SBU investigates alleged coup d’etat attempt by politicians

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Dec. 8, 2013, 5:13 p.m. | Ukraine — by Katya Gorchinskaya, Mark Rachkevych

Leading opposition lawmaker Arseniy Yatseniuk stands with his back to columns of police guarding the Cabinet of Ministers building. Ukraine's KGB-successor agency announced today that it start an investigation into illegal seizure of power by politicians.
© Arseniy Yatseniuk's press service

Katya Gorchinskaya

Katya Gorchinskaya has been the Kyiv Post's deputy chief editor since 2009 and is a contributor to The Wall Street Journal and other publications. Follow her on Twitter @kgorchinskaya.

Mark Rachkevych

Mark has been a reporter for the Kyiv Post since 2006, but joined full-time in 2009. A native Chicagoan, Mark currently is editor-at-large and still contributes stories on an ongoing basis. He has written bylines with the Financial Times, Bloomberg News, Associated Press, Irish Times, and Ukraine Business Insight, among other publications. He is a former U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, a graduate of St. Norbert College in Wisconsin, and fluent in the Ukrainian and Russian languages.

The State Security Service (SBU), Ukraine’s KGB-successor agency, is investigating an unspecified number of unnamed politicians for “attempting to seize state power,” its official website states

The vague statement said that a pre-trial investigation was opened on suspicion of “forceful seizure of power.” Today, protesters succeeded in barricading a part of the Cabinet building and last week they seized the Kyiv City Hall and main Trade Union building. 

Earlier today, the interior ministry specifically named Batkivshchyna lawmaker Serhiy Pashinsky as one among several Batkivshchyna lawmakers that have called on people to storm state government buildings. In the same statement, it noted that 200 young men were spotted heading toward the Presidential Administration equipped with gas cans, sticks, Molotov cocktails and masks.

Previously, Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara said that Batkivshchyna leader Arseniy Yatseniuk instigated people to take over government buildings.

The opposition, on the other hand, warned that the government is preparing to introduce martial law in the country.

The National Headquarters of Resistance, the political opposition coordinating body of the pro-European rally, said it received reliable intelligence from the Dec. 6 meeting in Sochi between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Viktor Yanukovych, and are worried that a curfew will be introduced in Ukraine in a declaration of martial law.

“As a condition for providing (financial) assistance to the Yanukovych regime, the Kremlin introduced the condition of ‘bringing order to Ukraine,’ which means introducing a state of emergency and cruel suppression of mass protest actions,” their statement said.

“Introducing a state of emergency means an encroachment on the rights and freedoms of citizens: introduction of curfew, searches of residences of citizens without a court order, introduction of censorship, limitation of the use of internet and a ban on mass actions and strikes,” the opposition warned.

The NHR said that in case the president introduces a state of emergency, they will consider the president, the Cabinet and other power organs illegitimate and “will be forces to take the responsibility for the situation in the country.”

It also urged Ukrainians to massively arrive to Kyiv in this case “to defend the Constitution and fight back.”

Kyiv Post editor Mark Rachkevych can be reached at 

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