Police troops leave their position around the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev on February 21, 2014. Ukraine's deputy army chief has resigned in protest over government attempts to involve the army to put down unrest rocking the country, after Kiev erupted in unprecedented deadly violence. "Today the army is being involved in the civil conflict, which could lead to the mass deaths of civilians and soldiers," General Yuri Dumanski, deputy head of the army's general staff, told Channel 5 television in comments broadcast Friday. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV
Editor's Note: The Kyiv Post has been covering the anti-government, pro-democracy EuroMaidan protests from their very beginning on Nov. 21, when President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a political and trade association agreement with the European Union. The protests are in their 93rd day on Feb. 21. Nearly 100 people have been killed since the demonstrations started and thousands injured in clashes between protesters and police. Demonstrators are demanding Yanukovych's resignation and early presidential and parliamentary elections.
Several Party of Regions lawmakers leave the party
6:48 p.m. Tens of lawmakers from President Viktor Yanukovych's ruling Party of Regions left the faction on Feb. 21, signaling that the presient was loosing his grip on power and influence over those once loyal to him.
At least 28 Party of Regions members of parliament were reported to have left the faction, according to Interfax-Ukraine news agency. -- Christopher J. Miller
Parliament votes to suspend Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko
Feb. 21, 6:20 p.m. -- In another unanimous vote today, 332 members of the 450-seat parliament voted to insist on the suspension of the nation's top cop, Vitaliy Zakharchenko, as part of a political compromise. Zakharchenko is blamed for the violent police crackdowns on protesters that have killed nearly 100 people and injured thousands since November. -- Brian Bonner
SBU warns against separatist movements
Feb. 21, 6:12 p.m. -- In a bid to tamp down pro-Russian separatist sentiment in Crimea and eastern Ukarine, the Security Service of Ukraine -- the security services known as SBU -- said on Feb. 21 that "it will use severe measures to prevent any action taken against diminishing the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine."
The SBU noted that “certain politicians, local government officials, leaders of civil society organizations, and radically-inclined individuals have attempted to create grounds for escalating the civil conflict, and have spread autonomous and separatist attitudes among the people, which could lead to the demise of our as a united nation and loss of its national sovereignty.” In addition, the statement said that certain lawmakers of every level have begun separatist negotiations with representatives of foreign nations. “Open consultations are being held on the possible division of the country into separate parts in violation of the Ukrainian constitution,” read the statement. “This could lead to an escalation of conflict between different sectors of society, inciting ethnic or religious hatred and military conflict.” -- Mark Rachkevych
Protesters on offensive, occupying private businesses, retaking government buildings
Feb. 21, 5:42 p.m. -- In the wake of the latest and bloodiest clashes between police and demonstrators on Kyiv’s Independence Square, protesters have expanded their control over several parts of central Kyiv.
The violence began on Feb. 18 when protesters organized a “peaceful offensive” on parliament and began throwing stones at lines of riot police. Soon thereafter, police launched a counter-offensive, firing live rounds of ammunition into crowds of protesters. The clashes left more than 75 dead and hundreds wounded.
Beginning on Feb. 19, the second day of the three-day confrontation, protesters retook control of government buildings and private businesses along Khrehyshatyk Street -- many of the same buildings they briefly abandoned on Feb. 17, when an amnesty law went into effect that called for release of protesters in exchange for demonstrators vacating government buildings.
Protesters have reoccupied City Hall, the Ministry of Agriculture, the exposition center Ukrainian House, and several other government buildings in the center of Kyiv. Though the state Trade Unions building was scorched in the recent skirmishes, protesters have since moved in and attempted to clean the interior.
Many of the occupied buildings serve as medical stations, as many protesters fear seeking treatment in state-run hospitals. Over the past several weeks, demonstrators have been arrested by police officers immediately after being released from the hospital.
Medical supplies now line the windows on the first floor of the café “Coffee Time,” which serves as an impromptu hospital to treat wounded protesters. Organizers are using the café’s food and kitchen appliances to serve men in dressed in army fatigues and helmets taken from riot police officers.
