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Ukraine Blog

Follow the latest developments as Ukraine attempts to deal with pro-Russian separatists in the country's east.

  • Putin and Merkel agreed Ukriane's "territorial integrity" must remain intact.

    [Reuters]
  • EU says it is ready to do a deal with Ukraine:

    "I believe that yes, they (the Ukrainians) are going to sign that deal, I don't know when. First we need a government for that, and it has to take a democratic decision and it has to be in a stable situation."

    EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht
  • David Chater from Kharkiv

    Riot police are trying to separate two groups of pro and anti-government protesters.

    "It is a very tense situation, the anti-government protesters expect a move to be made against them any time now."
  • In the city of Mariupol, southeastern Ukraine – one anti-government activist was attacked
    by a huge mob of pro-Russia locals - Hromadske TV reports.

  • "Yanukovich's whereabouts, as you've said, are not known at the present. What we do know is that he picked up in a very orderly fashion and left the capital, Kiev just after having signed an agreement that was designed to lead to a unity government."
    Susan Rice - United States National Security Advisor
  • Protesters rally in Kiev's independence square



    Many protesters are exhausted and in mourning for those who have died.

    Barnaby Phillips reports from Kiev.
  • US President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, said on Sunday it would be a "grave mistake" for Russia to send military forces into Ukraine and that it is not in the interest of Russia, Europe or the United States to see Ukraine split apart.
  • Independence Square turned into a memorial for the dead:
     
     

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    [Picture credit: Reuters]




  • Pro-Russian activists gather to form local public guards to oppose pro-EU groups in Simferopol in Crimea
    [Reuters] 


  • Protesters remain on standby in Ukraine, despite apparent calm:
     
     

    1 of 3


    [Photo credits: EPA]




  • Ukraine's new interim president said on Sunday that he was open to dialogue with Russia as long as Moscow respected his country's decision to seek closer ties with the European Union.

    "We are ready for a dialogue with Russia... that takes into account Ukraine's European choice, which I hope will be confirmed in (presidential) elections"

  • Ukraine sets European course after ouster of Yanukovich

    On Independence Square, men were still wandering around with clubs and wearing home-made body armour, helmets and in some cases ski masks and camouflage fatigues.

    "We'll stay here to the very end," said Bohan Zakharchenko, 23, from Cherkasky, south of Kiev. "We will be here till there's a new president." [Reuters]
  • Authorities: warrant out for Yanukovich

    People hold a banner in memory of two protesters who died of gunshot wounds in Kiev on January 26 [AP] 

    Ukraine's ousted Viktor Yanukovich is wanted by police for the mass murder of peaceful citizens, according to the country's acting interior minister.

    [Reuters]
  • Ukraine's acting interior minister Arsen Avakov said in a statement posted on his Facebook account that a case has been launched against Yanukovich for atrocities committed during the country's uprisings.

    "A criminal case has been launched over the mass murder of peaceful civilians. Yanukovich and a number of other officials have been put on a wanted list."

    [AFP]
  • Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich is wanted by police for the "mass murder of peaceful civilians", according to a statement posted on the Facebook page of the country's acting interior minister.

    Arsen Avakov said on Monday that an arrest warrant had been issued for Yanukovich, who fled the capital Kiev on Saturday following months of bloodshed and political upheaval.

    To read Al Jazeera's full story click here.


  • Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian authorities is questionable.

    He said that the new authorities have come to power as a result of "armed mutiny," so their legitimacy is causing "big doubts", Russian news agencies reported

    Medvedev said that Russia doesn't know with whom to communicate in Ukraine, and criticised the West for recognizing the new authorities following the Yanukovich's ouster.
  • Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has said that Ukraine's political turmoil looks like "a real mess" but that it is important for the country to hold together in the battle of influence between Russia and the West. 

    Speaking to the Associated Press news agency in Sharjah, UAE on Monday, he emphasized the need for outside mediation to ease tensions in Ukraine.

    "No one wants it to come apart. I think that today it's important not to tear it apart," Gorbachev said of Ukraine. 

    "I recently appealed to the leaders of the United States and Russia to act perhaps as mediators. And that would also include the European Union."

    The mediators, he continued, could play a role in ensuring "that the crisis we see in Ukraine does not result in this kind of dramatic breakup. Let us give the people a chance to agree on something.'' 

    "It looks like there is a real mess there and that the leaders of Ukraine proved unable to reach a kind of consensus in the country, in Ukrainian society. And that's why those issues became so acute," Gorbachev said.

    He also suggested that no single outside power could dominate Ukraine's future.

    "If the European Union wants to have things its own way, the United States wants to have things their own way, and Russia wants to have things its own way, I think that would be wrong," he said.
  • Russia's senior general and the top NATO military commander have spoken over the telephone on Monday and expressed concern over the upheaval in Ukraine, the Interfax news agency cited the Russian Defence Ministry as saying.

    "The two sides expressed concern over the situation in Ukraine," Interfax quoted the ministry as saying after the conversation between US Air Force General Philip Breedlove, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of Russia's armed forces.

