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 a 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.
At least six people have been killed in the past two weeks in unprecedented politically-linked violence in Kyiv.
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 and all over Ukraine.
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.
The weekend was relatively calm. It's expected that now, after the visit of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to Ukraine, when she met with President Viktor Yanukovich and leaders of the opposition, the EU will consider sanctions against Ukraine. In the mean time, former Ukrainian Interior Minister and head of the public organization 'Ukrainian Third Republic' Yuriy Lutsenko said there is no point in negotiating between the opposition and President Viktor Yanukovich, and called on the Ukrainians to join the ranks of Euromaidan self-defence units.
Individual MP Pyotr Poroshenko, in his turn, announced the establishment of an international commission to investigate crimes of the Ukrainian authorities against Euromaidan protesters. According to him, the investigative commission will be created on Wednesday or Thursday (Feb.5-6). It'' ll work in Ukraine and will establish the facts of the criminal abuse of the Ukrainian people.
The opposition, buoyed by Western expressions of support, pressed on Tuesday, February 4, in parliament for a return to a previous constitution of 2004, which would mean Yanukovich losing some of the key powers he has accumulated since being elected in 2010. These include appointing the prime minister and entire government as well as regional governors. The opposition also wants an unconditional amnesty for protesters detained in the unrest to be broadened into an unconditional pardon for all those being held by police.
00:55. Former Ukrainian Interior Minister, head of the public organization 'Ukrainian Third Republic' Yuriy Lutsenko believes that provocateurs who organized the explosion at the House of Trade Unions in Kyiv, copy actions of the Russian secret services.
On Thursday, February 6, two Euromaidan activists were injured in the House of Trade Unions when they opened a small box with explosives they found on the fifth floor of this building.
08:38. Acting Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko has said that a 'right-wing group' planned to arrange a terrorist attack on Friday - the opening day of the Olympics in Russian Sochi - to remind the authorities of themselves. His statement was published on the Interior Ministry's website.
08:59. The Office of State Protection (OSP) issued an order that prohibits citizens visiting the places of stay of President Viktor Yanukovich to carry mobile phones as well as audio and video recorders.
OSP order N35 approving order of visits to places of permanent and temporary stay of the President was registered in the Ministry of Justice on January 30 and is marked as 'for official use only'. The document comes into force within ten days from the date of its registration. According to the document, places of permanent and temporary stay of the President are considered as 'regime territory', are equipped with technical means of verification of safety and communications, as well as 'must comply with fire, health and hygiene, environmental and radiation requirements'.
OSP explained that it was the first such instruction. It was adopted in connection with the 'revolutionary' and 'socially unstable situation in the country'.
According to the order, people are allowed to enter a workplace or a place of temporary stay of the President only after the permission by the presidential chief of staff or chief of presidential security.
09:16. The Interior Ministry has opened a criminal case upon explosion at the House of Trade Unions in Kyiv on careless storage of firearms and ammunition.
09:39. Ukrainian activists in Washington met deputies from the Party of Regions Sergey Klyuyev and Elena Bondarenko at the entrance to the Embassy of Ukraine to the United States, where Ukrainian delegation arrived on the evening of February 6 (pictures).
Ukrainians carried photos of the beaten journalists and protesters killed during the events on Hrushevskoho Street in Kyiv, some of them were lying on the sidewalk covered with Ukrainian flags.
Ukrainian delegation arrived to Washington for the annual 'prayer breakfast' with the participation of President Obama, which is usually attended by over 3500 people, including representatives of more than 100 countries of the world.
10:53. Acting Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko said that to resolve the political situation in Ukraine, amnesty should be extended also to law enforcement officers who used force against Euromaidan protesters. He also announced plans on labelling 'Berkut' riot police employees with some special documents. At the same time, he is concerned that by labelling law enforcers the Interior Ministry makes them vulnerable to radical opposition activists.
