Tag Archives: Viktor Yanukovych

White House confirms CIA director visited Ukraine over weekend

On Monday afternoon White House spokesman Jay Carney confirmed that CIA Director John Brennan visited Ukrainian capital Kiev over the weekend and met with high-ranked Ukrainian officials.

Previously, deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich accused Brennan of ordering a crackdown on pro-Russian activists in the east of the country.

In an interview aired on Russian state television on Sunday, Yanukovich, who has been in Russia since fleeing Ukraine in February, said that Brennan had “sanctioned the use of weapons and provoked bloodshed.”

“The US bears its share of responsibility for starting a civil war in Ukraine, not only through diplomatic influence, but its security forces, which do not only meddle, but issue orders,” said the Ukrainian politician.

The CIA did not explicitly deny its chief’s visit, but said that “the claim that director Brennan encouraged Ukrainian authorities to conduct tactical operations inside Ukraine is completely false.”

DETAILS TO COME

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Brawl in Ukraine parliament as communist supports pro-Russia protesters

KIEV (Reuters) – Deputies in the Ukrainian parliament brawled in the chamber on Tuesday after a communist leader accused nationalists of playing into the hands of Russia by adopting extreme tactics early in the Ukrainian crisis.

Two deputies from the Svoboda far-right nationalist party took exception to the charges by communist Petro Symonenko and seized him while he was talking from the rostrum.

His party supporters rallied to his defense and a brawl broke out with deputies from other parties joining in and trading punches.

Communist lawmakers scuffle with right-wing Svoboda ( Freedom) Party lawmakers during a parliament session of Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, in Kiev, Ukraine Tuesday, April 8, 2014.

Communist lawmakers scuffle with right-wing Svoboda ( Freedom) Party lawmakers during a parliament session of Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, in Kiev, Ukraine Tuesday, April 8, 2014.

Symonenko stirred nationalist anger when, referring to pro-Russian protesters who seized buildings in eastern Ukraine, he said nationalists had set a precedent earlier this year by seizing public buildings in protest at the rule of ousted President Viktor Yanukovich.

Now, he said, armed groups were attacking people who wanted to defend their rights by peaceful means.

“You are today doing everything to intimidate people. You arrest people, start fighting people who have a different point of view,” he said, before being pulled away from the rostrum by the Svoboda deputies.

Symonenko did not appear to have been hurt in the brawl involving other deputies. But one deputy later resumed his seat in the chamber with scratches on his face clearly showing.

The communists backed Yanukovich and his Regions Party through the three months leading up to him fleeing the country on February 21 after more than 100 people were shot dead by police snipers in Kiev.

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Eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk rallies in favor of independence referendum

At least 1,000 protesters have gathered in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, the industrial capital of the region, demanding that authorities respect their right for self-determination by allowing them to stage a Crimea-style referendum.

The rally was held in the city’s central Lenin Square. Demonstrators held Russian flags and signs which read, “The Republic of Donetsk.”

The protesters called for a general all-Ukrainian strike and distributed leaflets declaring April 18 a referendum day.

“Today a referendum remains a sharp political and social issue in Donbass region. People do not leave squares and require to hold [a referendum]. The fight for a referendum is accompanied by protests against rising prices for gas, electricity and food. The socio-patriotic movement ‘Eastern Front‘ offers trade unions to hold a general strike on April 18. The goal of the strike is to require that the authorities hold a referendum and introduce a moratorium on the increase of tariffs and utilities,” said the leaflet, according to local media reports.

Residents then marched from the square to the city council building. Law enforcement officers in riot gear gathered near the building.

The protesters demanded that local authorities meet them at the location. According to reports, a group of city council deputies came out of the building.

Demonstrators chanted slogans such as “Referendum” and “Berkut,” as well as “Russia” and “Taruta (the new Donbass governor recently appointed by the Kiev government) needs to go!”

Earlier, the press service of the city council reported that authorities had not received any requests or notifications from social organizations or political parties about the Saturday rally.

Deputies of the city council, Igor Ponomarenko and Igor Sviridov, promised to meet residents at Lenin Square on Sunday, according to local media.

On March 1, Donetsk City Council made a decision to support the residents in their calls for a referendum. The deputies of the city council said that the decision on whether to hold a referendum is currently being considered by the court prosecutor, and the next hearing will take place on April 22.

