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Ukrainian crisis: February 10 (live updates)

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

Ukrainian crisis: February 10 (live updates)
National Veche, Kyiv's Independence Square. Feb.9
Фото: Макс Левин

Read previous news on the topic:

Ukrainian crisis: February 7

Ukrainian crisis: February 6

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.

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.

08:11. The political situation in Ukraine will be the main topic of the meeting of the foreign ministers of 27 countries of the European Union on Monday, February 10.

The ministers will consider two documents on a more active policy towards Ukraine. These include Swedish initiative called '20 theses on the 'Eastern Partnership', which was supported by 12 EU member states, and a document prepared by Poland. According to European media , it would provide " additional financial support measures for countries of the 'Eastern Partnership'.

Thus, Sweden proposes to 'strengthen' the attractiveness of the European Eastern Partnership policy through the development of visa-free exchange programs, including at the undergraduate level, as well as through enhanced inter-parliamentary relations programs and civil society to promote the integration of citizens of the target countries of the Eastern Partnership into the European cultural space.

The ministers won't consider the possibility of imposing sanctions against Ukraine.

09:55. Volyn Regional National Rada banned the Party of Regions and the Communist Party in the territory of Volyn region. Local opposition MPs call on members of the Regions Party and communists to leave this political forces.

10:18. The Regions Party convenes its MPs in Kyiv on February 13-14. It's possible that the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, will vote for a candidate for the post of prime minister of Ukraine in the nearest future.

10:30. On Friday, February 7, a Ukrainian man tried to hijack a passenger plane from Ukraine to Turkey, making a bomb threat and demanding to go to the Winter Olympics venue of Sochi, Russia, just as the opening ceremony was taking place. Afterwards he was arrested by Turkish security forces.

Court in Turkey on February 9 arrested the Ukrainian for an indefinite term, announced Director of Information Policy Department of the Foreign Ministry Evgeniy Perebiynis.

10:33. Coordinator of Euromaidan medical services Oleg Musiy said that for today six states are willing to provide affected Euromaidan activists with free treatment. According to him, these are Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Canada, Poland, Germany.

10:50. In Donetsk, at the meeting devoted to the 96th anniversary of the founding of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog, all interested received passports of Donetsk republic. The event, in which the federalization of the city was announced, was visited by about 50 people from various political parties and public organizations.

Meeting in Donetsk

11:32. One of the commandants of Kyiv city council's building, captured by Euromaidan activists, member of the 'Svoboda' committee ion Kyiv Evgeniy Karas said there was evidence that it was police, which arrested activists near Kyiv's Independence Square.

According to his interview to LB.ua, opposition activists were able to catch and question the police special group - the elite 'death squad'. That's why, Karasa stressed, the Interior Ministry announced him wanted. http://society.lb.ua/position/2014/02/08/254736_karas.html

11:45. Son of the Party of Regions leader Alexander Efremov, Igor Efremov, 'invested' $1.1 million in the U.S. economy and now he can't return the money.

It was Deputy Governor of Lugansk region Eduard Lozovskiy, who advised Igor Efremof and a son of the former head of Lugansk regional council Viktor Tikhonov, Dmitriy Tikhonov, to invest in the U.S. firm.

On the whole, it's about the amount of $5.147 million.

12:31. A meeting of the working group of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on changes to the constitution of Ukraine, which was scheduled for Monday, Feb. 10, won't take place because of disagreements between 'UDAR' and 'Batkivschyna' opposition factions on the necessary changes, reported the press service of Ukraine's parliament.

13:21. Police officers in Kyiv have detained three Euromaidan activists involved in vigilante justice over another Euromaidan activist.

The three opposition activists accused a young man of stealing money from the cash register with donations in support of European integration. They tied his hands and brutally beat him, demanding the return of 14000 hryvnia ($1.600), which he allegedly stole.

'Kyiv's police began pre-trial investigation upon beatings and extortion of money by the activists from the victim', says a report on a website of the Interior Ministry in Kyiv.

13:32. The European Union is discussing with partners economic support to Ukraine, which he is willing to provide in the case of the necessary reforms in the country, stated head of EU diplomacy Catherine Ashton before a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

13:35. The opposition won't support the candidature of Andrey Klyuyev as prime minister, 'cause this appointment doesn't change the situation in Ukraine for the better, said 'Batkivschyna' opposition faction MP Sergei Sobolev.

13:43. Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Vladimir Rybak admitted that submission of some issues of constitutional reform to referendum was possible. At the same time, according to him nobody is working on amendments to the constitution right now.

13:50. Almost half of Russians believe that protests in Ukraine, which continue from November 21, 2013, were provoked by Western intelligence agencies, showed a survey of All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center, released on Monday. It also showed that most Russians are worried about developments in Ukraine.

14:25. 'Batkivschyna' opposition faction Gennady Moskal, who is Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry of the Verkhovna Rada to investigate illegal actions of the police during the protests, said that judging by the conclusion of forensic medical examination, Euromaidan activist Yuri Verbitsky couldn't die from hypothermia as the Interior Ministry says.

Moskal's statement with the the results of Verbitsky's body forensic examination was published on his site.

The body of the deceased was taken for the examination on January 22. Experts found a lot of bruises on his body, as well as closed chest trauma, ribs fractures, multiple head injuries, etc.

