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Pro-Russian Protesters Storm Kharkiv City Administration Building; Klitschko Calls For General Mobilization | Zero Hedge

Pro-Russian Protesters Storm Kharkiv City Administration Building; Klitschko Calls For General Mobilization | Zero Hedge.

Even as Russia has officially deployed its military to the Ukraine, its unofficial involvement in The Crimean was well known for days. A much more notable development would be if protesters in the pro-Russian eastern part of the country were to seize control of the second largest city in the Ukraine, Kharkiv, located just miles from the Russian border as this would quickly give Russia a foothold into the east of the nation with the tactical escalation abilities such a takeover would entail. Which is why the following clip of pro-Russian protesters storming the city administration in Kharkiv is of importance: should Ukraine lose control of the city, or is forced to use troops against the people, it would be just the pretext Russia needs to “defend” citizens in this part of the country, the same argument it used for military intervention in the Crimean.

And in other news, Ukrainian boxer, vocal leader of the EuroMeidan opposition movement and potential future president, Vitali Klitschko just called for a general mobilization. After all he has the most to lose if the countercoup quickly sweeps away from power those who organized the original coup in the first place. From Reuters:

Vitaly Klitschko, a senior Ukrainian politician and likely presidential candidate, called on Saturday for a “general mobilisation” following Russian parliament’s decision to approve deploying troops in Ukraine’s Crimea region.

 

“Klitschko calls for a declaration on a general mobilisation,” the retired boxing champion’s political party UDAR (Punch) said, making clear he favoured a military mobilisation.

Finally, the world’s most useless organizations, the UN and European finance ministers, are pretending to be relevant:

  • UN SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET 2PM TODAY TO DISCUSS UKRAINE
  • EUROPEAN FOREIGN MINISTERS TO HOLD EMERGENCY MEETING ON UKRAINE IN BRUSSELS ON MONDAY -EU DIPLOMAT

Time for another Obama appearance to explain just what the “costs” that he mentioned are in his opinion. Because Putin seems to have missed the message.

Pro-Russian Protesters Storm Kharkiv City Administration Building; Klitschko Calls For General Mobilization | Zero Hedge

Pro-Russian Protesters Storm Kharkiv City Administration Building; Klitschko Calls For General Mobilization | Zero Hedge.

Even as Russia has officially deployed its military to the Ukraine, its unofficial involvement in The Crimean was well known for days. A much more notable development would be if protesters in the pro-Russian eastern part of the country were to seize control of the second largest city in the Ukraine, Kharkiv, located just miles from the Russian border as this would quickly give Russia a foothold into the east of the nation with the tactical escalation abilities such a takeover would entail. Which is why the following clip of pro-Russian protesters storming the city administration in Kharkiv is of importance: should Ukraine lose control of the city, or is forced to use troops against the people, it would be just the pretext Russia needs to “defend” citizens in this part of the country, the same argument it used for military intervention in the Crimean.

And in other news, Ukrainian boxer, vocal leader of the EuroMeidan opposition movement and potential future president, Vitali Klitschko just called for a general mobilization. After all he has the most to lose if the countercoup quickly sweeps away from power those who organized the original coup in the first place. From Reuters:

Vitaly Klitschko, a senior Ukrainian politician and likely presidential candidate, called on Saturday for a “general mobilisation” following Russian parliament’s decision to approve deploying troops in Ukraine’s Crimea region.

 

“Klitschko calls for a declaration on a general mobilisation,” the retired boxing champion’s political party UDAR (Punch) said, making clear he favoured a military mobilisation.

Finally, the world’s most useless organizations, the UN and European finance ministers, are pretending to be relevant:

  • UN SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET 2PM TODAY TO DISCUSS UKRAINE
  • EUROPEAN FOREIGN MINISTERS TO HOLD EMERGENCY MEETING ON UKRAINE IN BRUSSELS ON MONDAY -EU DIPLOMAT

Time for another Obama appearance to explain just what the “costs” that he mentioned are in his opinion. Because Putin seems to have missed the message.

Ukraine scraps protest laws as PM steps down – Europe – Al Jazeera English

Ukraine scraps protest laws as PM steps down – Europe – Al Jazeera English.

Ukraine’s parliament has scrapped draconian anti-protest laws and its prime minister and his entire cabinet have resigned, in moves aimed at ending a two-month standoff with demonstrators.The decision on the protest laws was made in a special parliamentary session in Kiev on Tuesday, shortly before which the prime minister, Mykola Azarov, offered to stand down in a bid to ease tensions between protesters and the government.

Azarov’s resignation was accepted by the president, Viktor Yanukovich. However, opposition leaders, who have called for the removal of the president, described the moves as “a step to victory”.

Al Jazeera’s Nick Spicer, reporting from Kiev, said the prime minister was regarded as responsible for much of the violence during the crackdown on protesters.

“The prime minister was despised by the people on the streets. He was seen as responsible for the crackdowns,” he said.

“The opposition said this was a small step. A big step would be the resignation of the president.”

Tough laws

The anti-protest laws, which restricted movement and assembly, and threatened tough jail terms for transgressors, had been passed earlier this month as demonstrations against Yanukovich continued unabated for two months.

