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The latest breaking news from Ukraine in English

Ukrainian crisis: January 31 (live updates)

The latest events from Ukraine.

Ukrainian crisis: January 31 (live updates)
Viktor Yanukovich's portrait on shields of Euromaidan protesters
Фото: EPA/UPG

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

Read previous news on the topic:

Ukrainian crisis: January 30 Ukrainian crisis: January 29

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.

00:35. President of the European Economic and Social Committee (advisory body of the EU) Henri Malossi has read resolution of the committee on Ukraine from a stage on Kyiv's Independence Square.

According to Malossi, the resolution contains the requirements for an end of violence and repressions, and also says that Europe needs to focus on supporting in any possible way of the people, who hold peaceful demonstrations in Ukraine.

08:31. The U.S. believes that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, even being sick, can sign a law abolishing scandalous laws adopted on January 16, stated the U.S. State Department spokesman Jen Psaki.

Yesterday Viktor Yanukovich went on sick leave with a respiratory ailment.

08:45. The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with leaders of the Ukrainian opposition on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. February 1st.

09:06. Tonight at about 3:00 am unidentified men threw a Molotov cocktail through a window of a ground floor of a printing house, which produced postcards for Euromaidan activists in Kharkov.

Owner of the printing house, entrepreneur Yaroslav Zdoroviy, believes that it was a revenge of titushki (AntiMaidan activists) for him printing Euromaidan leaflets.

Yaroslav Zdoroviy telling about the attack

09:24. Ternopol Regional Administrative Court declared unlawful a decision of the session of the regional council on January 25 on mistrust to Chairman of Regional State Administration Valentyn Hoptyan.

09:36. Automaidan leader Dmitry Bulatov, who went missing on January 22. and was found on January 30, told journalists how and where he was abused.

He said he was tortured, cut, his kidnappers tried to gouge out his eye, but fortunately didn't do that.

According to Bulatov, his kidnapping occurred on Troeshchina (district in Kyiv -ed.) and was operated by professionals. All the time he was kept in a dark place and for the first few days his kidnappers didn't give him any food.

'I was crucified, they pierced my ear, cut my face. There is no single living space on my body. They constantly closed my eyes, so I didn't see who tortured me. But the kidnappers had a Russian accent', said the activist.

Automaidan leader Dmitry Bulatov telling his story

09:58. Leader of the 'UDAR' party Vitali Klitschko called the incident with Automaidan leader Dmitry Bulatov an intimidation to all active citizens.

10:23. Military called on President Viktor Yanukovich to take urgent action to stabilize the situation in the country.

10:43. Yesterday's announcement of Viktor Yanukovich's sick leave with a respiratory ailment is an attempt to hide during the Olympic Games, after which Ukrainian President will start the hard power actions to suppress his opponents, stated Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

'Today our client in Kyiv - dear Viktor Yanukovich. He will show you the heat when the Olympics end. You'll find out who is Yanukovich. Now he is sick just in case. And then you'll hear a voice saying 'spare no bullets!'. And we will give ammunition. Instead of money we'll give ammo', said politician in an interview to the TV channel 'Russia'.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky

10:58. Euromaidan activist Igor Lutsenko and AutoMaidan leader Dmitry Bulatov were most likely kidnapped by the same people who, stated individual MP Pyotr Poroshenko. According to him, all signs indicate that's true.

'He came out of the woods - not far from the place where Igor Lutsenko was found. There is every indication that the same gang was doing this', he said.

Public activist Igor Lutsenko wend missing on January 21. He was allegedly kidnapped, and on the same evening got out of the forest near Kyiv, where he was brought and thrown by his kidnappers.

After a medical examination his lawyer Eugenia Zakrevskaya told LB.ua that his internal organs had been damaged, he 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.

11:08. Kyiv's police opened a criminal investigation into the illegal imprisonment of AutoMaidan activist Dmitry Bulatov.

Law enforcers failed to interview him in detail in connection with the state of his health.

11:27. Advisor to the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, Sergei Glazyev, believes that if Viktor Yanukovich doesn't suppress 'rebellion', he may lose his power.

11:45. MP from the Party of Regions Oleg Tsarev acknowledged the political and economic sanctions against Ukraine. According to him, foreign lending to big businesses has been sharply reduced, and medium-sized businesses has to prove that it has nothing to do with the Regions Party.

12:07. Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk warned the EU leaders on a possible 'black scenario' of developments in Ukraine. He believes that Russia will actively intervene in the affairs of Ukraine after the Olympics, and says that Warsaw is afraid of a mass influx of refugees from Ukraine in case of aggravation of the conflict.

