EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine (Feb. 1-2 live updates)

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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. 30-31

EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine — Jan. 28-29

EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine — Jan. 26-27 

EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine — Jan. 24-25

Feb. 2, 3:20 p.m. — Around 5,000 people are at Hrushevskoho Street right now — the scene of a sometimes violent standoff between police and protesters since Jan. 19. Many activists are moving there after opposition leaders finished speaking. It’s quiet there with the loudspeakers on the protesters side transmitting news and calls to the police to change sides and be with the people. Loud pop music is blaring back from the police side. — Vlad Lavrov

Yanukovych will end sick leave, return to work on Feb. 3

Feb. 2, 3:12 p.m. — On Feb. 3, President Viktor Yanukovych will return to work after taking sick leave due to acute respiratory disease, according to an official statement posted to the president’s website, which cited his deputy head of the state administration of medical affairs. “After completing the required treatment, the president feels good, his condition is assessed as satisfactory. On Monday, Viktor Yanukovych plans to go to work,” Oleksandr Orda said. — Christopher J. Miller

Crowd sings national anthem; main part of rally is over

Feb. 2, 3:04 p.m. — After the singing of the Ukrainian national anthem and speeches by the main opposition leaders, the rally is winding down at the moment, although continuing with other speeches from activists and opposition members of parliament. Opposition member of parliament Oleh Liashko said “we still need to remember more than 30 our activists are still missing. We also demand all the detained and those kidnapped to be freed.” ––  Olena Goncharova and Brian Bonner

Klitschko calls on people to take national flags to streets at noon Feb. 3

Feb. 2, 3:07 p.m. — Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko also called on activists and all citizens to join the national action at 12 p.m. on Feb. 3. “Don’t be afraid – you’re Ukrainian,” he said. “Take the national flag with you. We need to show them we’re not afraid. There’re millions of us. We also need to strengthen self-defense units for patrolling streets in every region. Only this can stop violence on the streets.” However, Klitschko will be in New York participating in a EuroMaidan rally. — Olena Goncharova and Mark Rachkevych

 

The crowd at today’s rally

 

Yatseniuk: Yanukovych ‘will be responsible for all the crimes’

Feb. 2, 2:47 p.m. — Opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk, who leads the Batkivshchyna Party of imprisoned ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, said: “Ukrainians are asking concrete actions, and we got a promise of these actions.” Yatseniuk says 122 heroes (EuroMaidan activists detained) have been freed from (President Viktor)  “Yanukovych’s prison” in the past few days, but 116 are still behind bars.

“Tymoshenko should be released,” says Yatseniuk. “Freedom for Yulia,” the crowd chants.

“We’ll have the special commission to investigate all the crimes under the auspices of the Council of Europe,” Yatseniuk said. “Ukraine should not have a President Yanukovych with dictatorship powers – enough, we’re fed up. The parliament should vote for the new constitution. We need to restore people’s power. Together to the victory. Our Maidan and our fight will stop the terror. We know everyone from Yanukovych’s regime – and they will be responsible for all the crimes.” –– Katya Gorchinskaya and Olena Goncharova

Opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk speaks at today’s rally.

Tiahynbok: ‘We won’t leave Maidan until all our demands are fulfilled’ 

Feb. 2, 2:40 p.m. – Oleh Tiahnybok, the leader of the opposition Svoboda Party, said that he’s heard another member of the pro-presidential Party of Regions in parliament has quit. He blamed Moscow for making Ukraine’s problems worse. “The Kremlin, Moscow is not sleeping, They want to use this instability… and push behind (President Viktor) Yanukovych’s back to cause terror.”

Tiahnybok warned that the Kremlins want to go along the Georgian scenario (Russia invaded George in 2008) or working to another one. But they’re not going to stand and watch Ukraine becoming stronger and free.”

Tyahnybok called on the activists to hold a moment of silence to remember the first EuroMaidan victims: Serhiy Nihoyan, Roman Senyk, Mikhaylo Zhiznevsky, Yuriy Verbytsky and Bohdan Kalynyak.

