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Monday, January 27, 2014

Ukraine: The revolution continues

Lines of barricades and burning tires in Kyiv
(Image: TVI)
Revolution in Ukraine continues, as tens of thousands of protesters remain permanently in Independence Square and Grushevsky Street in Kyiv and Ukrainians all over Ukraine continue to seize the regional offices and governmental buildings forming National Councils and declaring people’s authority in the regions.

In Kyiv protesters have taken Ukrainian House, located on European Square, close to the site of confrontation. There were reports about special security forces (“Berkut”) located in the building and preparing for the dispersal. The clashes lasted several hours, when oppositional leader Vitaly Klichko and some other oppositional politicians arrived in the Ukrainian House and have held negotiations with the Special Forces. As a result of these talks the corridor was formed, and the policemen were able to leave the building. Ukrainian House is under protesters’ control at the moment, as people are cleaning the building.

Later on Sunday protesters have also seized the building of Ministry of Justice, located close to the Independence Square.

People's Council in Independence Square in Kyiv
(Image: TVI)
Situation in Grushevsky Street remained relatively calm during the day, though protesters are ready for the attack and storming any moment, especially after the reports from some trusted sources (such as Mr. Gritsenko, who recently left Parliament) about the additional troops of security forces being deployed to Kyiv from the Eastern regions of Ukraine. Many experts think the force scenario is still possible, despite the fact that oppositional leaders are ready to continue the talks with Yanukovich and his team.

The fourth round of the talks between Ukrainian oppositional leaders Arseny Yatsenyuk, Vitaly Klichko and Oleg Tyagnybok and Victor Yanukovich and his government are expected to be held on Monday, 27 January. Oppositonal leaders claim their demands and demands of Maidan remain unchanged, and the key condition for the dialogue are release of all the detained activists and political prisoners, resignation of Cabinet of Minister, withdrawal of “Berkut” and security forces from the streets of Kyiv and other cities as well. The offer of the ministerial seats, made by Yanukovich for Mr,. Yatsenyuk and Mr. Klichko, was rejected by the oppositional leaders.

Oppositional leaders on the stage of Maidan
(Image: TVI)
Victor Yanukovich in his turn has held urgent talks with the representatives of his Party of Regions, but there were at least 80 MPs, who didn’t appear on this meeting, what indicated the possibility of divisions inside the political force. Meetings and consultations between Yanukovich and his party are expected to continue.

Meanwhile, several MPs of Ukrainian Parliament have formed a new majority and issued a statement claiming that they are ready to take responsibility for the current events in Ukraine and for the resolving of the deepening political crisis in the country.

MPs are warning that the civic conflict in Ukraine threatens security and unity of the country and could transform into a civil war, what is unacceptable. “Today is the moment, when every MP should understand the level of responsibility for stopping the violence and further escalation”, said the statement.

Seizure of Ukrainian House in Kyiv
(Image: TVI)
Thus the MPs declared about forming the new majority aimed to resolve political crisis in Ukraine in a lawful and legitimate way, through the Parliament. The key demands are the following: resignation of Azarov’s Cabinet of Ministers, cancelling of the 16 January dictatorial laws, returning to the parliamentary-presidential republic, the real amnesty law for all the detained activists, release of all the detainees. After these steps made by Parliament people should free the administrative buildings, and the confrontations should be stopped. Parliamentarians are also urging to withdraw special security forces from the streets.

According to the statement, Parliament should work every day since 28 January, until the crisis will be resolved. The MPs supporting this decision are expected to gather in Parliament on Monday, 27 January.

It’s worth mentioning also, that Yanukovich has ordered Parliament’s speaker Mr. Rybak to hold a parliamentary session on Tuesday, 28 January, where the MPs are expected to discuss the scandalous laws, the possibility of the amendments of the Constitution and the issue of imposing of state of emergency. Despite the fact, that Yanukovich has promised several times to the Western politicians and diplomats, that state of emergency won’t be imposed, this option remains possible, considering the development of the events in Ukraine.

Grushevsky Street in the morning
(Image: TVI)
The situation in Ukraine though remains extremely tense, as the violence erupted in several regions of Ukraine, when some half-criminal people together with the police have attacked and violently dispersed the protesters in Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya and Donetsk. People were brutally beaten with the sticks and clubs, police didn’t stop it and was just standing, later protesters were dispersed the sound bombs. Sporadic gunfire also erupted. Dozens of activists are arrested by police, while the aggressive half-criminal people, so called “Titushki” (paid thugs, being used by the regim for assaulting and attacking activists and their property), were allowed to leave the scene. It’s worth mentioning, that in Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhya these “titushki” were wearing the same bandages on their shoulders in order to recognize each other, as they have been beating all the people who didn’t have these bandages.

As for the capital of Ukraine, traditional People’s Council being usually held on Sundays was cancelled today due to the burial ceremony of the slain activists Mikhaylo Zhiznievsky (in Kyiv) and Sergiy Nigoyan (in Dnipropetrovsk). Tens of thousands of Ukrainians attended the ceremony to commemorate and honor the great Heroes of Ukraine killed on 22 January during the violent attack of Berkut.