11:14. Acting Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko has said that he offered the opposition to withdraw its supporters from Euromaidan camp on Kyiv's Independence Square 'to any other area' so that police could 'resolve issues with the radicals', but the opposition refused.
'We must understand that on Independence Square the most advanced technologies are applied. They have a powerful means of communication, e-cards, Internet-based radio stations. During the last year 'technocamps' were conducted in the country. Preparation of support information for extremist activities was conducted here at the level of international specialists', he said.
Earlier this year the Party of Regions odious MP Oleg Tsarev said that the 'Techcamp' project was conducted with the support and participation of the U.S. Embassy. According to him, the project aims to train specialists in information warfare and potential revolutionaries.
11:56. The Interior Ministry denies accusations of involvement in the explosion in the House of Trade Unions in the centre of Kyiv and encourages protesters not to violate the 'truce' on Hrushevskoho Street.
12:09. There'll be a cleaning day on Kyiv's Independence Square on Saturday, Feb. 8, and on Sunday, Feb. 9 - the National Veche, reported the National Resistance Headquarters (Euromaidan camp leadership).
12:16. Three Euromaidan activists from Rovno, who were considered missing, have been found in Lukyanovska jail. They are Ivan Martynov, Sergey Martynuk and Vyacheslav Chovpilo.
Lawyer Ksenia Prokonova, who communicated with the guys, told LB.ua they were detained near barricades on Instytutska Strett in the centre of Kyiv on January 21. 'The guys are young, born in 1994-1995. Without any physical or legal training. They were asked to step aside near barricades, were beaten and detained there. Then the were taken to a police station', she said.
12:20. Ukrainian courts have turned into the administrative authority that approves indictment acts offered by prosecutors, said Victor Smaliy, lawyer of the 'Traffic Control' activist Andrei Dzindzya.
This is evidenced by the video recorded in the courtroom on Smaliy's case. He is confident that he's been detained illegally.
Smaliy was arrested on December 9 on charges of attempted murder of a judge during the proceedings over activist and journalist of 'Traffic Control' Andrei Dzindzya. On December 11 Dniprovskiy district court has defined the measure of his restraint in the form of a two-month detention.
12:29. If presidential elections were held next Sunday, the three opposition leaders would beat Viktor Yanukovich in the second round of presidential elections, a SOCIS poll showed on Friday.
According to the results of the survey conducted by the centre 'Socis' and the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS), in the second round of elections Yanukovich would get 36.1% of votes if his opponent was leader of the 'UDAR' party Vitali Klitschko.
If Yanukovich is opposed by individual MP Pyotr Poroshenko, the President would gain 37.7% of votes, Poroshenko - 62.3%.
'Batkivschyna' opposition faction leader Arseniy Yatseniuk would gain 58.4% of votes, Viktor Yanukovich - 41.6%.
54.4% of electorate would support leader of the 'Svoboda' party Oleg Tyagnibok, whilst 45.6% would give their votes to Yanukovich.
If Yanukovich's opponent is former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, she would gain 57.4% votes, and Yanukovich - 42.6%.
12:44. Beaten and detained Lvov photographer Marian Gavryliv urges Ukrainians to come to the Maidan and defend their right to live in a free state. This is stated in Gavryliv's note passed to LB.ua through his lawyer from an emergency hospital, where photographer remains now.
'I appeal to all citizens of Ukraine, and especially to the Galicians: do not sit in your warm apartments in front of TVs, head to squares of your cities and head to the main square in Kyiv, to fight for your right to live in a free, truly independent state. I also have a son, and, like everyone else, I want him to live in a free, beautiful country, and so I went to the Maidan', said the activist.
Gavryliv believes that he fell under the 'machinery of repression'.
'I understand that illuminating the true situation that has developed in recent years in the state is illegal. Journalists, photographers are beaten, shot and tortured, they are accused of riots. I fell under the repressive machinery of the state, limiting people's right for freedom of speech and peaceful assemblies. I have no regrets. I'm not the first, and, what a shame - not the last', he wrote.
