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Ukrainian crisis: February 13 (live updates)

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Ukrainian crisis: February 13 (live updates)
Stefan Fule

Read previous news on the topic:

Ukrainian crisis: February 11

Ukrainian crisis: February 10

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.

00:12. Prosecutors released from custody 20 suspects in the riots on Hrushevskoho Street in Kyiv.

00:22. Tonight Public Euromaidan Warta (opposition activists) patrolled streets in Troeschyna district in Kyiv. This district is known as a haven for 'titushki' (AntiMaidan activists hired by the authorities).

08:27. AutoMaidan activist Dmitry Bulatov, who was kidnapped and tortured in January, has completed his treatment in Lithuania and is going to Germany, where he intends to meet with his loved ones.

Activist thanked the people of Lithuania for their care and assistance.

09:08. Nationalist parties of the Baltic states and Belarus initiated the creation of the International Committee of assistance to Ukraine, stated its coordinator Sergey Vysotsky.

According to him, the main task of the committee is to provide European community with the truth about the situation in Ukraine.

09:19. YouTube unblocked the official account of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine, announced the spokesperson of the ministry Sergey Burlakov.

Yesterday, on Feb. 12, YouTube has blocked the channel of the Interior Ministry because of complaints about alleged copyright infringement.

09:46. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that all attempts to solve the future of Ukraine and even determine the composition of its government from abroad are futile.

10:01. Kharkov region Governor Mikhail Dobkin plans to raise the issue of giving law enforcement officers, who participated in the defence of administrative buildings, the status of participant of military operations.

10:12. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he believed that there were anti-Semitic and racist forces that there were not controlled by anyone on Kyiv's independence Square, and urged not to substitute the will of the people with the 'street democracy'.

10:49. Euromaidan commandant, 'Batkivshchyna' faction MP Andrey Parubiy stated that people who stand on Independence Square in Kyiv do not get any payments, and now people come there ,ore organized and focused.

'When regular staff appears on Independence Square, it will end', he stressed.

11:07. On the morning of February 13 Euromaidan activists and supporters of the 'Udar' party have begun a march in support of the Ukrainian warning strike in defence of the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens.

11:45. Minister-Counselor of the Russian Embassy to Ukraine Andrey Vorobyov was invited to Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on the inadmissibility of his assessments on the state system of Ukraine, defined by the constitution, announced Director of Information Policy Department of the Foreign Ministry Yevheniy Perebiynis. Vorobyov admitted the incorrectness of his statements on the need of federalization of Ukraine.

11:57. European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule states that violence in Ukraine is unacceptable and all reported cases should be investigated asap.

12:08. Stefan Fule defined the main condition for the granting of financial assistance to Ukraine as reforms in the country. He also stressed that the EU stands ready to support the 'new inclusive Cabinet of Ministers'.

12:24. Stefan Fule has said that the EU didn't discuss the possibility of the early presidential elections in Ukraine, 'cause its Ukrainians who should determine whether these elections are to be held early or on schedule.

14:35. President Viktor Yanukovich has given an interview to journalist Vitaly Korotich, reported the presidential press service.

During a conversation Yanukovich expressed his vision of a solution to the political crisis in the country and the prospects for the development of Ukraine's relations with its strategic partners.

Replying to a question whether he has any 'formula' for further economic and social development of Ukraine, Yanukovich said: 'There are many components that lead us to success. And my 'formula' was always the fact that, first of all, one have to be consistent. Secondly, one needs to be responsible. And thirdly - he must attract like-minded people along the way. And always strive for success'.

Yanukovich stressed that the sum of these components will contribute to economic and social development of the state.

15:04. Kyiv's prosecutor Nikolay Beskishky stated that for the protesters to be released under the amnesty law in Kyiv it's necessary that opposition activists vacate the premises of the KSCA, Hrushevskoho Street and all main streets, including Independence Square.

Earlier the authorities claimed that the law on 'amnesty' doesn't require the central square of capital to be vacated.

15:25. Automobile Corporation 'Bogdan' has urged President Viktor Yanukovich to stop the pressure on it, carried out by supervisory and fiscal authorities, as business conditions have become increasingly intolerable, says a statement of the corporation.

'Despite the declarative statements about promoting business and improving the investment climate in the country, what actually happens is economic racketeering by civil servants. Only 'their' companies can do business in Ukraine', says the statement.

15:27. The prosecutor's office in Kyiv on Feb. 11 opened criminal proceedings in connection with creation of militias in the capital, announced at a press briefing Kyiv's prosecutor Nikolay Beskishky. Also criminal proceeding have been opened in five Ukrainian regions. All in one day.

16:03. Ukrainian football fans (ultras) have declared a truce. An official statement was published on their official website - ultras.org.ua.

'Ukrainian society is in a very difficult situation. In particular, some fan movements have already started having problems in their cities with bodies of 'law and order' and local 'authorities'. In this regard, we believe that to continue any confrontation between us is a crime. We have decided to conclude a truce between the movements of fans of different clubs indefinitely'.

16:20. Residents of several regions of Ukraine on Thursday, Feb. 13, held a warning strike called by the opposition, reported the press service of the 'UDAR' party (pictures).

'The strike was attended by hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians', said a statement of 'UDAR'.

According to the press service, there have been created 974 strike committees in each region, major cities and regional centers.

The most active strike was held in the cities of Central and Western Ukraine. All-Ukrainian warning strike was also supported by Kharkov, Luhansk and Dnipropetrovsk regions.

This, warning strikes took place in Kyiv, Chernovtsy, Uzhgorod, Rahov, Zhytomyr, Lvov, Sambor, Drogobich, Noviy Rozdol, Zhovkva, Striya, Chervonograd, Ivano-Frankovsk, Ternopol, Cherkassy, Boryspol, Slavutych, Bohuslav, Vyshgorod, Ivankov, Brovary, Ukrainka, Boyarka, Vishnovoe.

16:34. 15 opposition activists detained during the protests remain in custody as of Feb. 13. Another 127 activists have already been released.

17:17. President Viktor Yanukovich has met with European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule, reported the presidential press service.

Yesterday they met almost at the same time.

'During the meeting (they) continued discussion on democratic and peaceful solution of the political crisis in Ukraine, prospects for constitutional reform and the provision of financial and economic assistance to Ukraine by the EU and international financial institutions', says a statement of the press service.

The President stressed the importance of restoring a climate of trust between the government, the opposition and civil society, as well as strict compliance with applicable laws.

Yanukovich also noted the constructive involvement of the EU and the Council of Europe in the process of stabilizing the situation in the country.

Other details of the meeting are not available.

17:47. 'Ukraine didn't support the appeal of the 'UDAR' leader Vitali Klitschko to come out for a strike', noted the Party of Regions MP Mikhail Chechetov.

17:48. The Interior Ministry announced that some of Euromaidan activists who were thought to be missing, were in custody.

18:01. Leader of the 'Batkivschyna' opposition faction Yulia Tymoshenko considers it necessary to form an alternative government - the government of the Maidan, announced at a press conference chairman of the faction Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

18:12. Arseniy Yatsenyuk demanded public response from President Viktor Yanukovich on whether he is ready to give the opposition the right to form a government of national trust. He also noted that Yanukovich's position on this issue remains unclear.

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