Ukrainian crisis: January 23
The latest events from Ukraine.
LB.ua chronicles the latest events in Ukraine in English for foreign readers.
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On January 16 The Verkhovna Rada adopted more than a dozen of controversial amendments to the law 'On the Judicial System and Status of Judges' and the procedural laws regarding additional measures to protect the safety of citizens. Most opposition politicians, international organizations and European countries consider these laws a violation of basic constitutional rights of 45 million citizens of Ukraine.
On Sunday, January 19, clashes broke out between Euromaidan protesters and police on Hrushevskoho Street in the centre of Kyiv, after radical protesters decided to break through the police cordon in the direction of the Government House and the Verkhovna Rada.
Police used stun and gas grenades, as well as tear gas. Protesters threw stones at the enforcers. Unrest on Hrushevskoho Street continues for the fifth day.
Five people were killed in clashes on Hrushevskoho Street over the past 24 hours, but only two deaths were confirmed officially. According to coordinator of Euromaidan medical services Oleg Musiy, four of them died of bullet wounds - to the head, heart, chest and neck.
00:04. Ukrainian authorities are ready for a compromise with the opposition in the interests of the country, said Prime Minister Nykolai Azarov.
'We are ready for a compromise on the agreement, I think it's possible. This will benefit the country', said Nikolay Azarov in an interview to BBC on the sidelines of the Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland .
'Meeting (of the opposition leaders with the president) went well. Some arrangements are possible. Opposition leaders should abandon the language of ultimatums. They should be modest. We know their level of support. We have a democratically elected president, a lot of people support him. Therefore it is necessary to be realistic', he added.
Responding to a question about the murder of at least two demonstrators with firearms, the Prime Minister said that the police couldn't do this because it didn't have firearms. He said that it was necessary to investigate these cases.
00:25. Information about the second body, allegedly found in Boryspil district of Kyiv region is untrue, told chief spokesman of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine in the Kyiv region Nikolai Zhukovich to 'Radio Svoboda' ('Radio Liberty').
On Wednesday, January 22, it was reported that two corpses found in the vicinity of the village Gnedin in Boryspil district of Kyiv region. Later it was reported that a body found there belonged to Euromaidan activist Yuri Verbitsky, who was kidnapped along with civic activist Igor Lutsenko early in the morning on January 21.
Almost in 15 hours after his abduction Igor Lutsenko found himself in a forest near Kyiv, where he was brought and thrown by his kidnappers. Later he was brought for medical examination in 'Boris' clinic. His lawyer Eugenia Zakrevskaya told LB.ua that his internal organs had been damaged. He also had an eye injury, three of his teeth knocked out and multiple bruises on the body. He could hardly walk because his kidnappers had beaten him on legs and heels.
Euromaidan call on opposition activists to urgently go there and take the wounded out of there to avoid their abduction by the police or unidentified men.
AutoMaidan went there after receiving information about the detention of wounded men in the hospital, whoь police allegedly immediately tagged as rioters.
After the arrival of AutoMaidan activists three buses with 'Berkut' riot police arrived to held the policemen on the place.
It is also reported that doctors set up a hospital in a room of social organization on Podol. 'There are field surgeons here. They're willing to take wounded with any injuries and wounds. Contact Angela - 067 503 26 42. AutoMaidan activists, take wounded here', says a message on AutoMaidam community page in Facebook.
01:19. Opposition activists are building several new rows of barricades on Hrushevskoho Street to protect themselves from riot police.
Some barricades are also being built on Vladimirsky descent near the National Philharmonic. So far the passage for vehicles is open.
Activists use tires, metal construction and billboards from European Square as materials for barricades.
Protesters dismantle pavement on Khreschatyk and Independence Square and bring it pieces in bags to Hrushevskoho Street. Some activists are making Molotov cocktails at one end of the street.
Some tires continue burning between protesters and police cordon. The smoke hides opposition activists from the eyes of security forces. Those are trying to extinguish the tires with water cannons, but without much success.
01:30. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has 'tools and mechanisms' needed to perform the role of a neutral mediator, and is ready to support the Ukrainian authorities 'in reducing tensions and preventing further escalation', says a statement of the presiding Switzerland Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, published on Wednesday evening on the OSCE website.
