Yanukovych, opposition meet, declare truce

Feb. 19, 11:20 p.m. — Ukrainina President Viktor Yanukovych held a meeting with Verkhovna Rada speaker Volodymyr Rybak, presidential chief of staff Andriy Klyuyev, deputy chief of staff Andriy Portnov, Acting Justice Minister Olena Lukash and opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Vitali Klitschko and Oleh Tiahnybok.

Following the meeting, the parties declared a truce and announced the start of the negotiations aimed at ending bloodshed and stabilizing the situation for the sake of peace, according to a statement on the president’s official website. — Olena Goncharova


The scene on Feb. 19 on Kyiv’s Independence Square as protesters and police continued their standoff.

Militant Pravy Sector uses central post office as staging ground

Feb. 19, 9:47 p.m. — It appears that the militant Pravy Sector, which does battle with police in defense of the anti-government EuroMaidan demonstrations, is in charge of the central post office. It appears that their members are taking fireworks and Molotov cocktails from the post office to the front-line fighters against police. — Kyiv Post



Pravy Sector, the militant wing of the anti-government EuroMaidan protesters, took over the central post office on Kyiv’s Independence Square on Feb. 19.

Why was this man replaced….

Head of the armed forces Volodymyr Zamana near Kyiv Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych replaced Zamana on Feb. 19 after announcing a new “anti-terror” operation in response to the country’s deadliest violence since its post-Soviet independence. Zamana was known to have publically disagreed with Yanukovych at the start of the month when the embattled Ukrainian leader first considered imposing a state of emergency in response to the wave of pro-EU protests gripping Kiev and other parts of the country.

…with this man?


he picture taken in Sevastopol on October 14, 2013 displayS Yuri Iliin. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych appointed in February 19, 2014, Admiral Iliin to the the post of head of the armed forces in place of Volodymyr Zamana to head the powerful post but provided no explanation for the decision.

Feb. 19, 9:37 p.m. — Volodymyr Zamana, head of the army’s general staff, was replaced without explanation by President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 19, the same day that the Security Service of Ukraine announced the start of an “anti-terror” operation and that Defense Minister Pavlo Lebediev says armed forces will be deployed once state of emergency is declared.

A video showing some of the horrendous injuries protesters suffered at hands of police on Feb. 18.

From a Kharkiv prison, Tymoshenko sends her regards

Feb. 19, 9:25 pm. — The thousands of people gathered on Independence Square tonight got a message from imprisoned ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko: “The dictarorship should be destroyed. Dear Ukrainians, it is hard to undersatnd that the president is killing his own people, but he will pay. I grieve with you for every lost soul, but they passed on their fight to us and we don’t deserve them if we give up. If we step down now, the war will resume in 2015.” She called on all Ukrainian political opposition leaders to persuade a delegation of visiting foreign ministers today — from Germany, France and Poland — to apply sanctions against Ukraine’s leaders. –– Daryna Shevchenko


Opposition back in charge of Kyiv City Hall

Feb. 19, 9:09 p.m. — For all the fanfare accompanying the opposition’s handover of the Kyiv City State Administration back to the government, fewer people have noticed that the anti-government protesters have taken back city hall once again. Activists at the door said they retook the building late on Feb. 18, the day of deadly clashes in which 26 persons were killed, including 10 police officers. Protesters this week have also taken over the central post office on Independence Square and another government building on Prorizna and Khreshchatyk streets that houses the state regulator for television and radio. — Vlad Lavrov

Huge explosion on Independence Square

Feb. 19, 9:02 p.m. — A huge explosion just took place on Independence Square, possibly from officers using live ammunition, suggesting a more active phase to the conflict between police and protesters has begun tonight. Flash grenades and Molotov cocktails are being tossed. Police gathered near the “Stella” independence monument are using a water cannon for two purposes — to put out fires and to spray at protesters who come too close. — Daryna Sehvchenko


Kyiv remains in a semi-lockdown status

Feb. 19, 8:36 p.m. — Many shops, businesses and restaurants in Kyiv’s city center heeded the call by government officials to close down their operations amid high tension and high risk of violence because of Ukraine’s ongoing political crisis. Numerous restaurants and other businesses near Independence Square, the scene of a tense standoff between police and protesters, were closed on Feb. 19. So were many mall shops in the center as well as businesses on the main Khreshchatyk Street.

City officials say that schools and day care centers will remain closed until Feb. 21.

