Happening Now: Ukraine

Hundreds of thousands gathered in the Ukraine capital Kiev’s Independence Square (Maidan) 24 November 2013 in frustration over the government’s decision to decline an alignment deal with the European Union and instead opt for closer ties with Russia. The opposition has grown in strength, solidifying its base, by spreading occupations across the nation and trying to undermine the president’s power. Ukraine’s President Yanukovich has met with the opposition multiple times since November to no avail, insisting that the government will attempt to form an Ukrainian alliance with both the EU and Russia. 


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Police forces in Ukraine’s capital Kiev have stormed the main anti-government protest camp set up in Independence Square (Maidan) on 18 February 2014. Clashes then ensued and have continued since then. Death and injury tolls are continuing to grow as unrest across Ukraine hasn’t died down for two days thus far. A truce was announced Wednesday night between the President and opposition leaders. The truce was broken and has resulted in another day – 20 February 2014 – of deadly instability. The Ukraine parliament has voted a resolution to disarm police and troops to end the crisis.

[Updates are of local Ukrainian time, with most recent at top — Refresh to get the latest]

21 February 2014

5:05PM Ukraine’s parliament votes in favor of an unconditional amnesty for all people detained in current unrest (Reuters)

4:58PM Ukrainian parliament votes to approve moves to revert to 2004 constitution, stripping president of some powers (Reuters)

4:30PM FULL TEXT: Agreement on the Settlement of Crisis in Ukraine

Concerned with the tragic loss of life in Ukraine, seeking an immediate end
of bloodshed and determined to pave the way for a political resolution of the
crisis, We, the signing parties, have agreed upon the following:

1. Within 48 hours of the signing of this agreement, a special law will be adopted,
signed and promulgated, which will restore the Constitution of 2004 including
amendments passed until now. Signatories declare their intention to create a
coalition and form a national unity government within 10 days thereafter.

2. Constitutional reform, balancing the powers of the President, the government
and parliament, will start immediately and be completed in September 2014.

3. Presidential elections will be held as soon as the new Constitution is adopted
but no later than December 2014. New electoral laws will be passed and a new
Central Election Commission will be formed on the basis of proportionality and in
accordance with the OSCE & Venice commission rules.

4. Investigation into recent acts of violence will be conducted under joint
monitoring from the authorities, the opposition and the Council of Europe.

5. The authorities will not impose a state of emergency. The authorities and the
opposition will refrain from the use of violence. The Parliament will adopt the
3rd amnesty, covering the same range of illegal actions as the 17th February 2014
law.

Both parties will undertake serious efforts for the normalisation of life in the cities
and villages by withdrawing from administrative and public buildings and
unblocking streets, city parks and squares.

Illegal weapons should be handed over to the Ministry of Interior bodies within
24 hours of the special law, referred to in point 1 hereof, coming into force. After
the aforementioned period, all cases of illegal carrying and storage of weapons
will fall under the law of Ukraine. The forces of authorities and of the opposition
will step back from confrontational posture. The Government will use law
enforcement forces exclusively for the physical protection of public buildings.

6. The Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, Poland and the Special
Representative of the President of the Russian Federation call for an immediate
end to all violence and confrontation.

Signatories:
Viktor Yanukovych Vitaliy Klichko, UDAR
Oleh Tyahnibok, Svoboda
Arsenij Yatseniuk, Batkivshchyna

Witnessed by:
For the EU: For the Russian Federation
Poland Germany France

4:20PM German foreign minister says Ukraine deal sets early presidential election for this year, no date set; German minister confirms deal includes return to 2004 constitution, creation of national unity government (Reuters)

4:10PM Excerpted report from Reuters:

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich on Friday signed an agreement with three opposition leaders to end a crisis that sparked violent clashes between protesters and police on the streets of the capital Kiev. […]

The agreement followed an announcement by Yanukovich to hold early elections, to form a national unity government and relinquish some of his presidential powers. The agreement was witnessed by two European Union foreign ministers who brokered the deal.

3:57PM Ukraine’s President and opposition leaders have signed an agreement aimed at ending crisis (Reuters)

3:15PM Here’s a snippet from The Interpreter on how the protesters on the ground are largely apolitical and won’t move even if a deal is reached:

Whatever happens on the political front, there remains a fundamental reality in Kiev, and elsewhere – the protesters don’t want to go anywhere. If a condition of any deal or ceasefire is the removal of the protesters, it will almost certainly collapse. In fact, as is often the case with these situations, the protesters in the squares don’t necessarily follow the commands of a single leader.

