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State institutions and private offices closed in Kiev

State institutions and private offices closed in Kiev

24 January 2014 | 21:09 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. A number of state institutions and private offices have been closed in Ukraine’s capital city Kiev as the street rows are ongoing, ITAR-TASS reported.
The managing bodies of bank branches were forced to tighten security measures or close.
The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources announced that measures of the air condition showed high concentration of poisonous substances.
Local media said the demonstrators were continuing to fortify barricades.

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Ukraine’s President promises changes to govt

Ukraine’s President promises changes to govt

24 January 2014 | 17:41 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has promised changes will be introduced to the government at an extraordinary sitting of the Parliament on January 28, Interfax-Ukraine reported.
Mr Yanukovych announced the news after meeting with religious leaders.
He said he would sign a decree and the government would be reformed so that an optimal solution is found as to its composition and which would [enable] it to work [well] for Ukraine.
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Event is being held in Kiev to honour memory of dead Euromaidan activists

Event is being held in Kiev to honour memory of dead Euromaidan activists

24 January 2014 | 17:13 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. An event is being held in Ukraine’s capital city Kiev to honour the memory of the dead Euromaidan activists, UNIAN reported.
”Yesterday was declared [a day of] mourning. We would like to continue it today. We would like to give due respect to the dead,” Igor Zhdanov, member of the council of demonstrators said.
In his words, candles will be lit close to the October Palace in Kiev.
He also said the pro-EU demonstrators were doing their best to give moral support to the families of the dead activists and organise their trips from Belarus and Dnipropetrovsk Oblast to Kiev.
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Protesters seize administrations in four Ukraine regions

Protesters seize administrations in four Ukraine regions

24 January 2014 | 13:40 | FOCUS News Agency
Lviv. Anti-government protesters were on Friday occupying regional administration buildings in four regions in western Ukraine after successfully storming the buildings, in a major new headache for President Viktor Yanukovych, AFP reported.
Protesters had earlier on Thursday seized control of the regional administration in the western city of Lviv and forced its governor Oleg Salo to write a statement of resignation.
Salo, who like all Ukrainian governors were appointed by Yanukovych rather then elected locally, later said his resignation was invalid and made under pressure.
But 200 people still spent the night in the building and showed no sign of leaving, an AFP correspondent said.

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Germany summons Ukraine ambassador over protest response

Germany summons Ukraine ambassador over protest response

24 January 2014 | 13:29 | FOCUS News Agency
Berlin. Germany on Friday summoned the Ukrainian ambassador over Kiev's response to five days of pro-EU protests in which activists say five people have died in clashes with security forces, AFP reported.
"We want to show that we are serious with our criticism," foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told reporters.
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Bulgaria should not interfere in the processes underway in Ukraine: minister

Bulgaria should not interfere in the processes underway in Ukraine: minister

24 January 2014 | 13:16 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. “Bulgaria should not and will not directly interfere in the processes underway in Ukraine,” Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kristian Vigenin, said speaking with journalists at parliament, FOCUS News Agency journalist reported.
“We keep a close eye on what is happening in Ukraine since last year. Bulgaria regularly comes out with positions [on the situation there]. We also came out with a position on the latest events, when it was announced that there were affected demonstrators.
We call for a dialogue and temperance and we hope that possible future serious events in Ukraine will be avoided because this can destabilise the country and the region,” the Bulgarian minister said further.
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District council of Ukraine’s Party of Regions asks for new leader elections

District council of Ukraine’s Party of Regions asks for new leader elections

24 January 2014 | 12:50 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. There is a need to immediately call a Congress of the Party of Regions and elect a new leader of the party. This is said in a statement of the District Council of the Party of Regions in Lviv, ITAR-TASS reported.
According to the members of the district council, the solution of the conflict “should not take place at the squares but through elections – first in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine [Ukraine’s parliament] and then for a new president”.
According to the district structure of the party, this is the only way to avoid future escalation of the confrontation in the society.
The council also says that “instead of the promised stability and European integration the country finds itself at the brink of a civil war”.
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Schwarzenegger throws weight behind Ukrainian protesters

Schwarzenegger throws weight behind Ukrainian protesters

24 January 2014 | 12:40 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday sent a video message of support to anti-government protesters in Ukraine, wishing them luck and making a peace sign, AFP reported,
"I want to send a message to the people of the Ukraine to let them know that I wish them all the best of luck in their peaceful struggle for democracy and freedom," said the deeply tanned action star and former California governor.
"Peace!" he added, raising a V sign.
Schwarzenegger sent the message via fellow muscleman celebrity turned politician Vitali Klitschko, leader of UDAR, or Punch, opposition party.

