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Clashes in Kiev amid massive pro-EU protests: LIVE UPDATES (Part 1)

Published time: December 01, 2013 12:14
Edited time: December 07, 2013 08:49
People supporting EU integration attend a rally at Independence Square in Kiev December 4, 2013.(Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

People supporting EU integration attend a rally at Independence Square in Kiev December 4, 2013.(Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

Thousands of Ukrainians protesting the suspension of talks on EU integration are keeping up demonstrations in central Kiev after the government survived a no-confidence vote at the Verkhovna Rada session.

Follow Part 2 of live updates.

Thursday, December 5

21:46 GMT: Opposition Batkivschina (Fatherland) party is urging Ukrainians to boycott business and services of those affiliated with the government.

"We call for a boycott of goods and services of the companies and organizations whose owners are members or activists of the Party of Regions," said the action plan.

20:53 GMT: The leader of the nationalist party Freedom (Svoboda) Party, Oleg Tyahnibok speaking from the stage during a rally in central Kiev said the Ukrainian opposition has begun a process of forming the new government in Kiev.

"From tomorrow we are starting the formation of an independent government in Kiev, Kiev local government",
Ukrainian UNIAN news agency quoted.

20:27 GMT:
First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Sergey Arbuzov in an interview to Ukrainian TV channel "1 +1" said that he sees no point in early presidential and parliamentary elections.

"As to the question whether I support the resignation of Parliament or the President - I definitely do not support it. I do not see any sense in it.”

20:00 GMT:
Opposition Batkivschina (Fatherland) party published a plan of protest action, the aims of which is the resignation of the government, early parliamentary and presidential elections, filing of criminal case against Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko, with the main goal being signing the Association agreement with the EU.

19:25 GMT: Rally demanding the release of activists arrested during clashes near the presidential administration of Ukraine on December 1 takes place next to the General Prosecutor's Office, Ukrainian UNIAN news agency reports.

"The action involves about a thousand people. They are demanding the release from custody the detained and the beaten activists on Bankovaya (near the presidential administration)," the statement said.

In the meantime security at the Attorney General office has been increased.

19:00 GMT:
Former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko who has been on hunger strike since 25 November says on her website said that she has given the opposition leaders a plan for continuing protests.

“All actions should be coordinated with the opposition: it has a big mission and we must listen to it to avoid bloodshed. Our opposition is peaceful, legitimate. It should be victorious, and I 'm sure of it. Proposals for concrete action plan I gave to the leaders of opposition, I hope they’d listen,"
the statement says.

Supporter of Ukraine's European integration hangs a EU flag on a building of city Rada in Kiev.(RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko)

17:58 GMT: About 100 protesters set up a picket line at the headquarters of Ukraine’s Berkut riot police, local media reported. The protesters pasted photos of the people injured by riot police, and of the officers that used force against protesters, on the walls of the buildings.

The demonstrators reportedly carried signs reading “Berkut, goodbye!” and “We are paying to be beaten.” Some of the protesters were reportedly heading to the police’s dormitory.

16.15 GMT: At least 79 people were injured as police dispersed the protesters in Kiev during the “EuroMaidan” demonstrations on Saturday, Deputy Prosecutor Anatoly Prishko said. The injured include six students, four journalists and two foreigners, he added.

Prishko said that 10 people remain hospitalized, while seven police officers were injured.

16.00 GMT: Ukraine’s law enforcement agencies suspect the leader of the Ukrainian nationalist Bratstvo organization, Dmitry Korchinsky, to be the mastermind behind the mass protest near the Presidential HQ in Kiev on Sunday. The security forces are expecting a court order for his arrest, Kiev’s deputy prosecutor, Sergey Sofiev, said.

15.54 GMT: The political party of Ukrainian opposition leader Vitaly Klitchko, Strike (Udar), has published a “list of enemies” of the pro-EU integration protests dubbed “EuroMaidan.” The list includes judges who banned protests in the center of Kiev and officers of the Berkut riot police who suppressed the protests on Kiev’s Independence square on November 30.

The party also said that President Viktor Yanukovych, PM Nikolay Azarov, Interior Minister Vitaly Zaharchenko and other officials were “the leaders of a criminal regime which acted against its citizens.”

14.45 GMT: Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has hit out at the “hysterical” reaction of the West towards Ukraine’s apprehension about signing the EU trade deal.