On the second floor, organizers have transformed dining booths into cots for demonstrators to sleep on.
Bohdan Gobovei, who is helping to coordinate activities in Coffee Time, says that there was no conflict with the owners of the business when the protesters first set up camp. “We are a peaceful people. We simply asked him if we could use the building, and then we had an agreement.”
Next door, the paramilitary group Maidan Self-Defense occupied Raiffeisen Bank.
With the exception of a few street stands, commerce has stopped in the city’s center.
Several hundred meters away on Independence Square, another Coffee Time is closed. A sign on the front door says it is closed for “technical reasons.” There, an employee who asked to be identified only by her first name, Alla, says the owner closed because he feared that it would be destroyed in future skirmishes.
Since authorities closed metro and bus routes to the center of the city on Tuesday, the business has been losing money: “we need to pay our personnel, we need to pay for the services of the restaurant, but how are we supposed to pay without any customers?” -- Isaac Webb
Parliament votes to revert to 2004 constitution
Feb. 21, 4:55 p.m. -- Parliament today unanimously voted, 386-0, to return to the 2004 Constitution, one of the pre-conditions for ending the anti-government EuroMaidan protests. This follows the signing of a compromise agreement between President Viktor Yanukovych and political opposition leaders to end the nation's political crisis. However, it's still not clear whether the compromise -- which also calls for December elections -- will be enough to end the standoff.
Still parliament cheered upon the vote for the 2004 constitution, while Verkhovna Rada speaker Volodymyr Rybak congratulated the parliament members and all sang the national anthem.
Borys Kolesnikov, the former vice prime minister: “Unfortunately, in our Slavic countries it does not work to have a president with the powers like Bruce, the almighty.” Kolesnikov said the nation's regions need more autonomy, particularly over budget.
Yaroslav Sukhoi, a Party of Regions member of parliament, said: “We're taking on a commitment to vote” for all those things in the list “we need to involve into the investigation of the bloody events of European, foreign special services because the bullets that killed the soldiers and that were pulled out of people's bodies, are the same.”
The return to the 2004 constitution, which lessens presidential powers and strengthens parliamentary ones, is only one aspect to a compromise agreement that also calls for presidential elections no later than December.
More complete list of EuroMaidan casualties since Feb. 18
Feb. 21, 4:21 p.m. -- This is the latest list of the more than 75 people killed in Kyiv since Feb. 18. The Health Ministry says the casualty count is 77 people, while 76 people are on this list. The source is here.
Heorhiy Aratunian, around 50, Rivne
Serhiy Baydovsky, 22, Novovolynsk, Volyn region , trunk pipeline "Druzhba"worker
Valeriy Brezdeniuk, 50, Vinnytsia, artist
Serhiy Bondarchuk, 53, Starokostyantyniv, Khmelnytsky Oblast, physics teacher , was shot on February 20.
Serhiy Bondarev, programmer at Global Logic
Bohdan Vaida, 49, Letnia village, Lviv Oblast
Vitaliy Vasyltsov, 37, Bila Tserkva, Kyiv Oblast, was shot on Feb. 19. on Velyka Zhytomurska
Roman Varenytsia, 35, Yavoriv Rayon, Lviv Oblast
Vyacheslav Veremiy, 32, Kyiv, Vesti newspaper journalist
Nazar Voytovych, 17 student of coperative college of Ternopil.
Roman Guryk, 20, Ivano-Frankivsk
Ustym Golodniuk, 20, Zbarazh, Ternopil Oblast, student, volunteer
Roman Tochyn, 45, Khodoriv, Lviv Oblast, died on Feb. 20
Eduard Hrynevych, 29, Derevky, Volyn Oblast, member of “Volyn sotnia”
Anatoliy Zhalovaha, 34, Lviv
Volodymyr Zakharov, 57, IT specialist, died durning storming of the Party of Regions office on Feb. 18 on Lipska St.