The video can be viewed here.
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Ukraine police deny responsibility for gunshot deaths

Ukraine police deny responsibility for gunshot deaths

24 January 2014 | 09:14 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukrainian police have confirmed that two young men who died in the latest clashes with security forces were killed by gunshot wounds but denied responsibility for their deaths, AFP reported.
"The cause of death of both men was gunshot wounds," the interior ministry said in a statement.
Police identified the victims as Sergei Nigoyan, a 20-year-old from the industrial region of Dnipropetrovsk, and Mikhail Zhiznevsky, a 25-year-old national of Belarus.
A police statement released Thursday said Nigoyan was killed with buckshot, while Zhiznevsky died from a hunting bullet.
The statement said Ukrainian police did not use the ammunition with which the two young men were killed during the clashes on Grushevsky Street, in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.
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Ukraine activists take hold of agriculture ministry in Kiev

Ukraine activists take hold of agriculture ministry in Kiev

24 January 2014 | 08:23 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Tens of Ukrainian activists took hold of the building of the ministry of agricultural policy, located close to the Independence Square in the capital city Kiev, UNIAN reported.
The protesters barricaded themselves inside the ministry. They declared they had entered into the building to warm up.
The demonstrators have broken the window next to the entrance.
At the moment the building is guarded by one activist.
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Ukraine talks fail to end deadlock, uneasy truce holds

Ukraine talks fail to end deadlock, uneasy truce holds

24 January 2014 | 04:11 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Crunch talks between the opposition and President Viktor Yanukovych failed Thursday to end Ukraine's crisis but an uneasy truce held after five days of deadly clashes between protesters and security forces, AFP reports.
Ukraine's three main opposition leaders held several hours of talks with Yanukovych but the relatively minor concessions offered by the president were greeted with derision by tens of thousands of protesters on Independence Square in Kiev.
In a development likely to severely alarm the embattled Yanukovych, angry protesters in half a dozen regions in the nationalist west of Ukraine seized control of regional adminstration buildings.
This week's clashes, which came after two months of protests over Yanukovych's failure to sign an integration deal with the European Union under Russia pressure, have turned parts of Kiev into a battle zone and left five activists dead.
After four hours of talks with Yanukovych the leader of the opposition Fatherland party, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said there is a "high" chance of finding a solution to end the bloodshed.
But world boxing champion and UDAR (Punch) party leader Vitali Klitschko later said the president appeared to be turning a deaf ear to the opposition's key demand of the resignation of the government.
"I feel how tense the atmosphere is. I feel how great the hopes are. It (the outcome of the talks) is going to disappoint you," he said.
The leader of the nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party Oleg Tyagnybok specified that the authorities had vowed to release activists arrested during the protests.
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Europe is also responsible for Maidan

Europe is also responsible for Maidan

24 January 2014 | 03:42 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. Brussels has been flirting with Putin for far too long. Now Ukraine pays the bill, a commentary in the 24 Chasa daily on the possible outcome of dramatic events in Ukraine reads. Events in Ukraine clearly show that the EU and Western countries do not have a clear idea of the nature of Eastern Europe, underestimate the serious influence and revanchism of the Kremlin, and rely on democratic reflexes that the former Soviet republics are yet to develop. The truth is that Europe is completely helpless, as evident by the reaction of European Commission (EC) President Jose Manuel Barroso on Thursday. “We are shocked,” was all that came to his mind. The President of the European Parliament (EP) Martin Schulz now openly speaks of sanctions, as do numerous Western media. Inducing sanctions, however, is a “double-edged sword” that the culprits usually manage to dodge, while ordinary citizens pay the price. The daily provides events in the Middle East as an example.
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Kiev protesters unconvinced as opposition returns from talks

Kiev protesters unconvinced as opposition returns from talks

24 January 2014 | 01:59 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Protesters camped out in the Ukrainian capital Kiev expressed suspicion on Thursday after opposition leaders returned from talks with President Viktor Yanukovych claiming several minor concessions but no breakthrough, AFP reports.
The protesters shouted "shame!" and whistled as the leaders announced the results of the talks on Independence Square and urged the tens of thousands gathered to show discipline.
"I feel how tense the atmosphere is. I feel how great the hopes are. It (the outcome of the talks) is going to disappoint you," said the leader of the UDAR (Punch) party, the world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko.
But he added: "We can change the power without bloodshed."
The leader of the nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party Oleg Tyagnybok specified that the authorities had vowed to release activists arrested during the protests.
He also said there was a proposal to create a buffer zone between protesters and security forces that would leave the main protest camp on Independence Square untouched by police.
Both these statements were confirmed by the general prosecutor's office and the interior ministry.
But when Tyagnybok asked for a show of hands about whether the talks should continue, the answer was clearly negative. It is not clear when the talks will resume.
The leader of the Fatherland party Arseniy Yatsenyuk said the protesters would not give way but called for peaceful protests.
"We will have an exclusively peaceful protest. We will keep our defences. We will not take one step backwards," he said.
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Ukraine seeks way out of deadly crisis