“This whole situation has been brought about by the hysteria created by Western countries, after Ukraine, using its rights as a sovereign state, decided to postpone signing an agreement which the government and experts thought was not in the national interest,” Lavrov told journalists on the sidelines of the OSCE meeting in Kiev.

14.40 GMT: Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko says that police will soon officially notify political organizers suspected of involvement in the civil disorder on Saturday.

He named the extremist Bratstvo group leader Dmitry Korchinsky as one of the agitators.

13.13 GMT: Ukraine risks descending into chaos, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said at the 20th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Kiev on Thursday.

"This is Ukraine's moment. We stand with the people of Ukraine who see their future in Europe. We urge the Ukrainian government to listen to the voices of its people who want to live in freedom," she said.

12:40 GMT: An EU-flag has been raised at the entrance of Kiev’s city council, the Batkivshchina (Fatherland) opposition party says.

12:20 GMT: Ukraine continues working towards EU-integration, but it is halted only by Nazis and extremists, Ukrainian PM Nikolay Azarov told German FM Guido Westerwelle during a meeting within the 20th OSCE session that, reports Interfax-Ukaraina.

“The acting power is the partner of EU-integration and Ukraine has fulfilled the necessary conditions to sign the accord,” said Azarov. He also added that “Nazis and extremists cannot be partners in Ukrainian EU-integration.”

Azarov said all the causes of latest street protests were almost eliminated, which is why the government has to get the country back to work towards EU-integration and towards its usual development.

11:26 GMT: Nearly 412 people have been taken to hospital during the 15 days of protests in Kiev, according to Oleg Tatarov, Chief Deputy of Head Investigation Department of Ukrainian Ministry of Home Affairs. Over 220 policemen were injured, 126 of them were taken to hospital. 5 policemen still remain in serious condition, says Tatarov.

More than 64 criminal cases have been opened and 14 people have been arrested by Kiev police since the beginning of the protests.

11:23 GMT: The anti-government activists were informed about the decision of Ukrainian Court to ban their demonstration. The protesters have to unlock all the governmental buildings within five days, say Ukrainian law enforcement authorities.

According to Ministry of Home Affairs, once this period has passed “the police will impose measures” to unlock the buildings.

On Wednesday The Ukrainian Court announced that it is illegal to block the governmental buildings as well as Kiev City Administration.

09.00 GMT: Assistant US Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said she will hold meetings with the representatives of both Ukrainian government and pro-Euro-integration opposition, reports Ria Novosti.

Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Leonid Kozhara (R) shakes hands with US' Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland during a ceremony in Kiev on December 5, 2013.(AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)

She has already arrived in Kiev for 20th Meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council which will be held on 5 and 6 December in the Ukrainian capital.

Earlier on Monday she said she is ready to support Ukraine “as it works to meet the remaining few requirements for an association agreement with the European Union and the trade benefits that come with it.”

08:22 GMT: Anti-government protesters are heading to the International Exposition Center on the Brovadsky Avenue where the 20th session of OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) will be held on Thursday, reports Ukrainian agency UNIAN. The activists are holding the banners reading “Protect the freedom of press.”

There will be a special briefing dealing with protection of journalists. The issue comes after more than 40 journalists were injured during the latest protests in Kiev.

07.50 GMT: Thousands of pro-government activists from Ukrainian Party of Regions are now heading to the building of Verkhovna Rada, says RIA Novosti. They are gathering in Mariinsky Park near the Ukrainian parliament. This is the third day the ruling party holds a meeting to support President Viktor Yanukovich.

At the same time, nearly 2,000 pro-EU integration protesters are picketing on Independence Square. Over 100 people with flags from the Strike (Udar) opposition party are picketing on Bankovaya Street next to the Presidential Administration building. Dozens of anti-government protesters are blocking Sadovaya Street next to the Cabinet of Ministers.

A man attaches a red and black flag, widely used by Ukrainian nationalists, to a lamp post in front of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers building in the early morning hours during a rally to support EU integration in Kiev December 5, 2013.(Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

Men look at a flag being attached to a lamp post as they gather in front of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers building, during a rally to support EU integration in Kiev December 5, 2013.(Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

06.50 GMT: The violent dispersal of protests by Berkut police forces on Saturday morning allegedly was carefully planned, reports Ukrainian agency UNIAN. It was revealed from radio traffic records of Berkut chiefs during the dispersal.