12:13. A few thousand Euromaidan activists picketed the State Automobile Inspectorate demanding to stop blocking the supply of products and firewood for the protesters in Kyiv's Independence Square, wrote 'Batkivshchyna' MP on his Facebook page.

According to him, police promised to stop blocking the cars that will deliver, products, etc. to Independence Square, as well as to provide information about the system 'Frontier', which, according to activists, is illegal (it has no documents), and to provide documents on basis of which the penalty areas are working.

12:23. There were 26 unidentified corpses in Kyiv's central morgue on Oranzhereyna Street as of January 30.

12:42. European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule has called on the Ukrainian authorities to urgently respond to the kidnapping of Automaidan leader Dmitry Bulatov.

13:06. Kyiv Court of Appeals put three Euromaidan activists under house arrest.

13:19. 'Batkivschyna' opposition faction leader Arseniy Yatseniuk urges President Viktor Yanukovшch immediately sign a law abolishing scandalous laws adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on January 16.

13:27. Internet community 'Euromaidan SOS' published an updated list of activists who disappeared after January 16.

There are 33 people in the list and their contact details. Also, in the comments to the list user Lina Rainy notes that one of them was found.

13:38. Russian President Vladimir Putin held a second meeting this week with the permanent members of the Security Council on the situation in Ukraine.

13:46. Euromaidan activists Dmitry Bulatov, Igor Lutsenko, Yuri Verbitsky, who were kidnapped by unidentified men earlier in January, were found near the Interior Ministry resort situated not far from a training base of the police. (pictures)

13:50. The 'Praviy sector' ('Right sector') civil movement and the veterans of the Afghan war want to be a third party in another unscheduled round of talks between the government and the opposition.

14:07. MP Pyotr Poroshenko reported about the presence of the orientation on the most prominent and active public figures given to Ukrainian border guards.

14:12. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged Ukrainian army to remain neutral and not to interfere in the political conflict in the country.

14:34. Automaidan leader Dmitry Bulatov, who was taken to the clinic 'Boris' with numerous injuries on Friday night, underwent surgery and is in intensive care.

14:47. The Presidential Administration (PA) has commissioned the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to prepare the visit of President Viktor Yanukovich to Russia, reported ZN.ua citing sources in the PA.

15:04. Euromaidan activists have unblocked access to the Vinnytsia regional administration's building.

15:09. President Viktor Yanukovich signed a law that abolished nine laws adopted on January 16, reported the presidential press service.

Moreover, Yanukovich signed laws that duplicate four of the laws adopted on January 16.

15:10. President Viktor Yanukovich signed the law 'On elimination of negative impacts and prevention of prosecution and punishment of persons in connection with the events that took place during the peaceful assemblies', reported the presidential press service.

According to this law, Euromaidan protesters have to vacate all occupied government buildings.

15:40. The Interior Ministry said that mass protests, which began in Ukraine on November 21, were not spontaneous, but were planned in advance by 'Batkivschyna' opposition faction, stated Deputy Chief of Investigation Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Alexander Gnativ.

According to him, this version was confirmed by the information on the servers that were seized by police in the office of 'Batkivschyna'.

15:44. The Interior Ministry do not associate the murder of two policemen in Kyiv with mass protests.

Earlier this week the ministry disclosed the names of the deceased policemen. Thus, captain Alexander Kisilevskii died in Kherson on January 28 from severe knife injuries allegedly caused by several radicalized young people, who, according to the ministry, were students of one of the local universities. However, according to Kherson journalists, the suspected are members of the pro-Russian organization 'New Russia'. Another policeman, Alexander Endrzhievski was shot dead in Kyiv on January 24. According to the Interior Ministry, he was killed by the members of the 'Ukrainian Insurgent Army' (UPA).

15:53. The Interior Ministry is considering a staging version of abduction of AutoMaidan leader Dmitry Bulatov, said At a press conference Deputy Chief of Investigations Department Oleg Tatarov.

'It may be a dramatization to commit provocations to trigger a negative response in the society', he stressed.

16:00. About 30 women came to Hrushevskoho Street today to call on law enforcers not to step up against the people. There was also a priest with them, who was holding an icon.

women on Hrushevskoho Street

16:05. Public figure, blogger Vladimir Marus, who wrote an article 'Rambo' from Kherson' for LB.ua, which revealed details of the incident of the attack of the students on police officers in Kherson, has been called in for questioning by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Students and professors of the Kherson National Technical University (KNTU) do not believe that suspected students attacked the police officers on January 27.

According to the information of the Interior Ministry, on Monday evening, January 27, student of the KNTU stabbed three employees of the Office of criminal investigation of the Kherson regional Ministry of Internal Affairs. One of the policemen, who received knife wound, died on January 27.

