EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine (Jan. 30-31; Feb 1 live updates)

UKRAINE-EU-RUSSIA-UNREST-POLITICS

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 by gunshot 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.

Live coverage from Espreso TV 

Live coverage from Hromadske TV

Coverage from Channel 5 TV

EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine — Jan. 28-29

EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine — Jan. 26-27 

EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine — Jan. 24-25

Red Sector claims responsibility for burnt cars in Kyiv

Feb 1, 5:55 p.m. — A newly created group called Red Sector claimed responsibility for cars that were set on fire recently. Emergencies Ministry said that at least 23 cars, often with western Ukrainian number plates, were set on fire on the night of Jan. 29. Last night, a car that belongs to a Ukrainian employee of the Canadian Embassy, was also burned.

The message from Red Sector, which plays of the name of the Right Sector, an alliance of nationalist organizations associated with EuroMaidan,  is the following: “Yes, today we burned many cars of the idiots who came to Kyiv, shat on it and think they are masters. There will be no revolution! We apologize if we damaged the property of normal people. But you have to understand that had it not been for our active deeds, fascists tomorrow will set a tent in your flat because they don’t like you. And they don’t give a shit about the law.”

The Facebook profile, which is the source of the claim, was created on Jan. 4 and operates under the name of Nikolay Amelchenko. The statement claiming responsibility for arson was released on Jan. 30. The same page also contains a threat to journalist and activist Mustafa Nayyem, and links to a video with threats to the journalist, which has now been deleted from Youtube. —Katya Gorchinskaya

Austrian newspaper follows the money trail that includes the president and his close allies

Feb 1, 5:25 p.m. –Austrian newspaper Format released an infographic that examines a complex trail of western companies involved in ownership schemes behind the properties that belong to Ukraine’s elite, including President Viktor Yanukovych.

Ukraine’s largest river is not the Dnieper, but seemingly inexhaustible stream of money flowing in the direction of Austria, Liechtenstein, England and the the Caribbean, writes the paper, and Vienna is the hub of transfers.

The story lists significant assets of Andriy and Serhiy Klyuev, two high-ranking Party of Regions members who are tied into the ownership scheme behind Mezhyhirya, the president’s vast real estate north of Kyiv. Andriy Klyuev heads the president’s administration and leads his team of negotiations with the opposition to solve the political crisis.

It also lists the assents of President Viktor Yanukovych’s son Oleksandr and Oleksiy Azarov, also a Party of Regions deputy and son of former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov who flew off to Austria just hours after his resignation last week.

One of the characters who seems to be involved in managing these fortunes is Reinhard Proksch, a 51-year old manager tied up to companies in in London and Liechtenstein that own assets in Ukraine.He maintained that his business is fully legal and transparent, though. “My business is just that, to maintain or manage real estate and investment for foreign customers. Here I usually have a function as a controller, which means I watch that no irregularities happen,” he said. He also said he was not a money manager, and his role is down to “technical tax and administrative activities.” —Katya Gorchinskaya

Format released an infographic on Jan. 31 that followed the money trail of Ukraine’s rich and influential elite, including President Viktor Yanukovych.

Lutsenko said a new parliament’s majority will appear in Verkhovna Rada

Feb 1, 5:05 p.m. — Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s former Interior Minister and the leader of the Third Ukrainian Republic movement, said the number of national deputies already gathered signatures for changing top members of parliament. Lutsenko also said a new parliament’s majority is about to appear in Verkhovna Rada.

“Today the street protests achieved ​​the most of what could be done and the main action should be moved to the Parliament now,” Lutsenko says. “We need to return to democratic Constitution and set the date for the presidential elections. A plan for the next week – is to gather new parliament’s majority,” reads the statement appered on Lutsenko’s Third Ukrainian Republic website. —Olena Goncharova

A new song by Mariya Burmaka dedicated to the ‘Heroes of EuroMaidan’

Feb. 1, 5:01 p.m.  — Artists continue contributing to the EuroMaidan movement with their creative talents. — Brian Bonner

 

A new song by Kharkiv native Mariya Burmaka

Ministry of Emergency Situations gets new metal bars, razor wire

Feb. 1, 4:12 p.m. — It appears that Ukraine’s government ministries, targets of takeovers by militant EuroMaidan activists with the Spilna Sprava group, are tightening up security. At least two workers were seen outside the Ministry of Emergency Situations fastening metal bars to cover higher levels of windows. The bars already were covering garden-level windows. Also, it appears that new razor wire has been added above the tall metal-and concrete perimeters of the ministry, located on the corner of Olesya Gonchara and Mikhail Kontsubinskoho streets in the Shevchenko district of Kyiv. — Brian Bonner

Tymoshenko says sanctions essential

Feb. 1, 4:09 p.m. — From imprisoned former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko told an Italian newspaper that only sanctions by democratic countries against the Yanukovych regime can prevent the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine and more loss of human life.

“Sanctions are absolutely necessary because every hour matters in preventing the loss of more human life in the battle that the regime has waged to remain in power,” Tymoshenko said in an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

She believes Europe is disappointed by how things have developed in Ukraine and in the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych. “All these four years we have been asking the European Union and western states to not treat Yanukovych as a legitimate, pro-European politician. And only now the leaders of Europe have finally realized that he is brutally crushing democratic values,” she said.

