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.
Six 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.
Unrest on Hrushevskoho Street continues for the second week.
Now 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.
On January 24 Euromaidan supporters started seizing buildings of regional state administration all over Ukraine. Some attempts were successful.
On January 25 President Viktor Yanukovich offered the opposition several top government posts. Thus, Yanukovich offered Arseny Yatseniyuk the post of prime minister to replace Nykolai Azarov, whose government would be expected to resign. Vitali Klitschko, a former international boxing champion, would be appointed deputy prime minister responsible for humanitarian issues. But opposition leaders, supported by thousands of protesters massing in Kyiv's city centre, continued to press for further concessions, including early elections and the repeal of an anti-protest law.
At the same time, Ukraine's Interior Minister Vitaliy Zaharchenko had said that all those who occupied public buildings and stayed on Kyiv's Independence Square would be considered to be 'extremist groups' by police. According to him, police would use force against those who went over to the side of the radical protesters, who have clashed with police in front of the football stadium since last Sunday.
On January 28 Ukrainian Prime Minister Nykolai Azarov resigned, and a series of sweeping anti-protest laws, adopted hastily in response to increasingly violent clashes between protesters and police, were abolished by parliament.
On January 29 the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, approved a law that would grant an amnesty to arrested protesters, but depended on the demonstrators vacating all occupied government buildings. After 12 hours of negotiations the amnesty was agreed by 232 votes from the Regions Party members and the Communist Party amid applause from the 'regionals' and angry shouts 'Shame!' from the opposition.
As of January 30 protesters are holding three administrative buildings in Kyiv, including the building housing the city administration.
08:21. The administration of the U.S. President Barack Obama prepares financial sanctions that can be imposed against Ukrainian officials and protest leaders in case of an escalation of violence.
09:07. Leader of the 'UDAR' party Vitali Klitschko predicts increased tension in Ukrainian society because of the adoption of the amnesty law by the Verkhovna Rada.
09:27. Leader of the 'Bratstvo' '(Brotherhood') party Dmitry Korchinskiy will be released from custody under a law on termination of criminal proceedings against participants of mass actions from November 21 to December 26, 2013.
The Interior Ministry named Korchinskiy an organizer of unrest near the presidential administration's building on December 1 and declared him wanted.
09:42. Ukraine's Interior Ministry has reported that during massive clashes in Kyiv, starting from December 1, protesters broke, damaged or deprived law enforcers of 346 helmets, 200 shields, 150 vests, 300 sets to protect hands and feet and about 30 batons.
Thus, only in Kyiv police detained more that a hundred protesters for their involvement in the riots on Hrushevskoho Street. 64 of them have already been sentenced either for two month of jail or to house arrest. Besides, police detained 66 protesters in Cherkassy, 22 activists in Dnepropetrovsk, four people in Krivoy Rog, 14 people in Sumy, two people in Kherson, one person in Vinnitsa.
At the same time, according to the health department of the Kyiv city state administration, from 19 to 25 January 170 protesters were injured, and 82 of them were hospitalized. The opposition reported of more than a thousand injured.
10:07. President of FC 'Dynamo' Kyiv Ihor Surkis supported the idea of ex-national team player Yevhen Levchenko to hold a football match between opposition protesters and 'Berkut' riot police fighters.
10:36. About 20 policemen were injured by protesters during an assault of the Chernihov regional administration's building, reported local Investigation Department of the Interior Ministry.
10:53. Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Vladimir Rybak have signed into law the bill number 4007u, which repeals nine laws adopted by Ukraine's parliament on January 16.
11:08. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has gone on sick leave with a respiratory ailment.
11:09. Another Euromaidan activist, businessman Bogdan Kalynyak, died at the regional hospital in Ivano-Frankovsk. According to Kolomya Mayor Ihos Slyuzar, who knew the deceased, he allegedly earned pneumonia during clashes on Hrushevskoho Street in Kyiv.
11:30. The Party of Regions MP Vitaly Zhuravsky assures that by adopting the amnesty bill of Yuri Miroshnichenko authorship, the parliamentary majority made considerable concessions to the opposition.