    [Reuters]
  • The Polish FM Radoslaw Sikorski has said that there is "a huge amount of macroeconomic assistance available for Ukraine as soon as it concludes an agreement with the IMF," reported Reuters news agency.

    "As you know in Ukraine, we have a long record of agreements that have not been honoured," Sikorski said at a news conference in Budapest on Monday. 
  • EU-Ukraine deal on hold

    The long-awaited deal between Ukraine and the EU can not be signed until after the country's scheduled May elections. 


    "The trade and investment agreement remains on the table," said Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly, referring to a wide-ranging political and trade pact at the root of Ukraine's three-month troubles. "We are ready to sign this agreement once Ukraine is ready," Bailly said. "I think our idea is that we must let a transition process go to its final point" of elections set for May 25 "and once we have a government we will be ready to discuss again".

    [AFP]


  • The Acting interior minister Arsen Avakov has confirmed via Facebook that Yanukovich is wanted for mass murder of peaceful citizens.

    Inside the Parliament, news of his arrest warrant is traveling fast. Vitaly Klitschko, the boxer-turned-opposition leader, said Yanukovich must be found.

    "It's a remarkable situation when the most sought after character in the country is the president of Ukraine, who is hiding and doing everything to leave the country and avoid responsibility. I would like to underline that hundreds of victims are the responsibility of Yanukovich, who gave the order to disperse the protest."

    [Reuters]
  • The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has weighed in on the situation in Ukraine in a statement released by his spokesperson.

    The Secretary-General continues to closely follow the rapidly unfolding events in Ukraine. He has remained in continual contact with key actors on how to support a peaceful way forward for Ukraine at this time of transformation.

    He reiterates his call for non-violence and urges all Ukrainians to express their differences peacefully and through dialogue, and to seek a durable solution through compromise.

    The Secretary-General, above all, calls for an inclusive political process that reflects the aspirations of all Ukrainians and preserves Ukraine's unity and territorial integrity. In order to bring about a stable and prosperous future for Ukraine, the Secretary-General calls for a firm commitment, by all concerned, to uphold the key principles of democracy and human rights and thereby create a conducive environment for free and fair elections.

    To assure Ukrainians of the support of the UN and the wider international community, the Secretary-General has sent his senior advisor Mr. Robert Serry to Ukraine. The Secretary-General expects all key international actors to work collaboratively to help Ukrainians at this challenging time in their country's history.

    In his meeting with the new Speaker of the Parliament, H.E. Mr. Oleksander Turchinov, Mr. Serry conveyed the Secretary-General's solidarity with all Ukrainians and his commitment to assist a Ukrainian-led inclusive governance process. 

    New York, 24 February 2014 


  • France urges financial help for Ukraine

    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Monday asked Russia to continue to offer financial assistance to Ukraine, telling reporters in Beijing "there is no time to lose" for the crisis-hit country.

    Ukraine is asking the international community for $35bn in aid [AP] 

    "What we know is that Ukraine's financial situation is very bad, that's for certain," Fabius said, as the global community discussed support for Ukraine, which has appealed for $35bn in western aid.
  • Where is Viktor Yanukovich?

    Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakhov outlines the ousted leader's whereabouts on his Facebook page.

    Yanukovich was last seen in Balaclava [AP] 

    Saturday: 

    Yanukovich likened opposition protesters to Nazis in a videotaped interview in the city of Kharkiv, 400 kilometres east of the capital Kiev.

    From Kharkiv, Yanukovich, his chief of staff and security guards flew by helicopter to the airport in his hometown of Donetsk.

    From Donetsk, Yanukovich and his contingent transferred to two Falcon business jets, but border guards prevented him from leaving.

    Yanukovich spent a few hours in a state residence and then left about 10pm local time in a convoy of automobiles, according to Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakhov.

    Sunday:

    After driving through the night, the cortege on Sunday reached the Crimean peninsula, some 400 kilometres southwest of Donetsk. 

    Instead of using a state residence in the area, the motorcade stopped at a private sanatorium. 

    There, Yanukovich learned that the parliament, which he once controlled with a firm majority, had granted presidential powers to the new speaker.

    The group left for the military airport in the city of Sevastopol, but learned that Avakhov and the new head of the national security service were there and turned back, according to a police account.

    Yanukovich and his entourage then went to a private residence in the town of Balaclava, arriving just before midnight, Avakhov said. 

    Finding that only a few of his guards were still loyal, Yanukovich scrawled a note relinquishing them. 

    Avakhov then wrote that Yanukovich, his chief of staff and the remaining loyal guards got into three cars and "left in an unknown direction".

    [AP]

  • British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday he would visit Ukraine "shortly" and said the revolt-hit country needs urgent financial aid to prop up its economy.

    "Ukraine's financial situation is very serious, and without outside assistance may not be sustainable," Hague said in a statement to parliament.

    [AFP]
  • Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons reports from Kiev.

  • Before he was ousted as Ukraine's president, Viktor Yanukovich drew up plans to use thousands of troops to crush the protests that eventually toppled him, according to a leaked document published online.