“For the first time western country are discussing the possibility of sanctions. These sanctions should be targeted at the financial support of the dictatorial regime and those politicians responsible for violence against Ukrainians. Without sanctions it’s impossible to begin real negotiations because this regime has shown that it isn’t affected by political diplomatic pressure from abroad,” Yulia Tymoshenko added. — Brian Bonner

Police say EuroMaidan is coup d’etat attempt by Batkivshchyna Party planned in advance

Feb. 1, 3:15 p.m. Police on Jan. 31 said that they have preliminary evidence based on dozens of terrabytes of data that the EuroMaidan movement was planned from the outset.

During a news conference, Oleksandr Hnativ, deputy head of the investigation department of the Interior Ministry, said that based on information gleaned from servers it seized on Dec. 9 from an information technology firm next door to the opposition Batkivshchyna Party headquarters in Podil, that the Nov. 21 demonstration — which marks the first day when people took to the streets in central Kyiv when Ukraine rejected an Association Agreement with the European Union — was “not spontaneous and was planned in advance.”

He added that that one of the scenarios that Batkivshchyna had envisioned was a “forceful” development of events during which “force would be used against protesters which would then cause widespread (public) anger and undermine the credibility of the current government and President (Viktor Yanukovych).”

Hnativ concluded that the data has been sent for further forensic study to determine if a coup d’etat was attempted. The State Security service also investigating the incident as a coup d’etat, according to Maksym Lenko, the chief of the agency’s investigation department.

The SBU started its investigation into attempted seizure of state power” on Dec. 8, according to a statement the KGB-successor agency made on its website. — Mark Rachkevych

Ukrainian journalists cut video in support of democracy, freedom

0:00 – We, Ukrainian journalists, are shocked by events taking place in Ukraine. (Olha Snisarchuk, Channel 5)
0:04 – A few months ago we couldn’t have even imagined that in the 21st century, in a European capital, people might be kidnapped, (Alla Mazur, 1+1)
0:11 – tortured and killed for their civic position. (Olha Kashpor 1+1)
0:16 – We couldn’t have imagined that those in power would shoot journalists, (Mustafa Nayem, Hromatske.tv [Community TV])
0:19 – that those in power might use gangs of street thugs to intimidate and beat up peaceful citizens. (Oleksandr Paskhover, freelance journalist)
0:24 – But we believe and know that Ukraine is a great European nation made up of different people with different points of view. (Iryna Solomko, Hromadske.tv)
0:30 – And in this diversity lies not the weakness of our nation, but its greatness and strength. (Ivanna Kobernyk, freelance journalist)
0:34 – We have to hear and understand each another. (Zhan Novoseltsev, 1+1)
0:38 – There are many things that unite Rivne and Luhansk, Kyiv and Odesa. (Vitaliy Haidukevych, Channel 5)
0:43 – We want to live in an honest and fair country, where individual rights are respected, (Dmytro Gordon, Gordon’s Tabloid)
0:48 – where you can freely express your views and not be afraid of the police, where courts are just and cannot be bought, (Mykhailo Hannytskiy, UNIAN)
0:53 – where there is real competition in business and opportunity to earn honest money. (Vitaliy Sych, freelance journalist)
0:56 – That’s why we want a complete reset of our system of government. (Vakhtiang Kipiani, Istorychna Pravda [Historical Truth] site)
0:59 – We want – together – to build a country of which no one will be ashamed and of which everyone will be proud. (Serhiy Rakhmanin, Dzerkalo Tyzhnia [Weekly Mirror])
1:04 I want to live in a country where those in power know that human dignity is one thing you don’t attack. (Natalia Moseiychuk, 1+1)
1:09 – We, Ukrainian journalists, will do everything in our power for those in power to hear Ukrainian society. (Olha Chervakova, freelance journalist)
1:16 – To stop the conflict, help all sides come to an agreement and ensure that the country is peaceful and fair. Glory to Ukraine! (Sviatoslav Tseholko, Channel 5) — Brian Bonner

A collection of Ukrainian journalists produced a video extolling democracy.

Police: Bulatov is suspect in rioting case, want him under house arrest

Feb. 1, 2:23 p.m. — The Interior Ministry announced today that AutoMaidan leader Dmytro Bulatov figures in two criminal cases. In addition to being the victim in a kidnapping case, an eight-day ordeal that left him beaten and mutilated with nail puncture wounds in his hands, Bulatov is suspected of taking part in a riot which carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence. The accusation is presumably in connection to the roving protest-on-wheels that Bulatov has marshaled during which the residences of top Ukrainian officials, including President Viktor Yanukovych’s palatial mansion, were visited with calls for their ouster.

Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko said that after Bulatov was discovered alive on Jan. 30, the investigator in the riot case asked a judge to place him under house arrest, instead of behind bars. He added that police visited the hospital on Jan. 31 where the Kyiv native is recuperating to “provide security.”

