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EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine - Dec. 13

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Dec. 13, 2013, 10:17 p.m. | Ukraine — by Kyiv Post

A man serves soup at a camp set up by Ukrainian opposition demonstrators on Independence Square in Kiev on December 13, 2013. Ukraine's opposition on December 13 sat down for talks with President Viktor Yanukovych for the first time since mass protests broke out over his failure to sign a pact with the European Union three weeks ago.
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Editor's Note: The Kyiv Post is providing continuous coverage of the protests in Kyiv and other cities following the government's decision on Nov. 21 to stop European Union integration by rejecting an association agreement. The rallies started on Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square). The events can be followed on Twitter using hashtags #euromaidan and #євромайдан or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EuroMaydan.  

Watch video of EuroMaidan events here on live stream and hromadske.tv

Baloga presents proof that police attack was well planned by security services

Dec. 13, 8:34 p.m. Former head of presidential secretariat Viktor Baloga released a number of documents that show that the attacks on peaceful demonstrators, including the original one on Nov. 30 against hundreds of students, was well-planned by the security services. Several documents, with date ranges between Nov. 24 and Dec. 10, show that the security services started preparing to attack just three after the protests kicked off, and were low in numbers. The State Security Service (SBU) said the demonstrations presented a potential terrorist threat.

Later documents show lists of Defense Ministry vehicles and equipment that were dispatched to the streets, as well as their location. The last document concerning the terrorist threat was issued on Dec. 10, the day when President Viktor Yanukovych promised western envoys Catherine Ashton and Victoria Nuland that no force will be used.

"In that letter, the level of terrorist threat is characterized as "potential" and is extended till Dec. 31, 2013. This means that in the coming weekend provocations with use of weapons, explosives, and so on, can become a reality," Baloga told Ukrainska Pravda website.

"This gives us basis to say that from the very first days the government has been actively preparing a terrorist act that will untie their hands to use greater force."

The scans of documents can be viewed on Ukrainska Pravda.

Ukrainians rally in front of Akhmetov’s office in London

Dec. 13, 8 p.m. Dozens Ukrainians living in London got together in front of the building of SCM company owned by Ukraine’s richest businessman Rinat Akhmetov on Dec.13. They were singing Ukrainian national anthem and holding banners that read “Mr. Akhmetov, You can stop the bloodshed”, “London is watching you...”, “Say no to dictatorship in Ukraine”. 

“The reason why we’re here - we’re concerned about the future of Ukraine. The next few days will be decisive and we believe that Mr.Akhmetov is the person who can influence the president,” Andy Hunter, head of the government relations practice at London office of Sayenko Kharenko, Ukrainian law firm, who also was among the attendants said.

“The president has made bad decisions in the last couple of days and we appeal here to Mr.Akhmetov, who has the ability to influence, to speak to president as soon as possible, not to allow any more blood to be spilled, to stop the repressions and not to put students into prisons.” he said. -- Anastasia Forina


Peaceful protest is held outside London office of SCM company owned by Rinat Akhmetov on Dec. 13, 2013. (C) facebook/Andriy Gerus

Big pro-presidential rally planned in Kyiv at the weekend

Dec. 13, 7 p.m. On Dec.14 and Dec.15 the all-Ukrainian rally in support of President Viktor Yanukovych’s course will be held on Kyiv’s European square, reads announcement on the Party of Regions website. Called 'Let's save Ukraine', the demonstration is to begin at noon. Around 20,000 people are expected to come from Donetsk region, Ihor Chychasov, deputy chairman of Donetsk regional organization of Party of Regions said on Dec.13. Another 10,000 are coming from Dnipropetrovsk region, according to Natalia Goncharenko, deputy chairman of Dnipropetrovsk regional organization of Party of Regions. The Interior Ministry’s press service told the Kyiv Post on Dec.13 that the pro-government rally has permission to have up to 200,000 in attendance. -- Anastasia Forina

Zaporizhya allegedly sends thousands to pro-government rally

Dec. 13, 5:40 p.m. Journalist Tetiana Gonchenko from Zaporizhya posted on her Facebook page saying that she witnessed a departure of an unusual train from Zaporizhya railway station to Kyiv. The train was packed with "athletic men and workers of state enterprises and companies."

"The railway schedule has no train to Kyiv for 4:30 p.m. The conductors said it was a rented train and tickets were not available for sale," Gonchenko wrote.

According to the journalist, mayor of Zaporizhya Olexander Sin was there, watching the departure. Each of 20 cars of the train carried around 80 men.

Round table with the president had a fake student leader

Dec. 13, 5:27 p.m. The round table with the president today did not have any representatives of real student leaders, Anton Savidi, one of Maidan organizers, told the Kyiv Post. Dmytro Levin, who claimed to represent the students, is actually a member of Young Regions, the youth wing of the Party of Regions. Photos of him posing with other Young Regions members can be found in social networks.