01:46. Four of the six students of the University Karpenko-Kary, detained on January 20 for their participation in Euromaidan protests, have been placed under house arrest for two months. They are Andrew Kotlyar, Vadim Kovalev, Danilo Okulov and Yuri Hrobust, who was accused of involvement in the clashes on Hrushevskoho Street, was placed under house arrest for two months.
The investigation accuses detainees on part 2 Art. 294 of the Criminal Code - the organization of the riots, which led to serious consequences.
Earlier, the court applied the measure in the form month detention to university graduate Andrei Ivanyuk and Alexander Shkrabak.
'I appeal to all Ukrainians. Tomorrow afternoon we will have the second part of negotiations with the President. At 12:00 we'll stage a walkout. Quit work for an hour or half an hour, go out on the streets, go to your city or regional administrations to express your peaceful resistance to this authorities, show that there are a lot of us', he said from a stage on Kyiv's Independence Square.
TSN channel specified that the picket was organized by a recently created movement 'Kyivites for clean city', headed by Ivan Protsenko from Odessa, who earlier made an attempt to disassemble the barricades on Kyiv's Independence Square.
Protsenko brought an appeal with the requirement not to interfere in the internal affairs of Ukraine to the U.S. Embassy. According to him, America is implementing and financing a project of color revolution in Ukraine.
'America is to blame in everything that is happening in the heart of the capital. Funding comes from there. This must be stopped, we say to the world: 'America, stop. America, there should be peace in Ukraine', said Protsenko.
02:46. Euromaidan activists organized a vigil in Kyiv's hospitals to prevent the detention of the wounded opposition protesters. They also created a Facebook community 'Help in the hospital'.
Now there are small groups of activists on duty in three hospitals - Clinical Hospital № 17, Oktyabrskiy Hospital and the one located on Bratislavska Street.
They intend to write down the manes of all the protesters who get there. If someone tries to take the wounded out of there, they'll ask their fellow activists for help in all possible ways.
03:08. Marian Gavrilov, photographer from Lvov, who disappeared after being detained on Hrushevskoho Street, has been found, reported sprotiv.org.
Gavrilov came under fire on Hrushevskoho Street, and after that he and many other men who were nearby were thrown into paddy wagons by riot police. Law enforcers packed 21 men in one police van.
They were taken out of the city in an unknown direction, then stripped to the waist, beaten and thrown into the snow. That's all the information for the moment.
03:34. Leader of the opposition party 'Svoboda' Oleg Tyahnibok brought a young man who was caught by the Maidan self-defense forces to the stage on Independence Square after he broke storefront of Nike shop in the centre of the capital.
'This guy is 21 years old. He is from Kiev. He smashed storefront, which is part of the territory of our Maidan. I want to give him to holy fathers for prophylactic conversation so that they could save his lost soul. Also, we want to draw police attention, so that they then can't say that this bully is one of our men, said Tyahnibok.
Opposition protesters shouted 'Shame!', and the priests called him to repent and to name who has advised him to commit the offence. According to the young man, he smashed storefront on his own initiative, and he regretted it.
'The number of detainees is unknown. All cars were smashed. We were contacted by a guy who was able to escape. According to him, he heard that 'Berkut' threatened detainees that they will now carry them around the city and beat them', said a statement by Euromaidan SOS in Facebook.
Automaidan activists also reported that 'titushki' set a trap for them near the hospital. At the moment activists are trying to catch buses with detainees.
05:44. Representatives of the Drug Service come to some hospitals in Kyiv to receive personal data of the activists wounded in clashes on Hrushevskoho Street, said doctor Olga Bohomolets, who actively supports Euromaidan.
'On Krepostnoy Lane 'Berkut' took people, blew up their minivan and drove away', according to a message on Euromaidan page in Twitter.
In addition, singer Ruslana from the stage on Independence Square read out a text message about the beating: 'They are smashing a yellow van with journalists near the the House of officers'.
The opposition 'Batkivshchyna' party lawmaker Alexander Brygynets said two Euromaidan activists were detained.
Later 'Batkivshchyna' lawmaker Lesia Orobets posted in Facebook:
'Berkut abducted another four Automaidan drivers. The only eyewitness - fifth driver, was beaten - I took him to the Maidan clinic. We hardly managed to do this before another flock of 'Berkut' came (According to him, 'Berkut' fighters dragged and beat everyone, and splattered gas at then and threw grenades into their cars. According to documents (credit card), found in the car - one of them may be Julia Volkova', she wrote.
