Daily digest of main Ukrainian news (Euromaidan focus), January 30

2014/01/30 • Daily Updates, News

by Internews Ukraine

Parliament passed PoR drafted amnesty law. In the late evening of 29 January Ukrainian Parliament passed the Party of the Regions drafted amnesty law with 232 MPs out of 450 voted in favour. The law foresees amnesty for protestors if the seized administrative buildings and transport roads are cleared from demonstrators. The law also gives protesters two weeks to fulfill these demands. Ukrainian media underlined that the bill was adopted after Victor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s President, and members of his administration came to the Parliament to persuade PoR MPs to back this bill. An amnesty bill prepared by opposition did not impose any conditions for protestors’ liberation.

Yanukovych stopped mutiny within his party to adopt amnesty law. Insider printed a report on yesterday’s plenary day in the Parliament saying that the Parliament could have adopted not only amnesty law, but also constitutional reform and set a new majority. While opposition factions were not ready to support PoR-drafted bills, pro-government majority representatives insisted upon their colleague’s Yuriy Miroshnichenko’s draft law. The bill gives all protesters 15 days to leave all administrative buildings and streets (except Maydan) as a condition or applying the amnesty bill. According to different sources, some part of Party of Regions’ members (at most those controlled by Ukrainian business tycoons Rinat Akhmetov and Dmytro Firtash) disagreed with the majority and were ready not only to support one of the opposition-drafted bills, but join the parliamentary minority and vote for constitutional changes. This was a worrying sign for PoR-led majority, which decided to conduct a meeting and convince all faction’s members to support Miroshnichenko bill. Predicting possible split in PoR faction and parliamentary majority, President Yanukovych immediately came to Verkhovna Rada to personally press MPs to back Miroshnichenko-drafted variant and prevent the setup of a new majority. Anonymous sources say that President was screaming, using obscene rhetoric, and threatening rebelling MPs with very tough sanctions. After “the revolt” was put down, MPs supported draft law tabled by Miroshnichenko with 232 votes. At the same time, some sources do not rule out that Russia could have been staying behind the developments that finally put obstacles on opposition’s attempts to make the most of situation in Rada. Russia has tightened customs checks for Ukrainian goods on its border boosting concerns among PoR MPs that have business interests in Russia.

PACE adopted harsh resolution on Ukraine. Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted resolution on Ukrainian crisis threatening Kyiv of depriving it of its voting rights if further violence against Euromaidan is applied. The Assembly also passed an amendment foreseeing possible introduction of sanctions in April if authorities turn to violent scenario again. The resolution, moreover, took note of public statements made by Ukrainian officials accusing Russia of exercising economic pressure to prevent signature of the Association Agreement.

Activists spent the coldest night of the protests.  Last night became the coldest one since Euromaidan began on 21 November. The temperature reached -19 degrees Celsius, with the cold intensified by strong wind. Both protestors and police reduced people spending the night outdoors.

Yanukovych says authorities fulfilled all their obligations. In his address to Ukrainian people, President Viktor Yanukovych assured that authorities had fulfilled all their obligations taken within talks with opposition. Moreover, he mentioned that Verkhovna Rada had adopted law on amnesty “which guarantees freedom to protesters and release to those who had been detained during the conflict,” Yanukovych stressed. He blamed opposition for escalating conflict, saying that it “forces people to be outdoors amid severe cold for the sake of political ambitions of a number of leaders.” In this regard, the President urged Ukrainians to do their utmost “for peace and order.”

Lukash: law gives Yanukovych 15 days to sign anti-dictatorship law. Ukrainian legislation gives President Yanukovych 15 days to sign the so-called “anti-dictatorship law,” says Olena Lukash, Ukraine’s Justice Minister. As she said, President has to receive conclusions of the Cabinet of Ministers and of the Justice Ministry before signing the law. The “anti-dictatorship” law adopted on January 29th annuls the so-called “dictatorship laws” voted by the Ukrainian parliament on January 16th and imposing severe restrictions over freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of expression and other democratic principles.