Ukraine seeks way out of deadly crisis

24 January 2014 | 00:45 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych met with the opposition Thursday for crunch talks in search of a way out of a deadly standoff with protesters that has turned parts of Kiev into a battle zone, AFP reports.
After four hours of talks with Yanukovych the leader of the opposition Fatherland party, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said there is a "high" chance of finding a solution to end the bloodshed.
The opposition billed the talks at the presidential adminstration in Kiev as a last chance for the authorities to offer concessions before protesters become even more aggressive after five days of clashes.
The clashes, which came after two months of protests over Yanukovych's failure to sign an integration deal with the European Union under Russia pressure, led to near apocalyptic scenes in the Ukrainian capital as the demonstrations became engulfed in flames.
Yanukovych on Thursday demanded an extraordinary session of parliament to ease the crisis which has already seen four protesters shot dead and one killed in a fall, according to activists.
Speaker Volodymyr Rybak said parliament would meet to discuss the protesters' demands for the government's resignation and the annulment of a controversial anti-protest law at a session expected on Tuesday, the presidency said in a statement.
But he did not mention early presidential elections, a key opposition demand.
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Ukraine protesters, police agree to truce as government, opposition talk

Ukraine protesters, police agree to truce as government, opposition talk

23 January 2014 | 23:49 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukrainian anti-government protesters agreed Thursday to a truce of several hours in clashes with police, as opposition leaders met with President Viktor Yanukovych for a second round of talks, CNN reports.
Hundreds of protesters -- who have been clashing with police in the capital, Kiev, since Sunday -- told boxer-turned-politician Vitali Klitschko they would suspend further action until negotiations were over, his UDAR party said in a prepared statement.
Riot police also agreed to the move, UDAR said, while Klitschko returned for a second day of talks with Yanukovych.
"I called for them to refrain from active actions for the time of negotiations. It is calm there now," UDAR quoted Klitschko as saying
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Ukraine’s first President says political crisis advancing too far

Ukraine’s first President says political crisis advancing too far

23 January 2014 | 22:57 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Top state officials and representatives of the political opposition have the sole correct instrument for defusing the current political crisis, and it is to sit down to the conference table and “to heed each other’s voices”, Ukraine’s first President Leonid Kravchuk /in the office from 1991 through to 1994/ said Thursday in an exclusive interview with Itar-Tass.
“There’s only one way out, and it is to go over from rhetorical promises to practical negotiations,” he said. “To do this, they’ll have to draw up an agenda as a first step. However, they have no agenda at present.”
Kravchuk indicated that the conflict was very likely to continue expanding if the sides threw away reciprocal requirements.
“A very acute political situation has taken shape in the country, as combat actions have begun de facto, putting people’s lives and the very independence of the state into jeopardy,” he said. “The authorities should realize that the opposition won’t quit the Maidan /Kiev’s Independence Square/ just like that because it wants to press forward with its demands. And what for have they been standing there for more than two months already?”
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Protests spread to west Ukrainian cities

Protests spread to west Ukrainian cities

23 January 2014 | 21:59 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Anti-government unrest in the Ukrainian capital Kiev has spread to western Ukraine, where government buildings in two major cities were seized by protesters Thursday, RIA Novosti reported.
Activists smashed a door and broke into the City Hall of the western Ukrainian city of Rivne at about 10:00 GMT, demanding the resignation of Governor Vasyl Bertash, local media reported.
The governor, who was recently decorated with a state award by President Viktor Yanukovych, is currently on official vacation and according to Ukrainian media is out of the country.
The protesters, who negotiated with Bertash’s deputies, also demanded the withdrawal of riot police from Kiev, where dozens have been injured and at least two protesters killed in clashes with law-enforcement officers in the past few days.
Earlier in the day, residents of another western Ukrainian city, Lviv, seized the city administration building and forced Governor Oleh Salo to resign.
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Ukraine seeks way out of deadly crisis