The biggest effect on the population, however, is the indefinite closure of Kyiv’s metro, a popular mode of transportation for millions of Ukrainians. Additionally, police are blanketing roads leading to the protest epicenter and stopping all cars trying to get through. Officers sometimes look for weapons, tires, supplies or any other sign that motorists or passengers might be supporting the anti-government EuroMaidan protesters.


The streets after dark have become places of heightened danger since the murder of two Kyiv traffic police officers on Feb. 18 as well as the heavy presence of roving bands of “titushki,” the slang term for government-hired thugs who are implicated in attacks on demonstrators. Also, on Feb. 18, a journalist coming home from work in a taxi was shot to death. The suspects are “titushkis.”

Many nations have warned their citizens against traveling at night in Kyiv. The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine’s travel warning is effect until March 24 and can be read here. –– Olga Rudenko and Brian Bonner

America’s Pyatt calls on Yanukovych to ‘exercise sound leadership’

Feb. 19, 8:12 p.m. — The following are remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt following a meeting at the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kyiv on Feb. 19: “Good afternoon. Let me begin by echoing some of my colleagues in expressing the deepest condolences for those who have lost their lives on the Maidan and around the atrocious violence of the past 24 hours. At this moment, as Vice President Joseph Biden said to President Viktor Yanukovych last night, there is nothing more important than to stop the violence. We hope very much that Yanukovych will exercise sound leadership and will create space for political reconciliation and resumption of dialogue. This terrible crisis can be solved through political dialogue and compromise. But there is an urgent need to re-build political confidence. I will take one question.


Q: Who is responsible for the bloodshed? And what about sanctions that have been discussed for a long time?

Ambassador Pyatt: “On the question of sanctions, the United States has already cancelled the visas of several officials, who we believe to be responsible for the violence on Maidan. We have said that all policy instruments remain on the table, and I expect there will be further announcements from Washington over the short term.

On the question of responsibility, we have made very clear of our condemnation of violence around the Maidan, and our view that peaceful demonstrators need to be protected. At this moment of crisis in Ukraine, we want Yanukovich to exercise his leadership, and we hope he will grasp the opportunity to put his country back on the path to a democratic, prosperous and peaceful future.” — Olga Rudenko


U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt speaks about the possibility of sanctions against Ukraine’s government.


Interior Ministry identifies 10 slain police officers

Feb. 19, 7:26 p.m.  — The Interior Ministry on Feb. 19 identified the 10 police officers — all men — killed in clashes with anti-government EuroMaidan prosters on Feb. 18. Most died from gunshot wounds. The 26 deaths, including those of 16 civilians, represented the worst single day of violence in Ukraine’s nearly 23-year history as an independent nation after the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.

Maksym Tretyak

Soldier Maksym Tretyak, interior troops, born in 1993, Kyiv

Ivan Tepliuk

Soldier Ivan Tepliuk, interior troops, born in 1993, Kyiv

Vitaliy Honcharov

Lt. Vitaliy Honcharov, interior troops, born in 1989, Crimea

Dmytro Vlasenko

Lt. Dmytro Vlasenko, interior troops, born in 1982, Crimea

Oleksiy Ivanenko

Officer Oleksiy Ivanenko, interior troops, born in 1977, Kharkiv

Lt. Volodymyr Yevtushko, traffic police, born in 1971, Kyiv

Senior Officer Andriy Fediukin, Berkut, born in 1972, Crimea

Officer Petro Savytsky, traffic police, born in 1972, Kyiv

Staff Sgt. Vasyl Bulitko, Berkut, born in 1986, Kyiv

Staff Sgt. Serhiy Tsvihun, Berkut, born in 1990, Zaporizhiya


FRANCE, Paris — US Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd R) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius discuss on Feb. 19, 2014 at the Quai d’Orsay, the Foreign ministry, in Paris. John Kerry yesterday condemned an eruption of violence in Ukraine and called on the government to return to talks. Expressing grave concern, Kerry said the US condemns “the use of force or violence by any party”. AFP PHOTO / JACQUES DEMARTHON

Kerry says choice whether to ‘descend into chaos’ belongs to Yanukovych

Feb. 19, 7:16 p.m. In a post to his Twitter account on Feb. 19, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wrote: “No one wants Ukraine to descend into chaos/choice is in President Yanukovich’s hands.” — Christopher J. Miller

Kharkiv governor takes hard line against EuroMaidan

Feb. 19, 6:06 p.m. — Mikhail Dobkin, the pro-presidential governor of the oblast with Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, continues to take a hard line against the anti-government EuroMaidan demonstrations. “I appeal to all too excited over the smell of blood and desire of power: if anyone tries to destabilize the situation in Kharkiv Oblast, they will get stiff resistance,” Dobkin said. — Iryna Yeroshko