Zakharchenko said police have not yet been allowed to notify Bulatov of either criminal case. — Mark Rachkevych

 

 

An anti-government protester stands at a road block in Kyiv on Jan. 31. President Viktor Yanukovych on Jan. 30 accused the opposition of inflaming tensions in Ukraine’s crisis but also admitted for the first time that the authorities had made mistakes. The opposition has refused to end street protests despite the passing of the amnesty for protesters arrested in the two-month crisis. The Ukrainian army has previously said it would not interfere in the protests, which erupted in November after Yanukovych scrapped an integration deal with the European Union in favour of closer ties with Kiev’s historical master Moscow. AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS © AFP

 

Seven vehicles of AutoMaidan activists burnt overnight 

Feb. 1, 2:12 p.m. — AutoMaidan activists have reported that overnight seven of their cars were burnt in Kyiv. The news comes on the back of similar incidents happening overnight to a Canadian Embassy vehicle. Last week Canada enforced travel bans for top Ukrainian officials deemed responsible for violence against EuroMaidan protesters. Also, a Channel 5 television journalist also reported that her car was torched by three unknown individuals during the same period. — Mark Rachkevych

Ukraine’s IT business representatives call on opposition, government to resolve crisis

Feb 1, 1:55 p.m. — Ukraine’s IT industry representatives make an appeal to the opposition leaders and the government calling for further negotiations. “Today Ukrainian IT industry faces a complicated situation. Continuous political crisis, which ended up with street confrontation, carries a risk for the industry and entire Ukrainian economy. Ukrainian IT and Internet industries that have been growning in recent years now faces serious threat. One of Ukraine’s most promising industries can disappear, because of the situation in the country,” reads the statement. The appeal was signed by the number of Ukraine’s IT businessmen, including Yuriy Chayka, the head of Ukrainian electronic business association, Dmytro Shymkiv, the head of Microsoft Ukraine, Maksym Plakhtiy, the head of IT-tent on Independence square and others.

“We call on government and opposition to further negotiations in order to find the way out of the crisis,” according to the statement. Full text of appeal can be found here. — Olena Goncharova 

Police officer allegedly beaten in Kyiv City Hall

Feb. 1, 12:10 p.m. – One police officer was caught by the “so-called Maidan guard at night on Jan. 31 while patroling Maidan Nezalezhnosti,” according to an Interior Ministry statement. Members of parliament from the Svoboda Party were spotted there, but did nothing to prevent the violence, while the activists beat the police officer, according to the statement. The officer was set free and transferred to the hospital. — Olena Goncharova 

Channel 5 journalist says his car was torched by three men

11:55 a.m. In the latest of a string of vehicle arsons, Channel 5 journalist Oleh Kryshtopa reported on his Facebook timeline that his car was torched by three unknown men late on Jan. 31. Channel 5 is owned by businessman and opposition politician Petro Poroshenko. The network has covered the EuroMaidan protests extensively since their onset last November. Online news site Ukrainska Pravda reported earlier that two other vehicles were burned on Jan. 31, including the car of Canadian Embassy employees. —Christopher J. MIller

Law on scrapping Jan. 16 legislation published in Ukraine

11:30 a.m. The law to repeal nine January 16 laws passed by the Verkhovna Rada on Jan. 28 was published on the official Web site of the parliament’s Holos Ukrainy newspaper on Feb. 1.

As reported, the Verkhovna Rada Ukrainian at an extraordinary session on Jan. 28 cancelled nine laws adopted on Jan. 16. Read more here. — Interfax-Ukraine

Tihipko opposes state of emergency, calls for compromise

Feb. 1, 10:25 a.m. Regions Party moderate Serhiy Tihipko categorically opposes a state of emergency, calling the idea “radical actions by the authorities,” and asks for such actions from abroad.

“Compromise is the only correct resolution today,” he added.

His comments further illustrate the strong internal disagreements inside President Viktor Yanukovych’s political base and have led to speculation that more Regions Party members will break with the president and organize an independent force inside the parliament. — Brian Bonner 

Canadian Embassy employees’ car burned in Kyiv

Feb. 1, 10:10 a.m. The spate of automobile arsons continues in Kyiv, with a car owned by Canadian Embassy employees burned, reports online news website Ukrainska Pravda. The car of AutoMaidan activist Inna Tsarkova was also burned. Ukrainska Pravda reports that the attacks come three days after the government of Canada initiated visa sanctions against Ukrainian government officials. Tsarkova received a six month sentence for her purported participation in the AutoMaidan rally to President Viktor Yanukovych’s lavish estate, known as Mezhyhiriya, on Dec. 29, despite witnesses confirming her presence in Vyshhorod that day. — Christopher J. Miller

Opposition calls for noon Sunday rally on Feb. 2

Feb. 1, 9:50 a.m. — Opposition leaders call on activists to join another  Sunday rally on Independence Square in Kyiv on Feb. 2 at noon. Oleh Tyahnybok, Svoboda faction leader, said that Mykola Azarov’s resignation as prime minister is one of the key demands opposition achieved. In the meantime, the main thing is to free detained activists after Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych signed into law an amnesty for demonstrators detained during mass rallies, LB.ua reports. — Olena Goncharova 

Here’s a list Kyiv Post is happy to make

Feb. 1, 8:32 a.m. — Editor’s Note: Based on “collective intelligence,” EuroMaidan activists say they have compiled a list of Ukrainian sources that report the news objectively and those who do not. The Kyiv Post is among several media outlets on the “white list” while many oligarch and government-controlled media outlets are on the “blacklist.” As chief editor of the Kyiv Post with a news staff of 15 journalists and a network of freelance contributors, I want to emphasize that the newspaper believes its highest calling is to provide independent, fair and trustworthy information for our international and national communities The Kyiv Post has never been subject to censorship nor sides with any political party. We will never be an opposition newspaper nor a pro-government newspaper. The middle ground, however has been shrinking in Ukraine’s polarizing EuroMaidan conflict. — Brian Bonner

 

EuroMaidan supporters have circulated a list of news organizations in Ukraine that provide reliable news coverage and those that don’t. The Kyiv Post made the “white list.”