3PM Ukrainian protesters agree to president’s proposal on defusing crisis, German foreign ministry says (AP)

3PM The Presidency says deal reached at crisis talks with EU ministers and will be signed later on Friday (BBC News)

2:30PM EU ministers win backing for agreement on resolving Ukraine crisis from council representing Kiev protesters, EU source tells (Reuters)

1PM President Yanukovych announces early elections and return to 2004 constitution with reduced powers for president (AP)

12PM Ukrainian protesters open fire on police between Kiev’s Independence Square and the parliament building, police statement says. Ukrainian police fired back when shot at by protesters between Kiev’s Independence Square and parliament (Reuters)

9AM Ukraine’s President Yanukovych says deal has been reached to resolve crisis; no comment from opposition (BBC News)

8AM Health ministry reports 77 people dead, 577 injured in Kiev since Tuesday (BBC News)

2AM Anti-government demonstrators at the Maidan allow the captured interior troops to leave Independence Square

2AM Kharkiv governor Dobkin tweets the anti-Maidan “Ukrainian Front” group is organizing a meeting of deputies from the country’s south-eastern regions in the city on 22 February (BBC News)

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20 February 2014

11:55PM Opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleg Tiahnybok describe today’s parliamentary vote to withhold fire as the most important decision taken by lawmakers (BBC News)

11:50PM Jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko urges opposition leaders not to hold talks, says President Yanukovych has “crossed the line of law.” NBC News has the full statement:

I demand that the opposition would never sit down to talks with Yanukovych anymore. Each of us who violates this taboo would become Yanukovych’s accomplice in murder of innocent people.

From this minute, the only demand of people, of the civil society, of the opposition, of the international community and every ethical person should only be instant dismissal of Yanukovych from the post of the president of Ukraine and bringing him to trial for organizing mass murder of peaceful citizens.

I ask the leaders of the democratic world to urgently find a way to hear Yanukovych’s case in the International Criminal Court and immediately isolate him from peaceful citizens like a dangerous beast!

11:20PM An unofficial list of what the Ukrainian parliament passed is as follows:

Tonight, the Ukrainian Parliament has decided:

1. Troops should go back to barracks
2. No guns are allowed to be used against Ukrainians
3. Stop all anti-terrorist operations
4. All deaths and other casualties should be investigated and the guilty brought to court
5. All victims should be supported and compensated as well as their families
6. All activists should be released and all cases closed
7. All blocking of traffic and other public transportation should stop
8. Only parliament can declare a state of emergency

[Hat tip to The Interpreter]

11PM The parliament is still meeting and discussing the resolution in approval as well as other clauses. The Interpreter has more:

The Rada [parliament] has enough members for a quorum, meaning that they are legally in session, but they are now unanimously or nearly unanimously rewriting the laws of the land to strip Yanukovych of many of his powers.

This is a major oversight by the Yanukovych camp. We’re not sure yet what exactly is being agreed upon, but Yanuykovych may soon have no power — except the power to operate illegally.

10:55PM 67 people killed in clashes since Tuesday, Kiev health department says; anti-government protesters, medics say much higher (Al Jazeera)

10:45PM Hold off on parliament resolution. It passed in approval but there is no speaker to sign it as they’re not present in Kiev. (Twitter)

10:40PM The Ukraine parliament resolution looks like it also includes a ceasefire, the ending of the announced anti-terrorism campaign, an investigation of deaths and the resuming of normal Kiev city operations. It also includes the reminder that only the parliament can rule a state of emergency. (Twitter)

10:30PM The Ukraine parliament has passed a resolution to stop current military actions and release hostages (Twitter)

10PM Opposition leader Klitschko says no agreements to resolve Ukraine crisis yet, “whether any decisions will be taken depends on the president” (BBC News)

9:20PM A pro-Yanukovich group formed after the anti-government movement gained traction, the Ukrainian Front. There was word that they were mobilizing to the capital city of Kiev in order to defend the government. It has been then decided they’d go back to their stronghold:

The chairman of the Kharkiv Regional Government, Mikhail Dobkin announced that activists from the “Ukrainian Front” are turning back from Kiev to Kharkiv.

“Activists from the Ukrainian Front, who have been heading out from Kharkiv to Kiev to help restore order over the last seven days, are returning on my command today. Firearms are being used against civilians and police there, and we have no right to risk people’s lives.” said Dobkin.