On Friday, a group of people gathered at the German consulate in Donetsk to protest against what they say is German interference in Ukraine’s domestic affairs. They have signed a petition asking Berlin to stop meddling.

We ask you to convey to the leadership of your country our request of non-interference in Ukrainian internal affairs by Germany,” the petition reads.

“We ask you, based on Germany’s international authority, to warn other countries from this, not to enkindle war and not to support fascism in Ukraine,” said the people’s statement, as quoted by local media.

After President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted by an armed coup in February, the Donbass region has been gripped by protests against Kiev’s coup-imposed government. Thousands of demonstrators have been demanding to hold a referendum to decide on the future of the region – just like in Crimea, which refused to recognize the country’s new authorities.

The Republic of Crimea declared its independence from Ukraine following the March 16 referendum, in which 96.77 percent of the voters chose to rejoin Russia. Despite calls to boycott the vote and provocation attempts, 83.1 percent of Crimeans took part in the poll.

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Ukraine fires defense minister who lost Crimea to Russia

Ukrainian lawmakers on Tuesday dismissed acting defense minister Igor Tenyukh over his handling of the Crimea crisis following Russia’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula.

KIEV, UKRAINE — Ukraine fired its defense minister Tuesday, a major test of a new government trying to recover from defeat at Russia’s hands in Crimea while attempting to project enough self-confidence to win the people’s trust.

Mistakes have been and will be made, Andriy Parubiy, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, said in an interview Tuesday, but the new government is not afraid to fix them.

“Now is the time to speak the truth to society,” he said. “This is the only way to make this government stronger.”

Extraordinary strength is required, he said, because Russian President Vladi­mir Putin wants nothing more than to take all of Ukraine. “His goal is to delegitimize the government,” Parubiy said.

The defense minister, Igor Tenyukh, who was accused of being indecisive and slow to give orders to Ukrainian military units in Crimea, submitted his resignation to parliament Tuesday. He was replaced by Gen. Mykhaylo Koval, who previously served with the border guards in Crimea and was briefly kidnapped there this month.

Many public figures avoided criticizing the military Tuesday, despite the humiliating loss of Crimea and the widely held perception that Ukrainian troops in that region were left uncertain about whether they should stay at their besieged bases or leave for the mainland.

“The army was left to the mercy of fate,” said Vitali Klitschko, the head of the Udar party, edging toward criticism when he said the government needed to become more effective.

“We are at war, and we need someone decisive, who can act quickly in extreme situations,” said Yuriy Derevyanko, an independent member of parliament. “We felt there had to be a change, but it’s better not to criticize in times like this. Everyone has to be united.”

The parliament was elected in fall 2012, in a vote considered flawed, favoring then-President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.

“We don’t feel we have the nation’s support,” Derevyanko said. “And we have little time.”

Until Feb. 27, Parubiy was a revolutionary — a member of parliament and the Batkivshchyna party who joined the demonstrations against Yanukovych on the Maidan, as Kiev’s Independence Square is known. Parubiy organized the groups defending the square. He took office the same day that Russian-backed gunmen captured the parliament building in the Crimean capital, Simferopol. A hastily arranged referendum in the region March 16, supported by Russian propaganda and troops, resulted in Putin’s annexation of Crimea.

“When we came here,” Parubiy said, “the army was completely destroyed. We didn’t even have fuel to move troops. And our security situation remains very serious, although week by week we are able to control it more.”

Moscow had prepared an operation code-named Russian Spring, he said, mobilizing agents in southeastern Ukraine to stir up disorder, take over government buildings and then appeal to Russia for help, much as it did in Crimea. Russia has moved 100,000 well-equipped and trained troops to the Ukrainian border, he said.

“We have to be ready for anything,” Parubiy said.

Kiev has in recent days deployed more troops and police, tightening up the border and arresting provocateurs, he said. In the eastern cities of Donetsk and Kharkiv, he sad, disorderly crowds have diminished and security has improved.

Another strain on the government emerged Tuesday, at the Interior Ministry, where officials issued a warning to groups that took up arms during the anti-Yanukovych demonstrations to turn them in, or else.

“The time for disarmament is over,” First Deputy Interior Minister Volodymyr Yevdokymov said, directing his comments to Right Sector, a right-wing group, among others. He promised “tough and resolute” measures against those who keep illegal weapons.

