Editor’s Note: Anti-government EuroMaidan demonstrations began in Ukraine on Nov. 21, triggered by President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to abandon closer ties with the European Union in favor of Russia, which in December offered him a $15 billion bailout and 33 percent discount on imported natural gas. The demonstrations turned deadly on Jan. 22, when at least three protesters were killed, including two from bullet wounds, during a police assault on the crowd. More than 300 suffered injuries. The tense standoff remains on Hrushevskoho Street near Dynamo Stadium and the protests have spread throughout the nation.
President meeting with opposition leaders
7:40 p.m. President Viktor Yanukovych, his working group for settling political crises and leaders of opposition factions have started a new round of talks, according to the presidential press-service. Presidential deputy chief of staff Andriy Portnov, Justice Minister Olena Lukash, leader of the UDAR parliamentary faction Vitali Klitschko, leader of the Batkivschyna party faction Arseniy Yatseniuk and leader of the Svoboda faction Oleh Tiahnybok are taking part in the meeting which is held in Presidential Administration. — Anastasia Forina
AutoMaidan leader still missing
7:25 p.m., Jan. 27 — Dmytro Bulatov, the AutoMaidan leader who went missing last week, is still missing. AutoMaidan is an offshoot of the EuroMaidan movment. As the leader, Bulatov organized automobile caravans that irritated top public officials with pickets outside their luxury homes. A reward of $100,000 has been offered for information leading to Bulatov’s whereabouts. — Mark Rachkevych
Kremenchug mayor, city council call for Yanukovych’s resignation
7:16 p.m., Jan. 27 — Kremenchug Mayor Oleg Babayev convened an extraordinary session of the Kremenchug City Council today at which a resolution was approved calling for President Viktor Yanukovych, the Cabinet of Ministers and Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko to resign. Babayev said that, despite his vote, he still hopes that Yanukovych and the government can prevent violence and separatist trends threatening to tear the nation apart. News and video at the Poltavshina news website here — Brian Bonner
Tymoshenko tells opposition leaders to reject Yanukovych’s offer
6:55 p.m., Jan. 27 — No surprise here, but imprisoned ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is against President Viktor Yanukovych’s proposed compromise to end the national crisis by appointing opposition leaders Arseniy Yatseniuk as prime minister and Vitali Klitschko as deputy prime minister. Here’s the text of her appeal:
I am sorry that I couldn’t get in touch with the outside world today and express my attitude to the recent propositions of the authorities regarding crisis regulation.
I appeal to the leaders of the opposition asking to reject these humiliating conditions proposed by the government.
The people of Ukraine came to the streets neither for the opposition leaders’ seats neither even for cancellation of dictatorial laws.
People seek to radically change their lifes, establish justice in Ukraine and move towards European values.
There will be no other opportunity for that.
Politicians still do not understand that people are willing to achieve their goals giving their lives, health, and physical liberty.
I understand their desires and fully support them.
The only way out of the crisis can be the full implementation of all the demands of the people.
My dear Ukrainians! You are the best and most valuable in the world.
Do not be afraid, your key to victory is the increase of your forces on all the Maidans of Ukraine.
I beg you, go ahead, do not stop and do not reduce your hitting force on power.
If you stop for a moment, the country will be held hostage by the tyranny in just a moment for many years.
Today only you can protect all generations of Ukrainians.
I’m always with you and always for you.
