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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ukraine: Yanukovich meets the previous Presidents without cameras; US and EU high representatives arrive in Kyiv; protesters remain on Maidan

Massive anti-government protests in Kyiv
(Image: IPress)
Ukrainian President Victory Yanukovich is expected to meet three previous presidents, Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Victor Yushchenko. The meeting is planned to be held on Tuesday, 10 December, and was initiated by first President of independent Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk.

Leonid Kracvhuk has proposed Victor Yanukovich to hold negotiations with the previous presidents in order to discuss current situation and deepening political crisis and to organize also national dialogue attended by the representatives of government and oppositional forces which is considered being necessary to resolve the crisis in a peaceful way. Victor Yanukovich has accepted this invitation.

The meeting of four Ukrainian presidents was expected to be aired online of one of the state TV channels, but on Tuesday it was announced the recorded version of the meeting will be shown on the state TV in the evening. The meeting is being held behind the closed doors, with no journalists and reporters allowed.

Meanwhile many representatives of EU, USA and other Western countries are presented currently in Kyiv. Special delegation of European People’s Party of European Parliament has arrived in Kyiv several days ago to help to organize negotiations’ process between the sides of the conflict. Many diplomats and politicians are also in Kyiv. EU liberal politicians have stated on Tuesday they plan to be regularly presented on Maidan – Kyiv Independence Square, heart of the protests.

Four Ukrainian Presidents: Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma,
Victory Yushchenko and Victor Yanukovich
(Image: UA-Obozrevatel)
Victoria Nuland, Deputy of State Secretary of USA John Kerry, has already arrived in Kyiv in order to study the situation, to meet representatives of Ukrainian government and opposition and to help to organize negotiations needed to resolve the crisis. USA is deeply concerned with the development of the current situation in Ukraine and call on the government and Victor Yanukovich to listen to the citizens of Ukraine and to avoid use of force. Victoria Nuland is reportedly meeting with the oppositional leaders in the building of Trade Unions in Kyiv downtown now. Arseny Yatsenyuk, Oleg Tyagnybok, Vitaly Klichko, Petro Poroshenko and other representatives and leaders of Ukrainian opposition are presented at the meeting. Mrs. Nuland plans to meet with the leaders of Ukrainian government.

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the EU, is also expected to visit Kyiv on Tuesday in order to mediate the negotiations between the government and opposition to find the political and peaceful way out of the deepening crisis. Catherine Ashton stated earlier that EU and she personally are extremely concerned with the current situation in the country and call for the authorities to hear the voice of the people and to avoid violence.

Video of dispersing the crowds and cleansing the governmental district by security forces. Video by Hromadske TV:

Mrs. Ashton was also concerned over the Monday’s storming of the office of the oppositional Batkivshchyna (Homeland) Party. "On the eve of my visit to Kyiv I'm following with the big concern the infromation about the violent storming of the office of the biggest Ukrainian oppositional party Batkivshchyna (Honeland) by the security forces”, declared Mrs. Ashton. – “ It happened on the same day, when President Victor Yanukovich proposed to hold the dialogue in order to gather the leaders of all political forces and three previous Presidents of Ukraine. These latest events are a serious danger of destruction of this process. I call to the authorities of Ukraine to show the biggest restraint and to avoid further use of force in order to create the spece for the negotiations to resolve the current political situation".

Meanwhile the situation around the building of the Delegation of EU in Kyiv is tense as dozens of so called “titushky” (youth of sportive stature paid by government for making provocations during the peaceful protests), who surrounded the main entrance to the building. Representatives of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine called for police to interfere and to resolve the situation.
EU Catherine Ashton
(Image: The international coalition)
As for the protests sites, their square has significantly decreased since Monday evening when special forces and police have been dispersing the crowds, tents and block posts of the protesters blocking the governmental district. The barricades have been removed, and the cordons of the police and security forces have pushed demonstrators back to Independence Square. But protesters remain defiant claiming they will not leave until their demands are met. 

On the current stage Independence Square (Maidan) and building of Kyiv City Council remain under control of the protesters.

Kyiv central underground stations do not work and are closed for the second day limiting movements in the center of Kyiv.

Thus the situation remains tense with just a few ways to resolve the situation remaining for the government and Victor Yanukovich. USA Freedom House has called earlier for Victor Yanukovich to step down as it is the only one way for him to resolve the crisis and safe the face. 
In other case the organization will address US and EU governments to impose personal sanctions on Ukrainian President and leading figures of government.

USA Victoria Nuland
(Image: Wikipedia)
Protesters in their turn have addressed the opposition as well with the joint statement with the main demands of Maidan protesters. The demands are the following: release of all unlawfully detained people after clashes near President’s office on 1 December; withdrawal of the Special Forces soldiers from the streets of Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine and stopping violence against peaceful demonstrators; agreements about not using repressive measures against the activists and participants of the protest actions. These three demands are the most important on the current stage. Next steps should be following: President should be stripped of his dictatorial powers through the procedure of returning in the power 2004 Constitution and cancelling of the 2010 Constitutional reform; signing of the Association Agreement with the countries of EU; implementing of the new electoral law; implementing of the lustration law, especially in judicial system, prosecution and police.

Ukrainian anti-governmental protests continue for the 19th day as President remains completely silent. The meeting of the four Presidents isn’t being sired as it was proposed, and there are conflicting reports regarding this meeting.