Earlier Tuesday, a Right Sector leader died in a confrontation with police in Rivne, in western Ukraine. The circumstances remained unclear, but the man, Oleksandr Muzychko, known as Sashko Biliy, had been involved in several violent incidents recently, attacking a local prosecutor at a public meeting while clutching an automatic weapon.

Russia had declared him wanted March 7, accusing him of torturing and killing Russian soldiers in Chechnya nearly 20 years ago.

Yevdokymov said Muzychko died from a shot from his own pistol as police scuffled with him, trying to arrest him on suspicion of criminal activity. The head of Right Sector, Dmytro Yarosh, demanded the dismissal of the interior minister and the head of the Sokil special police unit involved. He called Muzychko a “brother in arms” who had been murdered.

Back on the Maidan, some protestors remain, determined to keep a watchful eye on the new government. Volodymyr Parasyuk, a 26-year-old who became a hero of the Maidan when he roused the crowd to reject a deal with Yanukovych, said the government was operating as if it was trying to burn a pile of wet debris — sparks were not flying. The defense minister needed to go, Parasyuk said.

“It was a mistake to choose him,” he said. “And there’s no room for mistakes.”

Parubiy, who was injured three times on the Maidan, said governing is turning out to be much harder than revolution.

“I thought the Maidan was tough,” he said. “This is bigger. Much, much bigger. We’re on the barricades.”

via Ukraine fires defense minister who lost Crimea to Russia – The Washington Post.

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Time to grab guns and kill damn Russians – Tymoshenko in leaked tape

Ukrainians must take up arms against Russians so that not even scorched earth will be left where Russia stands; an example of former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko’s vitriol in phone call leaked online.

 

Tymoshenko confirmed the authenticity of the conversation on Twitter, while pointing out that a section where she is heard to call for the nuclear slaughter of the eight million Russians who remain on Ukrainian territory was edited.

 

She tweeted “The conversation took place, but the ‘8 million Russians in Ukraine‘ piece is an edit. In fact, I said Russians in Ukraine – are Ukrainians. Hello FSB 🙂 Sorry for the obscene language.”

 

The former Ukrainian PM has not clarified who exactly she wants to nuke.

 

Shufrych’s press service flatly contradicted Tymoshenko, slamming the tape as fake. The press release reads “The conversation didn’t take place,” as quoted by korrespondent.net.The phone conversation with Nestor Shufrych, former deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, was uploaded on YouTube on Monday by user Sergiy Vechirko.

 

The leaked phone call took placed on March 18, hours after the Crimea & Sevastopol accession treaty was signed in the Kremlin.

 

While Shufrych was “just shocked,” Tymoshenko was enraged by the results of the Crimean referendum .

 

“This is really beyond all boundaries. It’s about time we grab our guns and kill go kill those damn Russians together with their leader,” Tymoshenko said.

 

The ex-pm declared if she was in charge “there would be no f***ing way that they would get Crimea then.”

 

Shufrych made the valid point that Ukraine “didn’t have any force potential” to keep Crimea.

 

But Tymoshenko, who plans to run in Ukraine’s presidential election, expressed confidence that she would have found “a way to kill those a*****es.”

 

 

 

“I hope I will be able to get all my connections involved. And I will use all of my means to make the entire world raise up, so that there wouldn’t be even a scorched field left in Russia,” she promised.

 

Despite being incapacitated by spinal disc hernia the ex-PM stressed she’s ready to “grab a machine gun and shoot that m*********er in the head.”

 

Tymoshenko rose to power as a key figure in the pro-European Orange Revolution in 2004, becoming Ukrainian prime minister 2007-2010.

 

She was imprisoned in 2012, under president Viktor Yanukovich, after being found guilty of exceeding her authority by signing a gas supply and transit deal with Russia.

 

The deal is claimed to have cost Ukraine’s national oil and gas company, Naftogaz, around US$170 million.

 

Tymoshenko served part of her seven-year sentence in prison before being relocated to a Kharkov hospital.

 

She was released immediately after the Kiev coup which ousted Yanukovich.

 

 

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Breaking news – Right Sector leader : Kiev should be ready to sabotage Russian pipelines in Ukraine

Dmytro Yarosh

Dmytro Yarosh

 

The leader of Ukrainian ultranationalist group Right Sector, Dmitry Yarosh, has called on the coup-appointed regime in Kiev to be ready to destroy Russian pipelines on Ukrainian territory.