Kachanivska prison, Kharkiv
Yanukovych, Ban Ki-moon talk
6:31 p.m., Jan. 27 — President Viktor Yanukovych and United Nationa Secretary General Ban Ki-moon talked today by telephone. The parties discussed the current political situation in Ukraine. During the call, Yanukovych stressed the importance of continuing the dialogue through negotiations for finding optimal solutions to the political crisis. In turn, the UN secretary-general stressed the importance of peaceful settlement of the situation. He urged all parties to exercise maximum restraint and to find ways to resolve the crisis through dialogue. In this regard, Ban Ki-moon expressed his readiness to send to Ukraine UN special representative to participate in this dialogue. –– Katya Gorchinskaya
Ruling pro-presidential Party of Regions disbands on Lviv Oblast Council
5:43 p.m., Jan. 27 — Western Ukraine continues to be an inhospitable place to be a party of Presidenti Viktor Yanukovych’s ruling party. According to ZIK.ua, the Party of Regions faction on the Lviv Oblast Council has decided to disband, reported one of the deputies, Sergiy Fedorenko. “Understanding that we have a political responsibility for the situation in the state, we consider that it is necessary to apologize to our constituents,” Fedorenko said in a statement. “However, in the current situation when the policy of the Party of Regions does not meet its programmatic principles, doesn’t unite but divides the country, we condemn the decisions of those regional councils ho appeal to the president calling for forceful solution of the crisis or a state of emergency in the country.”— Iryna Yeroshko
Report: Government plans to increase riot-control police force to 30,000 troops
5:38 p.m, Jan. 27 — The reputable Ukrainian weekly Zerkalo Nedeli reports that the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a secret resolution to increase the number of riot troops sixfold. According to the newspaper’s information, the number in two special units, Berkut and Griffon, will go up to 30,000 officers. At the same time, they will be given more power. Secondly, the Justice Ministry is ordered to legalize creation of civic patrols to establish order in the streets, which could apply to “titushki,” the government-hired thugs who have recently been working in conjunction with the police. Also, the government is planning to close off 30 streets in Kyiv. Moreover, the Cabinet is planning to set aside money from the reserve fund, used for emergency situations, to buy ammunition and weapons for special forces. Zerkalo Nedeli also reports that the Cabinet is preparing documents about introduction of martial law. — Katya Gorchinksaya
Activists reported missing in Donetsk
5:24 p.m., Jan. 27 — An activist and a journalist from Donetsk are reported missing today. One of them, Kateryna Zhemchuzhnikov, contacted collegagues at 11:32 a.m. and said: “I have a problem. I’ll be soon at your place.” Since then, her phone has been disconnected and her whereabouts is unknown. Another missing activist is Svoboda Party member Arthur Shevtsov, according to the head of the Svoboda Party regional branch Igor Slavgorodskii. — Iryna Yeroshko
Journalists enter ‘no-man’s-land’ on Hrushchevskoho Street between police, protesters
5:18 p.m., Jan. 27 — Around 50 journalists came to the border line between police officers and protesters on Hrushevskoho Street, reports Ukrainska Pravda. The rally was meant to ask police officers not to shoot or harm working journalists. More than 40 journalists have been injured during clashes on Hrushevskoho Street, facing attacks by police even though some of them clearly wore clothing that identified them as “press.” Participants of the rally held banners that read “Journalists are not targets” and “We are all citizens of one country. Do not shoot.” Meanwhile, police officers kept on asking them via loud speaker to leave the border line. — Anastasia Forina
Man, found hanged on Christmas tree, identified
4:50 p.m., Jan. 27 –The name of the dead man found hanged on the Christmas tree on Independence Square today is Viktory Homyak, according to Vesti. He was a resident of the village Holyshiv in Volyn Oblast. The man recently went to Kyiv. He had been unemployed. He is survived by his elderly mother and a daughter, born in 1981, who he raised himself after divorce, according to the news report. — Iryna Yeroshko
Council of Europe calls for repeal of anti-democratic laws in Ukraine
4:24 p.m., Jan. 27 — The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, called on Ukraine today to cancel and suspend recent legislation that criminalize free speech and participation in peaceful demonstrations. ”The initial Council of Europe assessment of the Jan. 16 laws shows that too many provisions are clearly not in compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights. Therefore, they should not apply. Our recommendation is that the Verkhovna Rada either cancels these laws or suspends them for a significant period of time, in order to allow for an inclusive process in the parliament. The Rada will receive our analysis. Our experts are at the disposal of the authorities, to assist them in this process.’ — Oksana Grytsenko
Ukrainian House now headquarters for AutoMaidan
4:16 p.m., Jan. 27 — Ukrainian House, a state-owned exhibition hall under the control of the anti-government EuroMaidan activists, is now the headquarters for AutoMaidan. The AutoMaidan offshoot of the EuroMaidan movement organizes rolling protests in automobiles outside the luxury homes of public officials. Two military tents have been erected near the frontlines of the police-protester standoff on 2 Hrushevskoho Street. Hundreds of police stand on the other side of the barricades, with at least 10 police buses as well. — Mark Rachkevych.