    Ukrainian journalists are going through thousands of papers they say were found near Yanukovich's opulent residence near Kiev after he fled the capital and some documents have already started to surface in the Internet.

    Although its authenticity could not be confirmed, parliamentary deputy Hennadi Moskal, a former deputy interior minister, published a document online detailing a plan to surround Independence Square - the cradle of the uprising - with snipers and open fire on the protesters below.

    Armoured vehicles and about 22,000 police would have been involved, including about 2,000 Berkut riot police, if it had been fully enacted, the document showed.

    More documents will be published this week, one of the journalists sifting through them told Reuters.

  • Local riot police kneel as they apologize to Lviv residents for taking part in an operation against anti-government protesters in Kiev, but said that they did not beat protesters, during a rally in central Lviv  [Reuters]

  • Ukraine's UN ambassador, who supports the opposition, insists there was "no coup" against President Viktor Yanukovich.

    Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev told a news conference on Monday that Yanukovych fled Kiev secretly, left his duties, and "destroyed himself."

    "I demand to stop spread lies about the nature of political change in Ukraine as a coup," he said.  [AP]

  • An opposition supporter looks at his phone as he stands guards near to a barricade, on one of the streets heading to Kiev's Independence Square [AP] 


  • Residents of Viktor Yanukovich's hometown of Donetsk react to his downfall:

    "People here are disappointed in Yanukovich."
    Tatiana, a young employee
    of the Donbass coal field where the ex-leader's surprise fall failed 
    to
    spark a backlash against the new administration in Kiev.

    "Too weak."
    A taxi driver said, despite the deaths of 82 people in just three days in Kiev last week when security forces opened fire
    on 
    protesters.

    "It will be terrific in Ukraine from now on."
    Raisa Andreyevna, Donetsk resident. 

    [AFP]

  • Ukraine is set to announce an interim government, as politicians try to stabilise the country after the disappearance of President Viktor Yanukovich and months of violence.

    Acting President Oleksandr Turchinov told members of parliament at the weekend that they had until Tuesday to form a new cabinet and appoint a new prime minister.

    To read Al Jazeera's full article click here.

  • Ukraine's parliament has delayed forming a new government until Thursday, according to Oleksander Turchinov, the speaker of the assembly and the country's acting president. 

    "The vote on the national unity government should be on Thursday." 

    [Reuters]
  • Oleksander Turchinov, Ukraine's acting president, said he will meet law enforcement bodies to discuss "dangerous signs of separatism" in some areas of the country.

    [Reuters]
  • Ukraine finds peace in Independence Square

    People paid respect to those killed during clashes with police on the same day a warrant was issued for the arrest of ousted President Viktor Yanukovich.
     
    Eighty-two people were killed in Kiev in just three days last week [AP] 
    Yanukovich fled the capital after signing a peace deal with opposition leaders [AP]  
    Unrest has gripped the country since Yanukovich failed to sign a trade agreement with the European Union in November [AP]
    People sing Ukraine's national anthem in Kiev's Independence Square [AP] 
    Ukraine's parliament is expected to form a new government on Thursday [AP] 
    A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Viktor Yanukovich [AP]
     
     

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  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Ukraine should not be forced to choose between Russia and the West.  

    "It is dangerous and counterproductive to try to force upon Ukraine a choice on the principle: 'You are either with us or against us.'"

    [Reuters]

  • Inside Viktor Yanukovich's private residence

    The ousted president lived on this 330-acre country estate until Monday when a warrant was issued for his arrest.

    [AFP] 
    [AFP] 
    [AFP] 
    [AFP] 
    [AFP] 
     
     

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  • Klitschko says he is running for president 

    A world boxing champion-turned-opposition leader has declared he is running for president in Ukraine. 

    Vitaly Klitschko, one of the protest leaders in Ukraine, made the announcement on Tuesday in a press briefing in the capital Kiev. 

    Klitschko is head of the UDAR (Punch) party, which led protests in Kiev against then President Victor Yanukovich. 

    A presidential election has been set on May 25.

    On Monday, Klitschko said Yanukovich was responsible for all causalities during the three-month protests that brought him down.

    Klitschko spoke hours before meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who was in Kiev to discuss measures to shore up the country's ailing economy.
  • Ukraine ex-presidential aide of Yanukovich wounded

    Andriy Klyuev, a former presidential aide who is said by the  new Ukrainian authorities to be on the run with ousted leader Viktor  Yanukovich, has been shot in the leg, his spokesman said.

    Spokesman Artem  Petrenko said on Tuesday that a "trusted source" had told him that Klyuev, the head of the presidential administration until Yanukovich was toppled on Saturday, had  come under fire twice and was wounded, but his life was not in danger.

    Petrenko said by telephone that he had not spoken to Klyuev himself and he did not know where Klyuev was, according to Reuters news agency. 

    He also said he did not know whether Klyuev was with Yanukovich, who fled Kiev on Friday and is wanted by the Ukrainian authorities to face accusations of murder. [Reuters]
  • #Ukraine parliament passes a resolution asking the International Criminal Court to act as per the facts between Nov 21 and Feb 23.
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