Ukraine seeks way out of deadly crisis

23 January 2014 | 21:29 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych met with the opposition Thursday for crunch talks in search of a way out of a crisis that has turned parts of Kiev into a battle zone, as pressure builds on him from the EU, AFP reported.
The opposition has billed the talks at the presidential adminstration in Kiev as a last chance for the authorities to offer concessions before protesters become even more aggressive.
The clashes, which came after two months of protests over Yanukovych's failure to sign an integration deal with the European Union under Russia pressure, led to near apocalyptic scenes in the Ukrainian capital as the demonstrations became engulfed in flames.
Yanukovych on Thursday demanded an extraordinary session of parliament to ease the crisis which has already seen four protesters shot dead and one killed in a fall, according to activists.
Speaker Volodymyr Rybak said parliament would discuss the protesters' demands for the government's resignation and the annulment of a controversial anti-protest law at a session expected next week, the presidency said in a statement.
But he did not mention early presidential elections, a key opposition demand.
"You know that recent mass riots have been accompanied by violence, bloodshed and arson. Today, the situation requires a quick resolution," Yanukovych told Rybak, the statement said.
Fatherland party leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk, nationalist leader Oleg Tyagnybok and world boxing champion and UDAR (Punch) party leader Vitali Klitschko began much-delayed talks with Yanukovych in the evening, the presidency said.
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EU's Ashton to meet Yanukovych in Kiev next week

EU's Ashton to meet Yanukovych in Kiev next week

23 January 2014 | 20:21 | FOCUS News Agency
Brussels. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Thursday she will meet Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych as well as opposition leaders in protest-hit Kiev next week, AFP reported.
In a statement announcing the trip, Ashton said dialogue was the only way forward to avoid a worsening of the situation. "The doors to dialogue and a political solution have to be kept open," she said.
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Ukrainian opposition ready to take part in Verkhovna Rada extraordinary sitting

Ukrainian opposition ready to take part in Verkhovna Rada extraordinary sitting

23 January 2014 | 18:26 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukrainian opposition is ready to take part in the extraordinary sitting of the Verkhovna Rada, MP from opposition Batkivshtina Andrei Pavlovskiy said for RIA Novosti.
“Opposition is ready to seize the opportunity to make an attempt for solving the political crisis at the extraordinary sitting,” Pavlovskiy stated.
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Bulgarians travelling to Ukraine must inform on the situation in the cities: Foreign Ministry

Bulgarians travelling to Ukraine must inform on the situation in the cities: Foreign Ministry

23 January 2014 | 18:15 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. In connection with escalation of tension in Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria warns Bulgarians who plan travelling to Ukraine to inform on the situation in the cities they are going to stay in. The Ministry advises citizens to avoid visiting central parts in Ukrainian capital – the regions around Independent and European squares and not to enter the building of Kyiv City State Administration.
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Around 5,000 people gather in downtown Kiev

Around 5,000 people gather in downtown Kiev

23 January 2014 | 17:12 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. There are around 5,000 people on Grushevskiy Str, which couple of days ago turned into arena of clashes between demonstrators and the police in the centre of Ukrainian capital Kiev, UNIAN reported.
Situation is calm by the moment. Neither demonstrators, nor the police are taking any actions.
Demonstrators have built new protective barricade from burnt constructions at Dinamo Stadium.
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Chairman of Ukrainian Parliament convenes extraordinary sitting of the Verkhovna Rada

Chairman of Ukrainian Parliament convenes extraordinary sitting of the Verkhovna Rada

23 January 2014 | 16:11 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Verkhovna Rada Chairman Volodymyr Rybak convened an extraordinary plenary session of the parliament at the request of President Viktor Yanukovich, UNIAN reported.
In a conversation with Rybak President Viktor Yanukovich stated that talks with the opposition are only one side of the regulation of the political crisis, the other side must be the parliamentary discussion. He outlined the necessity of holding parliamentary sittings despite the leave of lawmakers.
“I think to sign such order and to invite MPs in the beginning of the next week to revise all issues that are raising now. There are many issues that should not be solved at the square, but at the plenary hall. Opposition and the majority must sit on the discussion table and revise the issues: the resignation of the government and issues concerning the laws adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine,” Volodymyr Rybak said.
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Merkel says Ukraine must protect demonstrators' lives

Merkel says Ukraine must protect demonstrators' lives

23 January 2014 | 15:13 | FOCUS News Agency
Berlin. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that Ukraine must safeguard the lives of pro-EU demonstrators following deadly clashes with security forces but rejected calls for fresh sanctions against Kiev, AFP reported.
Merkel sharply condemned the violence, which activists say has left five dead, as well as new Ukrainian legislation barring protests, as the EU debates possible reprisals.
"We expect the Ukrainian government to ensure basic rights -- particularly the possibility to stage peaceful demonstrations, to protect lives, and that violence not be used," she told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
Merkel said Berlin was "extremely concerned and shocked" by Ukraine "rushing through" laws that "question these basic freedoms".
"That is why the German government will work hard to ensure that something that is a basic right, namely the right to demonstrate, can be exercised by the Ukrainian opposition," she said.
"We call for talks between the Ukrainian government and the opposition and I stress once again that it is the responsibility of any government to ensure the possibility of peaceful freedom of expression and that this is, in our view, not possible in Ukraine at the moment or not sufficiently possible," she said.
But Merkel said she and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier opposed sanctions for the moment.
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Ukrainian MPs introduce a draft bill on repealing amendments adopted on January 16