Police reportedly set up roadblocks outside of Kyiv
4:03 p.m, Jan 27 — From Anthony James Addington-Barker’s Facebook post: “Roadblocks (are) on one of the main highways in and out of Kyiv (near Kipti) – (Police) are stopping and searching trucks, vans, and cars with what appeared to be more than two or three people inside. This was one of two checkpoints I drove through where I counted more than 13 vans pulled over by the side of the road, and I would say, a little over 20 police were searching the vehicles. — Brian Bonner
Leader of Spilna Sprava responds to opposition accusing him of provocations
3:55 p.m., Jan. 27 –Leader of Spilna Sprava Oleksandr Danyliuk, who has led the takeover of three ministries in the past few days, through his Facebook page responded to accusations that his group are provocateurs who want to destabilize the country. He wrote:
“Opposition, a provocation is not our peaceful seizures of ministries, but your 150 brainless councils without a single plan of action, which have led to our guys being beaten and kidnapped in the streets, that the center of Kyiv for a week has had military actions taking place. You, impotents, are responsible for their deaths, as well.” — Katy Gorchinskaya
Funeral services today Roman Senyk, the third fatal shooting victim on Jan. 22
2:55 p.m., Jan. 27 — Roman Senyk was shot with a metal, 12-millimeter hunting bullet, according to Mykola Diomin, chief doctor of the Kyiv city hospital No. 17 where Senyk was getting medical treatment. “I’ve shown this bullet to the military and hunters and they said they don’t know what it is used for. This bullet is meant for inflicting serious injuries. I even don’t know where it is used,” Diomin said.
An hour before Senyk was shot on Hrushevskoho Street, he talked over the phone with his niece, Olena Lysak, according to Senyk’s sister, Lesya Lysak, in an interview with TSN. When Olena asked him why he’s staying there, he said: “I’m staying here for you, for your kids and grandchildren.”
He also told her that already bought a ticket to go home. The funeral of Senyk is to be held today in Nakonechne Second, the village of Yavoriv district in Lviv Oblast, where he lived. When at night on Jan.24 activists of EuroMaidan SOS organization shared via social networks the announcement about Senyk needing blood as he lost 3.5 liters when he was gunshot, more than 200 Kyivans donated their blood at Kyiv center of blood, Ukrainska Pravda reported. — Anastasia Forina
Spilna Sprava activists release Justice Ministry, but continues to block access to building
14:40 p.m., Jan. 27 — Less than 24 hours after seizing the Justice Ministry building in central Kyiv, members of civic group Spitna Sprava (Common Cause) vacated the government office after criticism from both the government and their opposition allies.
Instead, Spilna Sprava will block the entrance to the ministry, its leader Oleksandr Danylyuk wrote on his Facebook page.
Danyliuk, however, said that his colleagues will be ready to capture the building on Jan. 28 should parliament during its special session on Jan. 28 not concede to the demands of the opposition and EuroMaidan.
“If the demands on restoring of constitutional order, organizing of presidential and parliament elections and ceasing terror acts against Ukrainian people are not fulfilled tomorrow, then we will storm all administrative buildings and will allow there only people who are directly responsible for the lives and health of people,” Danyliuk warned.