”According to radio records it is clear the assault was planned beforehand. The actions of Berkut groups were clearly coordinated. Commands, voices – all these can help the investigation find out the names of the culprits,” said Anatoly Grytsenko, a Ukrainian MP who received the radio traffic records from unnamed Berkut officer.

He will send the records to the current Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Viktor Pshonka.

Earlier on Saturday Berkut police forces, using tear gas and clubs, violently dispersed the pro-EU integration protesters on Independence Square in Kiev. At least 35 people were injured in the clashes with seven of them still remaining in hospital.

06.00 GMT: Hundreds of pro-EU integration protesters resume their picket near the building of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers demanding the government’s resignation, says RIA Novosti.

The protesters have blocked the central entrance to the building. They are holding flags of EU and Ukrainian opposition Svoboda (Freedom) party. Police are now blocking the side passages to the building.

At the same time hundreds of pro-government activists are gathering near the building of Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament. Police buses are now blocking the access to the Rada.

Some groups of pro-EU demonstrators are now blocking Bankovaya Street which leads to the Presidential Administration of Ukraine.

Wednesday, December 4

23:16 GMT: At 10 am local time on Thursday, Ukrainian legal authorities said that they will announce a court decision regarding the ban of blocking government buildings and the Kyiv City State Administration, RIA Novosti reports.

“I appeal to all the organizers and participants of the rally: there is a court order with clear demands to free the occupied buildings," Victor Pshonka Prosecutor General of Ukraine said in a video message posted on the website.

22.30 GMT: Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the US State Department of State, said during a daily press briefing that “everybody [in Ukraine] needs to come together to help get Ukraine back on a path towards Euro-integration.”

“We’ve encouraged all parties in Ukraine – the government, the opposition, and civil society – to work together to start a dialogue, and indeed, to get them back on a path towards European integration,” she says.

Harf believes that this protests are “only a pause in the process”, and “they will get back on this path” [Euro-integration]. “They’ve already taken a number of reforms towards European integration, and we hope they’ll take more.”

According to Harf “it’s possible for Ukraine to have a good relationship with both Russia and the European Union and the United States, and we don’t think that there’s a zero-sum game outcome that needs to happen from this.”

21:03 GMT: Russian Minister Sergey Lavrov urged outside forces not to interfere in Ukraine's domestic affairs.

"I hope that Ukrainian politicians will be able to bring the situation into a peaceful vein. We encourage everybody not to interfere," Lavrov said in a news conference after talks with NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.

 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gives a press conference following a meeting of Nato's Foreign Affairs minister at the organisation's headquarters in Brussels on December 4, 2013.(AFP Photo / Virginia Mayo)

Lavrov said that Kiev used its discretion and sovereign right to choose a direction for their country. "I do not quite understand the scope of the aggressive actions on the part of the opposition," Lavrov said, also questioning EU response to the issue.

On Tuesday NATO foreign ministers responded to events in Ukraine by issuing a statement condemning the use of "excessive force" against protesters. Lavrov said he did not understand "why NATO adopts such statements," asking foreign ministers whether they were planning to intervene in Ukraine, according to Reuters.

"All allies made clear that this was firmly about supporting the aspirations of the Ukrainian people for a European future, that there was no military operation planned in Ukraine, and it was provocative to discuss that,"
an anonymous source from the US Secretary of State John Kerry delegation to Brussels told Reuters.

20:39 GMT: Activists are planning to continue the blockade of the presidential administration and the cabinet of ministers building, one member of the opposition told the gathering at Maidan square.

“The more united and effective we are with the blockade, the more effective the result of our actions will be,”
Aleksandr Turchynov, chairman of the political party All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland", told the activists, RIA Novosti reports.

He also called on Ukrainians to provide more food, warm clothing and financial assistance to the cause.

Protesters rest in Kiev's City Hall, now an organisational hub for protesters who have occupied the building, December 5, 2013.(Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

20:13 GMT: The economic situation in Ukraine remains stable, however, in the case of a deepening political crisis, it may worsen, said First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Sergey Arbuzov. Yet if the situation stabilizes quickly, then the politician says there is nothing to fear. He has also warns of provocateurs on the streets of the capital.