EuroMaidan activists hold an action near Deutsche Bank in New York 

Jan. 31, 9 p.m. — EuroMaidan community in New York city holds an action on Wall Street calling for Deutsche bank stop helping Viktor Yanukovych’s regime. Deutsche Bank is one of the intermediary banks used by the Ukrainian Bank of Development (UBD), owned by Oleksandr Yanukovych, son of the President. Supporters demand that Deutsche Bank refrain from conducting transactions linked to Yanukovych and UBD, in accordance with international anti-money laundering standards of the Financial Action Task Force and the USA PATRIOT Act. — Olena Goncharova 

Activists gathered near the Deutsche bank in New York city calling for to stop helping Viktor Yanukovych’s regime. (c)

Military commanders pledge support to Yanukovych, condemn protesters

Jan. 31, 8:40 p.m. — After two months of unrest, Ukraine’s army got involved in the ongoing political crisis, when the Ministry of Defense unexpectedly issued  a Jan. 31 statement, asking President Viktor Yanukovych to “apply measures for stabilizing of situation in the country.”

The commanders called protesters’ occupation of government buildings “inadmissible” and said that “further escalation of confrontation threatens to integrity of the country.”

The decision to send Yanukovych a special letter was made at a general meeting of the ministry’s office the day before and, according to Anatoliy Hrytsenko, an opposition lawmaker and former defense minister, the officers had been pressured to support Yanukovych.

“I know for sure that officers, who were not agreeing to the ‘common approval’ are now being pressured by their commanders and chiefs,” Hrytsenko said on his Facebook page. In its separate statement, the Defense Ministry also denied the reports that army was allegedly involved in assisting the police during the ongoing political crisis. — Oksana Grytsenko

Anti-government protester gather next to a fire at a road block Kiev on January 31, 2014. President Viktor Yanukovych on January 30 accused the opposition of inflaming tensions in Ukraine’s crisis but also admitted for the first time that the authorities had made mistakes. The opposition has refused to end street protests despite the passing of the amnesty for protesters arrested in the two-month crisis. The Ukrainian army has previously said it would not interfere in the protests, which erupted in November after Yanukovych scrapped an integration deal with the European Union in favour of closer ties with Kiev’s historical master Moscow.

Kerry’s Jan. 30 call to opposition leaders

Jan. 31, 8:32 p.m — From the U.S. State Department: “This morning, Secretary (of State John) Kerry spoke by phone with political and civil society leaders in the Ukrainian opposition who have been active in the peaceful movement.  The Secretary underscored the United States unwavering support for the democratic, European aspirations of the Ukrainian people, and commended these opposition leaders for speaking out against violence and for their courageous work to defend democracy and advance their goals through peaceful means and dialogue. He praised the progress achieved in their talks with the government, notably the repeal of the January 16th laws and the commitment to government change.  He urged that these talks continue and pledged continued U.S. support in coordination with the EU, the UN, the OSCE for a peaceful, political resolution to the political crisis which brings those responsible to account, restores human rights, democracy, economic health, and a path to Europe for Ukraine.  The Secretary also underlined his concerns about reports of human rights violations, such as disappearances and killings, and stressed that the United States is pressing the Government of Ukraine to establish a justice commission to investigate these crimes and bring those responsible to justice.” The link is here. —Brian Bonner

Bulatov visited by six police officers at hospital, lawmakers fear arrest attempt

Jan. 31, 7:01 p.m. — Opposition Batkivshchyna lawmaker Mykola Knyazhytsky told journalists outside the Boris medical clinic on Bazhana Boulevard that police are trying to see AutoMaidan leader Dmytro Bulatov in his hospital room, a live Spilno TV broadcast from the scene shows. He said their motives are unclear and told them that Bulatov can’t be questioned about his abduction and subsequent torture because he is recuperating from surgery and is still in critical condition. Knyazhytsky added that Bulatov’s lawyer isn’t currently present to provide legal assistance to his client.

Other lawmakers on the scene include Lesya Orobets and Volodymyr Yavorivsky who say they will take turns guarding Bulatov’s hospital room in case police try to arrest him.

The Interior Ministry’s website lists warrants for three AutoMaidan activists, including Bulatov. — Mark Rachkevych

 

The Interior Ministry has issued arreste warrants for three AutoMaidan activists, including Dmytro Bulatov, who was kidnapped on Jan. 22 and beaten and tortured for eight days before being released.

 

Police only count three deaths of EuroMaidan protesters on record

Jan. 31, 6:45 p.m. — The public relations office of Kyiv city police say it isn’t aware of the apparent death of a protester who fell from the colonnade of Dynamo Stadium on the night of Jan. 22 despite several eyewitness reports, Ukrainska Pravda wrote citing the law enforcement body. Police also don’t count activist Yuri Verbytsky of Lviv who was found dead in a forest outside Kyiv after being kidnapped from a hospital on Jan. 21.

