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Daily digest of main Ukrainian news (Euromaidan focus) January 28

Kyiv, 28 January 2014

Azarov stepped down. Mykola Azarov, Ukraine’s Prime Minister, stepped down, Ukrainska Pravda reported with reference to the government’s press service. The Prime Minister explained his resignation with the need to find a compromise amid the ongoing crisis. Azarov, however, noted that his government did everything possible for peaceful resolution of the conflict, adding that the government’s actions were lawful.

President Yanukovych accepted PM’s resignation. President Victor Yanukovych accepted resignation of Mykola Azarov, Ukraine’s Prime Minister and ordered the Cabinet to perform its duties. According to the Constitution, the PM’s dismissal leads to resignation of the whole government. The Cabinet continues its work until the new one is formed but no longer than 60 days. The media also quotes Vitaliy Lukianenko, Azarov’s spokesperson, saying that Serhiy Arbuzov, First Deputy Prime Minister, will serve as the acting Prime Minister.

Parliament cancelled 9 out of 12 laws of 16 January. Ukraine’s Parliament cancelled 9 out of 12 laws adopted on 16 January, Ukrainska Pravda reported. The decision was passed by 361 MPs voted in favour. The MPs, however, adopted once more 4 legislative act out of 9 previously cancelled. The most resonant laws restricting peoples’ freedom remained cancelled. The Parliament’s decisions need to be signed by the President before they enter into force.

Biden urged Yanukovych to withdraw special police units from the streets. In his telephone conversation Joe Biden, US Vice-President, urged Victor Yanukovych to withdraw special police units from the streets, Ukrainska Pravda reported. Biden also called on Yanukovych not to lose time and find a peaceful resolution of the conflict. This was already the second telephone conversation between Biden and Yanukovych during the last week.

Ashton is alarmed by possible declaration of a state of emergency. Catherine Ashton, EU HR/VP, issued a statement stressing that she is alarmed by reports that the government is planning to declare a state of emergency, Ukrainska Pravda reported. Ashton warned that the declaration of a state of emergency would trigger a further downward spiral for Ukraine, adding that nobody would benefit from it. The EU HR/VP also stressed that the crisis could be solved only by political means, calling for a genuine dialogue aimed at building a new consensus. Ashton, moreover, informed about her visit to Kyiv on the evening of 28 January.

Füle to continue negotiations with authorities, opposition and activists on 28 January. quotes David Stulik, Press and Information Officer at the EU Delegation to Ukraine, saying that Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and ENP, would continue his negotiations with the authorities, opposition and civil society activists to find a way out of the crisis. The Commissioner arrived on the evening of 27 January, Stulik noted, adding that Catherine Ashton, EU HR/VP, would also visited Kyiv on the evening of 28 January.

Füle welcomed Parliament’s decision to revoke laws of 16 January. Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and ENP, welcomed the Parliament’s decision to cancel laws adopted on 16 January, reported. This is important session of Verkhovna Rada, the Commissioner wrote on his twitter, adding that the MPs’ decision starts to pave the way forward for an inclusive political process.

Kyiv would be visited by Ashton and 12 MEPs. On 28 January Catherine Ashton, EU HR/VP, would visit Kyiv, UNIAN reported, adding that 12 MEPs would also attend Ukraine with two-day visit. EP’s delegation is chaired by Elmar Brok, Head of EP’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. The MEP plans to meet Ukrainian authorities, opposition and civil society activists to find a way out of the current political crisis.

Saakashvili: Ukraine experiences the first geopolitical revolution of the 21st century. Mikheil Saakashvili, former Georgia’s President, wrote an article for The Wall Street Journal, saying that EuroMaidan is the first geopolitical revolution of the 21st century. Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin seeks to surround his state by weak countries controlled by Kremlin. This foreign policy goal explains Georgia war in 2008, Orange revolution defeat in 2010, Armenian and Ukrainian decisions not to move on their European integration in 2012. Putin, however, miscalculated aspirations and commitments of Ukrainian people to leave in free and democratic country with accountable government. The West has to react on Putin’s policy vis-à-vis former Soviet republics, Saakashvili stressed, adding that Washington and Brussels should impose targeting sanctions on Ukrainian officials and warn Moscow against interfering in Ukraine’s domestic affairs.

Online study: almost 100% of Ukrainians follow Euromaidan. According to an online study conducted by TNS, 93,9% of Ukrainians follow developments around Euromaidan. The main sources of information are internet (83,7%) and TV (81,2%). 48% of people support the protest while 31,2% has the opposite attitude. 44% of the citizens backs peaceful resolution of the conflict.     

EU may impose sanctions if Kyiv declares state of emergency. According to unnamed diplomatic source, Brussels may impose targeting sanctions against Ukrainian officials if Kyiv declares a state of emergency, Liga reported with reference to DW. The sanctions would lead to visa ban and assets freeze, the source noted, adding that the EU does not want to talk on sanctions openly as they are the instrument of last resort.

Newspaper: government plans to complicate border crossing procedure for citizens of EU, US and Canada. Kommersant-Ukraina, a moderate daily newspaper, quotes an unnamed source saying that the government prepares a resolution tightening border crossing procedure for citizens of the EU, the US and Canada. The government firstly worked on possibility to re-introduce visa regime for the above mentioned citizens, the paper wrote, adding that this initiative was then refused due to inability of its implementation. At the moment, the government plans to introduce a fee for handling personal data of the citizens crossing Ukrainian, Kommersant-Ukraina continues, adding that this, according to the government, would not breach the EU-Ukraine Visa Facilitation agreement. The paper concluded by saying that tighter border crossing regime was supported by Ukraine’s foreign ministry and opposed by the country’s Border Guard Service.

EU-Russia summit to be held on 28 January. On 28 January Brussels hosts the 32nd EU-Russia bilateral summit, UNIAN reported, adding that the EU is represented by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, with Russian delegation to be chaired by Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President. The sides will discuss a number of bilateral issues including the application of EU’s 3rd energy package to South Stream, EU-Russia visa dialogue, EU’s antitrust investigation against Gazprom, as well as the issues of global and regional security, UNIAN wrote with reference to Kremlin’s press service. The news agency also quotes Maja Kocijancic, a spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, EU HR/VP, saying that the summit would last only one day, adding that Brussles and Moscow would discuss the questions of their common neighbours.

Interfax: Brussels accused Moscow of provoking Ukrainian crisis. Interfax, a Russian news agency, quotes unnamed senior EU official accusing Moscow of provoking Ukrainian crisis. Kyiv refused from signing the Association Agreement in Vilnius due to Russian pressure, the source noted, adding that Ukrainian society strongly reacted on the country’s U-turn as the move was against the peoples’ will. The senior source also denied that numerous EU delegations visiting Ukraine these days interfere in Ukraine’s domestic affairs. All these visits are called to settle the ongoing deep political crisis, the source underlined. 

Internews Ukraine

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