POLITICS
Influence of Russia in Ukraine
20 February, 2014
Georgian citizen found dead in Kiev

Open warfare which broke out on the streets of Kyiv killed more than 25 individuals and injured over 1,000. It was a day of non-stop bloodletting, smoke, fire and screeching ambulances. The three major areas of clashes in Kyiv were on Institututska and Shovkovychna streets, Hrushevskoho Street, and Mariinsky Park. Police by mid-afternoon had repelled protesters from a government district that includes the Presidential Administration, the Verkhovna Rada and the Cabinet of Ministers.
The
Georgian ambassador to Ukraine, Mikheil Ukleba, confirms that a Georgian citizen has been found dead in Kiev. As Ukleba said, the body belongs to Zurab Khurtsia (born on 29 July 1960).
“The family has been informed. We have spoken to his relatives on the phone,” the ambassador said. He reports that no signs of violence have been observed on the body. “The consulate service has been involved in the case to help the family to timely transport the body to Georgia,” Ukleba said.
The death toll was likely to rise as police went on the offensive after sundown, advancing on thousands of protesters on Independence Square at 8 p.m. with guns, a water cannon and an armored personnel carrier. Tents housing protesters were burning on the main square, as well as a fire fueled by protesters with tires as a defense against police attacks.
The nighttime police raid followed an official Interior Ministry warning that all women and children leave Independence Square by 8 p.m. Additionally, Hromadske TV reported earlier in the evening that three armored vehicles were moved to Kyiv streets at nightfall, including at least one that was stopped by demonstrators.
A journalist for the newspaper “Vesti”, correspondent Viacheslav Verem, who was wounded in the Maidan crackdown, has been reported dead. Allegedly, the deceased sustained several gunshots and could not survive.
“Some masked men shot Viacheslav Verem near Mikhailovski; doctors were unable to save his life; the journalist passed away on the operation table,” his colleagues say.
According to available information, 27 journalists in total were injured during the yesterday’s raid at Maidan.
The meeting between the Ukrainian President and the opposition ended in nothing. After the meeting,Vitali Klitschko, one of the opposition leaders, said Victor Yanukovych acted inadequately.
“Yanukovych says demonstrators should go home, and the opposition is responsible for everything. We saw that the talks with the President did not make any sense, and we quit them. Each minute might cost a life,” Klitschko said.
Viktor Yanukovich called on the opposition to find common ground and reach a compromise for the future of the country. ”I always believed that the use of force is a wrong way to go. There is a better and a more efficient option - find common ground. Find a compromise. Reach an agreement. I already said more than once that in this case, the government will lose power. The opposition will lose too. But Ukraine will win,” Yanukovich said in a statement released on his website.
The Ukrainian president urged leaders of the opposition to dissociate themselves from radicals and warned them that otherwise he will “talk differently” with them.
Yanukovich also said in a statement that some members of the anti-government opposition had crossed a line when they called on their supporters to bring weapons to the demonstration in the central square of Ukraine’s capital, Kiev. The president called those people “criminals” and said they would face justice in court.
More than 20 people have been killed in clashes between anti-government protesters and police that erupted on Tuesday in Kiev, including seven policemen killed by gun fire.
Former President Mikheil Saakashvili says Putin bought the right to the bloody crackdown in Ukraine for two billion dollars, in an interview with Ukrainian TV. “First of all, I want to offer my sympathy to the families of the victims. Among them was a Georgian citizen. This was not an anti-terrorist operation; this is a new Tiananmen in the center of Europe. In Tiananmen Square in China demonstrators were attacked like this, but this is not China. Europe’s fate is to be decided here. I think Vladimir Putin bought Ukraine’s sovereignty and the right to a bloody crackdown in Kiev with the two billion dollars that he paid to Yanukovych this week. Of course, none of the government has justification for clinging to power and shooting people. When there were street protests in Georgia in 2007, I stepped down. President Yanukovych rejected Ukraine’s sovereignty by subordinating it to orders from Moscow,” Saakashvili said.
Vice President Joe Biden has called Ukraine’s president to express “grave concern” about the violent clashes in the capital of Kiev. The White House says Biden called on President Yanukovych to pull back government forces and exercise maximum restraint.
The White House says Biden made clear that while the United States condemns violence by all parties, the government bears “special responsibility to de-escalate the situation.” Biden also called on Ukraine’s government to address the protestors’ “legitimate grievances” and put forward proposals for political reform.
The United States is appalled by the violence in Kiev and urges Yanukovich to restart a dialogue with opposition leaders, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Tuesday. “We continue to condemn street violence and excessive use of force by either side. Force will not resolve the crisis,” Carney said.
The EU may use sanctions against Ukraine. “The EU will not refrain from imposing sanctions against people who are associated with repression and violence in Ukraine,” Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said on his Twitter webpage.
In addition, the Ukrainian media released information that a telephone conversation was held between the Ukrainian President and the US Vice President. However, it is not known if there is any concrete result from this conversation.
Also NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is concerned about violence in Ukraine. “I am seriously concerned about the return to violence in Ukraine and the reported deaths in Kyiv. I call on all parties to refrain from violence and to urgently resume dialogue, including through the parliamentary process,” the NATO official web page states.
Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili has expressed deep concern over the Ukrainian developments. “We categorically condemn the violence that is happening today on the streets of Kiev. A tragedy that took place in Ukraine and that resulted in heavy casualties, is our tragedy too, especially considering that one of the victims was a Georgian. I express sympathy to the family of the deceased. I join the democratic world’s address to stop the violence and to call the sides for a dialogue and to find a peaceful solution for the crisis.
Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has called on his Ukrainian counterpart to stop the violence. “I want to express my deepest concern over the Ukrainian developments. I share the position of the European leaders,“ Margvelashvili said.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has declared on 20 February as a day of mourning in Ukraine due to the casualties following mass disturbances.
“Russia will use all its influence to bring peace in Ukraine,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. He expressed his anger regarding the fact that the Ukrainian opposition leaders did not adequately react to radical actions.
“We cannot see sequential reactions from any European politicians or structures, who refuse to acknowledge that the Ukrainian opposition is responsible for the radical actions. The Russian side insists that the Maidan leaders stop the bloodshed in their country, resume a dialogue with the legitimate government without threats or ultimatums,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

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