Photographer thanked all the people who supported him: 'Thank you all my friends in Lvov and Kyiv and from all over Ukraine and abroad, all people of goodwill, the media for their support and help and for not forgetting anyone, including me'.
Gavryliv and 20 other activists were beaten by police and detained on January 22. They were sentenced to two months of jail.
12:45. On February 6, 2014 the 'Anti-Fascist People's Front' (AFPF) was created in Kyiv. It includes representatives of various social organizations, reported the press service of the Kyiv City Committee of the Communist Party.
The main purpose of the capital is to coordinate and develop practical solutions to 'counter and fight against neo-fascism and neo-nazism', and establishing AFPF teams in all Kyiv's disctricts.
12:58. 47.7% of Ukrainians completely or mostly support the protest, and 46.1% - don't support it or support it not fully, a poll conducted by the centre 'Socis' and the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) showed on Friday.
13:19. President Viktor Yanukovich has met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Sochi. It remains unknown whether they discussed of the UN in resolution of the crisis in Ukraine.
13:54. Deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of State said at a press briefing that the financial assistance from the U.S. and the EU will be provided to Ukraine only after Kyiv's commitment to implement reform.
She also stressed that the State Department is confident that U.S., Russia and Europe are interested in democratic Ukraine.
14:42. Praesidium of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea adopted an appeal to Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka asking a court to ban the activities of the 'Svoboda' party in the region.
Crimean parliament itself within the law has no right to prohibit any activity or symbols of the party.
15:22. Euromaidan self-defence has decided to become an all-Ukrainian structure with branches in all regions of the country, stated the self-defence commander, 'Batkivschyna' opposition faction MP Andrei Parubiy, reported the press service of the Yulia Tymoshenko's Bloc.
16:00. Two Euromaidan activists injured in the explosion on Feb. 6 in the House of Trade Unions in Kyiv were taken to Lvov for further treatment in local hospitals. One of the activists is in a pretty bad condition.
20-year-old Roman Dzivinsky is in the intensive care in serious condition.
'His condition is pretty bad. Obviously, he'll have to pass several operations, including orthopaedic treatment and prosthetics of the hands. He lost one wrist and lacks three fingers on the other hand. Clearly, this is disability. He also has serious eye injuries. It remains unclear whether his vision can be saved, whether doctors can perform a miracle so that he could see at least a little biе', said MP Roman Ilyk.
Also, Dzivinsky has damaged his face and upper chest.
Explosive device was in a box labelled 'medicine', and the explosion occurred when medical volunteer Roman Dzivinsky tried to open the parcel. Another victim, 15-year-old Nazar Derzhilo was hospitalized with his eyes burned.
16:30. Tonight unidentified men demolished a monument to Vladimir Lenin in the city of Shepetovka, Khmelnitsky region.
16:30. It wasn't a box with medical supplies that exploded in the House of Trade Unions on February 6, but a box passed by a man with a badge of the 'Praviy sector' ('Right sector') civil movement, wrote Euromaidan activist Eugenia Z on Facebook.
According to her version, a version about the box was preliminary, because people mostly bring boxes with drugs to the House of Trade Unions.
16:44. Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek urged to stop repressive machine acting in Ukraine.
'We can't agree with tortures, beatings and harassment of people', he said at a special briefing on the situation in Ukraine.
'If I see somewhere that someone is persecuted and deprived of his right to express his disagreement, then we must protect this man', added Zaoralek.
He also stressed, that at the moment the ministry is preparing to assist the wounded during peaceful demonstrations in Ukraine.
16:55. Activists and representatives of the 'DemAlyans' political party today held a protest near the Russian Embassy to Ukraine to express their dissatisfaction with Russian President Vladimir Putin's intervention in the internal affairs of Ukraine (pictures).
They also brought two 'golden toilets' there. There are some stories, according to which the golden toilets are supposedly installed in the residence of President Viktor Yanukovch in Mezhigorie. The ruling Party of Regions says it's nothing more than rumors.