Yesterday, as the bloodiest day of clashes between thousands of demonstrators and heavily-armed riot police in the heart of Kyiv’s Maidan drew to a close with protesters unbowed, President Viktor Yanukovych told European foreign ministers that he would be open to early elections if that would restore peace. Last night the EU finally voted unanimously to impose sanctions against persons responsible for the violence in Ukraine, freezing their assets and denying visas.
The Ukrainian parliament passed a resolution for security forces to withdraw from the square.
A trio of European foreign ministers shuttled on Thursday night between Yanukovych and leaders of the protest. US vice president Joe Biden spoke with Yanukovich on the telephone. Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke by phone with Yanukovich and with the leaders of Germany and Britain. The Ukrainian military was not taking calls from the US defense department.
An agreement intended to help resolve the crisis in Ukraine is expected to be initialed at the Ukrainian presidential administration headquarters at noon today, the presidential press service reported.
The official death toll now sits at 77, with hundreds wounded, some figures say over a thousand.
Current events continued from 0:00 to 9:00
VIDEO: In Kyiv, fully armed and outfitted troops are deploying, while a Kyivan woman repeatedly says to them as they go by, “Boys, you are supposed to be with the people. I ask you, boys, are you with the people or not, you are supposed to be with the people, do you hear me? On Maidan there are children, our children, your fathers are standing there. Boys, you are supposed to be with the people. Ukraine is the people. Boys!” while she grabs them like little children she can stop. Another male voice with her says to her: “They stood against their own and they are going against their own people.”
This is about the events in the morning of February 20, 2014. I will write it as I understand it, since I did not always comprehend what Afghan veterans tried to say (their terminology). My brother:
The attack happened at 6:00 am. We burned tires. The smoke was very thick and got on everything. It was worse than the one on Hrushevskiy Street. We could not see anything at all. I ran to help the guys throwing the tires to blind Berkut and interior forces, when I suddenly saw that the Right Sector guys were climbing the hill up to October Palace [Trade Union House] … I sat down at first, to make sure it was definitely them, because I could not see a thing in the smoke and then realized that they were advancing towards the Palace to attack Berkut. I turned around and started yelling to run for an attack because I understood that the Right Sector men would be killed right then and there. I climbed over the barricades, grabbed a shield laying in the middle of the battlefield and shouted that we needed to attack to finally press down on interior forces and Berkut, because the guys above would be totally screwed if we did not help them out.
My brother went to attack and the crowed ran after him. They [Berkut and interior forces] fought back, the guys on the hill also pressed them. There are many victims, even more than has been estimated so far. Many people from Right Sector died on that hill, and many died on the front lines near the first barricade on Instytutska Street. Everyone involved would tell you this, not just my brother. They are estimating that about 100 people were killed that morning. Afghan vets, who we sat and talked to last night by the barrels.
We had it worse, because interior troops acted smart. They stood one behind the other, and pretended as if there was one person behind the shield. They created an armor from the shields, and we could not notice that there were two soldiers instead of one in that thick smoke. They would open the shields, and a Berkut policeman comes out with an AK-47 and starts shooting at everyone.
Basically, interior troops created a corridor that after Berkut shot at people, they would hide the same way they came out from under the shield cover and they would throw grenades before hiding back under. At first, we could not understand their movements, only after we realized their tactics. It looks as if there is one person behind the shield, but in reality there are two (one after another), and then there is a Berkut with an automatic rifle behind them.
Smoke. Weapons. Tired men. Interior forces and Berkut police with military-grade weapons and grenades. It was hell in the heart of our country. That is what the guys from the front lines are saying, and they also note that they did not look at the people who were killed, so as not to lose their resolve and push Berkut and Interior forces away from Maidan.
They managed to do what they had planned, but with a great number of victims. There is a video of the events because a journo (how was he not afraid?) ran after my brother and recorded everything. If you find it, send me a message.
So these cute kids from the Interior forces … killed unarmed people.
But we let them go yesterday, without even trying to exchange them for our hostages. Meanwhile, 19 of our guys have been sentenced at Lukyanivske investigative isolation ward. They have been sentenced to two months. And that is just one investigative isolation ward. There are up to 50 people missing. And those are only the people who have been reported missing by their relatives or friends. 1,000 wounded, 77 people dead (over February 19 and 20). And we continue to forgive and let the interior troops go just like it was yesterday. We should have taken them hostages and exchanged them for our people. I enjoyed the conversation between a woman and one of the protesters yesterday. She shouted that we should let the detained Interior troops go, when a tired man reeking of smoke (obviously from the front lines) approached her and asked – is your son on the front lines? Is he dead? Have YOU been in this hell? She shut up and did not attempt another word.
That is the story about the boys from Interior forces.
UNIAN : The Soviet square in Vinnitsa was renamed the Heroes of Maidan square
The local Vinnitsa deputies decided to immortalize the memory of the fallen heroes of Maidan in Kiev. “We rename the Soviet square in Vinnitsa as Heroes of Maidan square” – says the statement of the City Council.