 

In a fiery address loaded warmongering rhetoric, Yarosh told his followers they should be ready to resist the Russian “occupiers.” The leader of the Right Sector made his address to the coup-appointed government in Kiev, as Crimeans made their way to ballots Sunday to vote to join with Russia or to remain within Ukraine.

 

Edited time: March 16, 2014 13:25

 

“We cannot allow the enemy to carry out a blitzkrieg attack on Ukrainian territory. We mustn’t forget that Russia makes money sending its oil through our pipelines to the West. We will destroy these pipelines and deprive our enemy of its source of income,” Yarosh said.

 

Continuing the bellicose rhetoric, Yarosh appealed to his followers, urging them to take up arms against Russia, if a diplomatic solution cannot be reached.

 

Yarosh said that Crimea was too small to satisfy the appetite of the “Russian Empire,” and that the Kremlin would seek to take over the whole of Ukraine.

 

“Let the ground burn under the feet of the occupiers! Let them choke on their own blood when they attack our territory! Not one step back! We will not allow Moscow’s beserk, totalitarian regime to spark a Third World War!”

 

The phrase “Not one step back!” was used in a famous order by Joseph Stalin during WWII and became a popular slogan for the Soviet people’s resistance against the Nazis. Yarosh’s use of this particular rhetoric attracted attention from many observers, given that the members of his Right Sector group are known to use Nazi insignia.

 

 RT News.

 

 

 

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Ukraine: Crimea poll opens with landslide vote expected for union with Russia | World news

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A crucial referendum on either becoming an integral part of Russia or staying within Ukraine on conditions of wide autonomy has kicked off in the Republic of Crimea despite international condemnation and pressure from Kiev.

The polling stations of 27 regional Crimea election commissions are going to be open all day long, starting from 8am till 8pm (0600 GMT- 1800 GMT). Up to 1.5 million – this is the number of ballots printed for the referendum – Crimea citizens are expected come to cast their votes in favor of independence or against it.

Some 10,000 members of the Crimean military recently formed from self-defense squads, and over 5,000 police officers are ensuring the referendum goes smoothly.

Crimean authorities have reported about 135 registered international observers have arrived from 23 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and Poland. Members of the EU and national European parliaments, international law experts and human rights activists together with 1,240 local observers are monitoring the voting at ballot stations. Mass media in the peninsula is represented by 623 accredited journalists from 169 international media outlets.

Election commission officials take part in the preparations for a referendum at the polling station in the Crimean town of Simferopol

Election commission officials take part in the preparations for a referendum at the polling station in the Crimean town of Simferopol

After a power grab took place in capital Kiev on February 22, Ukraine’s legitimate President Viktor Yanukovich had to flee from his residence fearing for his life. The parliament of the Crimea autonomy, where about 60 percent of the residents are ethnic Russians, did not acknowledge the coup-imposed government in Kiev as legitimate and took the decision to dissociate from Ukraine.

On March 11 the parliament of the Crimea autonomy adopted a declaration of independence from Ukraine, opening way for the referendum on March 16.

The referendum in Crimea was preceded with numerous provocations on the peninsula and threats coming from the capital Kiev and western politicians.

Since the moment Crimea set date for independence referendum, official Kiev has been claiming that all actions of the Crimea authorities are illegitimate, disregarding the international practice of referendums.

On Saturday Ukraine’s parliament made the last desperate gesture to prevent the referendum, voting to dismiss the Crimean Supreme Council. Though self-defense guards have done their best to prevent provocations in the peninsula, they took place anyway.

On the eve of the vote, Crimean self-defense forces prevented an attempt to damage a gas pipeline at the Arabat Spit. The people trying to damage the pipeline introduced themselves as officers of the Border Guard, the Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov said.

In the Crimean capital of Simferopol an undisclosed number of people under the guise of policemen were detained for purposefully damaging civilians’ passports or taking away their documents to make it impossible for the citizens to vote in the absence of ID.

The same fraud has been also reported in the small town of Saky in western Crimea.

Nationalists from western Ukraine and Kiev, such as members of ultra-nationalist Right Sector group, made multiple attempts to sneak into the autonomous region to stage protests against Crimean independence.