People0, who eye-witnessed the events of the alleged attack, say that events different from how police described them. In the evening several KNTU students known as active supporters of local Euromaidan were followed and mocked by a group of more than ten unidentified men in civilian clothes. Those men, who were clearly not college-age students, insulted them and even threatened them with guns. Terrified students ran to campus of the KNTU and called police and reported the threats. However, when police arrived, officers allegedly refused to record the statement of students and wanted to leave. After talks law enforcers began recording the students' testimony. All this happened in the premises of the students' dormitories.

'At the time of filling the application those unidentified men broke into the dorm room. They threatened the students. Attackers, waving pistols, made everyone in the room, including the police officers (who were still there), lie down on the floor. Thereafter they threatened to use their guns and led the students, with whom they had a conflict, to the street, as they said - 'for a showdown'. In some time the police officers followed them to the street. It remains unknown, what exactly happened near the hostel, but when police reinforcements they detained only those students, who had previously called police. None of the aggressive people in civil were detained', according to witnesses of the incident.

Yesterday one of the students suspected of killing the policeman in Kherson was sentenced to two months of prison, another one - to house arrest. http://society.lb.ua/accidents/2014/01/30/253821_hersone_arestovali_studentov.html

16:26. The Interior Ministry in its investigation of the deaths of three protesters on Hrushevskoho Street in Kyiv, among other things, considers the theory that the murders were committed by 'Berkut' riot police, stated first deputy chief of the Investigation Department of the Interior Ministry Vitaly Sakal.

16:38. Police declared wanted Automaidan leader Dmitry Bulativ, activist Sergei Coba and son of MP Anatoly Gritsenko Alexei (pictures).

The are charged under Part 2 Art. 294 (riots) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, and are attributed to the categories of persons who are hiding from the bodies of pre-trial investigation. As a preventive measure they may be detained.

16:47. Kyiv City State Administration's (KSCA) Department of Health denies reports that there are 26 unidentified corpses in a morgue on Oranzhereyna Street in the capital.

According to the press service of the KSCA, currently there are 14 unidentified bodies there that are subject to disposal at public expense. Nine of these individuals died in 2013, and five - in 2014. Two of the unidentified bodies (male) were taken to the morgue from Khreschatyk Street 12 and 18. Subsequently, one of the dead man's son recognized him, but refused to pat for the burial of his father, so the burial will be organized using public money.

17:17. There is evidence that activist Igor Lutsenko was tortured by 'Berkut' riot police fighters, said the former head of the press service of the Ukrainian Security Service's (SBU), wrote on Facebook Stanislav Rechinsky, journalist famous in the field of criminal investigations.

'That's it. There is already evidence that Lutsenko was tortured by 'Berkut'. The one that broke up the Maidan on the night of the first of December. 100 percent confirmation. It's time for Zaharchenko either to shoot himself or his henchmen from 'Berkut'. Today and tomorrow everything will be announced. This death squads - a part of Ministry of Internal Affairs. And it is not excessive act. And it's not excessive act', he wrote.

17:20. Nykolai Azarov, who was dismissed from the post of prime minister on Jan., is now in Austria, reported Austrian newspaper Kronen-Zeitung, citing its sources.

It's reported that Azarov flew in a private plane to Vienna to join the members of his family, a few hours after dismissal. According to the newspaper, he plans to stay in Austria for a long time.

Ukrainian Embassy in Vienna refused to comment on this information, as well as the Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Internal Affairs of Austria.

17:38. 'Batkivschyna' opposition faction considers the Interior Ministry charges against it in organizing the protests in Ukraine as a provocation to worsen the confrontation.

17:42. Police is trying to arrest Automaidan leader Dmitry Bulatov, who is now in 'Boris' hospital in Kyiv, reported 'Batkivschyna' MP Nikolai Knyazhytskyy on his page on Facebook.

'Right now police is trying to arrest Bulatov in 'Boris' on Bazhana (Street - ed.). Journalists and MPs who are nearby - come up', he added.

17:57. If presidential elections were held next Sunday, the three leaders would be Viktor Yanukovich, Vitali Klitschko and Pyotr Poroshenko, a SOCIS poll showed on Friday.

Thus, 19.8% of electorate would support Viktor Yanukovich, 19.1 - Vitali Klitschko - 19.1%, 10.5% - Poroshenko. Arseniy Yatsenyuk would get 6.3% of the votes, the Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko - 4.5%, and Oleg Tyagnibok - 3.6%.

If former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is included in the electoral list of candidates (and, accordingly, Yatsenyuk is delisted) then voices of Ukrainians would be distributed as follows: Yanukovich - 20.4% , Klitschko and Tymoshenko - 14.8% and 14.6% respectively, Poroshenko - 9.0%, Symonenko - 4.0% Tyagniboka - 3.2%.

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