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EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine (live updates)

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Dec. 22, 2013, 11:04 p.m. | Ukraine — by Kyiv Post

A girl decorates a Christmas tree on Dec. 22 located outside Kyiv City Hall, which is now occupied by EuroMaidan demonstrators.
© AFP

Kyiv Post

Editor's Note: When new events warrant, the Kyiv Post will provide continuing 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 

All peaceful on EuroMaidan front

Dec. 22, 10:10 p.m. Musicians were playing on the stage to perhaps several hundred dancing, cheering demonstrators in front of the main stage, while a similar number maintained vigils in the tent city built on Independence Square. Fires kept burning to keep people warm and for use in cooking. No police were in sight. The EuroMaidan movement, now in its second month since starting Nov. 21, appears headed for a quiet evening. -- Brian Bonner

People demand money from Party of Regions

Dec. 22, 6:41 p.m. A group of people claiming to be Party of Regions' supporters showed up at party headquarters on Lypska Street, claiming they haven't been paid as promised for participating in pro-President Viktor Yanukovych demonstrations to counter EuroMaidan anti-government rallies. About 50 people were at the ruling party headquarters, but most refused to talk publicly. -- Vlad Lavrov


A woman with Ukrainian and European Union flags takes part in a rally on Independence Square on Dec. 22.

The eternal puzzle: How many people?

Dec. 22, 5:47 p.m. Both the Associated Press and Reuters estimated the peak crowd size of today's EuroMaidan rally at 100,000 people -- a higher figure than Kyiv Post staff writers estimate. But counting such a large crowd, sprawled out over the main Independence Square and adjacent streets is hard to do. All journalists, however, were in agreement that this Sunday's rally drew far fewer people than the four previous Sundays -- Nov. 24, Dec. 1, Dec. 8 and Dec. 15. But there are no plans to quit. "We will not leave," Vitali Klitschko, a heavyweight boxing champion who leads the liberal UDAR (Punch) party, told the rally, according to Reuters. "We will celebrate the New Year here and we will celebrate Christmas here." Said far-right nationalist leader Oleh Tyahnybok: "We will make life hell for this government." -- Brian Bonner

People yell anti-government slogans in support of today's rally on Independence Square. (c) Anastasia Vlasova

EuroMaidan winds down for day

Dec. 22, 5:32 p.m. It appears that another day of rallies will come to a close quietly and peacefully, with no clear action plan or next event, aside from opposition political leaders' exhortations that people stay on the streets. With President Viktor Yanukovych not budging on the main demand -- that he step down and call early presidential elections ahead of the schedule one in 2015 -- both sides appear to be digging in for a long, protracted struggle. -- Brian Bonner

Another Christmas tree going up outside occupied Kyiv city hall

Dec. 22, 4:26 p.m. People today set up and are now decorating a Christmas tree in front of the Kyiv City State Administration building, or Kyiv city hall, which has been occupied by EuroMaidan demonstrators since shortly after the protests began on Nov. 21. Anti-government activists also control the Trade Union building on Independence Square and October Palace a short distance away. This has been a remarkable season for Christmas trees -- some decorated with political slogans and others more traditionally adorned. -- Nataliya Trach

Little EuroMaidan protester helps out

Dec. 22, 4:15 p.m. Little 9-year-old Taya hands over maramelade to protesters near the barricade on Instytutska Street. Taya was born in 2004, the same year that her father participated in the Orange Revolution,ions. Her mother, Tetiana Yarovitsyna, 34, an engineer from Kyiv, said that members of their family were also bringing pies and other food to support the rally. "The nation is being born here step by step," Yarovitsyna said. She, however, is skeptical of the opposition's political leaders. She fears that the current EuroMaidan may be fooled, just as the crowd during the Orange Revolution was fooled when Viktor Yushchenko agreed to a constitutional change to reduce presidential powers. It is also widely believed that Yushchenko, elected president on Dec. 26, 2004, after the earlier rigged election was overturned, promised no criminal investigations against then-President Leonid Kuchma -- chargest that Yushchenko, in power from 2005-200, has denied. "If people don't see results, they will not stay here for long," she said. "Unfortunatelly we still lack a leader who is able to unite both the east and west of the country." -- Oksana Grytsenko