Police say they have three registered deaths of people related to EuroMaidan: Serhiy Nihoyan of Dnipropetrovsk, Roman Senyk of Lviv and Mykhailo Zhyznevsky of Belarus.

Also excluded was activist and businessman Bohdan Kalynyak of Kolomiya, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. He died of pneumonia on Jan. 28 reportedly after being doused with water from a water canon the police used despite sub-zero temperatures. — Mark Rachkevych

 

A mother of two men, one of them, as she claims, was killed and the other one is missing, cries during a rally of the mothers of the protesters in front of policemen line guarding in front of anti-government opposition activists in the center of Kiev on January 31, 2014. Ukraine’s military on Friday called on President Viktor Yanukovych to take “urgent steps” to ease turmoil in the country, weighing in for the first time on the ex-Soviet nation’s worst crisis since independence. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Friday signed a law offering an amnesty to jailed opposition activists and repealed controversial laws cracking down on protests, his office said. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY

Bulatov says he is not going to stop his protest activity, police try to arrest him

6:21 p.m., Jan. 31 — Dmytro Bulatov has undergone surgical treatment of wounds and is currently kept in one of private hospitals in Kiev recovering from numerous wounds and head concussion.

“I was brutally beaten, had a bag on my head and I was subjected to very severe torture, but nevertheless they will not be able to intimidate us and we are not going to stop,” Bulatov said, speaking from his hospital bed in a videoaddress, posted on his Facebook by his friend and one more Automaidan activist Oleksiy Hrytsenko.

“He keeps well despite these bastards applied all kinds of torture to him,” Hrytsenko wrote.

Police, however, placed both Bulatov and Hrytsenko on the wanted list over organizing of mass disturbances. Mykola Kniazhytsky, lawmaker of the opposition Batkivshchyna Party said on his Facebook that the police came to arrest Bulatov at Boris Kyiv hospitals and asked lawmakers and jopurnalists to arrive there asap.

Police announced several versions of Buklatov’s disappearance, including “kidnapping aimed at provocations to anger society,” Oleh Tatarov, deputy head of police main investigative department said on press briefing on Jan 31. —Oksana Grytsenko

Warrants issued to Bulatov, other AutoMaidan leaders

5:21 p.m. Police on Friday issued warrants for leaders of the roving motorcade protest group AutoMaidan for causing a “mass disturbance,” according to the police website. Among those wanted by police are Dmytro Bulatov, Oleksiy Hrytsenko and Sehiy Koba. Bulatov had previously been missing for 8 days before he turned up last night, saying he had been kidnapped, tortured and crucified by unknown men with Russian accents. Read more about Bulatovhere. — Christopher J. Miller

U.S. Embassy in Kyiv condemns violence against activist Bulatov

4:17 p.m. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv released a statement Friday afternoon condemning the violence against activist Dmytro Bulatov, who was kidnapped, beaten adn tortured before being dumped in the cold late on Jan. 30.

“We are extremely relieved that AutoMaidan activist Dmytro Bulatov was found alive, but shocked and outraged at the torture inflicted upon him by his abductors. In order to ensure that it is taken seriously in its efforts to eliminate violence, the Government of Ukraine must take full responsibility for the timely investigation, capture, and prosecution of those responsible for this heinous crime,” reads the statement.

It continues: “We remain deeply concerned by reports of the other 27 missing protesters and continue to urge the Government of Ukraine to find those who are missing and bring the perpetrators of all those who have disappeared to justice. In this way, Ukraine can send a clear message that violence against critics of the government and those who are working towards a modern, democratic, and prosperous Ukraine will not be tolerated. Ambassador Pyatt welcomes the assurances Minister of Justice Lukash and other members of the government made to the diplomatic community on this issue and anticipates that concrete actions will be taken by the government on resolving these cases.” — Christopher J. Miller

 

Dmytro Bulatov before being kidnapped and tortured by his captors.

Dmytro Bulatov after being kidnapped and tortured by his captors.

President signs amnesty bill into law, endorses repeal of Jan. 16 laws

3:15 p.m. President Viktor Yanukovych has signed into law a new bill granting amnesty to protesters should they vacate Independence Square and government buildings occupied nearby, according to a statement on the president’s website. The president also signed the bill passed on Jan. 28 by parliament that repeals several laws passed by lawmakers on Jan. 16. The laws severely curtail freedoms of assembly and speech and have been highly criticized since hastily adopted in parliament. — Christopher J. Miller

 

Jan. 31, 2014. A bill passed by Ukraine’s parliament to amnesty arrested activists gives protesters a 15-day deadline to leave occupied streets and administrative buildings otherwise it will not be implemented, according to the text published the day before.

Right Sector, Afghan veterans supporting EuroMaidan demand to be included in negotiations

2:53 p.m. The controversial far-right Right Sector and Afghan war veterans who are supporting the EuroMaidan anti-government protest movement demand that they be included in negotiations between the government and the opposition, Radio Svoboda reports. The existing format of negotiations, they say, is neither effective, nor transparent, nor reflects the mood and demands of EuroMaidan protesters, many of whom have been on the streets for more than two months. A new round of negotiations could take place today.