'Given the conclusion of forensic medical examination, the Interior Ministry's message that the cause of Verbitsky's death was hypothermia, doesn't correspond to his injuries', stressed Moskal. Thus, Moskal addressed Attorney General Victor Pshonka requesting to open a criminal case on the fact of the attempted premeditated murder. He also asked the Interior Ministry to hand over this case so that it would be taken into production by the Prosecutor General of Ukraine.

Yuri Verbitsky was kidnapped from a hospital in Kyiv along with another activist - Igor Lutsenko - in the morning on January 21. Lutsenko has brought Verbitsky to the hospital with an eye injury. Later Verbitsky's body was found in Boryspol district of Kyiv region.

14:45. Parliament Speaker Vladimir Rybak said that 'the amnesty law is performed by the Ukrainian authorities consistently and fully'. At the same time, the condition that would allow the law to act - the demonstrators vacating all occupied government buildings - hasn't been met yet.

14:59. Kyiv State City Administration (KSCA) didn't address the Interior Ministry with a request for sweeping the protesters from Kyiv's Independence Square and Khreschatyk Street on November 30, when riot police used batons and stun grenades to disperse the crowd at the Maidan. KSCA's statement was published by individual MP Yuri Derevyanko on Facebook.

The Interior Ministry, in turn, earlier published a statement on its website, saying that riot police acted at the request of the KSCA.

15:24. The Party of Regions demands from the Prosecutor General to give a legal assessment of the actions 'of the opposition leaders who have started creating paramilitary groups not envisaged by law', reported the press service of the regions Party.

15:46. Today there was an unusual concert - 'Instrument of Freedom' - on barricades on Hrushevskoho Street in Kyiv. (pictures)

Activists of the 'Praviy sector' ('Right sector') civil movement set a piano on the roof of a burnt police bus.

After that there was a concert with the participation of famous Ukrainian singer Ruslana, Antoinette Mishchenko and a guy known under the name of 'pianist-extremist' for wearing a black mask.

15:49. 'Batkivschyna' opposition faction leader Arseniy Yatseniuk demands President Viktor Yanukovich and Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka until Wednesday, February 12, to release all Euromaidan actvists from custody, and to return driving licences to AutoMaidan activists and all those who were deprived of them for participating in the protests, reported the press service of the party.

15:55. Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will allocate €50 thousand for medical assistance to affected Euromaidan activists. This charity program was organized by Ukrainian writers.

Money will be allocated directly to the charity program 'Humanitarian Solidarity', established by writers Sergey Jadan, Oksana Zabuzhko, Andrey Kurkov and former health minister Vasily Kniazevych. The International fund 'Revival' provides support of the initiative, says a report by the 'Humanitarian solidarity' with reference to the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia.

16:11. 'Batkivschyna' opposition faction confirmed there were differences with the 'UDAR' party on the text of amendments to the constitution.

According to a statement of the party's press service, the text of changes to the constitution developed by 'Batkivschyna' was distributed to representatives of all factions, and now they are working on agreeing those changes at the level of expert groups.

In particular, 'Batkivschyna' offered a significant limitation of presidential powers.

16:21. The ruling Party of Regions deputy chairman Sergei Tigipko stated that he and his 'group' aren't going to exit the party, but said he believed that the government's job was actually a failure.

16:40. In Chernigov Euromaidan activist, member of the movement 'Space of Freedom' Alexander Yasenchuk was brutally beaten by unidentified men on the night of February 10.

Three men approached Yasenchuk's his house, when he returned home after a meeting with other Euromaidan activists. They beat him on the head, arms and legs with valves. The activists was diagnosed a concussion and was put seven stitches on his head.

16:55. Kyiv State City Administration (KSCA) will submit a statement renouncing the claim on the basis of which Kyiv Regional Administrative Court banned the peaceful events in the centre of Kyiv until March 8.

17:05. Today in the Ukrainian House located on Kyiv's Independence Square 23 artists painted shields for 23 'hundreds' of Euromaidan self-defence.

17:15. The prosecutor's office reclassified the charges against AutoMaidan activist Alexander Kravtsov from hooliganism to riots, wrote 'Batkivschyna' opposition faction MP Pavel Petrenko on Facebook.

17:32. The 'UDAR' party wants to return to the constitution of 2004 and then improve it, stated 'UDAR' MP Valery Karpuntsov.

17:49. Adviser to the President of Ukraine Andrey Portnov stated that the new draft constitution, which was agreed with the opposition, will be sent for examination to the Venice Commission. Experts say, that this examination will take at least six months, and thus the authorities will win some time.

18:22. Foreign Ministers of 27 European countries at a meeting on Monday came to the conclusion that at this stage Brussels won't impose sanctions against Ukraine, but will act 'quickly' in case of deterioration of the situation.

18:41. The Interior Ministry recalls that in order to 'amnesty law' to come into force, the protesters have to vacate the administrative buildings they have seized and remove barricades from the streets.

18:59. The European Union made it clear that it's ready to go further than political association and economic integration with Ukraine. This follows from the conclusions of the EU Council in respect to Ukraine adopted at the meeting held in Brussels on February 10.

19:34. Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, at a press conference in Kyiv on the results of his visit to Ukraine urged the Interior Ministry of Ukraine not to attract third parties to maintaining order in the country. According to him, earlier Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko said that Ukrainian law allows that.

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