According to him, after their return, the activists will join the ranks of the regional defense force.

“We have no other choice. It’s impossible to withdraw the army to defend our territory. The police force is depleted. We have no other option left but to organise ourselves” said the chairman.

[Hat tip to The Interpreter]

9:15PM Ukrainian opposition leader Klitschko says no clear result yet, hopes for decision on roadmap tonight (Reuters)

9PM Ukraine’s President Yanokovich told European Union envoys he is willing to hold early elections, a Polish PM said (AFP)

8PM A video just posted  to YouTube today shows military paratroopers marching into Ukraine’s capital city of Kiev. Army vehicles are also seen in the footage. Hat tip to The Interpreter for finding and sharing this. (YouTube)

7:30PM The interior ministry says that 13 police have been killed since 18 February, with 565 needing medical attention including 410 admitted to hospital, Interfax reports (BBC News)

7PM Ukraine’s Parliament is still meeting, as per local live TV stream (Espreso TV)

6:45PM Another reporter in opposition stronghold Lviv reports, “Organisers in Lviv sending people to Kiev say no more buses today because ‘something serious’ will happen in Kiev tonight” (Twitter)

6:40PM A reporter from Moscow in Kiev, Ukraine reports, “Quiet. Government forces presumably regrouping around parliament. Protesters control all ground lost since Tuesday” (Twitter)

6:30PM Kiev now in a state of crisis. BBC News gets an email from Ukraine, “Kiev is in full panic mode. No cash in ATMs. Huge lines for gas and food. Taxi fares rise threefold” (BBC News)

6:15PM “It is awful out here,” reporter Christopher Miller said on the situation in Kiev. “I watched one man drop dead next to me. Yes, police are using live ammo and snipers” (Mashable)

6PM UNIAN news organization in Ukraine reports the regional council in Rivne, a north-eastern Ukrainian region, voted to strip the government-appointed regional administration of its powers. “We have assumed responsibility for running Rivne Region,” council chairman Mykhaylo Kyrylov says (UNIAN)

5:55PM A top medic from the protesters’ side says that at least 70 activists have been killed in Kiev on Thursday (AP)

5:5oPM The Parliament of Ukraine seem to be meeting right now despite ongoing unrest and violence, as per Espreso TV live stream (Espreso TV)

5:45PM Store shelves are emptying across Ukraine with food running out, a photo on Twitter shows bread shelves gone (Twitter)

5:35PM People across Ukraine are lining up at gas stations, showing there is fear of further instability among the Ukrainian population (Twitter)

5PM Kiev metro starts running again after being suspended on Tuesday – but key stations in central Kiev remain closed (BBC News)

4:50PM About 100 protesters killed in Ukraine this morning, plus about 500 injured, medics on protest side say (CNN)

4:40PM Interior Ministry reports more than 50 police officers hospitalized, 30 of those suffered gun shot wounds (Kyiv Post)

4:30PM Russia is sending an envoy to Kiev to try to mediate in negotiations between Ukraine’s president and the opposition (Reuters)

4:20PM Ivano-Frankivsk regional council in western Ukraine passes a vote of no-confidence in President Yanukovych designating him an “illegitimate head of state,” local UNIAN news reports (UNIAN)

4:10PM Kiev’s metro is restored but rather really slow. BBC cites local news orgs, “Trains running from opposition-minded western Ukraine to Kiev are either badly delayed or cancelled.” (BBC News)

4PM 3 policemen killed, over 50 injured in violent Kiev clashes, Ukraine’s interior ministry confirms (Interfax)

3:55PM Ukrainian police given firearms and will use them in accordance with the law, says Acting Interior Minister of Ukraine Vitaliy Zakharchenko, according to Reuters (BBC News)

3:45PM Councillors in Ukraine’s western Transcarpathia Region have voted to declare the region “free of Yanukovych rule,” local UNIAN news reports (UNIAN)

3PM From a reporter in Ukraine, “Just arrived in Lviv where protesters seem to be in total control of the city. No police to be seen.” (Twitter)

2:45PM Ukraine’s Interior Ministry has issued a statement, the statement is as follows, via the BBC:

Today, despite it being the day of mourning, despite the truce, they fire at riot police and internal military forces, targeting them with weapons since the early morning on Instytutska street. At this moment there are more than 20 injured police officers who have been taken to hospital for medical treatment.

