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Ukrainian crisis: January 24

The latest events from Ukraine.

Ukrainian crisis: January 24
Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Vitali Klitschko
Фото: Максим Білоусенко

LB.ua chronicles the latest events in Ukraine in English for foreign readers.

Read previous articles on the topic:

Ukrainian crisis: January 23

Ukrainian crisis: January 22

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 sixth day.

Five people were killed in clashes on Hrushevskoho Street, 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.

Currently the opposition leaders - Arseniy Yatsenyuk ('Batkivshchyna'), Vitali Klitschko ('UDAR') and Oleg Tyagnibok ('Svoboda') - are trying to put an end to the political crisis in Ukraine and bloodshed on Hrushevskoho Street.

00:05. Approximately 1500 people tried to storm a building of Zhitomir Regional State Administration. According to LB.ua correspondent from the scene, the assault lasted about an hour. 15 nationalists where the most active participants of the assault, they even had a fight with the police. The assault has already ended.

On Wednesday, January 23, opposition activists captured Regional State Administration buildings in Ternopol and Lvov, the first two floors of Cherkasy Regional State Administration, and mad an attempt of assault of Rovno Regional State Administration.

00:29. Cherkassy police reports that law enforcement officials cleared Cherkassy Regional Council off activists who tried to storm the building, reported 'Procherk.info'.

According to this information, police arrested two opposition activists. Sosnowski investigation department opened criminal proceedings under Part 2 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (resistance to law enforcement) and Part 1 of Art. 294 of the Criminal Code (riots).

'Press Center' reports that one opposition activist, a young woman, was injured, when somebody threw vase with flowers on her head from the fourth floor of the building. She was hospitalized with a head injury, she was unconscious.

unconscious woman

00:52. Opposition activists are storming Cherkassy Regional Council once again

activists storming Cherkassy Regional Council

01:00. Opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Oleg Tyanibok and Vitali Klitschko have reported on the results of the talks with President Viktor Yanukovich to the people on Independence Square.

Vitali Klitschko said that during negotiations Yanukovich threatened the opposition. A few hours earlier Klitschko said that the government offered to release all detained opposition activists in exchange for the release oh Hrushevskoho Street by the protesters.

Opposition put this proposal to a vote on Independence Square. The protesters there refused to accept the plan offered by Yanukovich and authorized the opposition to abandon further negotiations with the government.

It was agreed that Euromaidan will expand its territory to Hrushevskoho Street, Instytutska Street and Olgievska Street by building new barricades. The opposition stressed on the peaceful nature of constructing barricades - without the use of weapons and with rigid discipline. Euromaidan commandant Andriy Parubiy was appointed responsible for the expansion of Euromaidan territory.

01:01. Opposition protesters are moving from Independence Square towards Instytutska Street to build a new barricade.

01:43. Cherkassy police reports that law enforcement officials cleared Cherkassy Regional Council off activists who tried to storm the building, and then together with 'Berkut' riot police despersed the opposition rally.

02:02. Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko assured that if the protesters leave Hrushevskoho Street in Kiev, police won't apply force to disperse Euromaidan camp on Independence Square.

02:07. Unstable and thus weak Ukraine is probably perfectly fine to Mr Putin, according to an article 'New Dark Head' by The Economist.

According to the article, opposition leaders are losing the confidence of the protesters because they couldn't choose a single presidential candidate and provide an appropriate strategy of confrontation against 'draconian' laws signed by President Viktor Yanukovych.

02:14. Activists of the 'Spilna sprava' social movement have occupied premises of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food.

02:27. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is angry because of the inability of the Ukrainian authorities to find a common language with the protesters, according to an article 'Ukrainian president leaning toward a potential compromise' by The Wall Street Journal.

05:13. Last night about 60 people gathered near the Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow for a rally in support of Ukrainian Euromaidan. Thus, they decided to honour the memory of those killed on Hrushevskoho Street in Kyiv.

Both Ukrainians and Russians came near the embassy, holding portraits of slain protesters in their hands, as well as flowers, candles, and banners reading 'Soul Rush - gas soul', 'Ukraine - freedom', etc. They sang Ukrainian anthem, shouted 'Glory to Ukraine!' and 'Shame to Russian channels!' that, according to the activists, distort the events taking place in Ukraine.

Participants gathered through social networks, and thus they hadn't received an approval for the meeting from the City Hall.

Five 'OMON' buses (analogue of Ukrainian 'Berkut') riot police arrived to the scene. When Euromaidan supporters tried to deploy Ukrainian flag, they were detained. All in all, 'OMON' detained 11 people, including one passerby. Later almost all the detainees were released (one refused to call his name and remained seated).