Ukrainian MPs introduce a draft bill on repealing amendments adopted on January 16

23 January 2014 | 13:41 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukrainian MPs have introduced at the Verkhovna Rada [English: National Assembly] another draft bill on repealing the legislative amendments adopted on January 16, which increase the amenability [to the law] of in case of offences during mass demonstrations, the Parliament announced on it website, RIA Novosti reported.
The draft bill was introduced by independent MPs, among whom is former Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Volodymyr Lytvyn.
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Ukraine's Klitschko urges truce in Kiev clashes until 18:00 GMT for talks

Ukraine's Klitschko urges truce in Kiev clashes until 18:00 GMT for talks

23 January 2014 | 13:12 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukrainian opposition leader and world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko on Thursday urged protesters to observe an eight-hour truce in clashes with security forces ahead of talks with President Viktor Yanukovych, AFP reported.
"By 8:00 pm (1800 GMT) I will return to you and inform you of the result of the talks," the Interfax Ukraine news agency quoted Klitschko as telling the protesters.
"Keep the barricades in place but (be) calm until the talks finish," he added.
An AFP correspondent at the scene of the fighting at Hrushevsky Street confirmed that there had been a pause in clashes and that the truce appeared to be holding.
Klitschko and other opposition leaders are due to meet Yanukovych at the presidential administration at 11:00 GMT for a second round of talks.
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More than 70 people detained in Kiev’s clashes

More than 70 people detained in Kiev’s clashes

23 January 2014 | 13:10 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. A total of 73 people were detained over the mass clashes in the capital city Kiev, Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs said, cited by RIA Novosti.
A restraining order of arrest was imposed on 21 individuals.
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Regional courts in Kiev rule another 11 demonstrators remain under arrest

Regional courts in Kiev rule another 11 demonstrators remain under arrest

23 January 2014 | 09:28 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Regional courts in Ukraine’s capital city Kiev have ruled that another 11 demonstrators who participated in clashes in Hrushevsky Street remain under arrest, ITAR-TASS reported.
The prosecutor’s office in Kiev informed home confinement had been imposed on five more protesters.
Courts have so far ruled in cases against 26 participants in clashes in Kiev.

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Ukraine protesters, police locked in tense standoff

Ukraine protesters, police locked in tense standoff

23 January 2014 | 09:19 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukrainian protesters and police were locked in a tense standoff early Thursday at the site of deadly clashes that activists said left five dead, AFP reported.
Ukrainian Berkut riot police were holding their line on Hrushevsky Street in central Kiev as hundreds of protesters faced them on the other side of barricades, television pictures showed.
There were sporadic clashes with demonstrators throwing stones and the police responding with stun grenades but there was a relative lull compared with Wednesday's ferocious clashes.
The demonstrators had overnight further fortified their barricades with sandbags filled with snow. Their frontline was marked by burning tyres which were still on fire in blazes that the police had been unable to extinguish despite the use of water cannon.
The opposition has warned President Viktor Yanukovych he has one final chance Thursday to offer concessions, otherwise the protesters will "go on the attack".
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Putin spokesman says Russia will not intervene in Ukraine protests

Putin spokesman says Russia will not intervene in Ukraine protests

23 January 2014 | 08:48 | FOCUS News Agency
Moscow. Russia will not intervene in the raging anti-government protests in Ukraine and believes its leadership will find a way out, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday, cited by AFP.
"We consider we do not have the right to intervene in any way in the internal affairs of our brother Ukraine. That's unacceptable and Russia has not done this and will not do it," Peskov said in an interview published on the website of Komsomolskaya Pravda daily.
Putin has yet to comment personally on the latest violent clashes in Kiev in which five activists have been killed, four of them reportedly with gunshots, and police deployed tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.
The protests broke out in November after President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a deal for closer integration with the European Union under pressure from Russia. Putin then offered Yanukovych a $15 billion bailout deal.
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Ukraine protests: Protesters die as riot police fight running battles on streets of Kiev

Ukraine protests: Protesters die as riot police fight running battles on streets of Kiev

