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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ukraine: Violent clashes erupted in Kyiv on the day of the People’s Council

Violent clashes erupted in Kyiv during anti-government
protests
(Image: AP)
Ukrainian opposition called for the new demonstrations to be held in Kyiv on Sunday, 19 January, after Mr. Yanukovich has signed the scandalous laws restricting basic personal and civil rights and freedoms of Ukrainian approved recently by the Parliament. Hundreds of thousands of citizens from all over Ukraine have gathered for the eighth People’s Council in Independence Square in Kyiv known as Maidan.

People have been waiting for the decisive steps and detailed plan imposed by Ukrainian oppositional leaders in order to fight the current regime and its attempts to usurp all the power in the country and to impose dictatorship in Ukraine. Although the oppositional leaders have just delivered several usual speeches calling for the necessity of changing the regime and political system, but there was no plan and no decision. This move has disappointed protesters, and after people have asked Arseny Yatsenyuk to name a single leader of the protest and resistant movement, Mr. Yatsenyuk declared that “The leaders of the resistant movement are Ukrainian people”.


Meanwhile several radical groups including the so called “Right Sector” (Ukrainian radical ultra right nationalistic group) and allegedly Ultras have moved towards the cordons of police and special security forces blocking the governmental district located just a few kilometers far from Euromaidan. Some of the activists of Automaidan have also moved in the direction of the Parliament in order to protests there and demand cancelling of the 16 January laws.

Clashes in Kyiv
(Image: Breaking News)
Violent clashes erupted there between the radical protesters and police and security forces in Grushevsky Street, in front of the Dynamo Stadium, when the protesters have attempted to break the cordons of the soldiers and security forces. Two police buses were set ablaze; police have been shooting tear gas, sound and smoke bombs in order to disperse the crowds and to push them back to Independence Square. Nearly ten thousand people have been clashing there with the police, though some politicians and activists have claimed the clashes were started by some provocateurs.

The clashes have started in afternoon and are currently ongoing for more than 8 hours, with the fierce confrontations. Protesters have been throwing rocks, fires and Molotov cocktails in the direction of the police and security forces and made the improvised barricades and shields trying to attack policemen lines from time to time. Police forces in their turn have been shooting teargas and sound bombs, though later birdshots have been used as well.

Oppositional leader Vitaly Klichko among the protesters,
trying to stop violence
(Image: AP)
Horrific pictures and videos of Kyiv clashes are circulating in media, as one of the leaders of Ukrainian opposition, Vitaly Klichko, addressed “president” Yanukovich and called him to stop using forces against the people of Ukraine. After this address Mr. Klichko headed to Mezhygirja, private residence of Yanukovich, where he met with him and has held talks regarding the situation in Kyiv and deepening political crisis.

Victor Yanukovich has promised to form special commission in order to resolve current political crisis in Ukraine and asked to hold negotiations and round table with the representatives of the opposition and Euromaidan to be held on Monday, 20 January.

Arseny Yatsenyuk, another oppositional leader, has announced later from the stage, that Yanukovich has called him on the phone asking for the talks to be held.

Opposition claims they will continue to express their demands during the talks with Yanukovich and his team, though protesters and activists demand the talks to be held immediately, until Yanukovich and his regime didn’t disperse protests in the night.

Protesters setting ablaze the police buses
(Image: Kyiv Post)
The demands remain the same, as resignation of Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers and stepping down of Yanukovich and early presidential and parliamentary elections are among the key demands.

The situation though remains extremely tense and is escalating, as at least 25 buses filled with the soldiers of special security forces “Berkut” are heading towards Kyiv downtown, report journalists and eye-witnesses. Marijinsky Park, located close to the building of Parliament and to the site of the current clashes, is also filled with the soldiers and riot police. Cafes and shops located close to Independence Square are being closed, report the eyewitnesses, and it is a really worrying sign, as usually it signals that the dispersal is possible. Activists of Euromaidan also state that dispersal of the protests is expected to happen this night and call for the wide mobilizations if Kyiv residents.

Clashes erupted during the anti-government protests in Kyiv
(Image: BBC)
Western diplomats and politicians have strongly condemned the actions of the current government and called to stop using force against Ukrainian citizens and at the same time addressed the protesters urging them to remain peaceful and not to escalate the tense situations and crisis in the country. Some politicians though stress that the current riot of Ukrainians is a consequence of the recent politics imposed by Yanukovich and his regime.


Meanwhile USA State Department has allegedly started the process of imposing the personal sanctions against some Ukrainian high officials including Minister of Interior Vitaly Zakharchenko.