Spilna Sprava members captured the Justice Ministry building at about 11:00 p.m. on Jan. 26. The act infuriated its head, Olena Lukash, who being a government participant in negotiations with the opposition warned that she would push for imposing a state of emergency across the country if the protesters did not immediately release the building.
The opposition was clear in its message that it did not support the action of Spilna Sprava to overtake the Justice Ministry. “Such kind of actions may (lead to) war,” Svoboda party member Yuriy Syrotiuk told the Kyiv Post. “We should make a tough decision on this issue.” — Oksana Grytsenko, Christopher J. Miller
Dzyndzya, detained activist with police watchdog Road Control, released today
14:39 p.m., Jan. 27 — Andriy Dzyndzya, a journalist from the Road Control civic police watchdog, has been released today. “Shevchenkivsky District Court has withdrawn charges. (Dzyndzya) was released immediately in the court room,” reads the court’s statement that was posted on the Facebook page of the EuroMaidan SOS organization. Dzyndzya was detained on Dec. 6, convicted, and sentenced to two months in prison. He was accused of the illegal takeover of a front-end loader that was used on Dec.1 by demonstrators to smash down a fence near a building of the Presidential Administration complex. Dzyndzya denied the charges and said he is not linked with those who were storming the administration, but rather was just filming the events as a journalist. — Anastasia Forina
EuroMaidan security commander, opposition Batkivshchyna member of parliament Kubiv condemns Spilna Sprava’s takeover of government buildings
2:24 p.m., Jan. 27 — Batkivshchyna member of parliament Stepan Kubiv, who also serves as the security commander of the Trade Unions Building, said the political opposition and EuroMaidan National Council condemned the takeover by Spilna Sprava of strategically important government buildings, including the Agricultural Ministry, Energy Ministry and Justice Ministry. “We denounce these provocative actions that are designed to provoke a state of emergency being called,” Kubiv said. “We are for peace and no more bloodshed.”
Kubiv added that he will personally ensure that everyone on Euromaidan ha access to warm food and clothes, firewood and diesel generators if need be. “There is no reason why a group of 50 must take over a strategically important building just to seek shelter from the cold. This is impermissible,” Kubiv said. He added that the rest of EuroMaidan, including Ukrainian House, is calm and under control. — Mark Rachkevych
Kravchuk, Ukraine’s president from 1991-1994, will host roundtable today
2:16 p.m., Jan. 27 — Ukraine’s first president, Leonid Kravchuk, says he will make another attempt to extricate Ukraine from its political crisis. He is holding yet another roundtable discussion today at 4 p.m. in the main red building of Taras Shevchenko National University. “How to get out of the political crisis” is the topic. The address is 60 Volodymyrska St., 2nd Floor, Hall of the Academic Council. Invited participants include heads of the political groups in the Verkhovna Rada and leaders of different religious and cultural groups of Ukraine. –– Oksana Grytsenko
Many journalists injured covering events in Zaporizhya
1:57 p.m., Jan. 27 — Many journalists were injured in Zaporizhya on Jan. 26, after police officers cleaned up the square where about 10,000 protesters were trying to seize the building of that houses the oblast government’s state administration, according to the Zaporizhya bureau of of Komentari newspaper.
Yuri Hudymenko, chief editor of Mriya newspaper was one of them. “I was filming until my hand, in which I was holding my press accreditation, was hit with a bat. The hand is almost unhurt, except for a broken finger. The hospitals are packed with injured,” Hudymenko wrote on his Facebook page.
Dmytro Smolienko, photographer of Ukrinform, was also attacked by police officers. Berkut riot control police officers and hired thugs took away and crushed his camera worth $8,000 and brutally beaten him.
Here’s how he described what happened to him on Jan. 26: “Everything is covered with blood after that – my forehead is cut. They put me in a prison truck and brought me to the police department. We stood in front of the department for about 20 minutes. Police officers didn’t know what to do – let us go or register.
“Later I was brought to the cabinet and Oleksandr Peklushenko, the Zaporizhya Oblast governor, came there and started telling me that I should have known where I could get in trouble and where not,” Smolienko recalled.