“One of our tasks today… is to break the information blockage in central Ukraine, dispense the myth that a civil war is possible. This is not a fight between some citizens and another, this is a fight between citizens and the criminal government propped up by the Kremlin.”

“We need to expand our EuroMaidan front across the regions. We need to share the truth in eastern oblasts. We won’t leave Maidan until all our demands will be fulfilled.”— Katya Gorchinskaya and Olena Goncharova

 

Svoboda Party opposition leader Oleh Tiahynbok speaks at today’s rally on Kyiv’ Independence Square.

 

Klitschko: ‘We’re millions, we are not afraid and we shall win’

Feb. 2, 2:32 p.m. — Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko: “I gave (Foreign Minister Leonid) Kozhara an album documenting how police torture people. The most scary thing is the government does not recognize these awful problems and hence it has no intention to solve them. The way out is to cut this gordion knot. Klitschko says next week in parliament they will force cancellation of the amnesty law that was, depite bullying by the president, approved with violations – including pressing multiple buttons” by the same members of parliament. A new law has to approved that would envisage an unconditional release of hostages. The government is acting like Somali pirates… We need to change this government. We’re millions, we are not afraid and we shall win.”— Katya Gorchinskaya

 

Vitali Klitschko, the boxer and opposition leader, speaks to today’s crowd.

 

Poroshenko addresses crowd, says democratic world backs Ukraine struggle

Feb. 2, 2:12 p.m. Member of parliament Petro Poroshenko, fresh off his trip to the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 1, said: “A week ago our state was on the brink of abyss, the abyss of introduction of an emergency situation. Our actions prevented that from happening, as well as made sure the dictatorship laws have been canceled. We will also make sure that the government has no hostages left.” He says unity, bravery is essential to achieve further victories. Maidans are also essential in other cities, and in people’s minds – this is a sign that we have changed.”

“Munich these days has become Ukrainain, it’s covered in blue-and-yellow flags. All world leaders saw that Ukraine is issue No. 1 in world security. It’s not enough to have words of solidarity, we need actions against those who give orders for violence (European Union foreign policy chief Catherine) Ashton is coming on Tuesday, in time for the day of the Rada session to make sure the 2004 constitution is renewed (that lessens presidential powers).There is another value to preserve – it’s the unity of Ukraine. there are calls sounding on the other side for the so-called federalization. But we have to make sure Ukraine stays united.” He says the Ukrain government has to appoint its own part of an international investigation commission. — Katya Gorchinskaya

 

Petro Poroshenko addresses the crowd at today’s rally i Kyiv.

 

Lutsenko fires up crowd estimated at 30,000 people

Feb. 2, 2:06 p.m. Former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, now an opposition leader, rallied the crowd by criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych:

“When it was warmer hundreds of thousands and even a million people came out to demand justice in Ukraine. Middle class came out to demand transparent relations with government. Students came to demand normal education and not to pay bribes for diplomas. The elderly came out to demand a dignified pension. Nobody heard them. The bitter truth is that the steel balls of Yanukovych are held by the iron fists of Putin. Here were are fighting for our sovereign choice to choose what to do in foreign and domestic policy. When they didn’t hear us, our heroes went to Khrushevskoho Street, but only then did Yanukovych understand he must negotiate. But they started to kidnap people here and in the regions, we understood we must remove Yanukovych. The entire Maidan came together not to change the faces in government but to change the system of governance. We must stop negotiating with the dictator Yanukovych who closed the door to negotiations. I respect you, Pravy Sektor, and other, but there’s nothing to talk about with Yanukovych. Here we must speak with the deputies with the people. First, everybody here must sign up for the security details of EuroMaidan and protect this area. Take your helmets, warm boots and basebball bats to prevent provocations and bloodshed. Second, on Feb. 4 parliament convenes, there should be a new majority formed who took the oath for Ukraine not to Yanukovych This is fascism what we have in Ukraine; it’s aleady here. Third: Form a democatic consitiution with a parliamentary republic.”