According to him, the Regions Party abolished the originally incorporated in the law requirement to voluntarily surrender weapons and explosive devices to law enforcement authorities, as well as eliminate paramilitary groups, created during the protests.
11:45. Unidentified men burned 20 vehicles with Lvov number signs in Kyiv on the night of January 30.
11:51. At least 10 Euromaidan activists have been detained by police in Kirovograd for a rally neat local regional administration's building.
12:00. Fighter of the Interior Ministry troops died of heart failure on Hrushevskoho Street in Kyiv tonight at around 5:00, stated Acting Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko.
12:06. Tonight unidentified men destroyed a statue of Lenin in Fastov, Kyiv region.
12:13. Kharkov region Governor Mikhail Dobkin and the deputies of the regional council, which are part of the Party of Regions, on Wednesday came to the session hall in T-shirts with the inscription 'Berkut'.
The Party of Regions faction in the Kharkov regional council will give 150 thousand UAH ($20 thousand) for the treatment of affected employees of 'Berkut' riot police and purchase of the new uniforms for them.
12:33. The 'Svoboda' party intends to challenge the law on exemption of protesters adopted by the Verkhovna Rada yesterday, told journalists 'Svoboda' MP, deputy head of Ukraine's Parliament Committee on Rules and Parliamentary Ethics Igor Shvaika.
12:39. MP from the 'Batkivschyna' party Lesia Orobets said that during yesterday's vote for the amnesty bill deputy from the Party of Regions Vladimir Struck hit her. (photos)
12:51. Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Vladimir Rybak signed the law number 4021-3 'On elimination of negative impacts and prevention prosecution and punishment of persons in connection with the events that took place during the peaceful assembly'.
12:58. Kyiv Court of Appeals released from house arrest activist Arthur Kovalchuk, who was detained for alleged involvement in the riots on Hrushevskoho Street in Kiev, said 'Batkivschyna' MP Lesia Orobets.
13:01. Justice Minister, member of the working group to resolve the situation in the country Elena Lukash predicts that the Verkhovna Rada will create a temporary special committee to draft amendments to the Constitution on Tuesday, February 4th.
According to her, the commission is supposed to work out constitutional changes on the transition to a parliamentary-presidential republic.
13:11. Parliament Speaker Vladimir Rybak confirmed that President Viktor Yanukovich threatened to disband the Verkhovna Rada in the evening of January 29 during a meeting with the Party of Regions faction in parliament.
13:32. First deputy head of the presidential administration, a member of the working group to resolve the situation in the country Andriy Portnov believes that the current amnesty law commensurate with the requirements of the government and the opposition and creates a system of checks and balances.
According to him, such crimes as torture, kidnapping and murder do not fall under the amnesty law.
13:58. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has voted for a resolution on Ukraine that states 'disproportionate use of violence by police against protesters' and retains the possibility of sanctions - deprivation of Ukraine's delegation of voting rights at the meeting in April.
14:11. 234 people were detained in Ukraine during protests as of January 30, 140 of them were arrested, stated the General Prosecutor's Office on the official website of the ministry.
14:25. The PACE resolution on Ukraine is an example of double standards in the space of the Council of Europe, announced deputy head of the Russian delegation Leonid Slutsky at the end of the discussion.
Thus, commenting on the adopted resolution adopted, he noted that it's inappropriate to apply sanctions against any country of the Council of Europe. Slutsky added that the proposal to transfer monitoring on Ukraine to the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Council of Europe may be a dangerous precedent.
14:28. There are no queues of trucks on the Ukrainian border with Russia, stated spokeswoman of the Central Administration of Customs of Russia Ekaterina Anchiporova.
Yesterday the International Road Carriers Association says that Russia has resumed the customs blockade of Ukrainian goods, similar to the one in August 2013.
14:39. Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs warns Ukraine of the possibility of economic sanctions against it. According to the ministry, Iran's example is what may happen to Ukraine.
'There are sanctions in our arsenal, and it's not only sanctions such as Canada and the United States used, visa or financial. We have a full range of sanctions, up to the tough economic, that have been successful against Iran', said Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski. https://ukr.lb.ua/news/2014/01/30/253782_yanukovichu_napomnili_iranskom.html
14:48. On behalf of the Attorney General Victor Pshonka there was established a special team to monitor the implementation of the law 'On elimination of negative impacts and prevention of the prosecution and punishment on the events that took place during the peaceful assembly', and investigate those crimes which are not covered by this document.