Many other journalists also got injured in Zaporizhya on Jan. 26, Taras Belka, a journalist from Zaporizhya, reported on Hromadske TV. On his Facebook he also wrote that police officers shot at journalists. The total number of injured is unknown so far. — Anastasia Forina
Polish journalists say Berkut riot police offers beat them
1:21 p.m., Jan. 27 — Two Polish journalists say that they were beaten while trying to cover EuroMaidan protests in Cherkasy on Jan. 26. The two journalists working for Belsat TV, Serhiy Marchuk and Yuriy Vysotsky, say that officers also detained them and took away their camera. They held a press conference today, describing how they came went to Cherkasy to cover the AutoMaidan protests — the rolling car caravans that go outside the homes of public officials to protes. They ended up reporting on the protesters’ storming of the Cherkasy Oblast Administration Building.
At one point, dozens of Berkut riot police started beating demonstrators with truncheons and fired guns with rubber bullets, sometimes at a distance of less tahn two meters from their targets. At the scene, a civilian vehicle smashed a riot police officer to the ground. They started filming how Berkut came to his aid. At that point, the officers shoved and pushed the journalists, then started beating them. They were detained in a bus for awhile. They beat them again in a bus. They kept screaming in Russian, Polish and Ukrainian they are journalists and the officers then released them.
Marchuk was taken to the hospital and received 11 stitches in his head. Vysotsky got first aid and spent whole the night until 6 a.m. today filing a police report on the confiscation of cameras. Police wrote in their report that unknown people took it and they never got the camera back. This morning, they took a taxi back to Kyiv. Vysotsky has a fractured nose. The TV station is located in Poland, but broadcasts in the Belarusian language for a Belarus audience. — Mark Rachkevych
Officer who leaked video of police abusing EuroMaidan activist forced to flee Ukraine, reports TSN
12:26 p.m., Jan. 27 The officer who leaked a video of Berkut riot police abusing a EuroMaidan activist has fled Ukraine, fearing for his safety, reports TSN.
The video, in which Mykhailo Gavryliuk, a 34-year-old construction worker from Chernivtsi and a EuroMaidan activist is stripped, beaten and humiliated by the riot police, made waves immediately after it was published on YouTube, amassing more than 2.5 million hits in a few days.
Officers detained Gavryliuk Jan. 22 on Hrushevskoho Street. After the video surfaced that day, police released him. He returned to EuroMaidan, where he resumed his post as part of a military unit formed by protesters to protect Independence Square from police raids.
A second video of the incident was recently published online. –– Christopher J. Miller
Party of Regions condemns Ukraine’s revolutionary events, calls them criminal
11:44 a.m., Jan. 27 – A statement condemning revolutionary events in Ukraine called “The existence of Independent Ukraine is in danger” was posted on the official website of Party of Regions. “Criminal invasions of Regional State Administrations is a direct evidence of coup d’etat in the country,” the statement reads. Opposition leaders are also condemned in the statement for calling on the nation to continue protests. “The attempts of opposition leaders Arseniy Yatseniuk, Vitali Klitschko and Oleh Tiahnybok to disown the activities of their supporters, seizing of governmental buildings are miserable attempts to avoid the responsibility for crimes, as the whole country has been hearing for months hysterical calls of this three careless men for all Ukrainian mobilization and strike,” the website reads. Ukrainian protesters are called terrorists and extremists in the statement and are accused in turning the country into the ground fighting. — Daryna Shevchenko
Second video of torture of Mykhailo Havryliak released
10:46 a.m., Jan. 27 — The second vide of tortured used by Berkut against Mykhailo Havrylyak, a captured protester, was released on Youtube.
In this video, protesters can be seen walking completely naked in the snow among Berkut officers, who are paying little attention to him. The first video was released last Thursday. Interior Minister said he would conduct a full investigation of the incident.
