On Hrushevskoho Street

English

In Ukraine, a hot phase of the Revolution of Dignity has begun since the confrontation on Hrushevskoho St. on January 19.

A Hot Phase of the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine since a Confrontation on Hrushevskoho St. on January 19.

That day has been dubbed “Bloody Epiphany”. In the morning, once again thousands of people gathered at Viche (rally) on Maidan. Now, protesters added to the previous demands a new one – to annul the “dictatorship laws” passed on 16th of January. Being discontented with the absence of clear plan of actions, people whistled the opposition leaders and their speeches at Viche. The protesters urged that opposition finally decided on a single leader and proceeded to more decisive actions.

After Arseniy Yatseniuk, the leader of “Batkivshchyna” party, declared: “There is a leader. It is Ukrainian people”, some activists disappointed with the inertness and indecision of opposition as well as with the lack of government’s concessions started to Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) to express the protest there. Their way ran across Hrushevskoho Street.

Nonetheless, there the protesters were stopped nearly 300 meters from the Cabinet of Ministers and 400 meters from the Parliament. Right by the entrance to “Dynamo” stadium, the peaceful walk was met by the cordon of Berkut and interior troops as well as with the blockade of lorries and military buses.

About 3 p.m. the radical group of “Pravyi Sektor” endeavored to break through the police cordon to the government quarter. As a result of clashes, a lot of activists were injured, the bus of Berkut was set on fire while the riot police were bombarded with the stones and petards. However, despite the minus temperature, Berkut used special devices, water cannon, and tear gas. Throughout the standoff on Hrushevskoho Street, the opposition deputy and the Maidan commandant Andriy Parubiy was injured too.

According to the capital medics’ information as of 8 p.m., 24 victims of the clashes appealed for medical aid. Three of them were hospitalized as two victims had lacerations and the third – broken arm. In turn, the Ministry of Internal Affairs reported about more than 70 police officers injured and 40 of them hospitalized.

Oleh Tiahnybok and Arseniy Yatseniuk, the leaders of political parties “Svoboda” and “Batkivshchyna” respectively, firstly called the initiators of the walk to Verkhovna Rada to be the “provocateurs”. Meanwhile, Vitaliy Klychko headed off to Mezhyhiria requesting a meeting with President Yanukovych to ask him about withdrawal of Berkut from Hrushevskoho Street. Yanukovych asserted as if he was ready to commence negotiations with opposition to stabilize the situation.

On Monday, 20th of January, he initiated creating of “antirecessionary” committee of representatives of the President Administration, Cabinet of Ministers, and opposition members. By Yanukovych order, the committee was headed by Klyuyev – person who is believed to be involved in the Maidan dispersion on November 30. The protesters and experts instantly said in that way government just protracted the time to gather more military forces from the regions to Kyiv.

Meanwhile, in Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk the activists blocked the bases of Berkut to prevent them being dispatched to Kyiv.

During that night, near “Dynamo” stadium Berkut fired with the tear gas shells and light-noise grenades at the barricades hurriedly built by the protesters and the water cannons continually poured water turning Hrushevskoho Street and European Square into a solid ice rink.

Early morning on January 20, as a consequence of aimed fire with rubber bullets several activists were heavily wounded. One of them Yuriy Verbytskyi was admitted to a hospital but there kidnapped by “unknown people” and on January 22 his lifeless body mutilated by tortures was found close to village Hnydin of Boryspil district. However, the official cause of death was said freezing.

During early hours of January 21, the confrontation continued to result in a bit pressed back protesters from the barricades. However, in the morning they managed to regain lost positions. The force confrontation was halted, also with a help of four priests who stood amid the protesters and law enforcement.

On January 20, “Ukrainian question” was discussed by the Council of the European Union. The politicians called on the Ukrainian government and opposition to a dialogue to overcome the political crisis. The Council conclusions were published by the Delegation of the EU to Ukraine.

January 22 – Day of Reunion of Ukraine. The first victims of the clashes.

On January 22, in the Day of Reunion of Ukraine, around 8 a.m. Berkut impetuously assaulted the defenders of the barricades and other unarmed activists on Hrushevskoho Street. Riot police dismantled the barricades simultaneously crippling and detaining the people. In half an hour the protesters went on counterattack and restored the status quo. The police retreated behind the line of burned buses. In the consequence of Berkut’s attack, up to 200 protesters were wounded and one person was killed. It was Serhiy Nigoyan, 20 year old Ukrainian of Armenian descent from Dnipropetrovsk region who was a defender of Euromaidan. One of the bullet wounds he received in the neck and another in a head. Then from the direct shot in heart the Belarussian Mykhailo Zhyznevskyi died. Later, the doctors working on Hrushevskoho Street, reported considering the wounds of both killed it was possible clearly identify the gunshot wounds. During that assault, another protester Roman Senyk was seriously injured in the lungs and his hand was torn off by a grenade. He died in a hospital on 25th of January.

At 10 a.m. despite the police firing, unarmed activists entered into the neutral zone and endeavored to negotiate with the military forces though unsuccessful. Throughout the truce some meters ahead of the main barricade, the activists built another small barricade from the snow and tires. About 11 a.m. Berkut launched massive attack and pushed the protesters back to European Square. However, after midday, the activists pressed the police back to their previous positions. That day the arsenal of Berkut to combat the people was reinforced by an armoured personnel carrier.

According to the Institute of Mass Information, throughout January 19-22, at least 42 journalists were injured on Hrushevskoho St. Considering their eyes and legs injuries, it was aimed shooting in the people wearing orange “Press” jackets and helmets. Furthermore, 30 medics were injured too as Berkut destroyed the Euromaidan first-aid post in the Parliament library on Hrushevskoho Street.

