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​Ukrainian crisis: February 14 (live updates)

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

​Ukrainian crisis: February 14 (live updates)
Euromaidan protesters
Фото: Макс Левин

Read previous news on the topic:

Ukrainian crisis: February 11

Ukrainian crisis: February 13

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 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 were killed during two weeks of 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.

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.

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.

Now the EU is considering 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.

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.

So far the authorities and the opposition haven't managed to reach a compromise on a return to the constitution of 2004. Some activists still remain in custody, and Euromaidan protesters still occupy government building in Kyiv.

00:18. Donetsk police released 12 activists detained after being attacked by 'titushki' (AntiMaidan activists, hired by the authorities) in a cafe during a meeting with the 'People's power' movement leader Alexander Solontay, reported 'Euromaidan SOS' group on Facebook. All release activists have written statement as victims.

08:00. The Verkhovna Rada on February 13 has registered a new bill number 4135, which significantly enhances the protection of judges. Authors of the bill are the Party of Regions MPs Vladimir Pylypenko and Valeri Pisarenko.

According to a text of the bill, received by LB.ua, the document provides part of the norms that were included in controversial laws adopted on January 16 and later abolished by the parliament.

Lawyers say, that the new bill will make judicial system tool in the hands of the authorities to deal with the public.

08:45. President Viktor Yanukovich introduced the head of his administration Andrey Klyuyev into four commissions and brought his adviser Sergey Levochkin out of these commissions, reported the presidential press service.

Now head of the AP sits on the boards of cooperation with Turkey, Poland and Russia. Klyuyev has also become a part of the Ukrainian-Russian interstate commission and a member of the Ukrainian part of the working group (secretariat) for Organizational Support of the Ukrainian-Russian interstate commission.

08:58. During the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA) on February 14 in Vienna its members will discuss the current situation in Ukraine, says a message on the official website of the OSCE.

Ukrainian question is scheduled during the final joint meeting of the three general committees of the OSCE.

09:15. Kharkov mayor Gennady Kernes awarded himself for work in January 2014. Kernes and his colleagues will receive a 25% bonus for the good work.

10:01. Russia and Germany are in favour of Ukrainians finding a way to unblock the political crisis in Ukraine, stated Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a meeting with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier. He also stressed that Russia is ready to mediate in Ukraine.

10:11. Foreign Minister of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier, after meeting with his Russian counterpart, in his turn said that Ukraine should be allowed to recover from the constant pressure from the outside of the country.

11:17. German Chancellor Angela Merkel intends to meet with the leaders of the Ukrainian opposition Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko in Berlin on Tuesday, February 18.

Thus, for the first time Merkel will openly interfere in ongoing since November 2013 conflict between President Viktor Yanukovich and the opposition.

11:38. Police tried to detain chairman of 'Batkivschyna' opposition faction branch in Luganskб Irina Verigina, who was returning by train from Kyiv, for drug trafficking in opposition campaign leaflets, reported 'Batkivschyna's press service.

'I believe that this is due to the fact that 'Batkivschyna' in Lugansk is actively disseminating revolutionary leaflets around the city. Obviously, the government saw this as a threat to its base in the region', said Verigina.

11:49. The 'UDAR' faction in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Thursday, February 13th, offered parliamentary factions to discuss its draft amendments to the constitution of Ukraine. This is the third version of the draft changes.

12:01. Cherkassy courts released from custody all Euromaidan activists, suspected of participation in the riots, stated regional prosecutor's office. More than a hundred people have remained injailed till now.

12:48. Euromaidan supporters will decide whether to unblock all occupied government buildings at the National veche on February 16, stated the press secretary of the 'Svoboda' party Taras Kosivsky. 

A law that would grant an amnesty to arrested protesters will lose its force on February 17, if these buildings are not vacated.

12:59. The Regions Party MP Mikhail Chechetov has stated that the Verkhovna Rada faction leaders at today's meeting with Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Vladimir Rybak failed to agree on changes to the constitution of Ukraine, 'cause the Party of Regions refused to vote for the document, offered by the opposition.

13:03. Euromaidan self-defence threatens to block the government quarter in the centre of Kyiv on Tuesday, February 18. Such decision was taken at a meeting of the Board of All-Ukrainian Union 'Maidan' on February 13, said Euromaidan commandant, 'Batkivschyna' opposition faction MP Andrey Parubiy.

13:15. Moscow was surprised with Ukraine's Foreign Ministry demarche against Minister-Counselor of the Russian Embassy to Ukraine Andrey Vorobyov. Yesterday was invited to Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on the inadmissibility of his assessments on the state system of Ukraine, defined by the constitution. He admitted the incorrectness of his statements on the need of federalization of Ukraine.

Deputy director of the Information Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said that Ukraine's ministry claims can cause 'nothing, but bewilderment'.