2:35PM A video (viewer discretion advised) posted onto YouTube appears to show protesters being shot on on the streets in Kiev, Ukraine (YouTube)

2:25PM At least 54 people have been killed since the start of the week, the AFP new agency says, citing its own casualty count and figures provided by the health ministry (BBC News)

2:10PM Opposition leader Klitschko posted a video statement on the situation in Kiev and across Ukraine today via YouTube. The BBC News translated the statement below:

“Esteemed Ukrainians, Today is the decisive day. Bloodshed continues. The government has resorted to bloody provocations in front of the whole world’s eyes. Armed thugs have been let loose in the streets to attack people and create an illusion that there is a confrontation between citizens. But these plans are doomed. Together, all of us have a duty to stop bloodshed.”

The BBC adds more on the video translation, saying that the leader states three points:

  • Members of parliament must meet at 1300 GMT to urgently to approve decisions on ending the crisis.
  • President Yanukovych must call an early presidential election. This is the only end to stop violence now.
  • Addressing every citizen he said join forces with your neighbours and friends to defend your lives, health and property. Prevent lawlessness in your streets.

1:30PM Metro will soon reopen as Kiev city governor changes allegiance (Kyiv Post)

1:30PM Newly appointed Kiev city administrator Volodymyr Makeenko resigns from president’s party amid deadly clashes in Ukraine (Twitter)

1:30PM Ukrainian Interior Ministry, Kiev’s local government urge people not to travel to the center of the city for security reasons, Interfax reports (BBC News)

1PM Ukrainian opposition leader Klitschko appeals to demonstrators to unite, MPs to meet to call for early elections (NBC News)

1PM An Associated Press reporter has counted 18 bodies at the Kiev protest encampment; death toll now at 22 people today (AP)

12:45PM Ukraine’s opposition trying to buy time with talks to arm militants, Ukrainian presidential administration alleges; Ukraine’s interior ministry denies reports that some security forces are siding with protesters (Interfax)

8:40AM Ukrainian Health Ministry reports 28 dead, 287 hospitalized during clashes in Kiev (AP)

8:15AM From a reporter on the ground, “Protesters, police on Independence Square seem not to have gotten truce memo. Violent clashes there continue this morning amid fire, smoke” (Twitter)

4:30AM Far-right wing of Ukrainian opposition refuses to observe truce, leader says (Russia Today)

4AM Truce by Ukraine President Yanukovich and opposition leaders is broken as violence erupts across Kiev’s Maidan

3:40AM A newly formed Ukranian pro-government group called the Ukrainian Front has a mobilization out to protect the government as the nation is unraveling through widespread unrest. Al Jazeera has the report here:

The movement that was set up in Kharkiv on February 1 with the blessing of the ruling Party of Regions is feared to be aiming to confront a far-right opposition group Pravy Sector that announced its own “full mobilisation” on February 18. Their “peaceful march to the parliament building” turned into violent clashes between the protesters and the government forces.

3:20AM All quiet on the Maidan front.

3:00AM CNN sent out a report two hours ago stating the Ukraine troops were taking defensive positions. Here’s more:

Ukrainian military forces have moved into defensive positions around bases and weapons depots in the past few hours, according to a U.S. defense official familiar with the latest intelligence.

The move is seen by the United States as an effort to ensure the military’s facilities remain secure.

So far, the move appears to mainly involve Ukraine military personnel, with no widespread movement of armored vehicles. All of that is leading to the preliminary U.S. assessment that the move is defensive.

1:15AM Opposition leaders and participants continue to speak on the Maidan stage as the late night and morning hours arrive in Ukraine’s Kiev (Espreso TV)

1AM Live video streams continue to show anti-government protesters present in Kiev’s Maidan. Fires are still burning across Ukraine’s capital public space as more and more explosions are heard from fireworks and sound flashes. (Reuters)

12:35AM From reporter on the scene, “From Ukraine hotel atop the Independence Square, truce doesn’t look peaceful” (Twitter)

12:30AM Almost an hour after the truce is announced by the Ukranian president’s office and opposition leaders, fireworks continue to go off in Kiev’s Maidan. Numbers are strong and fires are still raging despite a light rain. (Espreso TV)

12AM More on the truce announced between the Ukraine government and opposition from Kyiv Post:

Ukrainina President Viktor Yanukovych held a meeting with Verkhovna Rada speaker Volodymyr Rybak, presidential chief of staff Andriy Klyuyev, deputy chief of staff Andriy Portnov, Acting Justice Minister Olena Lukash and opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Vitali Klitschko and Oleh Tiahnybok.