Berezovets: Security Service of Ukraine gets carte blanche under anti-terrorist campaign

Feb. 19, 5:58 p.m. The Security Service of Ukraine announced today that it is launching an “anti-terrorist operation.” To find out exactly what that means, the Kyiv Post asked political analyst Taras Berezovets. He said that the declaration essentialy means that the SBU — as the state agency, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB is known — “can search, seize property, detain protesters at will,” without a court order or other legal safeguards. Berezovets, director of Berta Communications, a political consultancy in Kyiv, said that “they can detain and interrogate anyone who they suspect of being terrorist. They can kidnap you from street and keep you in jail without notifying families for up to 72 hours.” The SBU law enforcement officers can also search property, such as vehicles and offices, and seize property at will, Berezovets said.
Moreover, the SBU can force mobile phone and internet service providers to cease operations, he said. “With this kind of operation, they don’t need any kind of permission from courts, as they usually do, in this case,” he added. — Christopher J. Miller.


Activists stand in front of police officers in the morning on Feb. 19. (Pavlo Podufalov)

Reports: Protesters take over two buildings in central Kyiv

Feb. 19, 5:34 p.m. — The Associated Press is reporting that Ukrainian protesters have seized control of the capital’s central post office as they continue to fight off police attempts to break up a giant opposition tent camp. Activists on Feb. 19 stormed into the post office in Independences Square, also known as the Maidan, after a nearby building they had previously occupied was burned down in Tuesday’s clashes with police. Also, Ukrainska Pravda and other news organizations reported that protesters also seized The National Television and Radio Broadcating Council of Ukraine on 2 Prorizna St. The two buildings, perhaps, serve as compensation for the loss of the Trade Unions building, the seven-story building that burned down overnight. Protesters controlled the building since Dec. 1 and dubbed it the National Revolution Headquarters. It served as a press centers, dormitory and headquarters for such elements of the anti-government EuroMaidan protest movements as the militant Pravy Sector. — Brian Bonner

Dramatic footage of the rescue of people trapped inside the burning Trade Unions building on Feb. 18.

The fire to the Trade Unions building finally went out on Feb. 19, but it is no longer useable as revolutionary headquarters for the anti-government EuroMaidan demonstrators. So protesters promptly seized the central Post Office at the opposite end of Independence Square and also the state building housing the government TV and radio regulator on the corner of Prorizna and Khreshchatyk streets.

Readout of Vice President Joseph Biden’s Call with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych

Feb. 19, 5:24 p.m. Straight from whitehouse.gov website: “Vice President Joseph Biden called Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 18 to express grave concern regarding the crisis on the streets of Kyiv.  He called on Yanukovych to pull back government forces and to exercise maximum restraint. The vice president made clear that the United States condemns violence by any side, but that the government bears special responsibility to de-escalate the situation. The vice president further underscored the urgency of immediate dialogue with opposition leaders to address protesters’ legitimate grievances and to put forward serious proposals for political reform. The United States is committed to supporting efforts to promote a peaceful resolution to the crisis that reflects the will and aspirations of the Ukrainian people.” — Brian Bonner

Security Service of Ukraine: Anti-terrorist operation has begun

Feb. 19, 4:45 p.m. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and Antiterrorist Center are beginning an antiterrorist operation in the country, Ukrainian Security Service Head Oleksandr Yakymenko said in a statement released on Wednesday.

The decision to commence the antiterrorist operations involved the Security Service of Ukraine, the Interior Ministry, Ministry of Defense, State Border Guard Service of Ukraine and central and local government, according to a statement published on the SBU website. — Christopher J. Miller

IOC rejects request from Ukraine’s Olympic team to wear black armbands to honor victims 

Feb. 19, 4:05 p.m. The International Olympic Committee has turned down a request from Ukraine’s Olympic team in Sochi to wear black armbands in honor those who died during clashes between police and protesers in Kyiv on Feb. 18-19, according to a statement posted to the National Olympic Committee of Ukraien website.

“The Ukrainian delegation at the Olympic Games in Sochi, led by NOC President Serhiy Bubka, sharing deep pain over the loss of fellow Ukrainians, asked the International Olympic Committee to allow Ukrainian athletes to wear black armbands as a sign of mourning and expression of sorrow and sympathy,” reads the statement. “The IOC reacted to the appeal of the Ukrainian delegation, but noted that in accordance with the Olympic Charter the request is impossible.”