23 January 2014 | 04:17 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. A burning fug of teargas mingled with the acrid black smoke of blazing tyres hung over the streets of Kiev on Wednesday night as protesters and police battled for control of the city’s historic centre, Daily Telegraph reports.
Three days of clashes have left up to five people dead, parts of the Ukrainian capital resembling a medieval battlefield and the opposition movement that has challenged President Viktor Yanukovych’s control at risk of disintegration.
“The time for talking is over. After a law like that what can we do? We have to defend ourselves,” said Dmitry, a 29-year-old plumber and Kiev native who described himself as a member of the Right Sector group that has been at the heart of street fighting since Sunday.
Wearing a hard hat and clothed in a British army-surplus combat jacket criss-crossed by the strap of his gas mask case and a baldric from which a chair leg hung like a sword, he was, as he cheerfully admitted, in breach of several provisions.
The law he was referring to is a package of legislation – forced through the Ukrainian parliament last week and brought into force on Wednesday – that effectively criminalises many of the public protest tactics the pro-European opposition has used during its hitherto peaceful struggle with the government.
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Ukrainians mass in Kiev, build up protest barricades: AFP

Ukrainians mass in Kiev, build up protest barricades: AFP

23 January 2014 | 00:10 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters massed on the streets of Kiev late Wednesday after a day of deadly clashes with the authorities, hastily reinforcing the barricades protecting their protests camp.
In the space of a few hours, the protesters had increased by several metres the height of their barricades protecting the main protest camp on Independence Square with sandbags filled with snow.
Activists were busily at work on Kiev's main thoroughfare Khreshchatyk Avenue scooping up snow, putting it into the bags and hauling them to the barricades, an AFP correspondent said.
Access to the protest camp was also more restricted with narrower entrances guarded by activists, prompting long queues at some points.
Ukrainian opposition leaders had earlier called on supporters to descend on Independence Square en masse to stave off the threat of the protest camp being dispersed by the security forces overnight.
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Ukraine protesters will go 'on attack' if no concessions: opposition

Ukraine protesters will go 'on attack' if no concessions: opposition

22 January 2014 | 22:22 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukrainian protesters will go "on the attack" if President Viktor Yanukovych does not swiftly offer concessions, opposition leader and world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko said after fierce clashes on Wednesday, cited by AFP.
"If Yanukovych does not make concessions, then tomorrow (Thursday) we will go on the attack," Klitschko told tens of thousands of protesters crammed into Independence Square in Kiev, saying Yanukovych could resolve the situation without bloodshed by calling early elections.
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Demonstrations renew parts of barricades, tyres set on fire in downtown Kiev

Demonstrations renew parts of barricades, tyres set on fire in downtown Kiev

22 January 2014 | 22:15 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. There are thousands of demonstrators on Grushevskiy Str in Kiev who are renewing barricades torn down by officers and continuing set on fire tyres near Dinamo Stadium, LIGA BusinessInform announced.
By the moment the police officers take no actions. Meanwhile opposition leaders expect Berkut riot-control police to make attempt to disperse protesters in the night.
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Ukrainian opposition gives 24 hours to Yanukovich to cease bloodshed in the country

Ukrainian opposition gives 24 hours to Yanukovich to cease bloodshed in the country

22 January 2014 | 21:25 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Leaders of Ukrainian opposition Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko have 24 hours to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich to cease bloodsheds in the country, UNIAN reported.
“This time we have only 24 hours. If there is no development of the situation I tell you, I will not live in disgrace and tomorrow we will be on the offensive,” Arseniy Yatsenyuk stated.
“If the president didn’t concede points we will be even more in number tomorrow and will take the offensive,” Vitali Klitschko said.
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'Shocked' EU warns Ukraine of 'possible action'

'Shocked' EU warns Ukraine of 'possible action'

22 January 2014 | 20:56 | FOCUS News Agency
Brussels. The head of the European Union executive, Jose Manuel Barroso, warned Ukraine of "possible" reprisals after the deaths of pro-EU protesters Wednesday but stopped short of announcing sanctions, AFP reported.
"We are shocked... and deplore in the strongest possible terms the use of force and violence," Barroso said, squarely laying responsibility "to de-escalate this crisis" on the Ukrainian authorities.
"We... will continue following closely these developments, as well as assessing possible actions by the EU and consequences for our relations," the president of the European Commission told a news conference.
Asked to elaborate on potential retaliation, Barroso said it was "premature" to decide on a course of action which would need to be approved by all 28 member states.
The United States announced it had revoked the visas of several Ukrainian nationals linked to violence against protesters late last year, and said it was considering "further action" over the current clashes.
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Ukrainian opposition establishes People’s Verkhovna Rada