06:50. Ten wounded opposition activists are contained in 'police boxes' at the hospital on Bratislavska Street. Earlier police tried to take them away from the hospital, and Euromaidan activists prevented them from doing this. http://society.lb.ua/accidents/2014/01/23/252762_10_ranenih_grushevskogo_soderzhat.html
This is evidenced in a video published on YouTube by user StepanZhabka.
There are both young men and women in the crowd.
07:28. Former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski said that the situation in Ukraine in the absence of dialogue between the opposition parties can completely get out of control of the authorities and the opposition, and have an extremely tragic consequences not only for Ukrainians, but also for the European Union.
'Berkut' fighters smashed at least nine cars and beat 15 AutoMaidan activist tonight.
National Rada also decided to provide security guarantees to law enforcers agencies and their families if they 'refuse to carry out criminal orders and join people of Ukraine'.
National Rada is ready to provide deputies of the ruling Party of Regions with similar guarantees if they join the newly formed organization.
Also National Rada decided to provide assistance to all wounded Euromaidan activists, as week as to the families of the killed protesters.
08:31. Euromaidan activist Vlad Tsilitskiy who participated in clashes on Hrushevskoho Street and was beaten during his arrest and is in the 'police box' in the hospital on Brwatislavskaya Street, was sentenced in absentia to 30 days of detention for 'organizing mass riots', according to a Facebook post by his friends.
08:44. Deputy of the Luhansk Regional Council from the ruling Party of Regions Arsen Klinchaev believes that it is right that people died during the recent events in Kyiv.
In the course of a dispute with Euromaidan supporters he said: 'These people are against the government. Nobody has the right to use physical force against policemen. And they get them with sticks and stones. I think it's right that these four people were killed. Moreover, I believe there is a need to be even more strict'.
09:22. Kyiv courts have arrested 26 activists, who participated in clashes on Hrushevskoho Street. 11 of them were taken into custody, and five more were placed under house arrest.
09:48. On the night on January 23 in Odessa unidentified men set on fire a car of one of the leaders of local Euromaidan, deputy of the city council Alexander Ostapenko. Three more vehicles were burnt down along with his car.
09:58. Russia won't interfere in the situation in Ukraine, where a political crisis continues since November 2013, stated president's press secretary Dmitry Peskov in an interview to 'Komsomolskaya Pravda'.
10:31. Security officials are preparing for the introduction of a state of emergency, reported Espreso.TV. Some officers and soldiers from military bases in Ivano-Frankovsk are on hold near Kyiv. Other officers have been instructed to travel to the capital on their own.
10:44. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine registered a bill, which must cancel the scandalous laws adopted on January 16. Appropriate bill number 4007 was introduced in the Parliament today, January 23.
His colleagues, whom he called before been detained, said he was beaten in detention. Currently there is no information about his condition.
Earlier on Wednesday head of the Council of Human Rights under the President of the Russian Federation Mikhail Fedotov appealed to the Ukrainian authorities to release Kiselev and punish those responsible for his detention. Pavel Gusev, head of the Moscow Union of Journalists, also asked to deal with cases of journalists being detained in Ukraine.
11:14. The opposition party 'UDAR' leader Vitali Klitschko went to talk to the officers of a special unit 'Berkut'. Despite this, clashes on Hrushevskoho Street have intensified. 'Berkut' fighters are throwing gas grenades at opposition protesters, and they respond with stones.
11:20. Six AutoMaidan activists detained tonight are held in Darnitsky police department, they are accused of involvement in the riots on Hrushevskoho Street.
11:43. Russia has not yet considered the possibility of suspending the issuance of loans to Ukraine, but if there was a threat of regime change, the authorities of the Russian Federation may reconsider their decision, reported Russian newspaper 'Vedomosti', citing a source in the government close to the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
11:55. According to a preliminary medical conclusion, death of Euromaidan Yuri Verbitsky, who was found dead in Boryspil district on January 22, was caused by hypothermia.
His death is being investigated under Art. 115 of the Criminal Code (murder), reported 'Interfax-Ukraine' quoting the press service of the Interior Ministry in Kyiv region.
On Wednesday, January 22, it was reported that two corpses were found in the vicinity of the village Gnedin in Boryspil district of Kyiv region. Later it was reported that a body found there belonged to Euromaidan activist Yuri Verbitsky, who was kidnapped along with civic activist Igor Lutsenko early in the morning on January 21.