Protesters say they aren’t leaving the Justice Ministry building
10:46 a.m., Jan. 27 — One of the Spilna Sprava guards who is holding a Justice Ministry building says that 150 protesters are assigned to keep the building in the opposition’s hands. This guard said the plan is to stay until the government changes hands. “We have nothing to lose. A state of emergency already exists,” this guard said. The guards decided not to let in Justice Ministry employees to work this morning, this guard said, because of the combative stance of Justice Minister Olena Lukash, who has threatened to call for martial law. — Mark Rachkevych
More about Roman Senyk, the third gunshot victim from Jan. 22
10:29 a.m., Jan. 27 — On Jan. 25, another activist, Roman Senyk, 45, from Lviv Oblast, died. He was shot on Jan. 22 during clashes between protesters and police on Hrushevskogo Street. His death brings to three the number of protesters killed that day by gunshot. He died in Kyiv city hospital No. 17.
“The doctors were fighting for his life for three days, but his injuries were too severe. He had serious lung injuries, underwent several surgeries and his hand was amputated,” said Svoboda Party member of parliament Iryna Sekh, writing on her Facebook page on Jan.25.
Two other men were shot to death on Jan. 22. One of them is Serhiy Nihoyan, a 20-year-old Armenian native who lived in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast The other victim is Mykhailo Zhyznevsky, a 25-year-old Belarus resident.
Senyk’s death brings to four the number of confirmed fatalities since Jan. 22 in the national crisis. Yuri Verbytsky, a 50-year-old activist from Lviv, was found dead in a forest near the Kyiv suburb in Boryspil at night on Jan. 23 after he was kidnapped from Oleksandrivska Hospital in Kyiv on Jan.21 and brutally tortured. The other activist kidnapped and beaten with him, Igor Lutsenko, lived.
Police continue to deny they are using live ammunition on demonstrators and say they have only been armed with rubber bullets. Prime Minister Mykola Azarov continues to say that police are not armed, despite evidence to the contrary. Leaders of EuroMaidan and the political opposition accuse police of shooting the three men on Jan. 22. In an interview, Lutsenko believes that the unknown men who kidnapped him and killed Verbytsky were targeting high-profile activists. — Anastasia Forina
Main Justice Ministry building under government control
10 a.m., Jan. 27 — The main Justice Ministry building on Rylsky Provulok near St. Stophia Square is controlled by the ogvernment. Some five masked riot police officers with shields stood at teh top of teh staircase in the foyer tis morming. Two security guards outside said no attempt was made at this building. However, another Justice Ministry building remains in the hands of protesters. Justice Minister Olena Lukash has warned that the continued occupation of government buildings will lead to a declaration of martial law. Parliament is meeting tomorrow. — Mark Rachkevych
EuroMaidanPR: Protesters control 10 oblast administration offices
8:04 a.m., Jan. 27 — EuroMaidan PR, the official public relations service of the EuroMaidan protests, says that activists were arrested and beaten while trying to take over government headquarters in four districts over the weekend. The service says that the demonstrators were forcibly dispersed by police acting together with “titushkas” — government-hired thugs — in the four districts.
At this moment, protesters’ control the government regional headquarters in 10 oblasts – Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Lutsk, Chernivtsi, Ternopil, Khmelnytskiy, Rivne, Vinnytsya, Zhytomyr, and Poltava districts.