"I think we need to get this over with, because you can wake up and get higher prices on bread, or some other situation that can be provoked with such actions," Arbuzov was quoted by RIA Novosti.

19.50 GMT: Opposition leaders including Vitaly Klitchko, who has spent more than decade living in Germany, took German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on a tour of Independence Square, where the diplomat met pro-European protesters.

"The gates of the European Union are still open. Ukraine has to be on board in Europe and the offers from Europe are still valid," Westerwelle told reporters.

From left: Leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR) party's faction in the Verkhovna Rada, Vitaly Klitschko, and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle among supporters of pro-EU integration on Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev on December 4, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko)

19.35 GMT: Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov says opposition members will be offered a seat on the investigating committee that will look into the violence that followed last Saturday’s mass protest, in which hundreds were injured.
“We will guarantee maximum openness and transparency of the entire process for the benefit of the public,” assured the politician through a statement on the government website.

19.30 GMT: Pro-European demonstrators in Kiev’s Independence Square have urged imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to halt her hunger strike.

“Yulia Tymoshenko is our national leader and we need her to be healthy for our sake,” one of the opposition leaders Aleksandr Turchinov told the crowd.

Tymoshenko went on strike on November 25, when it first became apparent that Ukraine was pulling out of the trade deal with the EU.

19.20 GMT: Parliament speaker Vladimir Rybak has insisted that Ukraine will sign the co-operation agreement with the European Union early next year.

The politician said the agreement will also depend on successful trilateral talks between Kiev, Moscow and Brussels.

Russia has agreed to such talks, but the EU has not, though Rybak said that all sides "had no objections".

19.10 GMT: Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Arbuzov says the authorities are ready to discuss "the most contentious" issues with the opposition once negotiations with pro-European leaders begin.

"I think it is a real possibility that when we sit down at the table, issues such as early presidential elections will come up. I believe we are ready to talk them over," Arbuzov told Ukraine Channel Five.

Arbuzov refused to say if the government would accept an early poll. Viktor Yanukovich's five-year presidential term runs out in 2015.

18.10 GMT: Ukrainian interior minister Vitaly Zakharchenko has publicly ordered riot police not to use force against peaceful protesters, according to the ministry’s spokesperson. At the same time, the minister reminded the organizers of the protest rallies across Ukraine that they bear responsibility for any violent actions that originate there.

So far dozens of protesters have been charged with public disorder during violent clashes starting from last Saturday. Several police officers are also under investigation.

RIA Novosti / Andrey SteninRIA

17.25 GMT: The interior ministry says Afghan war vets will be allowed to accompany police patrols near public demonstrations, following a proposal by several organizations representing the veterans of the war that ended in 1989. The veterans say they will hope they can defuse tension and root out "provocations."
“We will stand between the riot police and the people, in order to prevent bloodshed. We know about this from our own experience, so we will stay the course,” veteran marine Oleg Shulyak was reported as saying by the ministry.

16.10 GMT: 305 people sought medical help following the pro-European protests that have been going on since Saturday, says Kiev municipal health department chief Vitaly Mokhorev.
Mokhorev told UNIAN news agency that 120 had serious enough injuries to be hospitalized, and nine currently remain in medical care, but that there have been no fatalities.

15.30 GMT: The pro-European crowd dispersed by the police on November 30 were “provocateurs, not students”, embattled Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov has told Council of Europe General Secretary Thorbjorn Jagland.

“There are about 2,500 paramilitaries in Kiev prepared to provoke violence from the authorities. The government is showing restraint, it is the opposition that is using force,” said Azarov during a meeting in Kiev.

Nonetheless, Azarov said the police may have “overreacted” during the night, which left dozens injured.

15.10 GMT: German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle is scheduled to meet leading opposition members including Arseny Yatsenyuk and Vitaly Klitschko on Wednesday evening, according to the German embassy in Kiev.

Westerwelle is in the Ukrainian capital as part of an OSCE summit, scheduled months before the current wave of protests.

RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko

15.05 GMT: Protests around the country are proceeding peacefully, according to the police, ITAR-TASS news agency reports.

“There have been few outbreaks of violence, and the situation in the capital and the country as a whole remains calm,” says an official statement.