Antonina Dvorianets, 62, Brovary, Kyiv Oblast, did not take part in the rally. Received a gunshot wound accidentally
Andriy Dygdalovych, Sokilnyky, Lviv Oblast, died on Feb. 20
Serhiy Didych, 44, Horodenka, Ivano Frankivsk Oblast, leader of local VO “Svoboda” branch
Mykola Dziavylsky, 56, Shepetivka, Khmelnytsky Oblast,geography and biology teacher, a member of "Svoboda"
Ihor Dmitriev , 30, Kopanku village, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast
Anatoliy Zherebnyi, Rudki village, Lviv Oblast
Volodymyr Zherebnyi, Vyshnia, Lviv Oblast
Yakiv Zaiko, 41, Zhytomyr, People's deputy, public figure, journalist, died from heart attack while running away from Berkut
Oleksandr Kapinos, 29, Kremenets, Ternopil Oblast, farmer
Serhiy Kemsky, 34, Kerch, Crimea, expert at the Institute of political and economic risks and opportunities.
Volodymyr Kishchuk, 58, Zaporizhia Oblast
Anatoliy Korchak, Havrilovtski village, Khmelnytsky Oblast
Andriy Korchak, Stryj, Lviv Oblast
Ihor Kostenko, 22, Lviv
Vitaliy Kotsiuba, 22, Lviv -
Ivan Kreman, Kremenchuk, Poltava Oblast, was found in Hotel Ukraine
Volodymyr Kulchytsky, 65, Kyiv
Vasyl Moisey, 21, Kivertsi, Volyn Oblast, member of Kivertsi VO “Svoboda” city organization
Andriy Movchan, 34, Democratic Alliance, worked as stageman at Kyiv Ivan Franko Theater
Volodymyr Naumov, 43, Schevchenko village, Donetsk Oblast, was found dead on Trukhaniv island in Kyiv
Roman Nikulichev, 21, Kyiv.
Valeriy Opanasiuk, 42, Rivne
Dmytro Pagor, 21, Khmelnytsky
Yuriy Parashchuk, 48, Kharkiv, was shot in the head on Feb.20
Yuriy Paskhalin, 30, Cherkasy , died from 3 gunshot wounds.
Oleksandr Plekhanov, 23, architect
Leonid Polianskiy, 35
Andriy Sayenko, 42, Fastiv, Kyiv Oblast
Ihor Serdiuk, 40, Poltava Oblast, was killed near the Mariinsky Park on Feb.18.
Viktor Smilenko, 53, Borisovka village, Kirovohrad Oblast, the body was found in Hotel Ukraine
Vitaliy Smolynsky, Furmanovka village, Cherkasy Oblast
Bohdan Solchanyk, 29, Staryi Sambir, Lviv Oblast, teacher at the Ukrainian Catholic University
Ivan Tarasiuk, 21, Olyka, Volyn Oblast
Igor Tkachuk,39, Russia, was found dead in Hotel Ukraine on Feb.20
Ivan Tur, Horodok, 41, Lviv Oblast,
Oleh Ushnevych, 32, Drogobych, Lviv Oblast, Hero of Ukraine
Oleksandr Khrapchenko, 27, Rivne, theater director
Zurab Khurtsiya, 54, Kirovograd, didn't take part in riots, died from heart attack
Vlad Chaplynsky, Obukhiv, Kyiv Oblast
Andriy Chernenko, 35
Viktor Chmylenko, Borysivka, Kirovograd Oblast, farmer, activ member of Kirovograd Euromaidan and Automaidan, was shot by sniper
Oleksandr Tsariok, Kalinin village, Kyiv Oblast,
Serhiy Shapoval, 45 (or 46), Kyiv, was found dead in House of Officers building
Maksym Shynko, 33, Vinnutsia
Yosyp Shyling, 61 (or 62), shot outside of the October Palace.
Oleksandr Scherbaniuk, 46, Chernivtsi
David Kapiani, Georgia, Died on Feb. 20 from two gunshot wounds.