The Right Sector also says it will not accept any amnesty law short of unconditional. Lawmakers on Jan. 29 passed a law granting amnesty to “peaceful protester” but only if they first cleared the protest camp on Independence Square and vacated the occupied government buildings seized during protests. — Katya Gorchinskaya

NATO chief says Ukrainian army should remain neutral towards domestic conflicts

2:43 p.m. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen took to social media on Jan. 31 to express his concern over Ukraine’s attempts to include its armed forces in resolving its domestic crisis.

“Encouraged by repeal of Ukraine anti-protest legislation, but very concerned by attempts to involve the military in the crisis,” Rasmussen wrote on Twitter.

“Ukraine’s military is highly-respected and must remain neutral. I continue to follow developments with concern,” the NATO chief said.

Rasmussen was apparently responding to a statement from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry calling on Yanukovych, “the supreme commander-in-chief” to “take urgent measures to stabilize the situation in the country and achieve accord in society within the current legislation.”

The ministry also said that the seizure of state buildings and obstruction of work by state officials and local self-government officials are unacceptable, adding that further escalation of the conflict poses a threat to the territorial integrity of the country. — Christopher J. Miller, Interfax Ukraine

 

Yatseniuk demands Yanukovych sign legislation repealing ‘dictator laws’

1:53 p.m, Jan. 31 — Opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk called on Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to urgently sign parliament’s repeal of Jan. 16 laws, dubbed “the dictator laws.” The measures would have curtailed free speech by criminalizing criticism of government. They also would have called for punishment of up to 15 years in prison for participants in public gatherings. The measures also would have required nongovernmental organizations to registers as foreign agents. The “dictator laws” triggered violent clashes on Jan. 19 and a tense standoff that continues today on Hrushevskoho Street. By signing the parliament-approved repeal of the laws, passed this week in emergency session, Yatsenuik said Yanukovych would signal that he is intereested in solving the national crisis peacefully. — Brian Bonner

Yatseniuk wants international investigation into EuroMaidan crimes

1:45 p..m, Jan. 31 — Opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk believes that recent events, such as the Jan. 22 abduction and torture of AutoMaidan leader Dmitro Bulatov, suggest that “death squads” have been created in Ukraine. Yatseniuk made the allegations as he departed for the global security conference in Munich, Germany. He called on investigators to identify and punish those “who are now killing and making fun of people.” In Munich, he said, opposition leaders will try to get support to launch an international investigation of murders, violence, torture, kidnapping and harassment of journalists that has taken place since EuroMaidan began on Nov. 21. “The whole world is watching what is happening in our country. The world condemns violence related primarily to the fact that the government is provoking violence,” Yatseniuk said. He plans meetings with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Senator John McCain (Republican-Arizona), the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, President of Germany Joachim Gauk and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. — Brian Bonner

Yanukovych blames opposition for escalating conflict in Ukraine

1:39 p.m., Jan. 31 — Even when sick, President Viktor Yanukovych finds time to address the nation. Here’s the English translation of his Jan. 30 statement calling for peace and blaming the opposition for escalating the Euromaidan conflict:

“Dear compatriots!

I address you with a feeling of great anxiety and concern for the lives and health of many people involved in the conflict by irresponsible politicians. Unfortunately, this confrontation has not gone without casualties. This night Ukraine has suffered another loss – captain of the Internal Troops Dmytro Vasyliovych Dunets died in the course of the service on maintaining public order in Kyiv.

These days, Ukraine bade farewell to the young people died in this confrontation. We also know that people have suffered from defatigation, cold and clashes. Every such accident leaves a deep and painful sore in our hearts. Each of us asks: for what do people suffer? Why do politicians not call for peace and mutual understanding but kindle the emotions with their reckless and irresponsible statements thinking rather about their ratings than about the life and health of people?

In the process of negotiations on peaceful settlement of the confrontation, we have reached concrete agreements with the opposition. The government has fulfilled all its obligations under these agreements including the adoption of the Law on Amnesty that guarantees freedom and liberation of persons arrested during the conflict.

However, the opposition continues to escalate the situation and urges people to stand on a frost for the sake of political ambitions of several leaders. I think that it is wrong. We must understand that there is no future for the state and people if political interests of certain groups are set higher than the existence of Ukraine itself.

I once again address people, ordinary citizens, my compatriots: let’s do everything for peace and normal life in the country. For my part, I will consider the needs and aspirations of people with the greatest understanding and commitment taking into account the mistakes that any government can make for only the one who does nothing makes no mistakes.

I believe that together we will manage to bring the life of Ukraine and all its citizens back to the peaceful track”

The statement is found on the president’s official website here. — Brian Bonner

Ukrainian Catholic University has wide selection of articles, links about EuroMaidan

1:32 p.m., Jan. 31 — Lviv’s Ukrainian Catholic University is encouraging its followers to keep track of its activities during the EuroMaidan revolution. “We also ask you to spread the information about Ukraine among your friends and in this way support our struggle for human rights!” the university wrote in a letter sent to supporters. The link is here — Brian Bonner

Batkivshchyna: 23 burnt cars belong to EuroMaidan activists

12:32 p.m., Jan. 31 Opposition Batkivshchyna Party said that the more than 20 cars that were burnt in Kyiv on the night of Jan. 29-30 all belong to EuroMaidan activists. The party called the incident a “continuation of terror on the part of government.” A group of victims whose cars were burnt staged a picket outside the main traffic police building this morning at 10:30 a.m. on 54 Khmelnytskhoho Street. —Mark Rachkevych

EuroMaidanSOS reports 33 missing as of Jan. 31

12:14 p.m., Jan. 31 EuroMaidanSOS, an informal group of activists who investigate and track the disappearances of anti-government protesters, reported on Jan. 31 that 33 people who have participated in the protest movement are currently missing.