People get warm near two kettles during the rally on Independence Square on Dec. 22. (c) Anastasia Vlasova

Orange Revolution veteran weighs in 

Dec. 22, 3:40 p.m. Oleksandr Maksymenko, 33, financial specialist from Vyshhorod in Kyiv Oblast, warms his hands by a burning barrel. The former participant of the 2004 Orange Revolution, which stopped Viktor Yanukovych from taking the presidency in a rigged election, he has been coming to EuroMaidan since early December. Maksymenko believes the rally will last long. "The recent events showed that this is really serious," he said, predicting that the demonstrations will lead to a change in power. -- Oksana Grytsenko.

Nina Matvienko takes stage to sing

Dec. 22, 3:32 p.m. Political speeches have again given away to musical entertainment with singer Nina Matvienko taking the stage to entertain the crowds. -- Daryna Shevchenko

Nemyria calls for sanctions against Ukrainian authorities

Dec. 22, 3:27 p.m. Former Deputy Prime Minister Hryhoriy Nemyria, a close ally of imprisoned ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, is calling for the West to impose sanctions against Ukraine's authorities. He says that European authorities should check the foreign bank accounts of Ukraine's corrupt politicians, starting with their accounts in Cyprus, Austria, Germany and Great Britain. -- Daryna Shevchenko

A woman yells anti-government slogans in support of today's rally on Independence Square. (c) Anastasia Vlasova

Portuguese member of parliament lends support

Dec. 22, 3:19 p.m. Stuart Markesh, a member of parliament from Portugal, says that his nation stands in solidarity with EuroMaidan demonstrators and their goals. "You must be proud of people who stand here peacefully and fight ofrtheir freedom and the right for free courts and the European way. Portugal and Urkaine a very from away from each other, but we both are Europeans and share the same values," Markesh said. -- Daryna Shevchenko

Yatseniuk outlines plan for changing Constitution, country 

Dec. 22, 3:10 p.m. Opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk, who heads the Batkivshchyna Party of imprisoned ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, says Ukraine needs a new Constitution. He called on people to unite. "All who are against corruption, against the corrupt courts and prosecutors, police brutality, corruption and …who stand for Ukraine to become a part of Europe" must unite to take back the country from "a handful of oligarchs" who rule with President Viktor Yanukovych. "Anyone who wants a fair and honest future should join this movement and say - 'I'm fighting for myself, for my family and for our country,'" Yatseniuk said.

He also called for modernization. "New technologies are needed. Needs brains and move forward. Regime we have has lagged behind for decades. That is why we need a new tax code, quality education that enables Ukraine to become one of the first countries in Europe to new technologies," Yatseniuk.

He ended with a plea for unity. "We know the recipe for success - a million Ukrainian who believe in our victory that trust Ukrainian opposition. It Ukrainian opposition is united in its desire to countries and Ukrainian life." -- Brian Bonner

A man paints slogans on Ukrainian flag before the rally on Independence Square on Dec. 22. (c) Anastasia Vlasova

Smallest crowd in many Sundays

Dec. 22, 3 p.m. While the crowd on EuroMaidan is decently large, numbering in the tens of thousands of people by rough estimates, there is no mistaking that the turnout is much smaller than the previous four Sundays of demonstrations -- on Nov. 24, Dec. 1, Dec. 8 and Dec. 15. Fatigue with protest is undoubtedly one reason. The approaching Christmas and New Year's holidays are another factor. And people also don't know when or where all of this will end, so need to take breaks. It appears that President Viktor Yanukovych and the people who oppose him are going to be locked in to a long, grueling battle against each other. Just how much outside forces -- Ukraine's oligarchs, who mainly live abroad, and the West, which has given up on Yanukovych for the most part -- can influence the outcome. -- Brian Bonner and Nataliya Trach