“However, the Ukrainian Olympic delegation shares the grief and deeply mourns the tragic events,” it adds. — Christopher J. Miller

Interior Ministry releases partial list of police casualties

Feb. 19, 3:07 p.m. Following perhaps Ukraine’s most violent day in its nearly 23-year history as an independent nation, the Interior Ministry on Feb. 19 identified only five of the 10 police officers slain in the Feb. 18 rioting.

The list of Interior Ministry casualties, according to Stanislav Shuliak, chief commander of police, includes: Lt. Dmytro Vlasenko and Lt. Vitaliy Honcharov, who both came to Kyiv despite being assigned to Crimea; ensign Oleksiy Ivanenko of Donetsk; and Kyiv police officers Ivan Tepliuk and Maksym Tretyak. –– Vlad Lavrov.


This image taken on February 18, 2014 and released on February 19, 2014 by Skybox Imaging shows an aerial view of central Kiev, with “Maidan” dubbed Independence square (on the L) and smoke billowing from clashes between anti-government protestors and police (C, near the stadium). Ukraine’s security service on February 19, 2014 announced a nationwide “anti-terrorist” operation in response to deadly anti-government protests. “The National Security Service and Ukrainian Anti-Terrorist Centre have taken the decision to conduct an anti-terrorist operation across the territory of Ukraine,” security agency head Oleksandr Yakimenko said in a statement.

Skirmishes take place on Independence Square

Feb. 19, 2:50 p.m. — Several thousand — perhaps 5,000 — EuroMaidan supporters are on Independence Square today. Some are mixing Molotov cocktails for expected future battles with police. Others are throwing stones at police officers huddled under the “Stella” independence monument. One officer threw a Molotov cocktail into the crowd of demonstrators. The mood of protesters is aggressively upbeat. A group of protesters threw a salvo of fireworks at police from the third floor balcony of the Music Academy. The crowd cheered them on. Supporters are bringing food and other supplies to hand out — including sandwishes, cookies and coffee. One guy is giving out packs of cigarettes. Lumber is still being brought onto the main square from St. Michael’s Cathedral to help keep the fires burning to create a smokescreen between protesters and police. — Nathaniel Espino


Anti-government protesters throw pieces of wood onto fires blazing on Independence Square in an attempt to block the vision and advancement of police on Feb. 19. (Pavlo Podufalov)

Khmelnytsky woman shot dead

Feb. 19, 2:47 p.m. A woman was shot dead today in Khmelnytsky during the storming of a local Security Service of Ukraine office by anti-government EuroMaidan protesters. “The car arrived to the building and the woman was shot from it, with six to eight bullets in her chest. She died in the ambulance” about 2:15 pm writes local website vsim.ua. The video can be found here. — Iryna Yeroshko

Donetsk mayor demands arrest of ‘radical leaders’ in Kyiv, likens opposition leaders to ‘terrorists’

Feb. 19, 2:20 p.m. Donetsk Mayor Oleksandr Lukyanchenko said on Wednesday at a meeting of the Donetsk city council that opposition leaders should be held responsible for the violence in Ukraine, according to online Donetsk news site Novosti Donbassa. “The negotiations can not be conducted with terrorists,” said the mayor, referring to opposition leaders. Lukyanchenko believes that opposition leaders should condemn the actions of radicals and distance themselves from them. “Radical leaders to be arrested,” he said, adding that he beleives what is happening in western Ukraine resembles a “civil war.” In addition, the mayor said that during the clashes in Kyiv nine police officers from Donetsk were injured. — Christopher J. Miller

Hrytsenko warns defense minister about using army in EuroMaidan conflict

Feb. 19, 1:58 p.m. — Ex-Ukrainian Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrystenko issued a warning to cuurrent Defense Minister Pavlo Lebedyev about deploying the army against anti-government EuroMaidan demonstraors, according to EuroMaidanPR, the official public relations service of the demonstrators. The story can be read here. – Brian Bonner

Death toll rises to at least 26 people in Feb. 18-19 clashes as police cite 10th officer killed

Feb. 19, 12:41 p.m — Ukraine’s Interior Ministry posted an update on the list of police casualities, saying a 10th officer has died from injuries in the Feb. 18 clashes between police and protesters in Kyiv. –– Vlad Lavrov

SBU threatens criminal investigations against politicians

Feb. 19, 12:39 p.m. — A cryptic message on the Security Service of Ukraine’s website states that a criminal case has been launched into an attempted coup by several politicians. — Mark Rachkevych

The ground at Independence Square burns as police and protesters continue to clash nearby in the early morning hours of Feb. 19.