Tyahnybok says that protesters won’t clear administrative buildings. Oleg Tyahnybok, the leader of an opposition party Svoboda, said that protesters will not clear administrative buildings as required by Yanukovych. He adds that by making release of detainees conditional on liberation of administrative buildings, the authorities deliberately take hostages in the talks with the protesters.

Parubiy: protestors will not leave Hryshevskoho street or administrative buildings. Following the adoption of amnesty law drafted by the Party of the Regions, Andriy Parubiy, an opposition MP and the leader of the protest camp on Maidan, stressed that protestors would leave neither Hrushevskoho street nor administrative buildings. The authorities should release detained protestors without any conditions, Parubiy emphasized, adding that above 200 people were imprisoned for their participation in the protests.

Human rights activists: the adopted amnesty law legalizes hostages. Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union criticized the adopted amnesty law saying that it breaches fundamentals of justice and legalizes hostages. The law set Ukraine in one line with pirates and terrorists, activists stressed, adding that the state de facto recognized that people were imprisoned to force demonstrators to leave the seized administrative buildings and streets. Adopting this law the MPs and the state in general committed a crime punished under Article 147 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code, the activists say.

Kwasniewski: Yanukovych loses support of part of his allies. Ukraine’s President Victor Yanukovych is losing support of part of his allies, said Poland’s former President Aleksander Kwasniewski in an interview to Polish radio. He explained Yanukovych’s unexpected visit to Verkhovna Rada with his fear that parliament’s majority is no longer on his side. “Disintegration of power is going on now,” he said.

General Prosecutor’s Office reports about 140 arrested protesters. According to General Prosecutor’s Office, 234 persons have been detained and 140 arrested during protest actions. Also 500 persons were injured, while 4 were reported dead, General Prosecutor’s Office said.

Acting minister of interior reported on death of a captain of Interior Troops. Vitaliy Zakharchenko, Ukraine’s acting minister of interior, reported about the death of Dmytro Dunets, 30-year old captain of the Interior Troops. The death was provoked by heart problems, the acting minister said, adding that the fatality was the outcome of daily stress and conflicts on Hryshevskoho street. Zakharchenko also expressed his condolences to relatives of the deceased. People are dying on both sides, he underlined, calling on opposition to put an end to the conflict.  

Activist died after being poured by ice water in the freezing cold. Bohdan Kalyniak, an activist of Euromaidan, died in a hospital from pneumonia which he allegedly got on Hrushevskogo street where riot police poured activists by ice water in the freezing cold. The 52-year old activist spent 2 months on Maidan, media reported, adding that Bohdan was a businessman.   

Rybak: Yanukovych threatened he could dissolve the Parliament. Verkhovna Rada’s Head Volodymyr Rybak said that during yesterday’s debates in Parliament President Viktor Yanukovych threatened Party of Regions’ MPs that he could sign a decree dissolving the Verkhovna Rada, if the compromise with opposition on challenging issues was not achieved.

Bildt: Russia renews economic pressure on Ukraine. “There are signs that the Kremlin is once again stepping up economic measures against Ukraine,” Carl Bildt, Sweden’s foreign minister, wrote in his Twitter page. He also underlined that the news about the new pressure appears less than one day after Russia-EU bilateral summit. Ukrainska Pravda, Liga, Gazeta.ua, RBK-Ukraina, Flavred, Finance.ua, Fakty.ua

Yanukovych takes a medical leave. Ukrainska Pravda quotes Presidential press service saying that Victor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s President, took a medical leave. The President has acute respiratory disease and fever, the press service added.

Acting justice minister: special commission on constitutional reform to be established on 4 February. On 4 February a temporal special commission on constitutional reform will be established in Ukrainian Parliament, Olena Lukash, acting minister of justice said. The commission will develop amendments to the constitution aimed at turning Ukraine into Parliamentary-Presidential republic and will be comprised of MPs representing all parliamentary factions.

Business tycoon called for compromise. Dmyto Firtash, a business tycoon and Head of the Employers Association, called for peaceful resolution of the conflict. The conflict already provoked casualties, Firtash stressed, urging both sides to continue dialogue leading to concrete results. This is the first reaction of Dmytro Firtash on Euromaidan since it started on 21 November.    

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