This is not victory but a step to victory.Vitaly Klitschko, opposition leader

Originally the protests were over the government’s failure to sign an EU trade deal, but the anti-protest laws added another level to the demonstrations.

The laws punished the occupation of public buildings with up to five years in prison, outlawed protest convoys of more than five cars and banned opposition activists from wearing masks or helmets.

Protesters had also started receiving text messages saying they were registered as taking place in mass disturbance.

The president hopes their repeal, and the resignation of Azarov, will put an end to the escalating violence that saw the protests turn deadly last week.

Dmitri Sidorinko, an anti-government activist from the city of Kharkiv, told Al Jazeera that protesters would stay in the streets until the president resigned.

“We will be here until the end, until the victory,” he said. “If nothing is done from the government side, then we will resort to decisive action.

“In the last seven years, nothing has changed in our country for the better. Do you think people would come out in the street to protest if we had everything alright in the country? I don’t think so.”

‘Step to victory’

Azarov said he was offering to step down “with the aim of creating extra means for finding a social-political compromise, for the sake of a peaceful settlement of the conflict.”

But in reality he had been publicly humiliated by Yanukovich’s offer at the weekend to give his job to former economy minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, one of the opposition’s leaders, in an effort to stem the rising protests against his rule. Yatsenyuk turned the offer down.

Al Jazeera’s Nick Spicer updates on the situation in Kiev

The opposition has been calling for the resignation of the Azarov government since the onset of the crisis.

Opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko said Azarov’s announcement was only “a step to victory”.

“For several months we have been saying that what is happening in the streets is also the result of the policies of the current government. This is not victory but a step to victory,” said Klitschko, leader of the UDAR (Punch) party.

The president stopped short of proposing amnesty for dozens of arrested protesters until demonstrators stopped occupying buildings and ended their protests, a major sticking point for Tuesday’s talks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday rejected all foreign interference in the country, saying visits by overseas envoys were adding to the unrest in the former Soviet republic.

“I think that the more intermediaries there are, the more problems there are,” Putin told a press conference in Brussels after a summit with top European Union officials. “At the very least, Russia will never interfere.”

Meanwhile, government supporters gathered outside the parliament in Kiev.

“There is no situation that is not possible to solve by negotiations,” Oleh Kalashnikov, leader of the Combined Arms Union of Ukraine, told the rally. “Our mission today is to stop people who want the coup.

“Your support enables the government to rule the country effectively. Stability in the country, the future of your children depends on you. We’re against the coup! We will win if we stick together,” he added.

With additional reporting by  Tamila Varshalomidze  in Kiev

Russia Threatens With Pulling Bailout As Ukraine Government Resigns | Zero Hedge

Russia Threatens With Pulling Bailout As Ukraine Government Resigns | Zero Hedge.

Mykola Azurov, the prime minister of Ukraine, (and his cabinet) has resigned. The move comes as the government faced losing a no confidence vote and being stripped off their power. It seems the opposition (pro-Europe) are gaining momentum once again as the Ukraine also repealed the controversial anti-protest laws that created more tension last week. The Russians are not amused and have warned that they may reconsider the $15 billion bailout offer if the current government is removed. The Ukrainian Hryvnia is continuing its collapse on this news and has dropped towards record lows (though bonds are rallying).

The opposition is clearly gaining momentum…

Mykola Azarov, the prime minister of Ukraine, submitted his resignation on Tuesday hours before he risked being stripped of his powers in a vote of no confidence in Parliament.His offer to quit was the latest sign of the building momentum of the opposition in the ongoing crisis.

In another concession to the opposition, the pro-government political party in Parliament, the Party of Regions, voted together with the opposition to repeal most of the laws in a package of rules limiting free speech and assembly the lawmakers had passed just a week earlier.

One elderly woman in a kerchief giddily told the Ukrainian channel 5 television after Mr. Azarov’s resignation, “Thank God you heard us!”

But the Russians are not happy (via WSJ):

Russia may reconsider its $15 billion bailout offer to Ukraine if the current government is removed, a senior official said Tuesday, hours after Ukraine’s prime minister offered his resignation in an effort to calm a growing protest movement. “There is no decision yet, but it is self-evident,” that further distributions of the loan would be reviewed if the government of Mykola Azarov was to be dissolved, the official said speaking on condition of anonymity.

However, this is far from over…

Opposition leaders have so far called the president’s concessions “too little too late,” and appear to be in no mood to compromise with him as protesters have seized government buildings in the west and center of the country.

Ukrainian opposition calls for snap elections, talks with govt continue — RT News

Ukrainian opposition calls for snap elections, talks with govt continue — RT News.

Heavyweight boxing champion and UDAR (Punch) party leader Vitaly Klitschko (C), head of the All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda (Freedom) Party Oleg Tyagnibok (R) and Ukrainian opposition leader Arseny Yatsenyuk (Reuters/Gleb Garanich)

Download video (31.04 MB)

Opposition leaders called for an early presidential election following a Saturday meeting with the government, where top administration posts were offered to protest leaders and a review of the constitution was promised.