Ivano-Frankivsk commander pledges to not give criminal orders

Feb. 19 11:59 a.m. Lt. Colonel Petro Shuliak, commander of an Ivano-Frankivsk police unit, said that he would not follow criminal orders. He said his unit will not resist peaceful protests of Ukrainian citizens. “The staff of military unit 1241 of the internal troops of Interior Ministry of Ukraine serves the Ukrainian people,” Shuliak said. — Katya Gorchinskaya

A police lieutenant in Ivano-Frankivsk pledges not to follow crimiinal orders.

Polish member of parliament favors sanctions in Ukraine

Feb. 19, 11:19 a.m. — Jacek Saryuz-Wolski, a Polish member of the European Parliament, said on Twitter that Poland in favor of applying sanctions against Ukrainian government officials responsible for violence, citing Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. — Christopher J. Miller


An injured protester wander through Independence Square in Kyiv on Feb. 19.

Protesters digging in for fight on Kyiv’s Independence Square

Feb. 19, 11:12 a.m. — Anti-government protesters reinforced burning barricades on Kyiv’s Independence Square this morning, urged on by activists from the stage that still stands about 150 meters from riot police lines.

Smoke billowed over the square from the barricades and from the seven-story Trade Unions building, which caught fire last night and was still smoldering this morning.

Glass and rubble rattled down the facade and a stream of water washed over the building from behind the police cordon on Khreshchatyk Street northeast of the square.

Some protesters carried timbers from an abandoned building on Mikhailovska street to beef up their defenses, while others rolled tires down Khreshchatyk Street from the intersection of Khelmynytskoho Street southwest of the square.

Field kitchens handed out food. Three men poured a mixture of oil and gasoline into bottles to make Molotov cocktails, packed with fragments of polyurethane foam from others nearby who crumbled up packaging materials. From the stage, priests prayed and exhorted the crowds, while an activist called on people to help reinforce the barricades, saying they needed to hold until busloads of protesters arrive from provinces outside Kyiv. — Nathaniel Espino


The Trade Unions House in Kyiv adjacent to Independence Square contiued to burn in the early morning hours of Feb. 19.

Lubny in Poltova Oblast blocked

Feb. 19, 10:15 a.m. — The city of Lubny in Poltava Oblast is blocked by police, Channel 5 reports. All road exits are closed and nobody can leave the city territory. Local pro-Maidan activists are disturbed and plan to take actions. — Ivan Verstyuk

Arbuzov blames ‘radical forces’ for violence

Feb. 19, 10:10 a.m. — Acting Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov blames radical forces for bloody protests. He made this statement during the Cabinet of Ministers’ meeting: “Protesters are bringing shame on the country,” the acting prime minister said. Arbuzov urged companies located in downtown of Kyiv to allow the staff, ecpecially women, to stay off work until situation stabilizes. He also called on the government officials to help journalists in doing their work. — Ivan Verstyuk

House of Trade Unions still on fire

Feb. 19, 9:27 a.m. — The opposition-occupied Trade Unions building was still on fire this morning, although firefighters continued to douse the seven-floor structure. There is the sound of falling rubble and broken glass tinkling inside the building. — Nathaniel Espino


The scene this morning at 8 a.m. on Kyiv’s Independencd Square. At least 25 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in clashes.

Protesters prepare Molotov cocktails for defending Maidan

Feb. 19, 9:11 a.m. — Protesters at Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) are preparing for a possible attack from the riot-contorl police side and are busily preparing Molotov cocktails. — Nathaniel Espino


The Trade Unions building on Independence Square remained on fire this morning, as firefighters continued to bring the blaze under control.

Independence Square protests alive by daybreak; death toll rises to at least 25

Feb. 19, 8:20 a.m. — Police did not succeed in dismantling the EuroMaidan protests overnight, nor didt they apparently try to do so in the early morning hours. By daybreak, amid the smoldering ruins of fires, demonstrators remained in a standoff on Independence Square with police. Espreso TV reports that the death toll in Feb. 18-19 clashes has risen to at least 25 people, including nine police officers. — Brian Bonner

Journalist dies of gunshot wounds

Feb. 19, 7 a.m. — Vesti writes its journalist Vyacheslav Veremei died today early morning after he was shot by unknown men in masks on Velyka Zhytomyrska Street last night. Veremei and his colleague IT specialist Oleksiy Lymarenko were attacked when they were coming back from work on taxi. The assailants pulled them and the taxi driver out of the car and brutally beat them. Lymarenko and the taxi driver received serious injuries. –– Anastasia Forina


Vyacheslav Veremei
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