Sometimes people shouting Nazi slogans joined peaceful demonstrations in Crimea’s cities, calling upon people not to vote in the referendum.

Despite that, mass pro-Russian protests have been held for the past weeks in the eastern regions of Ukraine and Crimea. The demonstrators were protesting against the new government, storming local government offices and replacing Ukrainian flags with the Russian tricolor. People in Simferopol, Odessa, Kharkov, Donetsk, Lugansk, Melitopol, Yevpatoria, Kerch and Mariupol – all took to the streets shouting slogans in support of the Crimean referendum.

According to a GfK poll of 600 residents taken Thursday and Friday ahead of the referendum, 70 percent said they will vote to become part of Russia, while 11 percent said they will vote to restore Crimea’s status as part of Ukraine.

 

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Yanukovych to make statement in Rostov-on-Don on March 11 – source

Viktor Yanukovych will make a statement in the middle of Tuesday, March 11, according to a source close to the former Ukranian leader.

“The speech will take place in Rostov-on-Don, the exact time and place are to follow,” the source said.

The Voice of Russiae

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Thousands of Russians stage rally in support of Crimea residents

Participants in the “We Are Together” rally and concert to support the residents of the Crimea, at Vasilyevsky Slope, Moscow on March 7, 2014.

Over 65,000 people gathered on Friday for a demonstration in central Moscow to support residents of Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The mostly Russian-speaking region has become a major stumbling block in Moscow-Kiev relations.

The ‘We are together!’ rally was held in front of the Kremlin walls and attracted more than 65,000 people, according to police. Many waved Russian flags and carried placards which read, “Crimea is Russian land!” and “Fascism will not pass,” as well as “We don’t swap our people for money.”

The demonstrators – activists of political parties, youth movements, and public organizations – adopted a petition urging the Russian government to back Crimea’s parliamentary decision to reunite with Russia.

“We, the participants of the demonstration, support the historic choice of residents of Crimea and Sevastopol, their determination to themselves decide on their future, and their aspiration to restore justice and reunite with Russia,” the document reads, as quoted by ITAR-TASS.

Participants in the “We Are Together” rally and concert to support the residents of the Crimea, at Vasilyevsky Slope, Moscow on March 7, 2014.

The petition also calls on the Russian parliament to “immediately” hold a session and start the procedure of officially accepting Crimea into the Russian Federation.

That’s what both the citizens of Russia and Crimea expect,” the document states. “[The] Future of Crimea and Sevastopol is in unity with Russia. We are together forever!”

A lawmaker from the Moscow City Duma, Evgeny Gerasimov, addressed the crowd from the stage, saying that Ukrainian radical nationalists are seeking to “trample” Crimea. He then added that the republic – which was given to Ukraine by Nikita Khruschev in 1954 – has the chance to correct the “mistake made by Soviet” government, stating that Russia should support the Crimeans.

Earlier this week, the Crimean parliament voted in favor of joining Russia. The decision will only come into force if it is approved by the peninsula residents at a referendum which will be held on March 16. Many Western powers – including the US – and Kiev’s self-imposed government have already declared the upcoming popular vote illegitimate.

Crimea, the ethnic Russian-majority region, has refused to recognize the new coup-imposed Ukrainian leadership.

Participants in the “We Are Together” rally and concert to support the residents of the Crimea, at Vasilyevsky Slope, Moscow on March 7, 2014.

We think the current government in Kiev is illegitimate; so we won’t work with them. If tomorrow a new legitimate government is elected in Ukraine, we will gladly cooperate,” Crimea’s prime minister, Sergey Aksyonov, told RT.

Following the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovich‘s government, the epicenter of Ukraine’s turmoil has shifted to Crimea, where thousands have staged protests against the new government and asked Russia for help and protection.

According to Aksyonov, Crimeans have repeatedly asked lawmakers to hold a referendum on the status of the republic’s autonomy.

In various regions of Crimea, the members of our parliament hold regular meetings with the voters, who have frequently asked to make the ultimate decision given the current situation in Ukraine: either to seek full autonomy – meaning an ability to adopt our own state laws – or to opt for secession, since the situation in Kiev has been spinning out of control,” Aksyonov said. The Prime Minister is almost certain that the Crimeans will vote for the second option.

Participants in the “We Are Together” rally and concert to support the residents of the Crimea, at Vasilyevsky Slope, Moscow on March 7, 2014.

