|Independence Square (Maidan) turned into a battlefield|
(Image: Drugoi Livejournal)
The temporarily truce offered by Yanukovich and announced after Wednesday’s night talks with the oppositional leaders was broken early in the morning as the Thursday’s Parliamentary session has started. The sides accuse each other of the beginning of clashes, as pro-Yanukovich forces and representatives of riot police claimed that protesters have started the clashes, while activists of Euromaidan and numerous journalists state that fighters of “Berkut” and riot police have started the clashes throwing Molotov cocktails and provoking violence and chaos. The accounts on the beginning of the violence remain conflicting.
Extremely violent clashes sparked between “Berkut” and protesters in the area of the Parliament building and in the governmental district as well, where fierce attacks occurred on Tuesday as well. “Berkut” have brutally attacked protesters shooting live ammunition and birdshots and throwing bombs, leaving dozens of dead and badly injured people in the streets of Kyiv downtown and in Mariinsky Park, where the building of Parliament is located.
|Bodies of slain Ukrainian protesters|
(Image: Kyiv Post)
Parliament was immediately evacuated due to the emergency situation, Cabinet of Ministers and the neighboring administrative buildings and offices have been also evacuated as well. Banks and offices are closed in Kyiv downtown, as Ministry of Interior urged people to remain at home and to not leave their houses. There are reports about numerous gangs of thugs and so called “titushki” attacking people and crashing the vitrines and cars in the living districts of Kyiv.
Brutal attack of security forces armed with live ammunition and Kalashnikov have lasted during the hours, turning Kyiv downtown into a battlefield, which reminds Syrian coverage rather than Ukrainian one. Numerous snipers located on the roofs of the administrative buildings and several hotels located on Independence Square (Kozatsky Hotel, right on Independence Square, and Hotel Ukraina, up from the Independence Square) have been targeting people leaving dozens of dead. Ukrainian House, Myklailivsky Cathedral, turned into the hospitals, have been receiving dozens of dead bodies and hundreds of injured.
|Lines of riot police in Kyiv|
Death toll is increasing with a terrible pace, as Ministry of Health officially reported about nearly 65 deaths, while medical workers and lawyers state that the death toll could be between 75-100 people only during Thursday’s horrible attack. “Berkut” has targeted even medical workers and volunteers helping the wounded.
Numbers of injured rises to hundreds and more, as it is almost impossible to estimate an exact numbers of casualties amid this mess in Kyiv downtown.
Nearly 30 thousands of protesters remain in Independence Square and more are arrivi9ng, including the people from other governorates as well, despite the closed entrances to Kyiv and cancelled trains from Western Ukraine.
Ukrainian radical group “The Right Sector” declared that they haven’t signed any truce with Yanukovich authorities and announced total mobilization, preparing for more confrontations.
|Clashes in Lviv, Western Ukrainian city|
Hospitals are working without pauses, doctor and medical personnel are exhausted, but more and more hospitals offer their services for free for Ukrainian protesters wounded during the clashes.
Casualties are serious among the security personnel as well, as snipers have been targeting policemen too, according to the reports.
Meanwhile there were alarming reports about foreign snipers presented in Kyiv as well.
Military troops are being sent to Kyiv from different governorates of Kyiv on Thursday. Column of paratroopers from Dnipropetrovsk heading to Kyiv had a road accident, as three soldiers died and at least 8 have been injured. Another troop of soldiers from Dniprotetrovsk also failed to reach Kyiv, as people have blocked railway and the train with the soldiers.
|Fierce battle in Kyiv downtown|
(Image: Drugoi Livejournal)
People continue to block soldiers in different regions of Ukraine preventing them from moving towards Kyiv. Meanwhile many Ukrainian governorates including Western and Central ones are controlled by the revolutionaries now and officially declared that Yanukovich is not their President anymore. People’s Councils and interim governments have been formed on the places and execute power now. It’s worth mentioning, that those regions controlled by the revolutionaries, do not experience chaos and attacks of thugs. Police and security forces in these regions refused to go against the people and turned on the people’s side.