Following the talks, the head of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform party, Vitaly Klitschko, said that Yanukovich agreed to many demands. “But we do not step back and demand elections this year,” he told protesters.

“What is Yanukovich ready for? For release and amnesty of all those detained. To work on getting back to the constitution of 2004. Dismissal of government on certain conditions. [He] still does not agree to abolish dictatorial laws, but only to amend them,” Klitschko added.

“Our demands: get rid of those laws…have presidential elections this year. Negotiations are continuing and we must hold on. And we will not succumb to any provocations.

No deal @ua_yanukovych, we’re finishing what we started. The people decide our leaders, not you. #Євромайдан

— Arseniy Yatsenyuk (@Yatsenyuk_AP) January 25, 2014

The opposition is ready to head up the government and bring Ukraine into the EU, said Yatsenyuk.

“Our task – is a new Ukrainian government…Viktor Yanukovich…proposed for the opposition to head up the government. Are we afraid to carry responsibility? We are not afraid to take on responsibility for the country’s future. We accept that responsibility and we are ready to bring Ukraine into the EU, which calls for the release of Yulia Tymoshenko,” Yatsenyuk said.

Batkivschina leader Arseny Yatsenyuk continued:“Our country is put by those at power to the brink of falling apart …We demand that Yanukovich relieves the position of Ukraine’s president and we need a new constitution.”

Leader of the nationalist Svoboda opposition party, Oleg Tyagnibok, told the protesters that those in power are backing down and are changing their tune from two days ago. “To Maidan! To Maidan! Glory to Ukraine!”

Yatsenyuk: “draconian laws must be abolished in parliament on tuesday. this is our priority, and we will not back down”

— Alexey Yaroshevsky (@Yaro_RT) January 25, 2014

The government’s negotiations with the opposition have so far yielded no results, which could signal that the standoff between the two sides will continue for the next couple of days, RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky explained.

Meanwhile rioters are storming the Ukrainian House international convention center, which reportedly has 150 riot police inside, RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky reported.

During the Saturday meeting, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich offered top government posts to protest leaders and promised a review of the constitution, aimed at giving more power to parliament.

Yanukovich proposed the post of prime minister to Arseny Yatsenyuk, justice minister Elena Lukash said after the president’s meeting with opposition leaders.

The president offered the post of prime minister to Arseny Yatsenyuk. In the case of the latter’s consent to take the post, the president of Ukraine will decide on the resignation of the government,” Lukash said.

Vitaly Klitchko was offered the post of deputy prime minister for humanitarian affairs.

The president’s offer came as the government struggles to cope with protests and violence that continue to grip the entire country.

Ukraine protesters clash with riot police – Europe – Al Jazeera English

Ukraine protesters clash with riot police – Europe – Al Jazeera English.

Thousands of anti-government demonstrators have clashed for hours with riot police in Ukraine’s capital, attacking officers with sticks, stones and flares after new laws were passed to stifle protests.

The riots, some of the most violent Kiev has seen in recent times, were continuing well into the early hours of Monday morning.

They have further raised the stakes in the almost two-month standoff between the opposition and President Viktor Yanukovych which has seen protesters seize control of the main city square in Kiev

Health officials said 24 people were injured and three were hospitalised, while police said more than 70 officers had been hurt. The interior ministry said 10 people had already been arrested for mass rioting.

The protesters, many wearing hard hats and gas masks in defiance of new legislation banning them from covering their faces, also used stun grenades and fire extinguishers on officers at Sunday’s rally in Kiev. Several police buses and cars were also torched.

Police responded by using tear-gas and stun grenades of their own. Water cannons were also fired at the protesters in temperatures of -8C, but the clashes continued.

Despite appeals from opposition leaders not to resort to violence, and a personal intervention from Vitaly Klitschko, a Ukrainian boxer turned politician, protesters continued to throw smoke bombs and hurl fireworks and other objects at police.

Against this backdrop, Yanukovych met Klitschko at the former’s Mezhygirya residence and the pair pledged to create a cross-party commission to resolve the ongoing crisis.

“The president pledged to create on Monday morning a commission with representatives from the presidential administration, cabinet and opposition to find a solution to the crisis situation,” Klitschko’s party quoted him as saying.

The protests, initially prompted by Yanukovych’s decision to reject a trade deal with the European Union and instead opted for closer ties with Russia. They intensified following police violence.

International condemnation

Up to 100,000 people had massed in defiance of sweeping new laws aimed at stamping out anti-government demonstrations.

Al Jazeera’s Jennifer Glasse, reporting from Kiev on Sunday, said the clashes underscored the divide among the protesters.

“The protests, which has been going on for the past eight weeks, have largely been peaceful and well-organised, but some of the protesters feel frustrated and they want to take the protests on to the streets and confront authorities on the streets of Kiev,” she said.

Last week Yanukovych caused uproar at home and abroad when he approved a number of laws that limit Ukrainians’ rights to protest, civic activism and free speech.

Other provisions ban the dissemination of “slander” on the internet and introduce the term “foreign agent” to be applied to NGOs that receive foreign funding.

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