On the same day about 2 p.m. Yanukovych commenced the meeting with leaders of opposition. Meanwhile, swarms of so-called “tityshky” being armed with the clubs and cold arms roamed across the city accompanied by the police. Kyiv citizens detained some of them and took on Maidan where showed to the journalists.

January 23

There were up to 5,000 protesters on Hrushevskoho Street. The truce between them and Berkut had been ongoing. That enabled the activists to construct four new barricades and fortify the first line of barricades from the burnt police buses which was set next to Valeriy Lobanovkyi monument, right of the entrance to the stadium “Dynamo”. A new barricade was constructed closely to the first one that faced the stadium. Another one over 2 meters high appeared by the Ukrainian language Institute of the National Academy of Sciences (house №4 on Hrushevskoho Street). Finally, the activists finished building of the barricade in front of the hotel “Dnipro”.

On that day, Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Luxembourg Claude Radu and Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Poznań Witold Horowski resigned in protest against the repressive policy of the Ukrainian authorities against their own people.

In response to the Yanukovych actions against people on Maidan, the USA imposed sanctions on certain Ukrainian officials as the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine informed. The embassy stressed for the “visa records are confidential under U.S. laws, we cannot comment on individual cases”.

January 24

After 9 p.m. the force confrontation amid protesters and riot police resumed. It was caused by the police shots with rubber bullets one of which hit the activist. In response, Berkut fighters were bombarded by the stones, petards, and Molotov cocktails. The barricades of tires started burning again. Berkut and the soldiers of interior troops again launched the stun grenades and shot with rubber bullets. Nevertheless, representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs denied the fact of weapon use and accused the protesters of breaking a truce.

January 25

The clashes stopped in the morning. One of the activists went to negotiate with the police. Also the priests stood between two sides of confrontation. The same morning, representatives of Spilna Sprava (Common Cause) movement occupied the building of the Ministry of Energy on the corner of Khreshchatyk and Prorizna streets.

Storm of the Ukrainian House (Ukrainskyi Dim) early morning on January 26

In the early hours of January 26, the scene of confrontation amid protesters and law enforcement became the Ukrainian House. When revealed that several hundreds of police were located in Ukrainian House, considerable number of protesters gathered outside the building as it was great menace for the barricade defenders on Hrushevskoho to be attacked by the police from behind. Consequently, new barricades were erected, and after the police officers refused to leave the Ukrainian House voluntarily, the siege and then an assault commenced. About 4 o’clock in the morning, the law enforcement who appeared to be the interior troops left the building.

As the Euromaidan activist Zoryan Shkiryak said, a month and a half stay of soldiers in the Ukrainian House negatively impacted on that building: “The third and fourth floors just turned into a cesspool. Everything was scattered, there were broken furniture, dirt, rubbish, empty bottles, and cigarette-ends all over the place”. Moreover, the seals on the storages with museum valuables were broken. In addition, on the roof of building the activists found spent and unused firearm cartridges for AK submachine of SKS carbine.

As of January 26, up to 116 people were detained on suspicion of “participation in mass riots” in the center of Kyiv.

On the 27th of January , the State Sanitary-and-Epidemiological Service in Kyiv after laboratory tests on Hrushevskoho Street claimed about 2-4 times excess of the harmful substances in the air in as the result of the burnt rubber tires by protesters.

On the same day, the leader of “Batkivshchyna” party Arseniy Yatseniuk finally declined the offer of Yanukovych to lead the government since January 25. Additionally, the leader of “Udar” party Vitaliy Klychko rejected the post of Deputy Prime Minister for Humanitarian Affairs.

At Independent Square, the Headquarters of the National Resistance announced mobilization on Maidan to support the deputies who were going to demand the cancellation of “dictatorship laws” on January 28 in the Parliament. On Tuesdays, January 28, the Parliament abrogated 9 out of 12 laws that were passed on January 16. That morning, also Mykola Azarov resigned from the post of Prime Minister.

Instead of it the Party of Regions deputies along with the communists and some unaffiliated deputies passed the law author of which is Yuriy Miroshnychenko, the representative of Yanukovych in the Parliament. Both people on Maidan and opposition leaders immediately called that “law of hostages”. The one provides release of arrested people but only if the protesters will free government buildings. To meet the demands, protesters are given 15 days. The law came into force on February 2.

On January 28, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe declared that it may suspend the powers of Ukraine in Strasbourg in case of violent dispersed of Euromaidan by the authorities.

On January 29, at the meeting with officials of European Parliament, who arrived to Kyiv, the representatives of Maidan People’s Union raised a question about personal sanctions against Yanukovych and his entourage.

On January 30, the Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized that U.S. was deeply concerned with the violation of human rights in Ukraine such as disappearances, torture, and killings.

Mr. Kerry also told opposition leaders that USA demanded from Ukrainian government to establish a justice commission for investigation of those crimes and bringing the responsible to justice.

As for January 31, up to seven Euromaidan medics who treated the wounded activists on Hrushevskoho were injured, another one is still restrained in pre-trial prison as the coordinator of Maidan medical service Oleh Mysiy reported. Some of the injured doctors believe there is no accident they became the targets for riot police. They call the violence against their colleges to be the crime against humanity which comes within the jurisdiction of Hague International Criminal Court.

Currently, there is an unsteady truce at the scene. Because of the hard frost an amount of the activists on Maidan and Hrushevskoho Street diminished. Also there are cases of frostbite among the law enforcement officers, many of them are hospitalized.

On February 1, the protesters established a big screen on Hrushevskoho Street to inform Berkut and interior troops about the events in country as well as the Maidan demands. As for Maidan activists, police do not receive an objective and many-sided information about the situation in Ukraine and the protests’ reasons. In their view, the law enforcement management misinforms its subordinates in order to justify the use of force against peaceful protesters.