Dmytro Levin is the young man on the right. He was spotted on a photograph of Young Regions, the youth wing of the Party of Regions.

Parliament speaker calls for session on Tuesday

Dec. 13, 4:17 p.m. Speaker of parliament Volodymyr Rybak suggested during roundtable talks that parliament should reconvene on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

The calls on Maidan are now to stop paying taxes, to stop going to work, he said, and “these calls are not political any more, this is disorganization of society.”

Piping in, Svoboda party leader Oleh Tiahnybok said people on the government payroll in medical, education and other sectors are being bullied into coming to a planned pro-government rally this weekend. 

Rybak responded, saying that it is wrong to pressure people and it has to stop. -- Katya Gorchinskaya

Patriarch Orthodox Church warns of civil war

Dec. 13, 4:14 p.m. Patriarch Filaret of Orthodox Church, Kiev Patriarchate, during roundtable talks with the president, members of government and opposition leaders, said that spiritual values have to be corner stones for the building of society.

“Use of force only calls for more force. And what does that mean? A civil war. Do we want a civil war? None of us wants a civil war,” he said. 

"You can't disperse Maidan by force – they will gather again. And if you sign an agreement with Russia, even more people will come (to the EuroMaidan demonstrations.) -- Katya Gorchinskaya

Patriarch of Greek Catholics says Ukrainian society is ‘divided’

Dec. 13, 4:04 p.m. Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the Patriarch of Greek Catholics here, participating in today’s roundtable discussion, said that Ukrainian society is divided.

“Our society is divided with lack of trust and we see barricades growing on Maidan with the growth of distrust,” he said.

He also addressed recent violent clashes between police and protesters, saying that anyone instigating the violence is a provocateur. “I would like to say a definite ‘no’ to any type of violence,” he said.

The Patriarch also urged President Yanukovych to take personal responsibility and control over law enforcement. “The shoots of hope were destroyed” by government actions on Nov. 20, Dec. 1 and 11, he said.

He also talked about the important role of youth in the EuroMaidan protest movement and the future of the nation. “Their voice should be decisive for anyone who takes decisions about Ukraine's future,” he said, adding that pressure on them in recent weeks has been wrong. “Students are getting an interest from prosecutors, or they get direct calls from security services. This is a way of pressure.” – Katya Gorchinskaya

Yatseniuk, Klitschko say president and government should be held accountable

Dec. 13, 3:30 p.m. "This government is personally responsible for political and economic crisis. This government and its minister Zakharchenko gave order to beat people ," Arseniy Yatseniuk, Batkivshchyna party leader said at the roundtable. Azarov was listening him with red face and accused after Yatseniuk's party Batkivshchyna of signing disadvantageous contracts with Russia in 2009. 

UDAR part leader Vitali Klitschko warned Yanukovych of applying force against protesters. "It will have horrible consequences for the country and personally for you," he said addressing Yanukovych. "You are personally responsible for all actions which are happening and which will happen in the country." -- Oksana Grytsenko

Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych (back row 4th R) and his three predecessors, Leonid Kravchuk (back row 5th R), Leonid Kuchma (back row 3rd R) and Viktor Yushchenko (back row 2nd R), attend first talks with Ukrainian opposition leaders, including world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko (front row 3rd L), in Kiev on December 13, 2013. Ukraine's opposition sat down today for talks with Yanukovych for the first time since mass protests broke out over his failure to sign a pact with the European Union three weeks ago. (c) AFP

Klitschko reiterates Tiahnybok's message to the president

Dec. 13, 3:18 p.m. Klichko said Yanukovych as leader of the state carries personal responsibility for the current public unrest and political situation.

"We know about the force scenario which is being considered," he told the president. " You must free political prisoners, punish those who gave orders, and resignation of government."

“Announce early presidential and parliamentary elections,” he added. “This would be the optimal scenario for today.” -- Katya Gorchinskaya

Tiahnybok lays out demands at roundtable discussion

Dec. 13, 3:15 p.m. Opposition and Svoboda party leader Oleh Tiahnybok at a roundtable with President Yanukovych, members of the government and other opposition leaders reiterated the opposition’s demands to the government. They are: punish all those who gave orders to attack peaceful protesters on Nov. 30; release all political prisoners; and sign the association agreement with the European Union. “Then we will be able to sit at negotiating table, and then we can talk about a reload of power, new government…” he said.

“People have come out (to Independence Square) because they are motivated to protect their own dignity,” added. -- Katya Gorchinskaya

Poland to help students punished for protesting

Dec. 13, 3 p.m. Education Minister of Poland Lena Kolarska-Bobinska said that Poland was ready to give 50 scholarships to study in Polish universities to Ukrainian students expelled from their universities for participating in Euro Maidan rallies. No students were expelled yet.

