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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ukraine: The fourth round of negotiations between opposition and authorities ended

Revolutionary Kyiv
(Image: Unian)
Revolution continues in Ukraine, as people still seize and control many administrative buildings and regional offices in several Ukrainian governorates and remain in the street of Kyiv and other cities nationwide, even in some Eastern and Southern cities, such as Dnipropetrivsk, Cherkasy and Zaporizhzhya, where police and so called “titushki” (paid thugs hired by regime to attack and intimidate activists of Euromaidan) have brutally dispersed the protesters.

As for Kyiv, revolutionaries continue to control Independence Square and the neighboring territories, Kyiv City Council, Trade Unions buildings, Ukrainian House and part of Grushevsky Street, where the violent clashes have erupted several days ago between protesters and riot police. Governmental district in Kyiv is still blocked by “Berkut” and security forces. Additional troops are expected to be deployed in Kyiv on Tuesday, 28 January, when the decisive session of Parliament is expected to be held.

Ukrainian oppositional leaders Arseny Yatsenyuk, Vitaly Klichko and Oleg Tyagnybok have met with Yanukovich and his “anti-crisis team”, represented by Justice minister Olena Lukash, actively calling for imposing state of emergency in the country, newly appointed Head of the Presidential Administration Andriy Klyuev and his Deputy Head Andriy Portnov. Opposition has stated earlier, that despite the current situation and continuation of escalation, as Yanukovich failed to deliver his promises, and activists are being beaten, arrested and kidnapped all over Ukraine, oppositional leaders are ready to continue the talks with the regime in order to find the way out of the deepening crisis and to prevent the further bloodshed.

Negotiations between the oppositional leaders and Yanukovich
(Image: Radio Svoboda)
The fourth round of the talks has been held in the building of the Presidential Administration. As for the results of this meeting, they have been expressed by Olena Lukash. She stated that opposition refused to condemn the actions of the activists and to define them as extremism and expressed the demand of the authorities to clear all the administrative buildings and the streets of Kyiv form protesters. This should be condition of release of detained activists, said Lukash. Thus, the agreement regarding the amnesty law and release of political prisoners and detained activists of Euromaidan could be exercised only with conditions of Yanukovich.

In addition to that, Yanukovich agreed to cancel the scandalous 16 January dictatorial laws, if the Parliament will vote for that during the Tuesday’s parliamentary session. The laws that wouldn’t be seriously critiqued will be just amended, according to Yanukovich’s side.

As for the Constitutional reform, Yanukovich has also agreed to amend Constitution and stated that special Constitutional Committee will be formed to study the issue and to make these amendments, which should be either voted by Parliament or by the National Referendum.

Khreshchatyk, the main street of Kyiv, territory of Euromaidan
(Image: I-Press)
In addition to that, the sides decided to include the issue of the non-confidence motion to the current government headed by Azarov into the program of Tusday’s parliamentary session. Parliament should discuss responsibility of the government for the current events and political crisis in the country. Though both Mr. Yatsenyuk, who was previously offered the position of Prime Minister, and Mr. Klichko, offered to get a position of Vice-Prime Minister for the Humanitarian issued, have rejected this offer. Negotiations are ongoing, stated the both sides of the talks.

Tuesday’s Parliamentary session is expected to discuss the current situation in Ukraine and try to find a solution of it through legitimate mechanisms. Among the issues to be discussed and voted for are the following: amnesty law for all the activists, release of the prisoners, non-confidence motion to the current government and its resignation (but this issue remains questionable, as oppositional leaders refused to head the government), cancelling of the 16 January laws and Constitutional reform. In addition to that the issue of imposing of state of emergency should be also included in agenda. There are serious fears that state of emergency could be imposed in Ukraine due to the recent confrontation and spread of revolution outside of Kyiv, but many experts think that this measure could have extremely negative impacts for Ukrainian current authorities, as it will not calm down the people, but just add fuel to the people’s rage.

Some members of Ukrainian Parliament, like Mr. Litvin, for example, claim that Parliament is very unlikely to get all the 226 votes needed to declare state of emergency.

Grushevsky Street in Kyiv
(Image: Radio Svoboda)
Meanwhile European diplomats and politicians, following closely the situation in Ukraine and urging the sides to resolve the conflict, warn Yanukovich’s regime about the high possibility of imposing of the personal sanctions, visa restrictions and even arrests and freezing of the bank accounts of some Ukrainian high officials close to Yanukovich, in case state of emergency will be declared. EU diplomats are currently in Kyiv holding the talks with the both sides of the conflict and stating about their readiness to mediate in the negotiations.

USA in its turn has already imposed visa sanctions against several Ukrainian high officials close to Yanukovich and responsible for the violence against protesters. US State Department is also following the situation closely, and in case of the further escalation and continuation of using the force against protesters US will consider additional measures and sanctions against Ukrainian regime.