05:55. Journalist of the Spanish newspaper El Mundo Francisco Ererans thinks of a possible military invasion of Russia to Ukraine using the Georgian scenario in 2008. He thinks that even though Moscow is tempted, it is unlikely it'll decide to deploy the troops.

According to Ererans, arguments in favour of invasion are growing geopolitical influence, support of pro-Russian part of Ukraine and obedient regime of President Viktor Yanukovich and the final stop of European integration of Ukraine.

But there are arguments 'against'. One of them is that Ukraine is not Georgia, its territory is much larger and it's less isolated from Europe. Moreover, force scenario would destroy the relationship of the West and Russia on the background of an acute lack of investment in the latter. Besides the Russian army is too involved in the settlement of the situation in the North Caucasus, wrote the Spaniard.

06:59. This night Euromaidan activists built a new barricade on Instytutska Street, closer to the presidential administration. Height of the barricade exceeds two human growth.

Both men and women participated in the construction of this barricade, while other activists brought them hot beverages. It was up to minus 15 degrees Celsius.

barricade on Instytutska Street

07:35. Russian President Vladimir Putin is unlikely to enjoy the picture of the fighting in Kyiv that may overshadow the performances of Russian biathlonists in Sochi, wrote former editor in chief of Forbes Vladimir Fedorin in yesterday's article 'Unity Day' in Russian newspaper 'Vedomosti'.

08:12. Yesterday about 300 people broke down the door of Cherkassy Regional State Administration and smashed and torched some property inside of the building. As a result, police detained 58 people for organizing mass riot (Part 1, Art. 294 CC) and resistance to law enforcement authorities (Part 2 Art. 342). Journalist Oleg Ogliko was among the detained.

Detainees were taken to Sosnowski police department in Cherkassy. Anatoly Bondarenko, head of the regional organization 'Batkivshchyna', and Vitaly Ilyashenko, representing 'UDAR' had blocked entrance to Sosnowski chief police department and only then police released the journalist.

08:14. Journalist of 'Voice of America' Miroslava Gongadze said that the U.S. government officially confirmed that they'll use visa sanctions against deputies of the ruling Party of Regions Vladimir Oliynyk and Elena Bondarenko.

08:43. Kyiv's Kharkov District Court postponed the hearing of former prime miniter Yulia Tymoshenko's case, becausejudge, Constantine Sadowski, fell ill.

All previous hearings of this case have been adjourned since April 2012 due to absence of Tymoshenko.

09:00. Everything remains quiet on Hrushevskoho Street and Independence Square. Opposition protesters do not attack riot police, but keep reinforcing the barricades.

09:45. Former president Leonid Kravchuk believes that Prime Minister Nykolai Azarov should voluntarily resign to relieve tension in the country.

10:09. The opposition's exit from negotiations with the government will lead to mass arrests of opponents of the authorities, said 'Svoboda' leader Oleg Tyahnibok to Euromaidan activists on Instytutska Street after they voted for termination of the talks with President Viktor Yanukovich.

10:34. Euromaidan supporters have blocked movement of trucks on a highway 'Lvov-Krakovets' near the town Novoyavorovsk (Lvov region) with burning tires.

11:04. 'Today the government does not rule the country, and the opposition does not affect the protests', said individual deputy of the Verkhovna Rada Victor Pilipishin.

Pilipishin believes that scandalous laws, adopted on January 16, should be abolished.

11:04. Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said that sanctions against the Ukrainian authorities may be used 'at any time' if the conflict escalates.

11:11. Kyiv gun shops have stopped trading on the oral recommendation of the Internal Ministry, stated chairman of the supervisory board of the Ukrainian Association of gun owners George Uchaikin.

11:33. President Viktor Yanukovich has appointed Andriy Klyuyev as a head of the presidential administration.

11:40. Within 10 days European diplomats will arrive to Kyiv to study the situation in the country, stated chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament Elmar Brok.

According to him, the Ukrainian government may win time play for time waiting until the protesters get tired. But Europe will put pressure on the Ukrainian authorities.

11:49. About one thousand opposition activists were storming the regional administration building and the regional council in Chernovtsi as of 10:30.

12:02. Shevchenko district court of Kyiv released Yaroslav Pritulenko and Vladimir Kadura, detained after the events near the presidential administration on December 1. Criminal proceedings were terminated, and all charges were dismissed.

12:05. Ten buses with 'Berkut' riot police fighters headed from Donetsk to Kyiv.