Yanukovych: "Guilty should be punished"

Dec. 13, 2:50 p.m. "Those guilty (in violent clashes at the protests) should be punished. The common people, participants of the clashes on Nov. 30 and on other days should receive amnesty," said President Yanukovych during the round table on Dec. 13.

Yanukovych says provocateurs on both sides on Nov. 30

Dec. 13, 2:45 p.m. President Yanukovych, discussing the police raid on peaceful protesters early in the morning on Nov. 30, said that there were provocateurs on both sides.

"During thee storming (of Independence Square on Nov. 30) many people were injured both from the side of those who was storming and the side who was defending. We need to take adequate judgement as to who were these provocators and who was financing them." -- Oksana Grytsenko

President slams association agreement

Dec. 13, 2:27 p.m. President Yanukovych slammed the Association Agreement as damaging for Ukraine at a round table meeting.  “The agreement is not only bad, it goes against national interests of Ukraine.” Officials who took part in its preparation will be probed and held responsible, he said. --Katya Gorchinskaya

Yanukovych arrived at roundtable 

Dec. 13, 2:05 p.m. President Viktor Yanukovych has arrived for a roundtable discussion with civil society, which has started at 2 p.m. in Kyiv's Palats Ukraina. Ukraine's three former presidents Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov are among the attendants -- Oksana Grytsenko

EuroMaidan supporters to picket Akhmetov’s office in London

Dec. 13, 2 p.m. Supporters of EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine plan to picket London office of SCM company owned by Ukraine’s richest businessman Rinat Akhmetov at 4 p.m. today, reads group's Facebook post. They blame Akhmetov for supporting his country’s violent regime. On Dec.7 they picketed his London residence at 1 Hyde Park worth 136 million pounds and announced they will keep up the protests in hopes of getting Akhmetov to persuade Yanukovych for early presidential elections. -- Anastasia Forina

People sit near their tents while their meal is cooking on Independence Square on Dec. 13. (c) Anastasia Vlasova

Court releases last activist arrested on Dec.1

Dec. 13, 1:25 p.m. All nine activists arrested after the clashes with police in front of Presidential Administration on Dec.1 were released, Associated Press reports . "An appeals court spokeswoman, Olga Chaplya, said the last of nine people arrested in the Dec. 1 clash was released on Friday, but the criminal cases against them continue," reads the AP story. -- Anastasia Forina

Yanukovych to take part in a round table with civil society

Dec. 13, 12:35 p.m. President Yanukovych's press service released a statement, saying that he will take part in a round table discussion with civil society today, which will take place at 2 p.m.  "On Friday, on Dec. 13, President Viktor Yanukovych will take part in the meeting of National round table "Uniting Ukraine," the statement said. It's unclear if representatives of the opposition will also participate. --Katya Gorchinskaya

Court releases a prisoner

Yegor Previn was released by court today but ordered to stay under house arrest.

Dec. 13, 12:32 p.m. The eighth activist who was arrested on Dec. 1, Yegor Previn, was released from prison by court today, but will be kept under house arrest. A total of nine activists were arrested in the wake of mass clashes with police, but only one of them remains in prison now. More activists and a journalist have been arrested since then. Members of the opposition said release of all of those who had been arrested is an essential precondition before negotiations with the president can start. -- Katya Gorchinskaya

STB TV channel finds a hero of Maidan

Dec. 13, 12:29 p.m. Ukrainian TV channel tracked down the metro train driver who in the early hours of Dec. 11, during massive clashes between police and peaceful demonstrators, urged his passengers to "help people on Maidan." His name is Vitaliy Zamoiskiy, and he says he had watched the clashes live all night before his shift, and the appeal was "a cry of the soul." You can watch him speak from 1'17'' on the Youtube video of STB's news broadcast. --Katya Gorchinskaya


US Congress members condemn Ukrainian authorities’ use of force against peaceful demonstrators in a letter to Yanukovych

Dec. 13, 12:01 p.m. Below is the letter co-authored by U.S. Congress members, William R. Keating, Eliot L. Engel, Sander M. Levin, Marcy Kaptur and Jim Gerlach. 

Dear Mr.President: 

As long-time supporters of Ukraine and its European aspirations, we condemn in the strongest possible terms Ukrainian authorities’ use of force against peaceful demonstrators in Kyiv’s Independence Square.  We strongly endorse White House and State Department calls for restraint and support the diplomatic engagement efforts of Assistant Secretary Nuland and Ambassador Pyatt.  

