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Daily digest of main Ukrainian news (Euromaidan focus) February 4

Kyiv, 4 February 2014

Klitschko: constitutional reform opens a way out of the crisis.  Vitaliy Klitschko, an opposition leader, believes that constitutional reform would allow Ukraine to settle the crisis. We should return to the previous edition of the Constitution which was unlawfully changed in 2010, the politician stressed, adding that otherwise Ukraine may face a social explosion. Klitchko, moreover, called for local elections to be conducted inter alia in Kyiv.

Opposition urged Rada to pass constitutional act. In his speech at the Parliament, Serhiy Sobolev, an opposition MP, called for adoption of a constitutional act restoring previous edition of the Constitution. This together with unconditional amnesty for detained activists and economic strategy aimed at rescuing Ukrainian weak economy would allow the country to peacefully settle the conflict. The Parliament, moreover, should order a new government to sign the Association Agreement with the EU, Sobolev added.Portnov: constitutional act has no perspectives. Andriy Portnov, first deputy head of Presidential Administration, believes that the constitutional act backed by opposition has no perspectives. The Constitution cannot be changed through adoption of an acts, Portnov stressed, adding that 2004 Constitution was criticized by PACE and the Venice Commission.

PoR MP Chechetov: opposition has not enough votes to pass constitutional act. Mykhailo Chechetov, an MP representing the Party of the Regions, stressed that opposition has not enough votes to pass the constitutional act restoring 2004 Constitution. He also advised the opposition to amend constitution based on respective procedure demanding MPs to pass amendments on two parliamentary sessions with 300 MPs voting in favour after the amendments are positively assessed by the Constitutional Court.

PoR MP Herman: there will be no changes in the Constitution before Yanukovych’s visit to Russia. Hanna Herman, an MP representing the Party of the Regions, believes that there will be no changes in Ukrainian Constitution before President Yanukovych visits Russia. Previously, Ukraine’s acting foreign minister Kozhara informed on Yanukovych’s plan to visit the opening of Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Crimean Parliament may ask Russia for protection. Leaders of Crimean Parliament initiated amendments to the Constitution of the autonomy republic and began to work on possible appeal to Russia asking the neigbouring country for protection. According to Volodymyr Klichnikov, a PoR politician, the local Crimean authorities should ensure protection of the autonomy’s rights and freedoms amid the political crisis and the extremists’ struggle for power.

Bulatov promised to return to Ukraine and to continue the struggle. Dmytro Bulatov, a leader of Automaidan who is being treated in Lithuania, promised to return to Ukraine and to continue the struggle. According to his FB profile, the respective message was written by a friend of Bulatov as he himself cannot write or read at the moment. The activist also promised to hold a press conference in his hospital on 6 February.

A female self defense unit was set on Euromaidan. A female unit of self defense appeared on Euromaidan, media reported, adding that women would be taught how to peacefully protect themselves. They would not be involved in possible clashes on the barricades, the media added.   

Steinmeier: Germany is ready to raise the issue of sanctions if crisis settlement fails. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s foreign minister, stressed that Germany is ready to threaten Kyiv by sanctions if the crisis settlement talks between authorities and opposition fails. The minister noted some progress in the negotiations, adding, however, that the most difficult stage of Constitutional reform is not reached yet. Steinmeier also expressed his hope that Russia correctly assessed the situation, and that conflict in Ukraine would not be repeated. I hope nobody in Ukraine and outside the country would foment the conflict, the minister emphasized, noting that the EU and Russia should not launch a race between themselves of who will pay more to Ukraine.

Germany’s envoy for Russian policy: West would give financial assistance for opposition government only. In his interview to Deutschlandfunk Gernot Erler noted that the West would provide financial assistance for Ukrainian government formed by opposition. This aid is called to assist Ukrainian reforms in the transitional phase, the diplomat added.

MEP Harms: Azarov, Arbuzov and Klyuyev have Austrian citizenship. According to Rebecca Harms, a leader of European Greens, Mykola Azarov, Ukraine’s former Prime Minister, Serhiy Arbuzov, Ukraine’s acting Prime Minister, and Andriy Klyuyev, head of Presidential Administration, have Austrian citizenship. The MEP also urged the EU to impose sanctions against Ukrainian officials, adding that at the same time Brussels should simplify visa regime for ordinary Ukrainians.

Azarov, Arbuzov and Klyuyev disproved information on their Austrian citizenship. Mykola Azarov, Ukraine’s former Prime Minister, Serhiy Arbuzov, Ukraine’s acting Prime Minister, and Andriy Klyuyev, head of Presidential Administration, disproved information on their Austrian citizenship.

MEP Brok calls on Brussels to ban Ukrainian officials from entering EU. Elmar Brok, the chair of EP foreign affairs committee, called on Brussels to ban Ukrainian officials involved in violent actions from entering the EU. The MEP pointed to the example of Mykola Azarov, Ukraine’s former Prime Minister, who left Kyiv for Vienna. Brok, however, called on the EU to lift visa regime for Ukrainian youth. Commenting on the current developments in Ukraine, the MEP urged for immediate return to the Constitution of 2004 which should be then followed by early elections. In this case the EU may adopt a package of short-term financial assistance for Ukraine, Brok underlined.

By Internews





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