let the people chose by themselves in 2015”, stressed President.

Ukrainian Parliament
(Image: En Wikipedia)
Prime Minister Mykola Azarov in his turn denounced the demonstrations and strike in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities and called for the people to come back to study and work as the economy of the country suffers serious losses resulted in the current events.

Mykola Azarov has also attended on Monday special meeting of the ambassadors and representatives of EU. The meeting was held in attempt to renew the cooperation and dialogue with Ukraine. Mr. Azarov stated after the meeting the cooperation will continue and the negotiations will be renewed. EU and Ukraine will discuss the agreement and possible amendments to it. In addition to that Mr. Azarov announced government will resume talks with the IMW and will start to work on the implementation of the needed reforms.

Meanwhile massive protests and nationwide strike are ongoing in the capital and other cities of Ukraine. People remain in the streets despite the frost and snow. The center of the city and the governmental district are taken by the protesters and being controlled by them. The roads leading to the central squares are blocked.

Protesters in Kyiv
(Image: TSN)
Building of Kyiv City Council also remains under control of the protesters despite the announcements of police to retake the building if the protesters will not leave it willingly. The building of the Trade Unions is also under control of the revolutionaries. Protesters have also surrounded and blocked Cabinet of Ministers in the morning, so the ministers couldn’t take to their working place. Later in the evening protesters have taken also the building of the October Palace, where another point of gathering is organized. People can warm themselves there, charge the phones, have some rest and eat something there. There is also medical point there, just like in City Council.

Tents have been erected on the Independence Square, and the numbers of the protesters remain huge for the second day of the nationwide uprising.