Vasul Bulitka, 28, Kyiv
Dmytro Vasylenko, 32, Crimea
Vitaliy Goncharov, 25, Crimea
Volodymyr Yevtushko, 42, Kyiv
Oleksiy Ivanenko, 37, Kharkiv
Petro Savitskiy, 42, Kyiv
Sergiy Spechak, Berdiansk, Zaporizhia Oblast
Ivan Tepliuk, 21, Chernigiv
Maksym Tretiak, 22, Chernigiv
Andriy Fediukin, 42, Crimea
Serhiy Tsvigun , 24, Zaporizhia
-- Translated by Iryna Yeroshko
Fluid situation II - no matter what agreement is reached by politicians, public has to approve
Feb. 21, 3:17 p.m. -- Dmytro Yarosh, the leader of the militant Pravy Sector, has rejected President Viktor Yanukovych's offer of a December presidential election. He issued this combative statement: "We have to state the obvious fact that the criminal regime had not yet realized either the gravity of its evil doing."
He said Yanukovych's statement is missing parts such as the urgent arrests of Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko, commanders of the killers in Berkut riot-control police and sniper killers, as well as the remove of the general prosecutor and defense minister, a legal ban on the president's Party of Regions and the Communist Party "and guarantees of safety to participants of revolutionary activities. Thus, we are inclined to see this statement of Yanukovych as another attempt at window-dressing. The people's revolution continues, and it will end with full removal from power" of the criminal regime and formation of a truly democratic nation. -- Katya Gorchinskaya
Fluid situation - perhaps there is a deal after all
Feb. 21, 3:04 p.m. -- There are now reports that the three main opposition leaders -- Oleh Tiahnybok, Arseniy Yatseniuk and Vitali Klitschko -- may get behind a deal that calls for a return to a parliamentary form of government under a 2004 constitution, early presidential elections in December, an independent investigation of violence against protesters and formation of a coalition government that does not include Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka or Interior Minister Valery Zakharchenko. Whether Yanukovych will go for the deal remains to be seen. Russian President Vladimir Putin's envoy to the talks reportedly refused to agree. Developing story. -- Katya Gorchinskaya
Fireworks set off, possibly in celebration of opposition's rejection of Yanukovych's offer
Feb. 21, 2:50 p.m. -- The explosions appear to be fireworks, possibly in celebration of the opposition's reported rejection of the terms of President Viktor Yanukovych's offer to end the national crisis. It appears that some protesters and perhaps opposition leaders may not accept anything short of Yanukovych's immediate resignation at this point in the conflict. This is, of course, a developing story. No word this moment of a press conference with the visiting foreign ministers and opposition leaders. -- Mark Rachkevych and Katya Gorchinskaya
Strange happenings on street as police pull back from their barricades
Feb. 21, 2:27 p.m. -- Kyiv Post reporters on the street report that police are pulling back from their barricades in several locations. Rather than greet this development as welcome news, protesters are suspicious that the action signifies that a deal has been struck between President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders. "Out with them all!" some of the demonstrators chanted on Independence Square. Non-stop explosions are going on now near the base camp for thousands of ant-government EuroMaidan demonstrators. Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Polish Foreign Minister Radislaw Sikorski were meeting with opposition leaders and the Maidan Council as part of the West's ongoing efforts to find a settlement to the political crisis. Any agreement between politicians will have to win the approval of protesters, or a good majority of them, to succeed. -- Katya Gorchinksaya and Anastasia Vlasova
Video of Feb. 20 clashes has more than 3 million views already
Feb. 21, 2:18 p.m. -- It's no surprise that this dramatic footage of protesters being shot dead by police on Feb. 20 in Kyiv is getting so many hits. This is an explosive 2 minutes, 42 seconds -- Brian Bonner
Video of the deadly Feb. 21 clashes on Institutska Street near Kyiv's Independence Square.