Lutsenko said Putin is making a new attempt at colonization of Ukraine, and the only thing that forced Yanukovych into negotiations was a combination of Hrushevskoho Street violence and the government losing power in the regions

“We came here not to change faces in power, we came to make sure that not a single face in power has the ability to torture and steal people,.. to change the system of power.”

Lutsenko said there are many people now are wanting to join the negotiation process with Yanukovych, but he’s not going to negotiate. What needs to be done instead is talk to him from the street.

1. Sign up to self-defense units. Andriy Parubiy already commands 10,000 people. “This is the best protection from violence and provocations.; 2. Feb. 4 will be a new session of Rada. “There has to be a new majority there, a new anti-gang majority.”

“I believe it already exists,” he said for four reasons: 1. Maidan 2. Sanctions 3. Default is close; 4. what the current government is doing: police no longer does its job, thugs destroy property – this is fascism 

— Katya Gorchinskaya and Mark Rachkvevych

 

Opposition leader and former Ukraine top cop Yuriy Lutsenko addresses the crowd at today’s rally in Kyiv.

 

Road Control activist vows to fight on

Andriy Dzyndzia, the leader of the Road Control activist group which has exposed corruption among the road police: “I am very ashamed that to free innocent people, deputies have to create special laws. This is like the Stalinist times. AutoMaidan will continue to work and will be the engine of the revolution. I am very glad that all over Ukraine in various cities are creating AutoMaidans… I am happy for the bravery of these guys who have families, kids, and are not afraid. they are risking their vehicles to achieve independence of Ukraine AutoMaidan and Road Control continue to work despite the fact that they set cars on fire I am grateful for your support, including financial support.” He asked for members of parliament to investigate the case of Viktor Smaliy, who is now in prison. Dzyndzia has been arrested and detained on spurious charges that have recently been dismissed. Other members of the Road Control group have been attacked or fled, fearing persecution. — Katya Gorchinskaya and Mark Rachkevych

 

EuroMaidan activist mocks Kozhara

Feb. 2, 1:52 p.m. Serhiy Payarkov, an AutoMaidan activist, spoke at today’s rally, mocking Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara’s comments in Munich on Feb. 1 questioning whether kidnapped AutoMaidan leader Dmytro Bulatov suffered serious injuries or was even abducted. Kozhara dismissed Bulatov’s injuries as a scratch on the face. Actually, Bulatov was beaten for eight days before released and his captors even nailed his hand to a door during the torture. “Kozhara and President Viktor Yanukovych will make it into Ukraine’s history as a small scratch, like he said about Bulatov’s face. They can’t scare us. Thirty cars went to the left bank of the city. We continue our work. The government will always be for the people, and not the other away around. You are starting a new Ukraine, a European Ukraine, and AutoMaidan will be with you. Thank you.” AutoMaidan organizes roving car caravans that have irritated top officials with their pickets outside their luxury homes. — Mark Rachkevych

More cars burned overnight in Kyiv

Feb. 2, 1:38 p.m. — Seven more vehicles were burned last night in three Kyiv districts, according to the city branch of the Emergencies Ministry. The fires took place in the Darnytskiy, Dniprovskiy and Obolon neighborhoods. EuroMaidan activists have been the subject of a terror campaign, involving the kidnapping or or assaults of activists, as well as the destruction of their property

A coordinated campaign of arsons setting fire to cars has been under way in Kyiv for several days. Police have reported no arrests behind the related crimes.

EuroMaidan protesters not advancing in taking over regional government headquarters

Feb. 2, 1:32 p.m. — The movement by EuroMaidan protesters to take over regional government headquarters has stalled. While seven western oblast administration buildings are in the protesters hands, the pro-presidential Party of Regions remains in control of most of them. According to EuroMaidanPR: “After several conversations with different people, the situation in Poltava is clearer: the building of the Regional Council is under the demonstrator’s control, the Regional Administration – under the government’s control. — Brian Bonner

 

A map showing which oblast government headquarters are in EuroMaidan protesters’ hands, which are being contested and which remain with the government.