Members of pro-Yanukovich Party of Regions withdraw from the ranks of the party in Kyiv and other regions as well. Deputy Head of Kyiv Volodymyr Makeenko have also withdrew his mandate from the Party of Regions on Thursday and ordered to resume work of Kyiv subway. Subway is currently working, except of several central stations. In the afternoon though subway was working as well, but it was transporting riot police and ”Berkut”, according to the reports of subway workers.
|Clashes in the night in Kyiv|
(Image: Drugoi Livejournal)
Representatives of the Western countries and EU ministers are presented in Kyiv on Thursday observing horrible situation and trying to help to find the ways to resolve the crisis in the country. Amid the fierce clashes EU ministers France Laurent Fabius, German Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Poland Radoslaw Sikorski have met oppositional leaders and visited with them Maidan (Independence Square) and hospitals with the wounded activists. Europeans are outraged by the brutal force used by Yanukovich regime against Ukrainian citizens and call for immediate stop of violence and start of negotiations in order to resolve the crisis and stop deaths of people. EU is ready to mediate in these talks, as it was stated many times before.
EU ministers later had a meeting with Ukrainian President Yanukovich. The meeting lasted almost six hours and it was interrupted by Yanukovich when he called Russian President Vladimir Putin for consultations. After the meeting was over, EU ministers have left without the planned press conference and headed to the Representative Office of EU in Kyiv. EU Herman Van Rompuy has declared later that EU is officially imposing personal sanctions against Ukrainian high officials and regime of Yanukovich including visa restrictions, freezing of financial assets and arresting of the property. Sanctions will be imposed in the nearest future, probably since Friday, 21 February. Inability of Ukrainian President and government to handle the situation and to stop violence and refusing to negotiate became the key reasons for EU to impose sanctions.
|Priest praying for the slain protesters|
(Image: Eromaidan Twitter)
It’s worth mentioning also that USA have already imposed targeted sanctions against several Ukrainian officials responsible for killing of people and the current crisis in Ukraine. Canada has imposed sanctions almost one month ago.
Meanwhile, ruling Party of Regions is facing a split, as many of its members withdraw from its ranks claiming that they are ready to support people of Ukraine. One of the prominent members of Party of Regions Sergiy Tygipko has formed a coalition within the ranks of Party of Regions and called the MPs to gather in Parliament and to resolve the crisis in a legitimate way, stopping the violence of the streets of Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine.
|Maidan (Independence Square) in the morning|
(Image: Drugoi Livejournal)
MPs have gathered in Ukrainian Parliament at nearly 3 p.m., but there were not enough members for taking a decision, as at least 226 MPs should be presented during the session to be able to vote for the draft laws. The atmosphere was extremely tense, as several members of Party of Regions MPs initiated a dispute and attempt of a fight inside of Parliament, and many MPs started to leave the session room. Representatives of Tygipko group also failed to appear at the beginning.
Though after the long pause there is quorum in Parliament, as 239 MPs have registered their cards in the voting system. The session was officially opened by Vice Speaker Mr. Koshulinsky, as Speaker Rybak has reportedly fled the country. The voting process has started, the issues on the agenda are the following: 1. Condemning of use of brutal force and violence against protesters; 2. Withdrawal of the troops and security forces from Kyiv streets; 3. Cancelling of the so called “anti-terrorist operation” announced by SBU in Ukraine. In addition to that there will be voting for the changing of Parliament authority, for the Constitutional reform and for the forming of the new government.
|Clashes in Kyiv downtown|
MPs have supported at the moment the decision to withdraw all the troops of security forces and “Berkut” from the streets of Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities and lifting the blockade of Kyiv.
Parliament is voting for the draft of condemning of violence in Kyiv and stopping of anti-terrorist operation, including release of the detained activists and protesters, what was also supported by the overwhelming majority of Parliament. MPs are singing National Anthem currently.
This moment could be a decisive one for Ukraine and could change the developments in the country since the Thursday’s night.