Proters were blocked in their attempts to seize the government buildings in Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya, Chernihiv, and Kherson oblasts, while the Sumy and Cherkasy districts were taken over for a short time. Read more here
EuroMaidanPR also reports Justice Ministry taken over, journalists not permitted inside
12:45 a.m., Jan. 27 — EuroMaidan PR, the official public relations service of the Protesters in Kyiv have taken over one of the buidings of the Minisrty of Justice on Horodetskoho, 13. Now protesters are buiding barricades from trash bins. The first floor of the building and the gates are barricaded with furniture from the Minitstry. Journalists are not permitted inside the building. Oleksandr Danylyuk, leader of the ‘Spilna Sprava” movement, informs through his FB page: “Reinforcements for constructing barricades are needed. Please come everybody that has that possibility”. Earlier, on January 25th, the protesters had taken over the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry, but later left it. On Jan. 24, the building of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy had been taken over. — Brian Bonner
Protesters at Ukrainian House prepare for night
11:45 a.m., Jan. 26 — People keep flowing in Ukrainian House which was seized by protesters at night on Jan.26. Activists are offered hot food and warm clothes to warm up as the temperature in Kyiv is 15 degrees below zero and expected to hit 25 degrees below zero next week, according to weather forecasts. “The kitchen is almost ready and we start settling people so they can get warm,” says Ivan from Lviv while putting on a coat he got at the point for donations located on the first floor of the Ukrainian House. He has been in Kyiv since Dec. 3 and says will stay ’till the victory.’ According to him, protesters occupied the building as more people are arriving and they need a place to stay. “More people are coming and they need to be lodged somewhere. It’s cold outside,” he says.
Meanwhile, some 200 police officers have got today a new place to stay as well. Unlike protestors, they have been settled in three-star hotel Druzhba on Druzhby Narodiv blvd in Pechersk district of Kyiv. The Kyiv Post spotted three big buses that brought them to the hotel today at around 2:30 p.m. The price for staying there ranges from Hr 225 ($27) to Hr 870 ($108) per person per night. — Anastasia Forina
Spilna Sprava activists have seized Justice Ministry
11:40 p.m., Jan. 26 — Oleksandr Danyliuk, a Spilna Sprava leader, says activists have just seized the building of the Justice Ministry located on 13 Horodetskoho Street. Danyliuk calls on activists to build barricades near the building. –– Olena Goncharova
Protests spreading as demonstrators try to take over Dnipropetrovsk Oblast administration
3:05 p.m., Jan. 26 — About 3,000 people are trying to take over the regional government office in Dnipropetrovsk, a major industrial city of more than 1 million people in eastern Ukraine. The building is being defended by 200 “titushkis” — thugs hired often by the government. A babushka keeps up an angry drumbeat by beating a fence with a hammer. — Olga Rudenko
Protesters storm of Zaporizhzhia Oblast administration
2:41 p.m., Jan. 26 — Some 5,000 people went to the regional state administration building and demanded that the officials leave, according to Espreso TV. The governor told people to beat him if they “want blood.” Soon after, some clashes started and police pushed people away from the building, keeping them hundred of meters away, using tear gas and stun grenades. The protesters stayed, shouting “Out with the criminal!” — Oksana Grytsenko
Ukrainian House being transformed into place for demonstrators to rest, eat, get clothes
2:31 p.m., Jan. 26 — A transformation is under way at Ukrainian House, another state building overtaken by EuroMaidan revolutionaries. “Babushkas” (grandmothers) are mopping the floors clean. A makeshift kitchen has been set up to dispense foot. A section of the lobby has been set aside as a drop off point for donations for warm clothes. So far, the Spilna Sprava guarding the building for the EuroMaidan movement are not letting anyone inside except journalists and workers. A giant red banner has been hung over the broken out windows to keep the building a bit warmer. Sheets of plywood are also being installed until the windows can be replaced. The building was overrun by a crowd of demonstrators overnight, forcing police offers to flee. So far, EuroMaidan supporters completely or partially control at least six buildings in central Kyiv: Kyiv City Hall, Trade Unions Building, October Palace, Ukraina Hotel, Agriculture Ministry and Ukrainian House. Taken together, they make excellent staging areas to feed and house a growing revolution. — Christopher J. Miller
Opposition says they’ve discovered spent cartridges on roof of Ukrainian House
11:14 a.m., Jan. 26 — The militants who have taken control of Ukrainian House, a state owned exhibition hall, say that they discovered spent cartridges on the roof. They are alleging that police who occupied the building until this morning might have used the rooftop to shoot on demonstrators on Jan. 22, a day when at least three protesters were killed by gunfire. Police, however, deny they are armed with live ammunition. A news report purportedly showing the cartridges can be found here. — Christopher J. Miller
Anti-government forces in charge of Ukrainian House today; cleanup begins
9:44, Jan. 26 — EuroMaidan revolutionaries are this morning in charge of Ukrainian House, a state-owned exhibition and conference hall that sits strategically on European Square on one end of Kyiv’s main Khreshchatyk Street. It looks like they plan to keep it.
