Daily digest of main Ukrainian news (Euromaidan focus), January 29

Daily Updates, News

by Internews Ukraine

Courts rule arrest of 49 persons detained during Hrushevskoho street clashes. Kyiv district courts ruled arrest of 49 persons suspected in engaging into mass riots on Hurshevskoho street. The detained are subject to possible 8- to 15-year imprisonment. 14 more are under home arrest. According to a statistics provided by Lb.ua, a news website, the number of the arrested on political reasons these days reached 66 people.

Court imposes 2-month imprisonment over an Automaidan leader. One of Automaidan leaders, Serhiy Hadzhynov, was imprisoned for 2 months, his lawyer Dmytro Vovdiy said. The court’s decision could have been taken in response to the events related to people’s attack on Cherkasy regional state administration on 26-27 January. Hadzhynov, meanwhile, denied he had been involved in any infringements of the law.

Opposition rejects amnesty bill proposed by the Party of the Regions. Majority of opposition MPs rejected an amnesty bill proposed by the Party of the Regions, which makes release of the arrested protesters conditional on unblocking administration buildings seized by the protesters. The opposition MPs insist that the bill should be passed without additional conditions.

Yatseniuk: any demands to dissolve EuroMaidan are unacceptable. Authorities’ demands to dissolve EuroMaidan in respond to a law pardoning detained protestors are unacceptable to people, Arseniy Yatseniuk stressed. The sides continue negotiations on the law on amnesty, the opposition leader noted, adding that amnesty would not apply to those who kill kidnap and torture people. Any attacks against journalist would not be tolerated either, he said.

Ukraine can lose its voting rights in PACE, warns draft resolution. Draft resolution of the Parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe warns that Ukraine can lose its voting right in the Assembly if violence is not stopped.

Canada imposed sanctions on Ukrainian officials. Canada imposed sanctions on Ukrainian officials involved in cracking down peaceful protests in Ukraine. According to the statement issued by country’s foreign and immigration ministries, Canada will continue supporting Ukrainian people who “stand fearlessly for democracy.”

Obama backs Ukrainian people. The US President Barack Obama said he supports Ukrainian people in their peaceful protests and struggle for the future. “In Ukraine, we are committed to the principle that provides all people with the right to express themselves freely and peacefully,” Obama emphasized.

Yanukovych met Ashton. Victor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s president, met Catherine Ashton, chief EU diplomat, who visited Kyiv today. President’s press service, however, does not disclose details of the meeting.

Putin: Russia would not interfere in Ukraine’s domestic affairs. Speaking on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President, noted that Moscow would not interfere in Ukraine’s domestic affairs, Newsru.ua reported. “I can imagine reaction of European partners if Russian foreign minister appears amid anti-European demonstrations in Greece or Cyprus,” Putin said, adding that Moscow disapproves visits of the EU diplomats and officials to Maidan given a specific nature of Russia-Ukraine relations. Putin also doubted a necessity of Russian mediation in Ukrainian crisis. The more mediators are present the worse, Putin said.

Russia suspends assistance to Ukraine despite Putin’s statement. Dmitriy Medvedev, Russia’s Prime Minister, said he proposed suspending Russia’s assistance to Ukraine until the composition of Ukraine’s new government is clarified. This move contradicts earlier statement of Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President, saying during a joint press briefing with EU leaders that Moscow would not revise conditions of its loan worth USD 15 billion after resignation of Ukrainian government. The loan was allocated to Ukrainian people not to the government, Putin noted during the briefing.

Ukraine’s dictatorship laws revoked yesterday. The Ukrainian Parliament revoked 9 of the earlier adopted 11 laws, which significantly restricted democracy in the country and had led to clashes between the security forces and protesters on the streets of Kyiv, EaP Media Freedom Watch reported. In particular, the parliament revoked laws providing for criminal responsibility for libel, mandatory registration of websites as information agencies, blocking of sites without a court decision, or banning collecting information about employees of law enforcement bodies and judges. The abolition of these regulations, widely called “dictatorship laws”, was a step agreed by the authorities and the opposition as the way out of the current political crisis.

Tusk: Ukraine needs European perspective. In his interview to TVP 1, a Polish TV channel, Donald Tusk, Poland’s Prime Minister, said that he prepares a tour around Europe aimed at seeking assistance in solving Ukrainian conflict, Liga reported. He also warned Kyiv from further escalation of the crisis, adding that violence could discourage many European political groups from positive contribution on Ukrainian side. “Ukraine is a great, proud and independent state with ambitious nation ready to fight for its future,” the Prime Minister said, doubting whether Kyiv needs mediation in solving the crisis. What Ukraine does need is European help and perspective, Tusk stressed, adding that Ukraine needs to find solution determining its future in Kyiv and only in Kyiv. Liga

Ex-President suggests becoming a guarantor in government-opposition talks. Leonid Kravchuk, the first President of independent Ukraine (1991-1994,) has offered his services in seeking the way out of a crisis, saying he is ready to become a guarantor in negotiations between the authorities and opposition. As he argued, Ukraine is “on a brink of civil war” as “protests have turned into rebellion.” In this regard, Kravchuk called on MPs to consolidate and vote for the amnesty bill. “Only you [MPs], together with the President, could resolve dramatic issues Ukraine is facing,” Kravchuk concluded.

PoR MP Oliynyk: interior minister should be responsible for police unlawful actions. Vitaliy Zacharchenko, Ukraine’s acting minister of interior, should bear political responsibility for unlawful actions committed by police amid mass protests, Volodymyr Oliynyk, an MP representing the Party of the Regions faction, said. The minister could be also criminally prosecuted if he gave criminal orders, the MP added.

PoR supporters robbed journalist. “Supporters” of the ruling Party of the Regions, who gathered on a rally summoned by the authorities near the Ukrainian parliament on Jan. 29, seized the accreditation card and iPad of Bohdan Kutepov, a journalist of hromadske.tv. The journalist was broadcasting the events online when participants of this pro-government gathering assaulted him. The Ukrainian authorities recently have openly used specially hired criminal-looking people to confront the peaceful protests, beat and intimidate protesters, and impede the work of journalists. Usually the police acts in concert with these groups and does not respond to their illegal actions. Source: EaP Media Freedom Watch

Journalists distributed photos of beaten colleagues among MPs On January 28th, during the briefing of Oleksandr Yefremov, the Chairman of the Party of the Regions faction in the Verkhovna Rada, journalists working at the Parliament held a rally of solidarity with their colleagues, who had been recently beaten. After posing the last question, the journalists stood behind the MP, holding photos of beaten journalists in their hands. Yefremov promised that all the responsible for the attacks on media workers would be brought to justice. These photos were afterwards handed to Yefremov. Similar actions were also conducted to draw attention of other MPs from the ruling party. Source: EaP Media Freedom Watch

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