 

Rally starts with prayers, to be followed by informational meeting

Feb. 2, 1 p.m. — Today’s rally is starting with religious leaders speaking. Organizers say that, rather than the usual rally, today EuroMaidan organizers will give rally participants an update on the strategy as the anti-government protests enter their 74th day today, buoyed by a strong show of support from Western leaders at the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Feb. 1. It appears that at least several thousand people have turned out in sunny, subzero weather.— Brian Bonner

 

 

A picture taken on February 2, 2014 of a barricade in Kiev. Ukraine’s opposition holds a new rally on February 2,2014 amid concern about military intervention in the country’s worst crisis since independence, after pledges of support from Europe and the United States and fresh accusations from Russia. The wave of protests that has shaken Ukraine began when Yanukovych turned down a partnership with the European Union under Russian pressure and instead signed up for a $15 billion (11 billion euro) bailout and gas supply discounts from Moscow. AFP PHOTO / Angelos Tzortzinis

 

Police angry they can’t see Bulatov to question him

Feb. 2, 11:20 a.m. — Police have voiced frustration at not being able to question leading AutoMaidan activist Dmytro Bulatov to investigate his eight-day kidnapping because “doctors or members of parliament” are not giving them access to him at the hospital.

statement on the Interior Ministry’s website says that a special investigative group of 20 law enforcement personnel was assigned to the case.

The Interior Ministry says Bulatov is healthy enough to be interviewed after receiving medical care following eight days of torture, mutilation and crucifixion injuries on his hands.

Activists believe the true motive of police is to take Bulatov into custody. He currently is accused of taking part in a riot which carries up to 15 years in prison. The criminal charges are presumably in reference to a roving protest-on-wheels that Bulatov has marshaled to residences of top government officials, including the lavish mansion of President Viktor Yanukovych.

“In fact, these actions may indicate a desire to delay the investigation or a disinterest in finding the truth,” said the Interior Ministry statement concerning their prevention in seeing Bulatov. The police expressed frustration that they weren’t called first when Bulatov was found in a rural village outside Kyiv on Jan. 30 and only were notified of his whereabouts from the private medical clinic where he was taken. — Mark Rachkevych

EuroMaidan activist in Kalush kidnapped, assaulted and released

Feb. 2, 12:44 a.m. — Nataliya Matskiv, a EuroMaidan activist in the western Ukrainian city of Kalush (Ivano Frankivsk Oblast) was kidnapped by two unknown men near her house on Feb. 1, according to ipress.ua news outlet. She was forced inside a car, where her abductors sprayed black aerosol paint on her face. After that, they threw her out of the car. “It is a warning,” one of her abductors told the activist. — Olena Goncharova

 

Nataliya Matskiv was kidnapped and sprayed with black aerosol paint as a warning by her abductors.

Poroshenko says Bulatov will be taken out of Ukraine for treatment

Feb. 1, 10:50 p.m. — Petro Poroshenko said that AutoMaidan activist Dmytro Bulatov will be taken out of Ukraine for treatment because he remains in danger of arrest and harassment at home.

“Tomorrow we will evacuate Dmitry from the country to one of the EU countries to to give him qualified medical treatment,” Poroshenko said.

Bulatov, who was missing for eight days after he was kidnapped on Jan. 21, was tortured and beaten in detention. He was crucified by his captors, and a part of his ear was cut off. He is currently in Borys clinic in Kyiv, and is wanted by the police, who accuse him of organizing mass riots. The Interior Ministry also complained in a statement today that investigators were blocked from seeing Bulatov in hospital, and cannot move fast in the search for his captors. —Katya Gorchinskaya

 

 

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara (L) and the head of the Ukrainian UDAR (Punch) party Vitali Klitschko (R) follow a panel discussion during the 50th Munich Security Conference on February 1, 2014 in Munich, southern Germany. The annual meeting of the global “strategic community” was set to deal with thorny international issues, from the Syrian war and Ukraine’s turmoil to Iran’s nuclear programme and US online surveillance. AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOF STACHE