More than 20 pro-EuroMaidan guards, including 10 on the front steps, stood guard with clubs; one man had a hatchet. They are members of Spilna Sprava, the militant wing of the anti-government EuroMaidan movement. Their plan appears to be to hold the building for the opposition as they started building barricades from bags filled with snow near the front entrance.
A cleanup operation is under way after a rioting crowd of demonstrators early this morning smashed windows and tossed molotov cocktails into the building to successfully take it over. The Interior Ministry said its police officers, who had been using the building as a headquarters base, voluntarily left the building rather than confront the rioting mob.
About 100 people were milling around the building and its outskirts at mid-morning. Glass from broken windows remained strewn all over. Water and ashes from small fires were also visible in the foyer. But aside from the broken windows, internal damage looked minimal.
Some 200 meters away up the hill on Hrushevskoho Street, some 1,000 demonstrators were milling about near high barricades. –– Christopher J. Miller
Azarov website continues to promote BBC interview of him denying police officers are armed
9:40 a.m., Jan. 26 — The police weren’t armed on the day that three EuroMaidan activists were killed, including at least two from gunshot wounds. That’s Prime Minister Mykola Azarov’s story and he’s sticking to it, despite video, photographic and eyewitness evidence to the contrary. Azarov suggested that paid provocateurs, not police officers, had taken to the rooftops of nearby buildings and fired down on the crowd. EuroMaidan demonstrators and opposition leaders say police are responsible for the deaths. The BBC interview from Jan. 22 is here. Azarov continues to promote this discredited version of events on his official website here. — Brian Bonner
Map of Kyiv’s riot zone shows frontline between activists, police
Interior Ministry says they withdrew police officers to avoid confrontation
7:12 a.m., Jan. 26 — Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said in a statement on its website that EuroMaidan activists are responsible to raiding Ukrainian House, an exhibition and conference hall that had been housing police officers assigned to control the demonstrations in Kyiv. Interior Ministry Vitaly Zakharchenko said that police could have used force to repel the crowd, but chose instead to withdraw its police officers and continue negotiations today to regain control of the building and move protesters outside. — Brian Bonner
EuroMaidanPR reports that police officers have left Ukrainian House; unclear who started raid
6:47 a.m., Jan. 26 — EuroMaidanPR, the official public relations service of the EuroMaidan movement, reports that Ukrainian House — an exhibition hall where police had been staying — has been cleared by police after groups of people stormed the building early this morning. There are conflicting reports about whether the anti-government activists led the attack or whether paid provocateurs are responsible, possibly to generate chaos justifying a police crackdown. EuroMaidanPR says demonstrators, fearing government attack, started moving away from the building after 1 a.m. — Brian Bonner
Protesters storm Ukrainian House near Independence Square
12:26 a.m., Jan. 26 — It’s one of central Kyiv’s biggest exhibition and conference centers, but it’s been used to house police officers during the EuroMaidan demonstrations began on Nov. 21. That’s why EuroMaidan demonstrators want to add it to their growing and impressive collection of real estate seizures — which includes control of Kyiv’s city hall, Trades Union Building and Agriculture Ministry. Shortly after talks between President Viktor Yanukovych and the nation’s opposition leaders failed to reach an agreement, demonstrators stormed Ukrainian House, breaking windows and throwing fireworks in a bid to get inside. The attempt was televised and continuing as of 1 a.m, but it appeared that police were repelling it successfully at this hour. — Brian Bonner