Support for EuroMaidan comes from Russia

Dec. 22, 2:58 p.m. Ilya Yashin, a liberal Russian politician and activist, came to encourage the EuroMaidan crowd. He assured them that Russian riot police are not coming. He said the problem is that Kremlin leaders still don't think Ukraine is an independence state and that Ukraine's independence can be sold for money. "But Putin is not Russia," he said, referring to the Russian president. "Russia is millions of people who believe in you, who wish you all the luck in the world and who love you." People chanted "Russia, rise!" in response. Yashin says that people on Maidan have showed Yanukovych has to talk to them and compromise, otherwise prison awaits him. At a press conference in the Trade Unions building that is occupied by EuroMaidan leaders, Yashin says that protesters have increased the paranoia in the Kremlin, which fears such a popular uprising against Russian President Vladimir Putin. Yashin also said that President Viktor Yanukovych might agree to early presidential elections if people stay on the streets.  Alternatively, Yanuovych may try to break up the protests with police force, but that might not be enough to scare people. -- Daryna Shevchenko and Nataliya Trach

Turchynov calls on Ukrainians to spread protests throughout nation

Dec. 22, 2:54 p.m. Oleksandr Turchynov, the former deputy prime minister who is close to imprisoned ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, took the stage to call on people to stay on Maidan and continue protesting for a change in government. Turchynov called for the creating of a civl organization called People's Union Maidan to carry on the protesters' goals. -- Nataliya Trach

A view to the statue of Independence through the barricades on Independence Square. (c) Anastasia Vlasova

German member of parliament calls for investigation of Yanukovych, top officials

Dec. 22, 2:45 p.m. German member of parliament Michael Gahler, part of the EuroMaidan crowd, says that if the people on the street don't impress Ukraine's government officials, "then maybe they might be more impressioned by investigations into their assets. We should start with Cyprus, then Austria, Germany, the UK, and Switzerland. There's enough evidence of corruption, including from journalists. Law enforcement in those countries should start an investigation."  In a speech, Gahler says that "all of Europe is with you in our thoughts. You again proved how much freedom and democratic values meant and we clearly say that the door to the European Union remains open for Ukraine. But this is your job to convince your authorities to join Europe, not ours. And from what I see, the Ukrainian nation has made such a decision."-- Vlad Lavrov and Daryna Shevchenko.

Humble EuroMaidan hero Ruslana gets award

Dec. 22, 2:24 p.m. Singer Ruslana, who has been the guiding spirit of the EuroMaidan demonstrations, received an award certificate from the crowd for service to the nation. She, in turn, sang the national anthem with students gathered around the tall "Stella" Independence Square. She also asked people not to talk too much about Ruslana. "I am here as a volunteer. I do what I think is right and I don't want to be any kind of a symbol; this revolution has many heroic symbols." -- Daryna Shevchenko

Crowd builds to 40,000 people or more; rally breaks up about 2 p.m., rest of day will be concerts

Dec. 22, 2 p.m. A good-sized crowd has arrived for today's rally -- the fifth big Sunday gathering in a row - but organizers decided to cut short the political speeches and turn the rest of the afternoon over to musicians on stage. A festive mood prevailed. Police backed off considerably and can hardly be seen among the crowd. They remain massed up the hill on streets surrounding the Presidential Administration on Bankova Street. Even there, however, police have decided to use more equipment -- green military dump trucks and buses -- to block off the roads leading to the administration. The police on duty were low-key and unobtrusive and there was no sign that any clashes would take place. Very few demonstrators engaged the police; mostly just curious passersby stopped to chat and take photos with them. Rows of Berkut riot police stood at attention. -- Daryna Shevchenko and Brian Bonner 

A pro-EU protester stands near the barricades on Independence Square on Dec. 22. (c) Anastasia Vlasova