The biggest crowds have been recorded in Kiev outside the interior ministry building and the parliament, where ten thousand people have gathered.

13.24 GMT: The talks between the leaders of parliamentary groups didn’t produce any results, Vitaly Klichko, leader of the Strike (Udar) opposition party, told Ukrainian agency UNIAN. Vladimir Rybak, the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, was leading the talks.

The negotiations were held after a planned parliamentary session didn’t take place. In the morning, opposition politicians blocked the tribune in the Ukrainian Parliament.

12.37 GMT: Over 1,000 pro-integration activists are now standing in the street in front of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, reports Ukrainian agency UNIAN. They shout slogans and hold anti-government posters saying “Berkut is a military criminal group” and “Wake up! Don’t kill our children!” The demonstrators demand the dismissal of Berkut special police forces as well as resignation the Minister of Internal Affairs Vitaliy Zakharchenko.

On Saturday, Berkut forces violently dispersed the anti-government protesters.

Supporters of Ukraine's European integration in a detention center in Kiev, where they are being held for involvement in disorders on December 4, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Iliya Pitalev)

12:17 GMT: Over 500 students from Kiev National University are heading to the Ministry of Education and Science, reports RIA Novosti quoting Ukrainian agency UNIAN. They demand the resignation of the Minister of Education Dmitry Tabachnik.

The students are currently forming a column in front of the memorial to Taras Shevchenko, a famous Ukrainian poet, near the university building. They’re shouting slogans and distributing leaflets calling upon the citizens “to join the Euromaidan” (appealing to passers-by to take part in EU-integration protests).

According to Ukrainian media, the Ministry of Education and Science has demanded the names of the students participating in the recent pro-integration protests. However, the ministry itself has denied the claim.

10.28 GMT: Nearly 28 protesters were injured in the past 24 hours according to Kiev City Administration, says RIA Novosti. Police also report the overall number of officers wounded during all 4 days of protest.

“Over 220 members of the police forces were injured during the protests, seven of them are in serious condition,” says the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior Affairs. The ministry added that several policemen were poisoned by unknown gaseous substance.

10.05 GMT: Vitaly Klitschko, leader of the Udar (Strike) opposition party, says the protesters can make the Ukrainian president resign, reports ITAR-TASS quoting the German newspaper Bild. “There are thousands of people on the Independent Square. You haven’t seen such an amount since Orange revolution.”

Klitschko says he is going to run in the next presidential elections.

“For nearly 20 years of independence we have done nothing to develop the country. There is a high rate of unemployment in Ukraine. Now I would like to change the situation myself.”

09.48 GMT: A large number of protesters have gathered on the Independence Square next to the Verkhovna Rada, Interfax Ukraina reports. They are supporting the democratically elected head of state, Viktor Yanukovych.

08.22 GMT: Ukrainian PM Nikolay Azarov called upon the protesters to negotiate.

“The government is ready to negotiate. So am I.”

“We should accept the decision of the Ukrainian Parliament to trust its Cabinet of Ministers. We have to stop the escalation of political tension,” he said during a cabinet meeting.

Previously on Tuesday the government survived a no-confidence vote at a session of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.

He said the government is controlling the situation in the country.

“There are no reasons for protests, the executive authorities are now working regularly.”

“I want to address people, your leaders are pushing you to crimes. They would hide beneath the immunity of the government, but you have nowhere to hide,” he added.

“The Ukrainian Government is ready to give its civilians a right to hold peaceful protests,” says Azarov.

06.55 GMT: 20 buses with Berkut special police forces and police internal forces are now in Mariinsky Park. They are blocking the crossroad between Grushevskaya and Sadovaya Streets near the building of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, says RBK Ukraina. The buses are standing tight which make it impossible for transport to cross. Traffic police are also blocking the crossroad, but still give way to passers-by.

Grushevskaya Street.(Google map)

06.31 GMT: A group of protesters threw a Soviet Union flag on the pavement by the entrance to Independence Square. “If you want to get in, you have to walk over it,” they said, RT correspondent Irina Galushko reports from Kiev.

06.05 GMT: The protesters are now forming a column which is going to the building of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, reports ITAR-TASS agency. Overnight over 1,000 demonstrators have been rallying on Independence Square.

The activists say they expect more support groups from the western and eastern parts of Ukraine. In addition, students are to join the protesters today.