14:56. A process of disintegration of the government began in Ukraine, when part of the former partners don't want to support Viktor Yanukovich, stated former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski in the air of 'Polish Radio'.
'I think that the president's urgent visit to the parliament occurred because he is afraid to lose the support of the majority. He lost a few dozen votes of the Party of Regions. He went there to discipline, scare, blackmail, and it had an effect', stressed Kwasniewski.
15:10. President Viktor Yanukovich will sign a law abolishing scandalous laws adopted on January 16 after receiving the conclusions of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Ministry of Justice and the Presidential Administration, stated Minister of Justice Elena Lukash at a meeting with heads of diplomatic missions of the EU, USA, Canada, Norway, Russia and Switzerland.
15:18. Ukraine's State Statistics Service reported that in the fourth quarter of 2013 Ukraine's GDP grew by 3.7%. Before this during five consecutive quarters the Ukrainian economy decreased and was in recession.
According to the State Statistics, at the end of 2013 real GDP was 100% of its level in 2012. Nominal size of the economy is estimated at 1.444 trillion UAH.
15:18. President Viktor Yanukovich in his address to the citizens of Ukraine said that the opposition continues to escalate the situation in the country.
'The opposition continues to escalate the situation, encourages people to stand in the cold for the political ambitions of a few leaders. I think that's wrong. I am convinced that we need to understand - there is no future for the state and the people, if the political interests of certain groups are above the existence of Ukraine.
In the course of negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the conflict we've reached concrete agreements with the opposition. The authorities carried out all their obligations. Thus, parliament passed an amnesty law, which guarantees freedom of protesters and release of those who were detained in conflicts.
I ask you again, and appeal to people, ordinary citizens, my fellow citizens: I'll do everything for the sake of peace and quiet, for the normal life of the country. For my part I have great sympathy and understanding related to the needs and aspirations of the people, given the mistakes that each government makes'.
15:28. Kyiv Court of Appeals today changed the measure of restraint for Euromaidan activists Ivan Curia and Vasily Moskaliuk by putting them under house arrest.
15:35. The U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Jeffrey Payette at a meeting with foreign ambassadors and foreign ministers of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine said that the U.S. welcomes steps amde by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich made to resolve the political crisis in the country.
15:36. Acting Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov met with Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the Middle East Robert Serry. Arbuzov informed Robert Serry on the political situation in Ukraine and expressed hope that the meeting will help to better understand the difficult situation in the country and share their positions on the issue.
15:50. Euromaidan allocated 500 thousand UAH (~$60 thousand) for treatment of activists injured during the confrontation on Hrushevskoho Street and the families of the protesters killed there, announced Ukraine's parliament MP, commandant of the House of Trade Unions Stepan Kubiv.
16:14. The opposition has prepared a bill on amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine, as well as on the elimination of 'Berkut' riot police, said at a press conference 'Batkivshchyna' MP and Euromaidan commandant Andrei Parubiy.
16:16. Leader of the Russian biker club 'Night Wolves' Alexander 'Surgeon' Zaldostanov, Vladimir Putin's friend, said his colleagues 'will protect the cities from the Ukrainian radicals and provocateurs'. According to him, motorcyclists patrol near the regional administration's building in Sevastopol, Simferopol, Kharkov, Lugansk and other cities, as well as near other major urban facilities, and are actively helped by the townspeople.
16:29. The prosecutor's office appealed on the ban of the 'Svoboda' party activities by the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. https://lb.ua/news/2014/01/30/253803_prokuratura_oprotestovala_zapret.html
16:30. 52 MPs from the Party of Regions were ready to support the proposals made by the opposition to the bill on amnesty, according to the material by Sonya Koshkina 'Take your families out. Hurry up'.
16:39. Unidentified man attacked lawyer Sergei Kulbich, who defends opposition activists who stormed the Dnepropetrovsk regional state administration's building on January 26. He took a hit in the head and was cut with knife and lost a lot of blood, but his life is not in danger.