As long-time supporters of Ukraine and its European aspirations, we condemn in the strongest possible terms Ukrainian authorities’ use of force against peaceful demonstrators in Kyiv’s Independence Square.  We strongly endorse White House and State Department calls for restraint and support the diplomatic engagement efforts of Assistant Secretary Nuland and Ambassador Pyatt. Read the full letter here.

Last night on Euromaidan was peaceful, Interior Ministry says.  

Dec. 13, 10:50 a.m. No incidents were reported in Kyiv on the night of Dec.12, Interior Minsitry says. Around 1,900 law enforcement officers guarded public order at night in the capital. 

Right now, 4,000 people remain on the Independence square. -- Anastasia Forina

Akhmetov urges peace talks, condemns violence

Dec. 13, 10:30 a.m. Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine's richest man and one of the closest people to the president of Ukraine, released a statement on Dec. 13, in support of anti-government, pro-European demonstrations. He condemned violence against peaceful demonstrators and urged all sides to sit at a round table and start negotiating a way out of political crisis, instead of escalating it. Full text of his statement can be found here.

Pro-government protesters are moving into the city center

Dec. 13, 10:08 a.m. Anti-EuroMaidan protesters are coming to Kyiv, reports twitter user Vasya Kurolesov. Pro-presidential Party of Regions is organizing its own mass rallies this weekend, bringing thousands of people from the regions.

Pro-government protesters are moving into the city center.

Ashton set to talk to Lavrov today

Dec. 13, 9:55 a.m.  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with the EU foreign policy chief, Baroness Catherine Ashton, during his visit to Brussels on December 16, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters on Frida

"The sides plan to discuss the prospects for further promoting bilateral relations as part of the roadmaps for the Russia-EU common spaces in light of preparations for the upcoming Russia-EU summit," he said.

"They will also discuss the situation in Ukraine," the diplomat said.

"Great attention will be paid to the movement toward visa-free travel for Russian and EU citizens, energy cooperation, as well as the results of the EU's Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius," he said.

"Apart from that, they plan to exchange opinions on a number of key international topics, including the Iranian nuclear program and the situation in Syria," he said. -- Interfax-Ukraine

Andriy Klyuev wakes up to a picket outside his home

Dec. 13, 9:45 a.m.  Several activists of Democratic Alliance, a small and young party, picketed the residence of National Security and Defense Secretary Andriy Klyuev outside of Kyiv in the early hours of this morning to protests against his pressure on media. Earlier this week he was reported to have called in chief editors of the nation's biggest TV channels to pressure them to tone down their coverage of EuroMaidan, the mass protests that have entered the fourth week now. --Katya Gorchinskaya

Do not peck at media, reads the banner. The slogan is a pun as the word "peck" is a part of Klyuev's surname.

Yatseniuk says Yanukovych has no mandate from people to sign with Customs Union

Dec. 13, 9:45 a.m.  Batkivschyna faction leader Arseniy Yatseniuk has said that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has to know the opinion of the Ukrainian people who oppose the signing of an agreement with the Customs Union.

"Viktor Yanukovych has to know he does not have any mandate from the Ukrainian people to sign an agreement on Ukraine's membership of the Customs Union. Such an agreement will never be accepted by the Ukrainian people," he said at a rally on Independence Square in Kyiv on Thursday.

He said that a popular assembly, which is scheduled for December 15, would do everything so that the president listens to the people's opinion. --Interfax-Ukraine

16 buses of Berkut reported around Maidan

Dec. 13, 9:30 a.m.  There are 16 buses with special police units located around EuroMaidan, an activist report in Twitter. But the crowd is singing the anthem to the police, responding to their presence. Other activists are reporting many policemen in Maidan in plain clothes. --Katya Gorchinskaya

10,000 people continue to protest on Maidan

Dec. 13, 7:30 a.m.  There were about 10,000 people on EuroMadian around 5 a.m. Some of them continued to build the tent city, others tended to the barricades, while others still were sleeping in various locations. Many protesters listened to live bands playing on the central stage. 

By the city hall, people also had entertainment. There is a piano there now, and some protesters were playing it, while others sang folk songs. There was almost no police presence in the city center. --Interfax-Ukraine

Read the coverage of the Dec. 12 events here.

Read the coverage of the Dec. 11 events here.

Read the coverage of the Dec. 10 events here.

Read the coverage of the Dec. 9 events here.

Read the coverage of the Dec. 8 events here.

Read the coverage of the Dec. 7 events here.

Read the coverage of the Dec. 6 events here.

Read the coverage of the Dec. 5 events here.

Read the coverage of the Dec. 4 events here.

Read the coverage of the Dec. 3 events here.

Read the coverage of the Dec. 2 events here.

Read the morning coverage of the Dec. 1 events here, and the afternoon and evening coverage here.

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