Following the meeting, the parties declared a truce and announced the start of the negotiations aimed at ending bloodshed and stabilizing the situation for the sake of peace, according to a statement on the president’s official website.

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19 February 2013

11:30PM The Ukraine Presidential office announced a truce with the opposition after a meeting with leaders. The following is a statement from the office:

President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych held a meeting with Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Volodymyr Rybak and members of the Working Group on the Settlement of Political Crisis.

The meeting was attended by Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Andriy Kliuyev, First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Andriy Portnov, Acting Minister of Justice Olena Lukash and leaders of opposition parties Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Vitali Klitschko, Oleh Tiahnybok.

Following the meeting, the parties declared:

1. Truce

2. Beginning of negotiations aimed at cessation of bloodshed and stabilization of the situation in the country for the sake of civil peace.

[Statement from Presidential website]

10:15PM Ukraine President Yanukovich is now holding a meeting with the opposition leaders, an opposition leader Klitschko spokeswoman tweets (Twitter)

10:10PM The Governor’s Office was captured by protesters in Zhitomir and the police headquarters was also torched, local Pravda news organization reports (Pravda)

10PM The regional state administration offices in Poltava was stormed by protesters as they used Molotov cocktails and broke windows, local UNIAN news reports (UNIAN)

9:50PM United Nations Secretary-General urges “immediate end to the violence” in Ukraine, urges government to halt “use of excessive force” (NBC News)

9:30PM NATO commander urges Ukraine to avoid using military force against people, calls for dialogue with new military leadership (Reuters)

9:25PM Protesters have ransacked and set fire to the governing Party of Regions office in Poltava, east of Kiev, according to Interfax-Ukraine news agency (BBC News)

9:15PM More than 1,000 people are rallying outside the main police office in Zhytomyr, a city just to the west of Kiev, throwing petrol bombs (BBC News)

9:05PM Opposition back in charge of Kyiv City Hall. More from Kyiv Post:

Activists at the door said they retook the building late on Feb. 18, the day of deadly clashes in which 26 persons were killed, including 10 police officers. Protesters this week have also taken over the central post office on Independence Square and another government building on Prorizna and Khreshchatyk streets that houses the state regulator for television and radio.

9PM Live video of Kiev’s Maidan shows ongoing speeches on the opposition’s stage, as well as, crowds holding the line against police in the Ukraine capital city (Espreso TV)

8:50PM Kiev in a sort of “shut down” state, Kyiv Post has more:

Many shops, businesses and restaurants in Kyiv’s city center heeded the call by government officials to close down their operations amid high tension and high risk of violence because of Ukraine’s ongoing political crisis. Numerous restaurants and other businesses near Independence Square, the scene of a tense standoff between police and protesters, were closed on Feb. 19. So were many mall shops in the center as well as businesses on the main Khreshchatyk Street.

City officials say that schools and day care centers will remain closed until February 21.

The biggest effect on the population, however, is the indefinite closure of Kyiv’s metro, a popular mode of transportation for millions of Ukrainians. Additionally, police are blanketing roads leading to the protest epicenter and stopping all cars trying to get through. Officers sometimes look for weapons, tires, supplies or any other sign that motorists or passengers might be supporting the anti-government EuroMaidan protesters.

8:40PM Unrest is reported in a city outside Kiev and in Khmelnytsky, where protesters turned over a bus to create a protest barricade. Video footage is shared here via the BBC (BBC News)

8:30PM Road closures are reported all around Ukraine’s capital; opposition supporters from the Western Lviv region are trying to get into the city (Twitter)

8PM A YouTube video was released of Berkut – known as government riot police – marching in Ternopil, calling to opposition supporters for forgiveness. It was reported earlier today that police have laid down their arms and joined the opposition in Ternopil (Twitter)

7:50PM Ukraine’s President Yanukovich replaces head of army with head of navy (Bloomberg News)

7:45PM Ukraine’s leader replaces head of army after clashes between police and protesters kill 25 people (AP)

7:30PM Ternopil may be joining Lviv as reports come in of police laying down arms and joining in with the opposition. Local news organization Hromadske TV has sent out this photo report (Twitter)

7:20PM Ukrainian protesters have seized control of the capital’s main post office in Independence Square after being forced out of a nearby building that burned down during Tuesday’s clashes (BBC News)