16:43. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said that the proposal of the European Union to Ukraine on signing an Association Agreement with the free-trade area between the EU and Ukraine remains on the table.
16:58. 200 Euromaidan activists have been detained and more than 1,5 thousand criminal proceedings have been opened within two months of mass protests, stated Euromaidan commandant Stepan Kubiv.
17:13. Protesters won't leave Hrushevskoho street and administrative buildings in exchange for the release of captured activists, stated Euromaidan commandant, 'Batkivshchyna' MP Andrei Parubiy.
According to him, the authorities should release the people who remain in prisons unilaterally.
17:20. Vinnitsa City Court demands opposition activists to unblock the buildings of the Vinnitsa regional state administration and regional council.
17:38. Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament Elmar Brok believes that President Viktor Yanukovich, apparently doesn't want a peaceful settlement of the situation in Ukraine.
17:51. One of the students suspected of killing a policeman in Kherson on January 27 was sentenced to two months of prison, another one - to house arrest.
18:06. Losses from the capture of a building of the Ministry of Agricultural Policy by protesters estimated at nearly a million hryvnia (~$125), reported the press service of the ministry citing Deputy Minister Alexander Senya.
18:10. Euromaidan activist Ivan Kizyuk from Ternopol, who was detained in the center of Kyiv on January 25 and put under house arrest, told journalists how he was abused by the police after his arrest.
'They've brought me to the corner between houses and ordered to face the wall and started beating me. Attackers were constantly changing - some left, others came. I fell from bumps, they raised me to the feet and continued beating me', he said.
Later, when he was brought to one of Kyiv's police departments, a man in civil clothes put gun in his mouth and threatened to shoot him.
During the so-called 'investigation' Ivan was fingerprinted twice, photographed three times in different places, law enforcers took away a lot of personal belongings, including mobile phone, passport and a silver ring. Later he was taken to the trauma center, where, according to a preliminary diagnosis, it turned out that he had a broken nose. Then he was taken into the custody, hospital, court.
Employees of the department that conducted investigation of Ivan's deeds argues that he was treated in accordance with the law.
18:14. Head of the Federation of Employers of Ukraine Dmitry Firtash called for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine, his press service reported.
18:42. The law on amnesty adopted by the Verkhovna Tada was passed in violation of constitutional norms, says a joint statement of the leaders of the opposition factions Arseny Yatsenyuk, Vitali Klitschko and Oleg Tyagnibok.
19:01. The PACE resolution on Ukraine is not rights-based and reflects the geopolitical interests of the EU, said head of the Russian delegation to the Assembly Alexei Pushkov.
19:10. The 'Batkivschyna' party MPs Roman Ilyk, Stepan Kurpil, Yuri Odarchenko and Alexander Chernovolenko offer the Verkhovna Rada to reverse the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on the use of weapons and water cannons against peaceful protesters.
19:27. Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Valeria Lutkovska commended amnesty law adopted on January 29 and expressed the view that it'll remove the social tensions that have led to casualties.
19:48. If the Ukrainian authorities stop the use of violence, the European Union will help Ukraine, said Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk after a meeting with President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.
20:19. The 'UDAR' party accuses President Viktor Yanukovich of not fulfilling all of the commitments taken during the negotiations with the opposition. The president also misinformed public with information about all of the requirements of the opposition to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, reported the press service of 'UDAR'.
20:45. Lvov regional council chairman Pyotr Kolodiy said that the blockade of the regional administration's building by Euromaidan actvists continues and employees do not go to work.
21:03. 'Batkivschyna' MP Yuriy Stets reports that missing Automaidan leader Dmitry Bulatov hase been found.
'According to preliminary information Bulatov has been found. That's all for now. Will keep informing you', wrote Stets in Facebook.
21:29. In the period from 30 November 2013 to 30 January 2014 medics assisted 1231 protesters in Kyiv. Of there 681 of these were hospitalized, according to the press service of the KSCA.
21:56. The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a telephone conversation with Ukrainian opposition leaders expressed support for Ukraine's European integration and called for a peaceful settlement of the crisis.