Ukrainian opposition establishes People’s Verkhovna Rada

22 January 2014 | 20:08 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukrainian opposition parties Batkivshtina, UDAR, Svoboda and MPs from Ukrainian parliament that are not involved in fractions of the parliament established People’s Verkhovna Rada, ЛIГА Novosti reported, citing a statement of MP from the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Andrei Pishniy, posted on Facebook.
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Five activists killed, 300 wounded in Kiev clashes: protest medics

Five activists killed, 300 wounded in Kiev clashes: protest medics

22 January 2014 | 19:32 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Five activists were killed and 300 wounded Wednesday in the Ukrainian capital Kiev in a day of intense clashes with security forces, the medical centre of the protest movement said, cited by AFP.
"As of now, five people have been killed. Around 300 were wounded today from midnight," Oleg Musiy, the coordinator of the medical service, told pro-opposition Hromadske radio. According to the Ukrainska Pravda new website, four of the five people found dead had gunshot wounds.
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Ukrainian riot police break up first-aid post of Kiev demonstrators

Ukrainian riot police break up first-aid post of Kiev demonstrators

22 January 2014 | 19:27 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukrainian riot police Berkut broke up a first-aid medical post of protesters in Kiev on Grushevski Str in downtown Kiev, ЛIГА Novosti reported.
In one of the attacks Berkut officers showered the medical post with gas grenades. The medical point was marked with the identifying signs and there was a red cross in front of it, all this however didn’t stop the attackers.
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Yanukovych meets three opposition leaders on Ukraine violence: presidency

Yanukovych meets three opposition leaders on Ukraine violence: presidency

22 January 2014 | 15:27 | FOCUS News Agency
Kyiv. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Wednesday met the three main leaders of the opposition for talks as fighting raged in Kiev, the presidency said, cited by AFP.
Alongside powerful national security council secretary Andriy Klyuyev, Yanukovych was meeting with opposition politician Arseniy Yatsenyuk, world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko and ultra-nationalist Oleg Tyagnybok.
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EP President shocked by the reports of casualties in Kiev

EP President shocked by the reports of casualties in Kiev

22 January 2014 | 12:53 | FOCUS News Agency
Brussels. Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, is shocked by the reports for casualties as a result of the clashes between law enforcement officers and activists of the opposition in Kiev. Mr Schultz urges the two sides to turn to dialogue, RIA Novosti reported, quoting the official Twitter account of Mr Schultz.
“Shocked by reports of casualties as protests in #Ukraine escalate. Dialogue is needed, not bloody street fights,” Mr Schultz wrote in his Twitter account.

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Some 167 police officers request medical assistance as a result of the clashes in Kiev

Some 167 police officers request medical assistance as a result of the clashes in Kiev

22 January 2014 | 12:45 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Some 167 Ukrainian police officers have requested medical assistance as a result of the clashes in downtown Kiev, as 84 officers have been hospitalised, the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior announced.
“The police officers are diagnosed with various wounds, including head traumas, various fractures, burns, lacerations, and poisoning from unknown chemical substances,” a press release of the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior, quoted by RIA Novosti, reads.


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EU's Ashton urges "immediate end" to Ukraine violence

EU's Ashton urges "immediate end" to Ukraine violence

22 January 2014 | 12:35 | FOCUS News Agency
Brussels. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday urged "an immediate end" to the escalating violence in Ukraine following reports of the first fatalities in two months of pro-EU protests, AFP reported.
"I strongly condemn the violent escalation of events in Kiev overnight leading to casualties. The reported deaths of several protesters is a source of extreme worry," Ashton said in a statement.
"The use of force and resort to violence is not an answer to the political crisis. All acts of violence must come to an immediate end and be swiftly investigated. Those responsible will have to be held to account," it added.
Two activists were shot dead Wednesday during clashes with security forces in Kiev, the general prosecutors said, the first fatalities since the start of protests over President Viktor Yanukovych's failure to sign a deal for closer ties with the EU.
Saying she was deeply concerned about attacks on journalists and reports of missing persons, Ashton called on the government and the opposition to begin "a genuine dialogue at the highest level".
"The solution needs to meet the aspirations of the Ukrainian people," she said.
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Lithuania urges Europe to impose sanctions against Ukrainian authorities

Lithuania urges Europe to impose sanctions against Ukrainian authorities

22 January 2014 | 12:33 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. “Unrolling brutal scenario in #Euromaidan calls for united reaction from EU. Calls for dialogue ineffective, time for targeted sanctions?” Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius wrote on his Twitter profile, Ukrainian online edition Komentarii reported.
In the same time, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite condemned the violence against protesters.
“Shocked by terrible news from #Kyiv. Strongly condemn brutal violence against #euromaidan demonstrators,” Ms Grybauskaite wrote on her Twitter profile.
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Two activists shot dead during Ukraine protests: prosecutors