Anti-Maidan, pro-presidential crowd gathers several thousand in Mariinsky Park

Dec. 22, 1:30 p.m. The anti-Maidan gathered in Mariinsky Park, numbering several thousand people; anti-Maidan organizer Oleh Jehorchenko says the crowd numbers 10,000 people. He said the pro-presidential group does not plan any action today, despite the political opposition's claims to the contrary. There was a strong smell of alcohol as group of young people moved to join the anti-Maidan crowd from Arsenalna metro station. Many were athletically built men in sports clothes and sweatsuits. -- Nataliya Trach

Sunny, warm December weather makes protesting pleasant

Dec. 22, 12:15 p.m.: It's a beautiful day for a protest -- or most anything else in Kyiv today, with above-freezing temperatures (+3C) and not a cloud in the sky. The aroma of EuroMaidan was one of an outdoor picnic, with food being cooked on open fires in barrels. The crowd was thin but gathering as the noon start approached. Vendors were doing brisk sales of European Union and Ukraine flags, scarves and other paraphernalia. On European Square some 500 meters away, there was no sign of supporters of President Viktor Yanukovych in their usual gathering spot near Mariinsky Park. -- Brian Bonner

Noon rally on Dec. 22 -- fifth consecutive Sunday of protest

Dec. 22, 10:24 a.m. -- Although EuroMaidan activists do not appear to be any closer to their goals of forcing President Viktor Yanukovych to resign and call early presidential elections, they haven't stopped trying. Today's rally is the fifth Sunday protest since the demonstrations started on Nov. 21, sparked by Yanukovych's abrupt scrapping of far-reaching political and trade agreements with the European Union. The Sunday rallies draw the largest crowds and have also led to some of the biggest conflicts between police and protesters. -- Brian Bonner

People play on the piano near the Kyiv City Council on Dec. 20. (© twitter.com/Dbnmjr)

Editor's Note: The Kyiv Post dropped continuous live updates on Dec. 20-21 because there were no significant events on the streets to warrant such coverage. We will continue live updates when events warrant.

Foreign Ministry warns diplomats on EuroMaidan

Dec. 19, 7:40 p.m. Foreign Ministry of Ukraine published a statement asking official representatives of foreign states to not get involved in Ukraine's inner political processes.

"We call on our foreign partners to stay neutral and objective observers, be restrained in their public judgements, go by fundamental principles of international law and respect Ukraine's right to independently resolve issues of its inner development," reads the statement, published on the ministry's website.

Ukrainian lawyers protest on Maidan Nezalezhnosti

Dec. 19, 3:24 p.m. Some 50 lawyers gathered on Maidan Nezalezhnosti for a symbolic action. They celebrate the Attorney day on Dec. 19. The protesters tied black ribbons over the hands which symbolize severe law violations in Ukraine, Radio Free Europe reports.

A protester plays with a ball bearing the EU colours at the camp of the Ukrainian opposition on Independence Square in Kiev on December 19, 2013. Yanukovych told the West to stay out of his country's political crisis, after top European and US diplomats visited the protests that have raged for a month in central Kiev. (AFP)

Yanukovych said he keeps eye on the investigation of beaten activists

Dec. 19, 3:10 p.m. Viktor Yanukovych ensures the public that he will keep an eye on the investigation of beaten EuroMaidan activists, he said during the interview. The President didn't comment the possible punishment for those who gave orders to disperse protesters on Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Ukrainska Pravda reports.

Content-editor of Ukrzaliznytsia website fired for information leak

Dec. 19, 2:15 p.m. Oleksiy Shabliovsky, the editor of Ukrzaliznytsia website was fired after someone posted the information about the number of trains with anti-Maidan protesters on Facebook on Dec. 13. Shabliovsky said Ukrzaliznytsia press service didn't know the accurate number of the trains. Shabliovsky used to work for Ukrazaliznytsia for about two years, but said he was forced to sign a resignation notice after the direction had spotted it, Radio Free Europe reports.