Almost in 15 hours after his abduction Igor Lutsenko found himself in a forest near Kyiv, where he was brought and thrown by his kidnappers. Later he was brought for medical examination in 'Boris' clinic.
His lawyer Eugenia Zakrevskaya told LB.ua that his internal organs had been damaged. He also had an eye injury, three of his teeth knocked out and multiple bruises on the body. He could hardly walk because his kidnappers had beaten him on legs and heels.
12:09. 'UDAR' party leader Vitali Klitschko intends to meet with President Viktor Yanukovich today at 01:00 pm.
Currently protesters stopped throwing stones in the direction of law enforcement officers on Hrushevskoho street and let firefighters extinguish burning tires.
12:21. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko asked the administration of Kachanovskaya penal colony to deliver her to a hearing of the case on the activities of the corporation 'United Energy Systems of Ukraine' on January 24.
Kyiv's Kharkovsky district court plans to hold another meeting to consider falsified case of the corporation 'United Energy Systems of Ukraine' against Yulia Tymoshenko on Friday, January 24. All the previous of this case have been adjourned since April 2012 due to absence of Tymoshenko.
'Kiselev was arrested in the morning with a group of offenders and was taken to a police department. Currently, the degree of participation of them in violation of law is being verified, but, according to preliminary data, his active participation in the riots hasn't been confirmed. So he'll be released soon', told the press service of the Interior Ministry to 'Lenta.ru'.
12:49. Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has postponed his planned visit to Ukraine in May because of human rights violations and political instability in the country.
People massively entered the building to talk with head of еру administration Oleg Salo, and declared that they 'are taking power into their own hands' and will block the building.
According to Zaxid.net correspondent, the area in front of the State Administration is filled with people. They shout 'Revolution' and urge each other to go quietly and avoid spoiling the property.
Among them there is the opposition party 'UDAR' deputy of the regional council Oksana Yurinets and Lvov regional council deputy chairman Valery Pyatak.
Valery Pyatak said the protesters demand to talk with the head of the administration Oleg Salo to hear his position on the latest events, but it turned out that he's in Kyiv right now.
13:29. Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev urged Russian and U.S. presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama to initiate talks between the supporters of Euromaidan and the Ukrainian authorities.
13:43. Relatives of Automaidan leader Dmitry Bulatov reported him missing. He disappeared the last night, January 22.
13:52. Director of Lenta.doc project Andrey Kiselev, detained early in the morning, has been released from custody. The Interior Ministry didn't accuse him of anything. The journalist was injured during the detention.
14:47. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton may come to Ukraine next week to help resolve the political crisis in the country, stated the EU spokesman Olivier Bailly.
15:14. President Viktor Yanukovych considers it necessary to examine the situation in the country at an unscheduled session of the Verkhovna Rada. According to the presidential press service, he made such a statement during a meeting with the Verhovna Rada chairman Vladimir Rybak.
15:33. Internet Association of Ukraine, which unites Ukrainian providers of Internet and television, said that rumours about companies having received letters with an order to disable Internet in Kyiv in order to cut Euromaidan activists from the Web, are untrue.
15:43. Prime Minister Nykolai Azarov at a meeting with Secretary General of the Council of Europe Turbyorn Jagland in Davos said that the Ukrainian government is ready to amend the scandalous laws adopted on January 16.
15:56. Euromaidan activists, who captured Lvov Regional State Administration earlier today, announced creation of a self-defense unit consisting of one hundred women. 25 women have joined the unit by now.
According to ZIK.ua, the unit will help men.
Entrance to the building where the Regional State Administration and Regional Council are situated, is being blocked by about fifty policemen.
Euromaidan supporters even tried to storm the building, but in the end they refused to use force against the policemen.
16:10. Events on Hrushevskoho Street on January 19-23 in photos and video (constantly updated)
16:26. 'Berkut' riot police fighters remake stun grenades into combat and use them against opposition protesters on Hrushevskoho Street, said the opposition 'Batkivshchyna' faction lawmaker Andrey Parubiy at a press briefing.
'Here's an example of how they ('Berkut') remake stun grenade into combat grenade', he said, showing journalists two grenades of such kind.
Parubiy noted that stun grenades do not threaten human life and can only cause burns. But those remade grenades, with nuts, bolts, nails attached, and wrapped with wire and tape, after their explosion, may even kill a man.
The deputy noted that one of the main objectives of the opposition is the elimination of 'Berkut' riot police.