05.46 GMT: The pro-EU integration protesters resume their picket near the building of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, says RIA Novosti. Hundreds of demonstrators are now standing in line along the central entrance.

Police are partially blocking the passage to the building. Ten buses with Berkut special police forces have driven into the Mariinsky Park.

The next meeting of the cabinet is scheduled for later in the day.

00:06 GMT: Busses carrying forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine have left from Crimea to join security forces in Kiev, the ministry told UNIAN agency. Sixty people left on Sunday, while the rest accompanied by 18 pieces of equipment left the region on Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 3

23:40 GMT: Activists on Maidan Square are preparing a sleep-in for the night. RIA Novosti reports a decline in the number of participants at the main square, many of whom have gone home for the night. Those that came from other parts of Ukraine are spending their night in the activist-controlled mayor’s building, the trade unions building as well as numerous tents.

Supporters of Ukraine's closer integration with the European Union warm themselves around a fire on Independence Square in Kiev.(RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin)

22:13 GMT: All nine suspects arrested for organizing mass unrest on Sunday have been detained for two months, the prosecutor general office told UNIAN agency. The arrested are suspected of committing serious crimes in connection with clashes next to the Ukrainian presidential administration on Sunday. Overall 11 people are facing criminal charges.

21:50 GMT: The European Commission has not yet confirmed the visit of a Ukrainian delegation to Brussels, announced by Prime Minister Azarov on Tuesday, Maya Kosyanchich, spokeswoman for EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton announced.

"We cannot confirm the visit of the Ukrainian delegation to Brussels. The date and the place are to be decided through diplomatic channels, and where such agreement is reached, we will announce it," Vesti quotes.

Earlier, the Ukrainian Premier Nikolay Azarov said that a delegation would go to Brussels on December 4 to hold the talks regarding European integration.

Ukranian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov gestures during a session of the Parliament in Kiev December 3, 2013.(Reuters / Gleb Garanich)

"Tomorrow our delegation will go to Brussels, and we'll keep holding talks, which will give us a chance to sign the Agreement on European integration under conditions beneficial for Ukraine," a statement by the premier on the government's Web site read. "Simultaneously another delegation will go to Moscow, since we want to strengthen our strategic partnership with Russia."

In the meantime European Commission representative Olivier Bailly also confirmed that Brussels has not finalized any dates for the Ukrainian delegation’s visit. Bailly said that the EU was ready to conduct negotiations with Kiev under the terms of the association agreement but not the text of the agreement, saying that “all the conditions for the EU signing of the initialed text of the Association Agreement with Ukraine remain in force,” ITAR-TASS quotes.

18:41 GMT: US Secretary of State John Kerry has canceled his visit to the OSCE summit in Kiev scheduled for December 5-6 in connection with the Ukrainian government’s U-turn on the EU, a senior State Department official told the New York Times.

US Secretary of State John Kerry.(AFP Photo / Thierry Charlier)

“We wanted to send a very strong signal of support for those countries that have moved forward with the EU because of what it means to their commitment to reform. Had that been the case with Ukraine, it would have been a tougher decision whether to go to the OSCE, but since that didn’t happen we’re going where the European decisions were made,” the official was quoted as saying by the media.

Kerry, who currently attends a two-day NATO meeting in Brussels, will instead go to Moldova, to support the country which the official believes has been “under some pressure from its big neighbor.”

NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday condemned the use of “excessive force” against the protesters in Kiev and urged the Ukrainian government and the opposition “to engage in dialogue and launch a reform process.”

Watch RT's Irina Galushko's latest report from Kiev:

Video: /files/news/21/56/40/00/original_english_international_2013-12-03_20_58_16_galushko_kiev.asf

17:58 GMT: The demonstrators are erecting army tents on Independence Square (Maidan) in Kiev, Interfax reports. At least 10 such tents have been pitched near the stage where performers are entertaining the Maidan protesters, and more are being installed near the square. Camp fires have also been lit near the tents.

Meanwhile, opposition leaders are meeting with several foreign ambassadors to Ukraine, Interfax said. The purpose of the meeting was not immediately clear.

17:25 GMT: A Ukrainian delegation on Wednesday is heading to Brussels for talks on the association agreement with the EU, while another delegation will fly to Moscow for strategic trade partnership talks, Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov said in a televised address.