12:54. Euromaidan protesters made head of Volynsky regional council resign by holding a rally near the building of the regional administration and Volynsky regional council.

13:15. Opposition activists have successfully stormed Ivano-Frankovsk regional state administration. Law enforcement officers failed to stop the protesters, and people managed to break into the building. Police used gas canisters against the activists, but his didn't prevent them from taking control over the building.

Thereafter opposition activists continued to discuss the next steps on the square in front of the state administration.

13:19. The Verkhovna Rada Speaker Vladimir Rybak emphasizes that the issue of introducing a state of emergency in Kyiv won't be discussed at an extraordinary parliamentary session on January 28.

13:42. President Viktor Yanukovich meet with leaders of churches and religious organizations at 03:00 pm on Friday, January 24.

13:50. Opposition activists have started seizing district administrations in Lvov region.

Thus, in the city of Sokal after the veche on local Euromaidan opposition protesters along with members of the opposition parties seized local district administration. When they came there, nobody was inside, so they just entered the building amd put self-defence units to defend it.

At the same time, residents of Radekhov are blockeding local district administration. The protesters are demanding to talk to the acting head of the administration Bogdan Karplyuk, but it turned out that he escaped the building when he learned about the blockade.

13:58. Ten buses with policeman both from Donetsk and Zaporozhye have left to Kyiv on Friday.

14:01. According to Business New Europe, about 200 people, both Ukrainians and British, protested against the Ukrainian authorities on Thursday night at the London Stock Exchange in Paternoster Square.

They called on British financial institutions to stop collaborating with Ukrainian oligarchs and to freeze their assets. They said that money of Rinat Akhmetov and Dmytro Firtash brought President Yanukovych to power, and last week their pocket MPs voted through legislation outlawing protests or having an opinion in Ukraine.

'Dmytro Firtash was the first businessman allowed to open trades at the London Stock Exchange next year. Whom will they invite next? London is an example of democracy we all look up to. But London’s banks need to think whose money they take. Prime property owners need to explain how these people were able to pass money laundering tests and buy prime real estate. How about the Communist MP, Oksana Kaletnik, who supported the dictatorship laws living in Knightsbridge? Not even in Highgate where Karl Marx must be turning in his grave! And the Conservative party needs to explain 57,000 thousand pounds in cash donations from Firtash’s right hand man', stated British Euromaidan activists.

'Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, where rule of law has become a joke in recent years. We’ve had enough of that. We want to be a decent neighbour to the European Union. We represent no political party but ourselves and the people of Ukraine', stated #LondonEuroMaidan.

14:09. Volyn Regional State Administration Chairman Boris Klimchuk resigned.

14:20. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said that her country is ready to host wounded opposition protesters.

14:30. The prosecutor's office in Lvov region began pre-trial investigation into the blocking of the road 'Lvov-Krakovets' by opposition activists.

14:40. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius summoned the Ukrainian ambassador in Paris to discuss the growing violence in Kyiv.

'This is a gesture to show that we condemn what's happening in Kyiv', told Fabius to journalists in Davos.

He also said that Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov hasn't proved himself from the positive side.

14:44. The Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine yesterday, on January 23, denied the opposition in the opening of a claim for recognition of the voting on January 16 in the Verkhovna Rada being unlawful.

14:45. The ruling Party of Regions deputy Yaroslav Suhiy wrote a letter of withdrawal from the faction.

14:58. The Supreme Council of Crimea urged President Viktor Yanukovich to introduce a state of emergency in the country in connection with the events on Hrushevskoho Street in Kyiv.

15:05. President Viktor Yanukovich met with European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule.

The meeting was also attended by the newly appointed head of the Presidential Administration Andrei Klyuyev, Advisor to the President of Ukraine - Head of the Main Department of International Relations of the Presidential Administration Andrei Goncharuk, Advisor to the President of Ukraine - Ukraine authorized on foreign policy and integration processes Konstantin Eliseev, Director of the Department for Relations with the countries of Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia of European External Action Service Gunnar Wiegand.

15:13. Opposition protesters took over the building of Regional State Administration (RSA) in Chernovtsi after four hours of the assault.

Police withdrew all employees of RSA and left the building itself. Protesters welcomed this decision by shouting 'Hurrah' and 'Well done'.

Lawmaker Maxim Bourbak, who told people he'd be a commandant of RSA, promised that deputies will get the windows and doors of the administration repaired after they were damaged during the assault.

15:20. During clashes between protesters and security forces on Hrushevskoho Street on January 22, operator of the documentaries 'Babylon 13' Yuri Gruzinov received three gunshot wounds.