Vasyl Gatsko, MP (Chairman of Democratic Alliance Party)
Today, at the Maidan Council meeting, I voted against the agreement with Yanukovych. I still believe that the only way to protect the citizens and have some chance for changes, is his immediate resignation. People stood up and faced the gunfire. People died so that their children don’t have to go the same way one day.
I don’t blame those who voted for. Everyone made their choice under difficult circumstances, taking a lot of responsibility for the fate of others and their willingness to fight. I believe that those who supported the agreement with Yanukovych sincerely believe that they chose the right way.
We will decide in the coming hours what to do next. We talk with people on the Maidan and across the country, to find common solutions.
Whatever the choice will be, the victory is ours.
After the Parliament reconvened.
I do not know how our country should call the murderer of 100 people a guarantor of the Constitution (I could care less of which year) for ten more months. How can we believe at present that, stripped of authority, he will not manage to use the instruments of cruelty, that he would hold honest elections and would not revenge himself during all this time? And how can we hold back the people, who lose all their faith into politicians, from lynching? This is not a compromise. This is a direct path to uncontrollable terror and civil war, which would result in many more victims. I want to be wrong, but this is quite obvious.
Sergey Koba, Facebook status
ATTENTION! Automaidan found the place from which they led the storming of the barricades and burning of the House of Trade Unions.
According to data obtained from activists of Automaidan from Internal Troops forces, the same from the office of the Chief of the Department of Sport KSCA, it has been deduced that the coordination of Berkut fighters and internal forces in the assault and arson on Maidan of the Trade Union House on February 19.
In the coordination of events, without doubt the Police participated directly with the Head of the Department of Sports, Kostiuchenko Vadim, who once headed the youth organization of the Social Democratic Party (Union) of Viktor Medvedchuk and is currently Viktor Medvedchuk’s deputy in the federation of Combat Martial Arts.
Do not forget to call these bastards: 067-5090999
Welcome to downtown Kyiv, Friday morning:
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is prepared to make further concessions in an effort to restore peace in the country, Yanukovych’s advisor and Party of Regions parliamentarian Hanna Herman said.
We have an announcement from the Head of Armed Forces (he confirmed this by phone live to the Channel 5) that he resigned in connection with his disagreement with the order by YANUKOVYCH about using the army against the people. This is the testimony for the Hague! And we still pretend that he is the President! The opposition and Europe are initialing some agreements with him! He’s a criminal, who PERSONALLY (according to the Head of Armed Forces) ordered to use the army against peaceful people!!!
This footage from Ukraine’s Channel 5 shows the scuffles that broke out in the parliament earlier today over the passage of legislation meant to stem presidential powers and reign in armed security officials.
Agreement announced: early elections to be held!
As reported a little earlier there will be early elections and a return to the 2004 constitution which will limit presidential powers.
#Yanukovych statement on official site says he initiates early elex, return to 2004 constitution, govt of nat’l trust:
In these tragic days, when Ukraine suffered such heavy losses, when people died on both sides of the conflict, I consider it my duty to the bright memory of the deceased to declare that there is nothing more important than human life. There are no steps that we must not do together to restore peace in Ukraine.
I declare steps that must be done to restore peace and avoid more victims of the confrontation.
I declare that I initiate early presidential elections.
I initiate the return of the Constitution of the year 2004 with redistribution of powers aside parliamentary republic.
I call to begin the procedure of establishing the government of national trust.
As Ukrainian President and Guarantor of the Constitution, I fulfill my duty to the people, to Ukraine and to God for the sake of preservation of state, for the sake of saving the life of people, for the sake of peace in our land.
FULL TEXT OF AGREEMENT: http://www.president.gov.ua/news/30116.html
Another link to agreement information:
Will protestors accept the deal?
Given the announcement of the tentative deal one major question is whether protesters will accept what has been negotiated.
Anton Solovyov, 28, an IT worker protesting in the central square said:
This is just another piece of paper. We will not leave the barricades until Yanukovich steps down. That’s all people want.
Defected cops with protesters on the frontline:
The Defense Ministry could care less about the truce or decisions by the Ukrainian Parliament. Absolutely. It would look like the paratroopers from Dnipropetrivsk left for Kyiv, but the bus flew into the ditch, turned over, and killed three people. Over ten are wounded. Some people would view it as a sign. Some would consider it a warning. But only a maniac will send the same people to the capital for the second time!!! This time they sent them on board of a plane (we will find out which plane and who pays for it. I suspect that the money would come from a budget, that is our budget). Paratroopers from Mykolayiv are also flown in by a plane. Otherwise, something could happen to them. They station them in Vasylkiv. But marines from Feodosiya left during the daytime by train, and will live in Kyiv. On Beresteyka. I think the guys will be happy to receive such a warm welcome.))
But they are still ”negotiating.”
A sniper shoots on Instytutska. He shoots as if he is at a shooting gallery. He chooses his targets for unknown reasons.
People are building barricades… and are being shot at.