One activist has been removed from the list last night. Dmytro Bulatov, leader of the roving protest caravan known as AutoMaidan, surfaced in a village outside Kyiv on Jan. 30 after his captors tossed him from their car. The activist had been missing since Jan. 22. In an interview with Channel 5 shortly after he turned up, Bulatov said the men who kidnapped him had beaten, tortured and crucified him over the course of more than a week. They also cut part of one of his ears off. Read more about Bulatov here. — Christopher J. Miller

A list of anti-government EuroMaidan activists missing as of Jan. 31, according to EuroMaidanSOS.

Diaspora group to stage protest on Wall Street over Oleksandr Yanukovych’s U.S. bank account

12:03 p.m., Jan. 31 The Ukrainian Congress Committee of Ukraine will during lunch picket Deutsche Bank on Wall Street over a bank account that President Viktor Yanukovych’s son, Oleksandr, has through his Ukrainian Bank of Development. It will call on the German bank to stop doing business with Oleksandr Yanukovych over what it calls are “criminal activities.” — Mark Rachkevych

A group related to Gennadiy Kernes claims it cut off an ear of EuroMaidan activist

11:15 a.m., Jan. 31 — A group called Oplot, which has been linked to Kharkiv Mayor Hennadiy Kernes, claimed online that during one of its raids against EuroMaidan activists they cut off an ear of one of the protesters. A screenshot of this announcement was posted by Censot.net.ua

At the same time, EuroMaidan activist Dmytro Bulatov, who was missing for a week and found on Jan. 30, had an ear cut off by his captors who tortured him and kept hostage for the week. He was found in Kyiv’s outskirts and the pattern behind his capture and treatment seems similar to the story told by another activist, Ihor Lutsenko.

Read the story on Lutsenko here. — Katya Gorchinskaya

EuroMaidan acvitist says central morgue has 26 unidentified bodies

11 a.m., Jan. 31 — Activist Yegor Sobolev says Kyiv’s central morgue has 26 bodies waiting to be identified, including some coming from the city center, the zone of protests and clashes. Sobolev says 14 of the bodies arrived after the New Year.

More information can be found on his Svidomo website. — Katya Gorchinskaya

Report: Police arrest doctor who gave medical assistance

7:53 a.m, Jan. 31 — Twenty six year old medical worker, Oleksiy Tutov from Kerch, who was providing assistance to the wounded on Hrushevskoho Street was sentenced to two months in prison. This information was given by Oleh Musiy, the coordinator of EuroMaidan medical center. On Jan. 22, Tutov was providing medical assistance to the victims on Hrushevskoho Street. More information here — Brian Bonner

Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash makes statement on situation in Ukraine

4:57 p.m., Jan. 30 – Ukrainian oligarchs continue to release statements concerning the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine. This time Dmytro Firtash, a chemicals tycoon, called on the sides to find a compromise. “Tough resistance showed that the most valuable thing – human life – is threatened when different parties cannot hear each other. This line, unfortunately, was crossed,” the statement said. He offered his condolences to the families and friends of victims and called on both sides to unite for finding a way to prevent more bloodshed. “I urge all parties to seek a compromise by continuing negotiations with actual results,” he said. Earlier another oligarch Rinat Akhmetov – the nation’s richest billionaire, made a statement calling on a peaceful resolution to the situation.  – Maria Shamota, Daryna Shevchenko

 

A Pro-European Union demonstrator stands at a barricade on Kyiv’s Hrushevsky street on Jan. 30. An amnesty bill passed by Ukraine’s parliament designed to free arrested activists gives protesters a 15-day deadline to leave occupied streets and administrative buildings otherwise it will not be implemented.

Milla Jovovich writes message of support to Ukrainian people

4:20 p.m., Jan. 30 – Famous Ukraine-born Hollywood actress Milla Jovovich wrote a message of support to the Ukrainian people on her Facebook page. “I sit watching the news and my heart hurts so badly when I see my incredible, Ukrainian brothers and sisters suffering,” she wrote in her status update and added that she believes in Ukraine. Around ten thousand people liked the message and replied with supportive comments. – Daryna Shevchenko

President Viktor Yanukovych releases another address to Ukrainian nation

4:02 p.m., Jan. 30 A presidential address to the Ukrainian nation was recently posted on the official presidential website. In it, President Viktor adress acknowledged the death of police officer Dmytro Dunets and said he also regrets the deaths of “young people who died in this resistance.”

“Each case leaves a deep and painful sore in our hearts. And each of us is asking – what for do people suffer,” the address reads. Yanukovych also ensured that Ukrainian authorities did fulfill their parts of a truce with the opposition and condemned the opposition’s further calls for protests to continue.