 

Kerry meets with Ukrainian government officials, opposition at Munich conference

Feb. 1, 10:40 p.m. — The Kyiv Post is not at the 50th Munich Security Conference, but here’s what Time magazine is reporting from today’s events: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Ukrainian government officials and opposition leaders Saturday, voicing the United States’ support for the opposition’s goals even as protests raged in Kiev and across the country. On the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, Kerry told Ukrainian opposition leaders Vitali Klychko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and Petro Poroschenko that they have the backing of the United States.” The full story is here — Brian Bonner

 

The head of the Ukrainian UDAR (Punch) party Vitali Klitschko, Ukrainian businessman and politician Petro Poroshenko, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Ukrainian opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk pose for a picture prior to a meeting during the Munich Security Conference at the Bayerischer Hof Hotel February 1, 2014 in Munich, southern Germany. The annual meeting of the global “strategic community” was set to deal with thorny international issues, from the Syrian war and Ukraine’s turmoil to Iran’s nuclear programme and US online surveillance. AFP PHOTO / POOL / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

 

Opposition leaders discuss Ukraine’s anti-crisis plan with US, EU officials 

Feb. 1, 8:30 p.m. Batkivshyna faction leader Arseniy Yatseniuk says opposition has a concrete plan that will help on settling Ukraine’s political crisis. The plan was discussed today at Munich Security Conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Ukrainska Pravda reports.

According to Yatseniuk, there’re four key points to follow. “The first one is to stop violence in Ukraine, the second – release of the detainees and provide investigations on the facts of abduction, beatings, torturing and murders of the activists. The last thing – is to approve constitutional reform and come back to a parliamentary-presidential republic,” Yatseniuk said. — Olena Goncharova 

 

 

A young woman kisses an anti-government protester at at a road bloc barricade in Kyiv on February 1, 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. Ukrainian boxer turned protest leader Vitali Klitschko warned on February 1 of “a spiral of escalation” and the threat of civil war in his country as he met top diplomats at an international security meeting. AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS © AFP

 

EuroMaidanSOS reports 35 missing activists as of Feb. 1

Feb. 1, 7:44 p.m. — EuroMaidanSOS, an informal group of activists who investigate and track the disappearances of anti-government protesters, reported on Feb. 1 that 35 people who have participated in the protest movement are currently missing. The list can be found here  — Olena Goncharova 

35 activists are currently missing as of Feb. 1.

Kozhara says Bulatov is fine, has a scratch on his cheek

Feb 1, 6:20 p.m. –Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara dismissed claims of torture of activist Dmytro Bulatov, and said his disappearance for eight days may have been staged.

“Now it looks like the alleged story that he was kidnapped and tortured is not absolutely true,” Kozhara told Al Jazeera TV channel from Munich. “The investigation is going on, physically this man is in a good condition, the only thing he has is a scratch on one of his cheeks. So, let’s wait for the investigation that will reveal specific facts about what happened to this specific person.”

Asked whether Bulatov can leave for Germany for treatment, Kozhara said: “He’s in the hospital, he’s not detained, the only thing left is an interview with the police. And after this interview, interrogation, he will be absolutely free to go anywhere he wants.” –Katya Gorchinskaya

Watch the video here.

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. The Emergencies Ministry said that at least 23 cars, many 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 Yanukoych 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 Klyuyev, 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 assets of 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

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

Lutsenko says 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 person, dressed as a panda, walks past protesters near a barricade at Kyiv’s central street Khreshchatyk on Feb 1, 2014. Ukraine’s opposition warned Saturday the military may move against anti-government demonstrators, ahead of talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry over the country’s worst crisis since independence. The warning came hours after the army weighed in on the crisis for the first time, calling on President Viktor Yanukovych to act urgently to end the turmoil. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV

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

Feb. 1, 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

Feb. 1, 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

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