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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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
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
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
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
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