Participants in the “We Are Together” rally and concert to support the residents of the Crimea, at Vasilyevsky Slope, Moscow on March 7, 2014.

Participants in the “We Are Together” rally and concert to support the residents of the Crimea, at Vasilyevsky Slope, Moscow on March 7, 2014.

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Popular uprising looming in eastern Ukraine

Riot police stand guard in front of a regional government building as pro-Russian demonstrators take part in a rally in Kharkov

Protests against the self-proclaimed government in Kiev continue in eastern regions of Ukraine. Thousands-strong gatherings in Donetsk and Lugansk are rallying in support of the Russian language and holding a referendum on the federalization of Ukraine.

In Donetsk, the city that once used to be the stronghold of the ousted President Viktor Yanukovich, people are protesting against the new governor appointed by Kiev last Sunday.

The appointee is Ukrainian oligarch, billionaire Sergey Taruta, the owner of ISD, one of the biggest mining and smelting companies in the world, he also owns the Donetsk-based Metallurg Football Club.

The oligarch governor failed to come to Donetsk immediately after the appointment, so demonstrators have chosen a “people’s governor” of their own, the leader of the ‘National levy’ Pavel Gubarev advocating setting a referendum that might ask the citizens of Donetsk region about reunification with Russia. The ‘National levy’ also started collecting signatures to conduct referendum on allegiance of the region.

During this week the regional administration building in Donetsk changed hands many times, with either the ‘National levy’ or pro-Kiev forces declaring capture of the authority headquarters.

Several videos allegedly made in downtown Donetsk on March 5 exposed that armed pro-Kiev forces had come to Donetsk, as a group of unidentified men in military outfits and equipped with Russian AK assault rifles and American М4А1 carbines were securing protection of some pro-Kiev activists amidst anti-government popular protests.

Later, Rossiya 1 TV channel made an assumption that these people could be from a group of several hundred mercenaries that allegedly arrived to Kiev recently. Rossiya 1 1 maintained that mercenaries work for the notorious Academi (formerly known as Blackwater and Xe Services), a privately owned American security services provider that employ over 20,000 guns for hire.

But even the appearance of mercenaries in the center of Donetsk did not stop the citizens from protesting against self-proclaimed government in Kiev.

Early Thursday morning a special group of the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) that arrived from Kiev conducted a hit-and-run operation and arrested Pavel Gubarev on charges of an attempt of power seizure, an exactly the same accusation used by the opposition leader against the self-proclaimed government in Kiev.

According to the ‘National levy’ webpage on Facebook, Gubarev was convoyed to the capital Kiev. Police also put under arrest several dozens of activists.

The same day, Governor Taruta arrived to Donetsk and held a meeting with region’s new police chief also appointed by Kiev.

Yet late at night citizens of Donetsk attempted to storm local headquarters of SSU, demanding to release their leader. They also managed to stop and topple prison truck carrying unknown number of arrested activists.

When top-ranked police and internal troop officers came out to the people, they were heckled with jibes like, “Do you remember those you’re protecting? Those who mistreated you in Kiev?” reported Komsomolskaya Pravda.

After pondering for some time police opted to free the detained activists which immediately joined the protesters.

A new stage of anti-Kiev rally is appointed for Friday afternoon, maintains the ‘National levy’ website.

In Lugansk, another regional center in eastern Ukraine, a thousands-strong rally waving Russian flags and chanting “Russia! Ukraine! Belarus! Together!” elected a “people’s governor” of their own, the leader of the local ‘Lugansk guards’ militia, Aleksandr Kharitonov. Members of the guards have already repelled an armed assault force from Kiev that attempted to seize local power institutions in the city on February 20 and currently continue to stand against the attackers from Kiev’s Maidan.

Because the local prosecutor’s office never bothered to launch a criminal investigation into the attempted power seizure by the armed militants from Kiev, the citizens of Lugansk now put their trust in vigilante groups rather than police.

All attempts to gather in Lugansk a significant nationalist rally similar to Maidan in Kiev have failed, largely because they looked increasingly pale in comparison with massive anti-government demonstration rallying in the center of the city.

In other regional centers of Ukraine, such as country’s second-largest city of Kharkov, anti-government protests were of a much smaller scale, perhaps also due to the heavy presence of the riot police at rally sites.

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