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Duma may pass new statement on developments in Ukraine

January 21, 2014, 11:53 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russian parliamentarians are observing the developments in Ukraine with anxiety
1 pages in this article
© ITAR-TASS/Maxim Nikitin

MOSCOW, January 21. /ITAR-TASS/. The State Duma lower house of Russian parliament intends to pass a new statement on Ukraine in view of a worsening situation in that country, Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said in his opening remarks at a plenary session on Tuesday.

Russian parliamentarians were observing the developments in Ukraine with anxiety, he said. “The situation has worsened, people are being injured both among the protesters and even in bigger amounts among the forces of law and order,” the speaker said. “Of course, it is painful to watch a wave of conflict sweeping a sister nation,” he added.

“I believe we must return to discussion of the situation. We cannot watch it indifferently,” he said offering the Duma committee for CIS affairs to prepare a draft statement. “If the Duma Council agrees, the issue will be put for discussion of a Duma plenary session,” Naryshkin added.

 

Who stages the confrontation

On the eve, chairman of the Duma Committee for the CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots Leonid Slutsky expressed a view that the street confrontation has been staged with the participation of pro-Western non-governmental organizations. “Our ‘strategic friends’ in the West can’t allow Ukraine to bring closer with the Eurasian project. So, they’re providing funding to different non-government organizations that lead to street riots, which don’t combine with a civilized European idea,” Slutsky said.

Infographics A new wave of protests in Kiev A new wave of protests in Kiev
Map of Kiev locating clashes and protest rally sites. ITAR-TASS Infographics
The faction of the ruling Regions Party in the legislature of the easternmost Lugansk region issued a statement calling the standoff in Kiev “a direct threat to the existence of our state and security of our people.” The faction has demanded that President Viktor Yanukovich “take tough measures towards restoring order and the rule of law.”

The authors of the statement believe that clashes near the building of the cabinet of ministers “have been instigated and provoked by the radically minded militants of nationalistic organizations seeking to destroy the system of state power and to supplant the incumbent legitimate government.”

The legislators propose to ban the activities of the far-right ultra-nationalistic Svoboda party and any other nationalistic extremist organizations.

 

‘Berkut’ storms protesters’ barricades

Early in the morning, servicemen of a special unit called Berkut attempted to storm barricades on the Grushevsky street in Kiev’s downtown. However, several minutes later, they withdrew to prior positions in several dozens of meters from the barriers.

According to media estimates, about a thousand of protesters are confronting the law enforcers. Second day in a row, they try to break through the police cordon and approach the government and Verkhovna Rada buildings. Protesters demand that the deputies revoke the laws adopted January 16.

Law enforcers respond with sound bombs, tear gas and rubber bullets to actions of activists attempting to throw bottles with incendiary mixture to police.

 

Wounded and detained

Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s spokesperson Sergei Burlakov stated that January 19-20, over a hundred of police officers sought medical advice, and 60 of them were hospitalized. According to the protest action’s superintendant Andrei Parubia, hundreds of protesters already consulted doctors. Four grave cases were reported, and in three of them, the case in hand was eye-bulb removal due to concussion, and one of the injured needed hand amputation. Local media reported that over 20 journalists were injured in the clashes.

Burlakov said that protesters burned down four buses and two special cars of the Interior Ministry. “Losses amount to some 3 million hryvnia ($375,000). In addition, a ticket office near the entrance to the Lobanovsky stadium has been practically burned down, almost all the paving stones that were being thrown at the police were taken off,” Burlakov said.

Law enforcement agencies have detained 31 activists of the protest. Against nine of them were filed criminal cases under Article 294 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (“participation in mass riots”).

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