Democratic Alliance party calls on EU authorities to freeze Yanukovych's bank accounts 

Dec. 19, 2:10 p.m. Activists of Democratic Alliance political party called on EU authorities to freeze Viktor Yanukovych's, his family bank accounts.

Yanukovych says Ukraine's seeking observer status in Eurasian Economic Union

Dec. 19, 1:05 p.m. Ukraine expects to be granted observer status in the Eurasian Economic Union, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said. "As concerns the Eurasian Union, we filed a written bid in Astana in August this year to consider Ukraine's participation in the Eurasian Union as an observer," Yanukovych said in an interview with Ukrainian media in Kyiv on Thursday. -- Interfax-Ukraine

Ukraine's accords with Russia do not obstruct its Euro-integration, says Yanukovych

Dec. 19, 1 p.m. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is sure that the important economic agreements reached between Ukraine and Russia on Dec. 17 do not run counter to Ukraine's integration with the European Union. Asked whether the Moscow accords may affect the signature of an association agreement with the EU in an interview with journalists on Thursday, Yanukovych said, "When I was preparing for the meeting with you, I put together the full package of documents of the [Ukrainian-Russian] interstate commission session, including a memo for the interstate commission's documents. I can show you, and you'll see that there are no contradictions to Ukraine's course toward any integration." -- Interfax-Ukraine

Yanukovych said visa-free regime remains the key issue

Dec. 19, 12:45 p.m. President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovych believes visa-free regime is the priority in Ukraine-EU issues, Yanukovych said during the interview.

Yanukovych said Ukraine's gas price, Tymoshenko loans from IMF caused the economic crisis

Dec. 19, 12:42 p.m. Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych said economic crisis in Ukraine was triggered by gas price, Tymoshenko loans from IMF and significant reduction in trade with Russia.

"By and large, these were the gas price, due to which we received over $20 billion in damage… and the loans of 2008-2009, which the government then received from the IMF, and we had to start returning from 2012," the president said during the interview for the First National channel.

"The third reason is the significant reduction in trade with our strategic partners, primarily with Russia and some CIS countries," Yanukovych said. -- Interfax-Ukraine

More than 60 percent of Kyiv's population support EuroMaidan

Dec. 19, 12:20 p.m. Around 64 percent of the population of Kyiv support EuroMaidan protests which started on Nov. 21, reads the latest survey by Research & Branding Group. Mostly young people and those up to 50 years were among the most active supporters. Also 59 percent of Kyiv's population can stand some inconvenience caused by the barricades and protesters' tents on the main Kyiv's square, Tyzhden newspaper reports. -- Olena Goncharova

EuroMaidan activist sentenced to three years in prison

Dec. 19, 10:40 a.m. One of the EuroMaidan activist, Oleh Matyash was accused of attacking riot police officer near the Cabinet of Ministers on Nov. 25 and was sentenced to three years in jail. Earlier he was sentenced to two months along with another activist Vitaly Blahodarnyi, TVi reports. -- Olena Goncharova

The view of Maidan Nezalezhnosti on Dec. 19. @smartoha from Instagram

Vitali Klitschko calls on protesters to stay till the victory

Dec. 19, 9:30 a.m. Vitali Klitschko, the leader of UDAR pposition party and former world boxing champion said EuroMaidan protesters should not give up must stay in the streets until reaching their goal. 

"We must not leave the maidan for as long as it is needed to achieve victory - be it a week, two, a month or more," said Klitschko, speaking from the stage of EuroMaidan. He said the activists should "demand a new goverment for the country, a new parliament, and a new president," Ukrainska Pravda reports. -- Olena Goncharova


Read the coverage of the Dec. 18 events here.

Read the coverage of the Dec. 17 events here.

Read the coverage of the Dec. 16 events here.

Read the coverage of the Dec. 15 events here.

Read the coverage of the Dec. 14 events here.

Read the coverage of the Dec. 13 events here.

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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