“In the process of negotiation we have reached concrete agreements with the opposition. We have accomplished all the obligations that authorities took over. However, the opposition continues to escalate the situation calling for people to stand in the cold for the political ambitions of several leaders,” the statement reads. – Daryna Shevchenko

Rybak signs bill that revokes draconian laws of Jan. 16 

3:59 p.m., Jan. 30 – Parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Rybak signed the law that abolishes the freedom-crushing legislative acts adopted on Jan. 16. As a next and the final step the law was handed over to the President Viktor Yanukovych, who, according to the Constitution, has 15 days to sign it or remit it for further inquiry. – Ukrainska Pravda

PACE adopts tough resolution on Ukraine

2:46 p.m., Jan. 30 – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a tough resolution on Ukraine.  According to the document, the issue of sanctions against Ukrainian authorities may be considered in April, if Ukraine will continue violating human rights. In case of forceful dispersal of EuroMaidan, Ukraine even may be denied the right to vote at the April session. The resolution gained 114 votes, 34 deputies voted against the document and 12 more abstained during a vote after a debate on the Ukrainian question. During the discussion, representatives from Greece, Serbia and Russia criticized the draft resolution, indicating it as “unbalanced” and “one-sided”. The representative of Switzerland, Andreas Gross, in turn, criticized the EU policy towards Ukraine, in his view, the EU has cornered Ukrainian authorities, so they decided to suspend integration. – Ukrainska Pravda, Interfax-Ukraine

 

Lawmakers from the ruling Party of Regions raise their arms in celebration after voting for a conditional amnesty bill on Jan. 29.

23 cars burnt in Kyiv on Jan. 30

2:17 p.m., Jan. 30 – Twenty three cars were burnt in Kyiv in the early hours of Jan. 30, Interfax news agency reported citing the press-service of the Emergencies Service Ministry in Kyiv. According to the report, firefighters got 17 calls to burning cars in the last 24 hours. Most of the fires were caused by arson. “However, the final reason will be determined by the Kyiv police,” the press service said. Activists maintain that all the burnt cars were registered in western Ukraine and had plate numbers of western oblasts. This information was spread via social networks warning car owners of the danger.  Daryna Shevchenko

A picture of one of the cars burnt in the early hours on Jan. 30

More police officers injured, Interior Ministry reports

2;02 p.m., Jan. 30 – The Interior Ministry reported about 40 police officers injured during an attempt to seize Regional Administration building in Chernihiv on Jan. 25. According to the report 4 officers were hospitalized, while all the others just asked for medical help. Many got closed head injuries, concussions and chemical burns of eyes, the report read. — Daryna Shevchenko

Another police office dead

12:50 p.m., Jan. 30 – The Interior Ministry said another police employee died today. Dmytro Donets, a 30-year-old captain, died from a heart attack today at 5 a.m. Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko blames the recent protests, saying: “This is the effect of daily stress in the confrontation on Hrushevskoho Street where Dmytro had served to protect public order. I appeal to all those who are trying to seize power at the cost of people’s blood. Change your mind!” – Mariia Shamota 

Numbers of victims vary, which in itself is alarming

6:07 a.m, Jan. 30 — The number of dead ranges from 4 to 6 the number of missing also varies as does the number of injured and detained in EuroMaidan protests. But, according to EuroMaidan, here is an attempt at at an accounting from ttexty.org.ua http://goo.gl/R1vrFr — Brian Bonner

From EuroMaidanPR: “Ukrainians value their freedom. The ‘dictatorship laws’ caused mass indignation and radicalzsed protests. 9 of the 11 laws were just revoked in the Verkhovna Rada. But the initiators of the repressive laws and those that falsified the voting results pretend that everything is normal, that six people haven’t died, tens are not missing, hundreds not arrested and two thousands are not injured. The government proposes to give an “amnesty” to those that came to defend the rights and freedoms of all as if they are villains.”

Details of amnesty bill coming

6:01 a.m., Jan. 30 — The full provisions of the amnesty bill passed late on Jan. 29 by parliament were not immediately posted to the Verkhovna Rada’s website. A fuller analysis will come today. The known details are summarizedhere.

Tihipko calls for new parliamentary elections

5:49 a.m., Jan. 30 — Serhiy Tihipko, a former deputy prime minister and current member of parliament from the ruling pro-presidential Party of Regions, says that the Verkhovna Rada should be dismissed and new elections called. “Since the parliament is in deadlock and the majority cannot find common ground with the opposition, we should be dismissed and new elections shall be called,” Tihipko said, according to EuroMaidan PR.

Tiahnybok votes to fight on

5:48 a.m, Jan. 30 — EuroMaidanPR report: After parliament voted to pass the amnesty laws, Svoboda Party opposition leader Oleh Tiahnybok addressed protesters from the main stage of Independence Square, saying that until all the main demands of the opposition are fulfilled, the opposition will continue fighting. Tiahnybok added that the opposition demands are aligned with those of the protestors and that the opposition will continue representing the protesters’ interests and demands. — Brian Bonner

Klitschko says amnesty law will worsen situation

5:42 a.m, Jan. 30 — According to EuroMaidanPR, opposition leader Vitali Klitschko believes that the conditional amnesty law passed late on Jan. 29 in parliament — with support only from the pro-presidential majority — will worsen the situation in Ukraine. The draft law that passed was authored by Yuriy Miroshnychenko, President Viktor Yanukovych’s representative in parliament. Klitschko: “Miroshnychenko’s law will only make the situation in the society hotter, instead of lowing its temperature,” Klitschko said. He said the opposition is also trying to secure the release of demonstrators, which number between 118 to more than 300. — Brian Bonner

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s