Three days of morning in Lviv
Feb. 21, 2:08 p.m. -- Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovy has announced three days of mourning for the more than 75 people killed in Kyiv since Feb. 18. The city appeals to all public institutions to limit recreational activities. At the same time the city is hanging flags with mourning ribbons. -- Iryna Yeroshko
Georgian citizen among those killed
Feb. 21, 2:07 p.m. -- Georgian citizen David Kipiani died of two gunshot wounds to the chest on Feb. 20, EuroMaidan SOS reports, citing a medical forensic exam. -- Mark Rachkevych
Two Democratic Alliance members among protesters killed on Feb. 20
1:57 p.m. Two members of Ukraine political party Democratic Alliance were among the several dozen protesters shot dead by police during bloody clashes on Feb. 20 and some 75 killed since the violence began in Kyiv on Feb. 18.
Ustym Golodnyuk, a 19-year-old Democratic Alliance volunteer who had been camped on Independence Square since the protest movement began in November, was shot dead by a sniper early on Feb. 20 as riot police officers fired on protesters who fought with the police on Institutska Street, according to a post on the Democratic Alliance Facebook page.
Medics took his body from the street to the main floor of Ukraina Hotel, which had been turned into a makeshift medical center, where his father later identified him.
"I do not know whether (President Viktor) Yanukovych has to stand in front of me on his knees, but I know exactly that he has to be brought in front of the international tribunal for what he did to my country and to my son," Democratic Alliance reported Golodnyuk’s father as saying.
The second Democratic Alliance member killed, Andriy Movchan, was also shot dead by a police sniper bullet. His body was also taken to Ukraina Hotel.
They two bodies were taken away in ambulances late on Feb. 20. -- Christopher J. Miller
Yanukovych offer looks like a non-starter
Feb. 21, 1:38 p.m. -- Early reaction to Presidenti Viktor Yanukovych's deal is not good. Apparently, the foreign ministers from France, Germany and Poland left overnight talks with Yanukovych saying there was no deal. Then the Yanukovych this morning started leaking an outline of an agreement: coalition government within 10 days, change in constitution by September to a stronger former of parliamentary republic and possibly early presidential elections in December, only a month or so before the next regularly scheduled election.
Only opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk appears to be actively considering such a solution. Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko has consistently pushed for much earlier elections, while opposition leader Oleh Tiahynbook took to the Independencd Square stage and asked the crowd "Do we agree to this?" The thousands of people assembled overwhelmingly shouted "no" in response.
Meanwhile, all eyes are on the ruling Party of Regions member of parliament to see if more will quit the pro-presidential faction and create possibly an opposition-controlled Verkhovna Rada in the 450-seat parliament. -- Katya Gorchinskaya
Yanukovych's offer rejected by EuroMaidan demonstrators
Feb. 21, 1:16 p.m. -- President Viktor Yanukovych's vague offer of early presidential elections and a coalition government today is not getting a warm reception from the anti-government EuroMaidan demonstrators. The Democratic Alliance's international press secretary, Alisa Rubin, said that Yanukovych should immediately resign. The party also called for the arrest and prosecution of Interior Minister Valeriy Zakharchenko and all others responsible for the violence against demonstrators that has claimed nearly 100 lives since January and injured thousands of people. Yanukovych didn't specify an election date. The next regularly scheduled presidential election is early next year.
Here is the English-language translation of Yanukovych's statement:
Yanukovych's statement today: Dear fellow citizens!
In these tragic days when Ukraine suffered such heavy losses when people died on both sides of the fence consider it my duty to light the memory of the victims claim - there is nothing more important on a human life. And there is no such steps that we all would not have been done to restore peace in Ukraine.
I will announce steps to be done to restore calm and avoid these victims of conflict.
I declare that I initiate early presidential elections.
I also initiate a return to the Constitution of 2004 with the redistribution of powers aside parliamentary republic.
I call to the procedure of forming a government of national trust.
As the President of Ukraine and the Guarantor of the Constitution today I do my duty to the people, to Ukraine and the Lord God in the name of the State in the name of saving the lives of people in the name of peace and tranquility in our land. -- Christopher J. Miller and Anastasia Vlasova