According to Euromaidan activist Natalia Udulenko, at about 5 am the operator was filming events on Hrushevskoho Street with a video camera on a tripod and a large microphone, so it was obvious that he was only capturing events, and didn't participate in them directly. He received two bullets, two of which caused minor damage, and another one passed through under his arm in a few centimetres from the lungs', said the activist.

According to her, Yuri Gruzinov received a round lead bullet with a diameter of about an inch, similar to those fired at slain activist Sergei Nigoyan. After that he received medical treatment in the House of Trade Unions. Now Gruzinov continues performing his professional duty.

15:28. Several thousand people attended a rally on Independence Square in Khmelnitsky. They demand an extraordinary session of the regional council, which began at 02:00 pm, to adopt an appeal to the authorities to stop the violent confrontation in Kyiv.

Eyewitnesses say that people demand that local deputies of all levels withdraw from the ruling Party of Regions.

15:40. Lvov region Prosecutor's Office closed all the criminal proceedings in connection with the mass protests.

15:52. Discussion of mechanisms for resolving the political crisis in Ukraine are possible only through the mediation of representatives of the EU and the OSCE, stated leader of the opposition 'UDAR' party Vitali Klitschko.

15:58. Events on Hrushevskoho Street on January 24 in photos.

16:13. President Viktor Yanukovich is holding a meeting with the leadership of the ruling Party of Regions in the Presidential Administration.

The agenda of the meeting is unknown, as well as how long the meeting will last.

16:15. Friends of murdered Euromaidan activist, Belarussian Mikhail Zhiznevsky, have been questioned about his 'extremist tendencies'.

According to one of a few close friend of the deceased from Belaya Tserkov, police interrogated some unreliable people, who didn't know Mikhail Zhiznevsky.

'They want to make criminal out of Mikhail', said his friend, speaking on condition of anonymity.

'Nobody wants to invite and question me, although we live in a small town and everyone knows that we were close friends', he added.

Mikhail Zhiznevsky was killed on Hrushevskoho Street on January 22. He received few gunshot wounds in the chest that damaged the aorta in the heart. He was a citizen of Belarus, but has been living in Belaya Tserkov for the last 10 years.

16:36. Police opened criminal proceeding on attempt to seize the buildings of Rovno and Chernovtsi region administrations, reported the press service of the Interior Ministry.

16:36. Honourable consul of of Ukraine in the Polish city of Poznan Witold Horovsky resigned because of the events on Hrushevskoho Street in Kyiv.

He stressed that he didn't accept the killing of opposition protesters and the introduction of 'the laws of the dictatorship'.

16:40. Today Obolonski District Court of Kyiv will elect a preventive measure for 19 opposition activists, including AutoMaidan activists detained by 'Berkut' riot police.

16:52. Ukraine won't abandon the OSCE's assistance in resolving the issue of normalizing the situation in the country if such assistance is offered, stated Prime Minister Nykolai Azarov in an interview to European media in Davos.

17:10. Chairman of Buiska State Administration in Lvov region, Vladimir Sai, as well as three regional council deputies of the ruling Party of Regions, wrote a letter of resignation from the party.

17:11. European Parliament President Martin Schulz offered to hold an international conference on ways to resolve the internal political conflict in Ukraine, if the situation in the country doesn't improve soon. https://lb.ua/news/2014/01/24/253017_shults_predlagaet_provesti.html

17:15. The opposition party 'Batkyvschina' deputy Stepan Kubiv, who's also one of the commandants of Euromaidan camp on Kyiv's Independence Square, said his property was arrested.

17:19. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich will reformat the current government, he said said during a meeting with representatives of churches and religious organizations.

17:22. President Viktor Yanukovich has promised to remove all those involved in the events of November 30, 2013 (police used force against the pro-Europe demonstrators in Kyiv for the 1st time) from office.

17:25. Viktor Yanukovich said he will continue the dialogue with the opposition leaders to end violence in the country.

'If we succeed in an amicable way, we'll end it in a good way, if we can't - we will use all legal methods', said the President.

17:30. The President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich promises to apply amnesty to all the protesters who were arrested for petty crimes.

17:32. The laws adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on January 16 will be amended, stated President Viktor Yanukovich during a meeting with representatives of churches and religious organizations.

17:35. President Viktor Yanukovich will meet with all the members of the Party of Regions in the Verkhovna Rada tomorrow.

17:43. Opposition protesters have seized the Regional State Administration building in Khmelnytsky.

18:02. President Viktor Yanukovich says believes that police operates within its mandate and in accordance with laws to ensure order in the country.

live from Kyiv

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