Two activists shot dead during Ukraine protests: prosecutors

22 January 2014 | 12:26 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Two activists were shot dead Wednesday during clashes with security forces in Kiev, the general prosecutors said, the first fatalities since the start of the Ukraine protests two months ago, AFP reported.
Prosecutors said that the corpse of an activist with gunshot wounds to the head and chest was found in a library used by activists as an infirmary. Shortly afterwards, another corpse with gunshot wounds was also confirmed, the statement added. Protesters claimed they were shot by police snipers but this was not confirmed by the prosecutors.
Meanwhile, the medical centre of the protest movement said that a third activist was killed after falling from the top of the ceremonial entrance to Dynamo Kiev stadium adjacent to the protests.
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Ukrainian activists report a third victim during the protests in Kiev

Ukrainian activists report a third victim during the protests in Kiev

22 January 2014 | 12:06 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. The paramedical headquarters positioned on Hrushevsky str reported of a third victim – a 25-30-year-old man, as a result of a gunshot wound in the vicinity of the heart, BBC Ukraine reported, quoting Euromaidan’s Facebook page.
A correspondent of the media was the man on European Square in Kiev, during the withdrawal of the Berkut special units of the Ukrainian militia. There are photos of the man lying in unconsciousness. The police officers initially poked him, and then took him with them.

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Ukrainian PM calls the protesters in Kiev terrorists

Ukrainian PM calls the protesters in Kiev terrorists

22 January 2014 | 11:31 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukainian PM Mykola Azarov called the protesters in downtown Kiev terrorists, RIA Novosti reported.
“The cynicism and amorality of the terrorists reached such a level, that they started throwing Molotov cocktails against living people. Everyone saw the TV footages, the whole world saw them. Terrorists from the Maidan rushed hotels and captured tens of citizens, who they consider their opponents, and beat them up severely. This way they are threatening the life of each citizen,” Mr Azarov explained.
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Ukrainian PM demands investigations of the crimes committed by protesters

Ukrainian PM demands investigations of the crimes committed by protesters

22 January 2014 | 11:25 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukrainian PM Mykola Azarov demanded the law enforcement authorities to start an investigation of the events on Hrushevsky str in downtown Kiev. During his opening speech at a sitting of the Ukrainian Council of Ministers, Mr Azarov explained that the claims that the police had used firearms in the clashes with the radical and hostile supporters of the opposition were groundless, RIA Novosti reported.
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Ukrainian Ministry of Interior explains the motives behind its actions on Hrushevsky str

Ukrainian Ministry of Interior explains the motives behind its actions on Hrushevsky str

22 January 2014 | 11:21 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. The active participation of the Berkut special units of the Ukrainian militia, within the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior, on Hrushevsky str in downtown Kiev was necessary in order to guarantee the security of the law enforcement officers, Ukrainian news agency UNIAN announced, quoting a press release of the Ministry of Interior. The press release reads that the police have seized tubes filled with unknown substance, which protesters had planned on using against the police officers on Hrushevsky str.
The police received information that the protesters were planning on using unknown chemical substance against the police officers, in attempt to burn police officers.
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Ukrainian President: No one will divide the people of Ukraine

Ukrainian President: No one will divide the people of Ukraine

22 January 2014 | 11:12 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. The complex processes in Ukraine are a challenge for the public maturity of the Ukrainian people, the internal unity, and tolerance. This is what Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said in a special address to the nation, on the occasion of Day of Unity and Freedom of Ukraine [January 22], Itar-Tass reported.
“I am convinced that Ukraine will come out even stronger from the political and economic difficulties, which are being experienced now. National interests and human values remain at the top of our priority list for Ukraine’s policy. Our goal is to have justice, prosperity, and freedom to live in a free country,” Mr Yanukovych added.
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Ukrainian Ministry of Interior rejects possible police bullet to have caused the death of a protester

Ukrainian Ministry of Interior rejects possible police bullet to have caused the death of a protester

22 January 2014 | 11:05 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. The Ukrainian Ministry of Interior confirmed the information that a participant in the protest rally on Hrushevsky str in Kiev had died from a gunshot wound, Itar-Tass reported.
According to Serhiy Burlakov, spokesperson of the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior, the gunshot wound could not have been caused by the police officers situated on Hrushevsky str, because they did not have firearms. The police have initiated an investigation about the death of the protester.
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PICTURE OF THE DAY
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds an annual televised question and answer session.
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds an annual televised question and answer s...

VIDEO OF THE DAY
Clashes in Ukrainian city of Slavyansk.
Clashes in Ukrainian city of Slavyansk.
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