“Tomorrow our delegation will go to Brussels, and we will continue negotiations, which will enable us to sign the EU association agreement on terms favorable for Ukraine,” Azarov said.

“At the same time tomorrow, a delegation will head to Moscow, as we want to strengthen our strategic partnership with the Russian Federation,” he added, saying that the talks will focus on “restoring trade and economic relations” with Russia.

16:39 GMT: Thousands of protesters turning up near the presidential administration building in Kiev joined a peaceful stand-off with a thick cordon of police blocking entrance to the area. Twitter users identified the first lines in the cordon as unarmed cadets from the Interior Troops. On Sunday, dozens of young officers from the Interior Troops were injured by violent protesters from ultra-right groups, who attempted to break through a cordon with flares, stones, chains and even a tractor to storm the presidential administration. Some reports mistakenly referred to the young cadets as members of the Berkut special police forces, who carried out the brutal dispersal of Maidan protesters on Saturday morning.

15:38 GMT: The barricades erected around Kiev’s Independence Square, the Maidan, are being reinforced with barbed wire out of fear of a riot police crackdown.

After the motion of no-confidence in the Cabinet of Ministers was defeated in the Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday, “we are trying to prevent any attempts of provocation from the Berkut special police forces and the government,” a protester told Itar-Tass.

14:49 GMT: Journalists covering the Kiev protests are being equipped with helmets, goggles, respirators and bright orange vests with the word “PRESS” emblazoned on them, RIA Novosti reports.

Protesters wave flags as they make their way to Independence Square in Kiev December 3, 2013. (Reuters/Stoyan Nenov)

14:00 GMT: Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov’s spokesman, Vitaly Lukyanenko, said he expects a regular Cabinet meeting to be held Wednesday, although the Cabinet building is currently being blocked by a group of protesters.

“We expect that common sense prevails, the building will be unblocked, and we will hold our session,” the spokesman said.

13:20 GMT: Reports that the Ukrainian Army may intervene in the ongoing protests on either side of the political divide are nothing but a “certain provocation,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in a statement published on its website.


“According to the Ukrainian Constitution, any participation of the units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which serve exclusively for the defense of the country, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, in any internal political struggle is absolutely ruled out,” the ministry said.

12:45 GMT: The protesters led by some of the leaders of the Ukrainian opposition have headed towards the presidential administration building “to demand the government’s resignation and announce early presidential and parliamentary elections,” according to Batkivschina (Fatherland) leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Protestors wave flags and shout slogans during a demonstration in support of EU integration in Kiev December 3, 2013. (Reuters/Gleb Garanich)

Yatsenyuk claimed President Viktor Yanukovich “has not yet left with any sort of visit and remains in Kiev until tomorrow morning.” Earlier, the head of Yanukovich’s administration has confirmed that the President is flying to China with an official visit on December 3.

11:30 GMT: The Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, headed by Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov, survived a no-confidence vote at a session of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, on Tuesday. The motion garnered only 186 votes, short of the 226 majority required for it to pass.

11:25 GMT: Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov gave a speech ahead of the vote, apologizing for law enforcement agencies’ actions during the dispersal of the pro-EU rally on Saturday morning, saying that all those responsible for violence would face charges and promising a vigorous Cabinet reshuffle”.

He said that Ukraine would continue talks on integration with the EU, adding that “both the European Commission and the EU are ready to consider the issue of financial compensation to Ukraine”.

Azarov also called on opposition leaders to immediately end the blockade of the Cabinet of Ministers’ building, warning that they will be “held responsible for this.” Opposition MPs shouted “Lies!” and “Resign!” in an attempt to disrupt Azarov’s speech.

Ukraine's Prime Miister Mykola Azarov greets deputies of the majority after a vote for his resignation at the parliament in Kiev on December 3, 2013. (AFP Photo/Sergei Supinsky)

11:23 GMT: Ukraine’s Finance Minister, Yury Kolobov, said in televised statement that the country was paying its debts on time. His comments come after the cost of Ukrainian government bonds rose sharply over concerns about the weekend’s unrest in Kiev. The protests have sparked investor worries that Ukraine might default on its $15.3 billion debt over the next two years.

"Ukraine is a reliable borrower and is flawlessly fulfilling, and will fulfill, all of its obligations on time," Kolobov said, Reuters reported.

