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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Revolutionary Ukraine: Confrontations continue amid the third round of negotiations between Yanukovich and opposition

Protesters on the barricades
(Image: Den')
Situation in Ukraine remains tense as confrontations continue between protesters and security forces and riot police in Kyiv downtown. The day was relatively calm, though the sound and smoke bombs and fireworks have been thrown from time to time by the both sides. The situation escalated in the late evening, as the reports appeared that government possible prepares for the force dispersal of Maidan and all the protests’ sites, and soldiers of special security forces “Berkut” are stationed in the building of Ukrainian House, located on European Square, right in the rear of protesters. Protestors are currently storming the building, the entrances are blocked by the barricades, confrontation continues, and the situation is tense.

Meanwhile the territory of Euromaidan in Kyiv became bigger and wider, as another piece of Khreshchatyk Street has been turned into protesters’ camp. High and strong barricades have been erected throughout the territory of Euromaidan, some of them are nearly 5-6 meters. There are also two massive barricades on the volatile Grushevsky Street, in front of the lines of the riot police blocking the entrances to the governmental district.

Lines of riot police in Kyiv
(Image: Den')
At the same time the wave of the seizures of Ukrainian regional offices and declaring the power of People’s Councils spread all over Ukraine, and more and more regions are being controlled by the people now, and representatives of Yanukovich’s Party of Regions resign from their positions in these regions. Police and riot police in some of the governorates refused to confront its own people.

Regional offices are seized and being controlled by the people in Rivne, Lviv, Volyn’, Ternopil, Khmelnitsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi, Vinnytsya, Poltava, Uzhgorod. Kyiv City Council is being controlled by the revolutionaries since 1 December 2013. Zakarpattya, Zhytomyr, Chernigiv, Cherkassy, Sumy governorates witnessed attempts to seize the regional offices. People continue to block the buildings, the protests are really massive. Kirovograd and Dnipropetrovsk governorates are facing massive protests as well. Kharkiv, Lugansk, Odessa, DonetskZaporizhzhya, Kherson, Mykolayiv governorates and Autonomous Republic of Crimea remain currently under the control of Yanukovich’s Party of Regions, but there are serious divisions there as well. In addition to that Ultras in these governorates and cities declared their support of the protests and started their campaign of protecting the protesters and citizens.

Revolution has spread outside of Kyiv and Maidan, and this fact became possible one of the key factor for changing of rhetoric in the presidential team, as Yanukovich appeared to become more flexible and ready for some compromises during the third round of the talks with opposition, amid continuous clashes and seizure of power in many governorates of Ukraine.

Oppositional leaders Vitaly Klichko, Oleg Tyagnybok and Arseny
Ystcenyuk on the stage after talks with Yanukovich
(Image: Kyiv Post)
Meanwhile the third round of negotiations between the oppositional leaders Arseny Yatsenyuk, Oleg Tyagnybok and Vitaly Klichko and president Victor Yanukovich and his presidential team represented by the newly appointed Head of his Administration Andriy Klyuev, Minister of Justice Olena Lukash and newly appointed Deputy Head of Presidential Administrations Andriy Portnov have been held in the building of the Presidential Administration on Bankova Street, close to the epicenter of the clashes and confrontations.

Yanukovich and his government offered their conditions, which are the following: opposition immediately free the governmental buildings and stop all the radical actinities and confrontations of the protesters. Leaders of opposition should also ensure people’s withdrawal from Grushevsky Street, where the fiercest clashes continue.

Yanukovich in his turn stated that he agrees to release the activists detained during the whole period of the protests. The amnesty law should be also imposed on these activists. Yanukovich has also agreed to amend the Constitution and offered to form a special Constitutional Committee tasked with the amendments of the national charter and to implement these changes through the Parliament or Referendum. As for the scandalous dictatorial laws of 16 January, Yanukovich said they will be amended, but he didn’t agree to cancel them. IN addition to that Yanukovich offered to form new Central Electoral Commission and to make it on the proportional basis, with the equal numbers of the government’s and oppositional representatives.

Protesters on the barricades in Kyiv
(Image: Den')
In addition to that Yanukovich offered oppositional leaders ministerial positions and claimed that in this case he will sign the decree about resignation of Azarov Cabinet. Arseny Yatsenyuk was offered position of Prime Minister, Vitaly Klichko – position of Deputy Prime Minister for Humanitarian issues. Yanukovich practically confirmed by these offers that he is unable to control the situation in the country and offers these positions to the oppositional leaders in order to put responsibility for the future of the country in this difficult time on the shoulders of opposition. Yanukovich’s Administration though calls it willingness of the government to find the common solution and to work together with the oppositional forces in order to resolve the crisis.

Oppositional leaders in their turn declared they are ready to for responsibility of heading the government of the whole country and for the future of Ukrainians, but their demands and demands of Maidan remain the same: release of all detained activists and protesters since the beginning of the demonstrations, release of political prisoners, amnesty law, cancelling of the dictatorial 16 January laws, returning to the 2004 Constitution. These demands are the main conditions to continue the dialogue with Yanukovch, stated opposition. Vitaly Klichko in his turn reminded also about the main demand of the people protesting all over Ukraine: stepping down of Yanukovich and early presidential elections.

Protesters in Kyiv Independence Square
(Image: Wikipedia)
Thus, oppositional leaders rejected offers of Yanukovich and declared they will continue their fight for freedom of Ukrainian people and changing of the political system.

It is obvious, and many experts also marked it, that Yanukovich’s offer was an attempt to cause divisions among the oppositional leaders and politicians and protesters on Maidan, as in case opposition would accept Yanukovich’s offer and agree to work together with an illegitimate President, who is guilty of killing of the peaceful protesters, the street would immediately declare the leaders traitors. Ministerial positions offered for the oppositional leaders are unable to reduce confrontations in the street and people’s protests. Thus, oppositional leaders have taken right decision refusing the ministerial positions, according to many analytics.

In their speech on Independence Square oppositional leaders declared about this decision and called on Ukrainians to join Maidan and continue the peaceful fight.