7PM Ukraine’s Defence Ministry has said the army “may be involved” in the anti-terrorist operation, in a statement on its website. The main objective of the anti-terrorist operation, the defence ministry says, is “to stop extremism and the illegal actions of radical groups that threaten the lives of millions of Ukrainians, to ensure protection for peaceful civilians and not to allow civil war in Ukraine” (BBC News)

6:40PM After independence declared by the Lviv region, the governor of Kharkiv addresses citizens of his oblast, “if anyone tries to destabilize Kharkiv Oblast, they’ll meet stiff resistance” (Kyiv Post)

6PM At least 26 dead from Ukraine protests, 10 of them policemen; 388 participants injured, 263 of them in hospitals, country’s health ministry reports (NBC News)

5:40PM More on Lviv, which is a Western region in Ukraine that has declared political autonomy, from local paper Live Mint:

Lawmakers in Ukraine’s Lviv region declared independence from President Viktor Yanukovych’s government after backers evicted the appointed governor and seized the security service’s headquarters overnight in support of protests in the capital Kiev.

Lviv’s parliament formed an executive committee with department heads in governor Oleh Salo’s administration that will take over the functions of the regional government, Oksana Dmetryv, a spokeswoman for Speaker Petro Kolodiy, said on Wednesday by phone from Lviv, the regional capital. The region of Lviv, bordering Poland, has a population of 2.5 million.

The main task of Lviv’s new executive committee will be to maintain public services and communications, install and enforce public order, and support the protesters in Kiev, Kolodiy said in a statement on the parliament’s website. Protesters took over the governor’s office and won’t let him back in, according to Dmetryv, Kolodiy’s spokeswoman.

[Hat tip to The Interpreter]

5:40PM A huge opposition stronghold, Lviv has declared political autonomy from Ukraine as President Yanukovich fights to stay in power. Lviv is known as an oblast – state, province or region – in Ukraine and is located on the Poland border. Lviv city, along with the region population, has the one of the largest oblast populations in Ukraine. Reuters has the following on the situation in Lviv:

Raising the prospect of Ukraine splitting along a historic cultural and linguistic faultline, the regional assembly in Lviv, a bastion of Ukrainian nationalism near the Polish border, issued a statement condemning President Viktor Yanukovich’s government for its “open warfare” on demonstrators in Kiev and saying it took executive power locally for itself.

In other signs of fraying central control for a government seen as close to business magnates from the Russian-speaking east, Poland said Ukrainians blocked the Korczowa border crossing near Lviv. And local media said opposition groups in other western cities, including Khmelnitsky, Ivano-Frankivsk, Uzhorod and Ternopil, also took over public buildings.

Overnight in Lviv, an ancient city of 750,000 and capital of a region of 2.5 million, hundreds of people took part in protests as demonstrators fought riot police in central Kiev, nearly 500 km (300 miles) to the east.

Young men in ski masks seized the offices of Yanukovich’s administration in Lviv and forced a surrender by Interior Ministry police, making officers come out with their hands up.

Also from Lviv is video footage, via the BBC, showing Ukraine soldiers surrendering to protesters Tuesday.

[Hat tip to The Interpreter]

4:40PM The Security Service of Ukraine and Antiterrorist Center are beginning an anti-terrorist operation in the country (Kyiv Post)

4:35PM 26 people dead in Ukraine due to clashes, 10 of them are policemen, over 600 injured, local media quotes health ministry (NBC News)

4:15PM Ukraine’s security agency says protesters seized over 1,500 firearms amid street clashes (AP)

4:00PM Ukrainian opposition HQ says a fresh police attack on Maidan is planned for 6PM local time (Twitter)

3:10PM Interior Ministry releases partial list of police casualties, identifies five out of the 10 casualties (Kyiv Post)

3PM Three people wounded as security forces open fire at protesters outside the Security Service building in Khmelnytskyy, western Ukraine (BBC News)

2:50PM A total of 263 protesters and 342 police officers are currently in hospital, most of them with gunshot wounds, Ukraine’s acting Health Minister Rayusa Bohatyryova says (BBC News)

2:50PM The Ukrainian Interior Ministry has said that 59 protesters had been detained as of 0800 GMT on 19 February “in connection with clashes between riot police and anti-government protesters over the previous 24 hours” (BBC News)