For everyone to understand the current events I will explain: your friend, who you, the advocates, know, has just witnessed how a man collecting stones was killed right next to you. The bullet went straight into his head….
It was so sudden our friend did not even realize that he had to hide, but people shouted at him in time to go and hide behind a tree.
Do not hope for a bulletproof vest. The sniper bullet will pierce it at this distance… .
People, do not be careless!
Remember the following rules – do not stand in one spot, do not go to Instytutska Street, move in fast runs and do not be ashamed to bend down. Throw the damn shields on the ground – they only help them to find their targets. Move from one shelter to another and wait in it a bit, so that the sniper concentrates on another site, also, move in broken trajectories, do not make a group. If you hear a shot – get into shelter or drop to the ground…
Do not be heroes and get in the way of bullets. You are THE ELITE OF THIS NATION AND YOU MUST GIVE BIRTH TO THE CHILDREN WHO WILL BE JUST LIKE YOU! This is your duty to Ukraine…
A monument to the Bolshevik Revolution leader Vladimir Lenin was set on fire and knocked off its pedestal in the Ukrainian city of Zhytomyr, the Zhytomyr.Info website has reported, blaming activists of the Right Sector for the action.
For me there were at this war also a couple of happy moments: I was walking around the Maidan, thinking how to gather my friends, and suddenly I saw a friend, which I was told to be lethally shot in the head, he did get wounded, but was ALIVE. We hugged each other. He said: Just don’t cry, Ksenya. But I couldn’t help myself. And then they released from captivity another friend of mine (she was in a hospital in the Officer’s House [Dom Ofitsyerov]) … She was crying. I was feeling so happy, that they are alive, close, that I can hear their voices and warm my always cold hands in their hands. I was completely overwhelmed by emotions. So happy to see they survived.
Maidan now. People, you are incredible! Come out and press the MPs! Activists of the People’s Sector of EuroMaidan urge:
“Let’s all go out to 24 Khreshchatyk Street! We demand from the People’s Council of Maidan to reflect the position of Maidan!”
AFTER 12:00 The opposition is in heated talks
The discussion of a “peaceful” agreement bill between the opposition and the government, which was discussed during the nightly negotiations with President Viktor Yanukovych, has been quite heated at the meeting of the United opposition faction.
According to the LB.ua correspondent, shouts and disagreements can be heard behind the closed doors. MPs categorically refuse to support any types of agreement with the President. Besides, the faction has been also pushing to release the former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
As a reminder, the opposition currently rejects the plan of their leaders to sign the peaceful agreement with the government, announced Andriy Senchenko to LB.ua earlier. His position was somewhat tempered by Andriy Kozhemyakyn who noted that the agreement signing will have to be discussed. At the same time, the negotiations have been struggling more so than expected.
“It is really rough,” noted one of the participants of the faction meeting to LB.ua.
Because behind the door is heard the opinion of Sergei Pashinsky: “Take a resolution in terms of the Maidan, to stop the war from the perspective of the Ukrainian state, and not in terms of ranking or even the screams of: “Yulia-freedom.” Yulia – is a hostage or do you not understand this?”
“Yulia is being freed not by those who make decisions, but by those who are on the barricades!” – Added to the end of the MP and ran from the room to calm down a little.
Sergei Sobolev rebuffed Pashynsky saying that everyone had been elected to Rada [Ukrainian Parliament] with Yulia Tymoshenko’s help, and therefore the question of her release had to be considered first.
Meanwhile, Oleksandr Turchynov noted that the Maidan People’s Council had been waiting for the faction decision since 11:00 am, and that they demanded to reject all the items on the agenda except for the resignation of Yanukovych.
Sergey Fayermark took a stand during the heated discussion and reminded everyone that snipers were still out in the streets.
“They’re preparing for military action! Are we going to allow new deaths? We must bring the Parliament over to our side today. The Parliament is the only thing uniting the country right now!” the MP all but shouted as he ran out of the session hall.
At the same time, we should note that the Deputy Speaker, Ruslan Koshulynsky (MP from the Svoboda Party) spoke twice to Andriy Ivanchuk, the “right hand” of Arseniy Yatsenyuk, requesting that the leader of the Batkivshyna party is invited to the meeting. Both times, Ivanchuk replied that Yatsenyuk is busy, and Vitaliy Klitschko and Oleh Tyahnybok should continue the discussion without him.
We should also point out that Vitaliy Klitschko, who attended the meeting, said that the UDAR party supports this agreement with the government. Arseniy Yatsenyuk ran in late, but explained his stance as well, saying that if the President violates the terms of the agreement, he will be held responsible.
Breaking: negotiations look promising
Ian Traynor has just reported from the negotiations inside the Ukranian president’s offices. He says that the Polish foriegn minister, Radek Sikorski and German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, have returned from the demonstrators in Maidan.
The Steinmeier told the Guardian that “things were looking better”. Sikorski told the Guardian: “fingers crossed..we’ll just have to wait and see”.
Traynor reports said this is now 24hrs of negotiations.
On Maidan scene. This man has a legal right to transport and use the weapon.
The price of our victory.