13:30. Acting Prime Minister Sergey Arbuzov said Ukraine is of interest to foreign investors, despite the political situation.

13:46. The PACE rapporteurs on monitoring Ukraine's commitments for the Council of Europe Mailis Reps (Estonia) and Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin (Sweden) on 18 February will visit Kyiv, where they intend to meet with President Viktor Yanukovich and the opposition leaders.

13:50. Ukraine's courts have changed the measure of restraint for all Euromaidan activists (234 people) from detention in jail to house arrest and personal commitment, stated the National Resistance headquarters (Euromaidan leadership).

14:21. Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka promised that if the protesters accomplish all the conditions of the law on 'amnesty' until February 17, all criminal cases involving detainees will be closed during the month.

14:33. Office of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in Poltava region opened criminal proceedings on the fact of the 'UDAR' party MP Sergey Kaplin threatening the judge during consideration of the preventive measure for head of Poltava regional organization of the 'Svoboda' party Roman Chabanovski and head of the 'UDAR' regional organization Pyotr Vorona.

'I made no statements during the trial, which could qualify as a threat. All people who were there can confirm it. I urged the judge to be an example for Ukraine on how the rule of law dominates in Poltava region. I urged the judge to make a decision that would compliance with the norms of the legislation', he stressed.

14:47. Head of the 'Batkivschyna' opposition faction Arseniy Yatseniuk and leader of the 'UDAR' party Vitali Klitschko will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on February 17, reported the press service of 'Batkivschyna'.

14:55. Euromaidan commandant, 'Batkivschyna' MP Andrey Parubiy demands Attorney General Victor Pshonka to close criminal proceedings against Euromaidan self-defence groups.

14:58. The 'Praviy sector' ('Right sector') civil movement is ready to help restore traffic on Hrushevskoho Street in Kyiv provided that all the cases against the protesters are closed, stated the movement's leader Dmitry Yarosh.

15:34. Head of the Party of Regions, former Prime Minister Nykolai Azarov posted on Facebook, that moral authorities have to look for the ways to consolidate the society, so he is going to initiate the project 'Ukraine - sustainable development'. Thus, he offers Ukrainians to discuss the country's development with him.

15:58. Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Vladimir Rybak offered to set up a special committee next Tuesday to agree on a bill on amendments to the constitution.

It means that the ruling Party of Regions decided to delay constitutional reform for the maximum term.

16:13. Council of All-Ukrainian Union 'Maidan' considers it possible to fulfil the requirements of the law on 'amnesty', stated at a press briefing Euromaidan activist and journalist of 'Traffic Control' Andrei Dzindzya. Thus, the protesters will most probably vacate a part of Hrushevskoho Street and the KSCA building in Kyiv.

16:25. Today Ukrainian girls have handed out 'velantines', cookies and candies to Euromaidan self-defence fighters on Kyiv's Independence Square (pictures).

Euromaidan fighters have also been awarded with lottery numbers. The lottery winner, who turned out to be a man under number 40, won a prize - a romantic dinner with his girlfriend in a restaurant. In case he has no girlfriend, one of those girls will be his pair at this dinner.

16:38. The Party of Regions MP Mikhail Chechetov has been caught by Euromaidan self-defence fighters in the centre of Kyiv. They began shouting: 'Conductor!', 'Redneck!' and 'Shame!' and threw candy wrappers at him. Afterwards self-defence commanders let the MP go behind the police cordon.

The Party of Regions MP Mikhail Chechetov caught by Euromaidan self-defence fighters

16:45. U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Jeffrey Payette in a video interview stated that Ukrainian public organizations with American financing do not work in the interests of the United States. The ambassador said there was a misunderstanding about American partnership with the Ukrainian people.

17:15. Jeffrey Payette said in an interview published on the official channel of the US Embassy to Ukraine on YouTube, that he can't understand how come that the authorities use targeted violence against civil society activists.

Interview with Jeffrey Payette

17:32. The opposition offers the Verkhovna Rada to adopt a resolution on the restoration of the constitutional order, which shall be voted by a simple majority of 226 votes and does not require the president's signature, reported Deputy Chairman of the 'Batkivschyna' opposition faction Sergey Sobolev at a press briefing at the headquarters of the National Resistance. 

The Party of Regions and the Communist Party have rejected the resolution on the restoration of constitutional order.

17:43. The Party of Regions lawmaker Vadim Kolesnichenko has called 'Batkivschyna' opposition faction chairman Arseniy Yatseniuk infantile and expressed doubt he is able to work on the post of prime minister.

17:45. Opposition protesters have set on fire tires on Hrushevskoho Street, near Dynamo Stadium.

According to LB.ua correspondent on the ground, Euromaidan self-defence fighters do not allow anyone to enter the area between the first and second barricades on the street.

In the mean time, more 'Berkut' riot police' employees are coming to Hrushevskoho.

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