1:50PM One of the opposition leaders, Vitali Klitschko, has told a German newspaper that President Viktor Yanukovych wants more talks, today, and that he’s prepared to attend, provided the police lay down their weapons (BBC News)

1:50PM Anti-government protesters have broken into the police headquarters in the main city in western Ukraine, Lvov (BBC News)

1:30PM The European Union must put sanctions in place on Ukraine by Thursday, President Hollande of France says (AFP)

12:50PM Protesters in western Ukraine have seized the Trans-Carpathian region regional administration (BBC News)

12:20PM Ukrainian Interior Ministry Vitaliy Zakharchenko says in a statement that police did not use firearms during Tuesday night’s attack on the main protest camp, only “special devices for shooting plastic bullets” (BBC News)

12PM Russia’s Kremlin said Putin and Yanukovich spoke by telephone overnight, calling the events an attempted coup. Putin’s spokesman insisted the Kremlin was sticking to a policy of not intervening in Ukraine (Reuters)

6:20AM Ukraine President Yanukovich sends out an official statement this morning on the ongoing violent situation across Ukraine and after the failed talks with the opposition. The following is a selected end of the statement by Yanukovich:

Therefore, I once again urge the leaders of the opposition, who argue that they too seek a peaceful settlement immediately disassociate themselves from the radical forces that provoke bloodshed and clashes with law enforcement. Or, if they do not want vidmezhovuvatysya – admit that they support the Radicals. Then with them is another story.

I will tell you frankly, I have come advisors who try to persuade me to tough choices – to the use of force. But I always thought the use of force wrong approach. There are better and more effective way – to find common ground . Compromise. Agree. I have said repeatedly that this case is somewhat loose power. Lost and opposition. But Ukraine will win.

I strongly urged to refrain from radical action. But I have not heard.

Again and again appeal. Not too late to listen. Still not too late to stop the conflict.

So, we will not refund the victims. Yes, we have paid a very heavy price for the ambitions of those who are eager for power. But the price was not even higher calling – shamenitsya! I must sit down at the negotiating table and to save Ukraine. For generations to come we do not forgive , if we destroy the state, which should belong to them – to our descendants.

Dear compatriots! Dear people who lost loved ones in this senseless conflict, let me express my deepest sympathy to you . I know that the words of grief not help. I understand that you have suffered a terrible tragedy. But I would like to make you feel at that moment my support and my sincere regret.

Now all we have to realize one thing – even the tough confrontation over. But Ukraine should remain forever. This is our task . And this – our home and the very first goal.

Viktor Yanukovych

[Translated excerpt via Google Translate; full statement here]

6:10AM Ukraine President Yanukovich blames opposition leaders for the latest violence in Kiev, urging them to “distance themselves from radical forces.” (BBC News)

5:45AM The Trade Unions building in Kiev, Ukraine – which has operated as the opposition headquarters for the last few months – is now engulfed in flames after having been taken over by government riot cops. (Twitter)

5:30AM Ukrainian opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk says protesters won’t surrender amid clashes in Kiev, says “we will stand with the people” (Twitter)

4AM Police reportedly launch new assault on burning protest camp in Kiev, Ukraine (BBC News)

3AM Opposition leader Klitschko came out of a meeting with President Yanukovich stating there was no agreement reached over the ongoing violence in Kiev’s Maidan and across Ukraine. He stated the following on the post-midnight meeting:

Yanukovych reacts to the situation absolutely inadequately. All he’s been talking about is that the leaders of the opposition should call on people on Maidan to end the standoff and lay down arms. These are police forces that are violently shooting at protesters downtown Kyiv. This is what I suggest: authorities should immediately withdraw law enforcers and put an end to the bloody crackdown, as people continue to die. This is what I’ve told Yanukovych. Could talks be a solution while blood has been shed? But unfortunately he has no understanding of the situation.

[Quote from Kyiv Post]

3AM Also in attendance at the meeting with opposition leader Klitschko and President Yanukovich was another opposition leader Yatseniuk who had the following to say about the meeting:

Deputies from the opposition said Yanukovych threatened all opposition leaders with criminal responsibility. We only had one item: immediately start the truce, but they told us to effectively give in. Since a truce has not been announced and the government has no such desire, we’re standing on the brink of the most dramatic page of the history of Ukraine.

[Quote from Kyiv Post]

2AM 221 people reported injured, another 114 hospitalized in Kiev protests, Ukrainian Health Ministry says (BBC News)

2 thoughts on “Happening Now: Ukraine

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