10:38 GMT: General-Secretary of the Council of the EU Thorbjorn Jagland is set to arrive in Kiev to participate in the meeting between the Ukrainian parliamentary groups on Wednesday, RIA Novosti reported, citing his press secretary. The premier and foreign ministers are also to take part in the debate.

Protestors wave flags and shout slogans outside parliament in Kiev December 3, 2013. (Reuters/Stoyan Nenov)

10:17 GMT: Three thousand five hundred people have departed from the western Ukrainian city of Lvov to join the demonstrators in Kiev over the last three days, Interfax news agency reported, citing the Coordination council of the Lvov area – an organ set up to coordinate the actions during protests.

09:50 GMT: Government officials, including the prime minister, could not get to their workplaces, which were blocked off by the protesters, the cabinet’s spokesman Vitaly Lukyanenko told RIA Novosti.

“This creates serious tension in the work of the government,” he said. “It’s fulfilling its responsibilities but in a way that’s far from normal.”

09:27 GMT: France has invited a top Ukrainian opposition figure, Vitaly Klitschko, to Paris to discuss a stand-off with the country's government that has caused thousands to take to the streets, Reuters reported. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told RFI radio he had sent a message to world champion boxer Klitschko to invite him.

"It's not up to us to interfere in domestic issues, but the other day we spoke with Yanukovich and it seems normal to me to meet Mr. Klitschko as well, since Mrs. Tymoshenko is in prison," Fabius said, speaking of jailed Ukrainian opposition figure and ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko.

Protesters stand in front of riot policemen in front of the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev prior to the parliament session on December 3, 2013. (AFP Photo/Sergei Supinsky)

09:20 GMT: Arseny Yatsenyuk, leader of the Batkivshchina (Fatherland) opposition party, has demanded that Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov come to the parliament session prior to debates over a vote of no confidence in the Cabinet.

09:18 GMT: Speaking at the Verkhovna Rada session, Ukrainian opposition leaders have demanded that the government and President Viktor Yanukovych resign, and have called for Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko to face criminal charges.

The Azarov government is responsible for both the crackdown of the protest and the collapse in the economy. The country’s authorities must be fully and legitimately replaced,” said Vitaly Klitchko, leader of the Strike (Udar) opposition party.

Meanwhile, MPs of the ruling Party of Regions have called for a special commission to assess the situation in the country.

08:00 GMT: Clashes have occurred between the protesters and the Berkut special police forces in Kiev, RT’s video agency Ruptly reports. Dozens of rally participants have tried to break through police cordons near Ukraine parliament. Some of them attacked the police with sticks. The law enforcers have been fighting back, not letting the protesters pass.

06:20 GMT: Workers protected by police have been mounting a stage near the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada. Twenty police buses have been spotted nearby, RIA Novosti reports. It’s unclear why the works are being done, as there was no information of the governing Party of the Regions plans to have its own rally near the Rada building.

06:11 GMT: The opposition has enough MPs in the Ukrainian parliament to vote in favor of the cabinet’s resignation on Tuesday, according to the deputy speaker of the Rada, deputy head of the opposition Svoboda party Ruslan Koshulinsky.

Protesters rest at a barricade at Independence Square in Kiev December 3, 2013. (Reuters//Vasily Fedosenko)

Today we are speaking about the cabinet’s resignation as of the main task the opposition has set for itself in the parliament. We have the necessary number of MPs to fulfill that goal,” Koshulinsky told Channel 5 TV.

The opposition wants the parliament to pass a motion of no confidence in the cabinet “for betrayal of the Ukrainian people.

06:08 GMT: A large number of protesters have gathered in front of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada. The site of the rally has been encircled by law enforcers, mostly from the Berkut special police force.

The protesters sang the Ukrainian national anthem and shouted “police with the people” slogans before opposition leaders began to deliver their speeches.

Smaller groups of protesters have been seen by the offices of the Cabinet of Ministers, the National Bank and the government.


00:28 GMT: The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine says that police are allocating staff tasked with patrolling the streets and identifying provocateurs and violators of public order.


“The police is ready to respond to all your requests and create with the public joint patrols in crowded event areas held in order to identify violators of public order. The police are prepared to allocate sufficient staff,”
the ministry’s statement reads.

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