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1 Dec, 2013 12:14

Clashes in Kiev amid massive pro-EU protests: LIVE UPDATES (Part 1)

Clashes in Kiev amid massive pro-EU protests: LIVE UPDATES (Part 1)

Thousands of Ukrainians protesting the suspension of talks on EU integration are keeping up demonstrations in central Kiev after the government survived a no-confidence vote at the Verkhovna Rada session.

Follow Part 2 of live updates.

Thursday, December 5

21:46 GMT: Opposition Batkivschina (Fatherland) party is urging Ukrainians to boycott business and services of those affiliated with the government.

"We call for a boycott of goods and services of the companies and organizations whose owners are members or activists of the Party of Regions," said the action plan.

20:53 GMT: The leader of the nationalist party Freedom (Svoboda) Party, Oleg Tyahnibok speaking from the stage during a rally in central Kiev said the Ukrainian opposition has begun a process of forming the new government in Kiev.

"From tomorrow we are starting the formation of an independent government in Kiev, Kiev local government",
Ukrainian UNIAN news agency quoted.

20:27 GMT:
First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Sergey Arbuzov in an interview to Ukrainian TV channel "1 +1" said that he sees no point in early presidential and parliamentary elections.

"As to the question whether I support the resignation of Parliament or the President - I definitely do not support it. I do not see any sense in it.”

20:00 GMT:
Opposition Batkivschina (Fatherland) party published a plan of protest action, the aims of which is the resignation of the government, early parliamentary and presidential elections, filing of criminal case against Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko, with the main goal being signing the Association agreement with the EU.

19:25 GMT: Rally demanding the release of activists arrested during clashes near the presidential administration of Ukraine on December 1 takes place next to the General Prosecutor's Office, Ukrainian UNIAN news agency reports.

"The action involves about a thousand people. They are demanding the release from custody the detained and the beaten activists on Bankovaya (near the presidential administration)," the statement said.

In the meantime security at the Attorney General office has been increased.

19:00 GMT:
Former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko who has been on hunger strike since 25 November says on her website said that she has given the opposition leaders a plan for continuing protests.

“All actions should be coordinated with the opposition: it has a big mission and we must listen to it to avoid bloodshed. Our opposition is peaceful, legitimate. It should be victorious, and I 'm sure of it. Proposals for concrete action plan I gave to the leaders of opposition, I hope they’d listen,"
the statement says.

Supporter of Ukraine's European integration hangs a EU flag on a building of city Rada in Kiev.(RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko)

17:58 GMT: About 100 protesters set up a picket line at the headquarters of Ukraine’s Berkut riot police, local media reported. The protesters pasted photos of the people injured by riot police, and of the officers that used force against protesters, on the walls of the buildings.

The demonstrators reportedly carried signs reading “Berkut, goodbye!” and “We are paying to be beaten.” Some of the protesters were reportedly heading to the police’s dormitory.

16.15 GMT: At least 79 people were injured as police dispersed the protesters in Kiev during the “EuroMaidan” demonstrations on Saturday, Deputy Prosecutor Anatoly Prishko said. The injured include six students, four journalists and two foreigners, he added.

Prishko said that 10 people remain hospitalized, while seven police officers were injured.

16.00 GMT: Ukraine’s law enforcement agencies suspect the leader of the Ukrainian nationalist Bratstvo organization, Dmitry Korchinsky, to be the mastermind behind the mass protest near the Presidential HQ in Kiev on Sunday. The security forces are expecting a court order for his arrest, Kiev’s deputy prosecutor, Sergey Sofiev, said.

15.54 GMT: The political party of Ukrainian opposition leader Vitaly Klitchko, Strike (Udar), has published a “list of enemies” of the pro-EU integration protests dubbed “EuroMaidan.” The list includes judges who banned protests in the center of Kiev and officers of the Berkut riot police who suppressed the protests on Kiev’s Independence square on November 30.

The party also said that President Viktor Yanukovych, PM Nikolay Azarov, Interior Minister Vitaly Zaharchenko and other officials were “the leaders of a criminal regime which acted against its citizens.”

14.45 GMT: Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has hit out at the “hysterical” reaction of the West towards Ukraine’s apprehension about signing the EU trade deal.

“This whole situation has been brought about by the hysteria created by Western countries, after Ukraine, using its rights as a sovereign state, decided to postpone signing an agreement which the government and experts thought was not in the national interest,” Lavrov told journalists on the sidelines of the OSCE meeting in Kiev.

14.40 GMT: Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko says that police will soon officially notify political organizers suspected of involvement in the civil disorder on Saturday.

He named the extremist Bratstvo group leader Dmitry Korchinsky as one of the agitators.

13.13 GMT: Ukraine risks descending into chaos, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said at the 20th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Kiev on Thursday.

"This is Ukraine's moment. We stand with the people of Ukraine who see their future in Europe. We urge the Ukrainian government to listen to the voices of its people who want to live in freedom," she said.

12:40 GMT: An EU-flag has been raised at the entrance of Kiev’s city council, the Batkivshchina (Fatherland) opposition party says.

12:20 GMT: Ukraine continues working towards EU-integration, but it is halted only by Nazis and extremists, Ukrainian PM Nikolay Azarov told German FM Guido Westerwelle during a meeting within the 20th OSCE session that, reports Interfax-Ukaraina.

“The acting power is the partner of EU-integration and Ukraine has fulfilled the necessary conditions to sign the accord,” said Azarov. He also added that “Nazis and extremists cannot be partners in Ukrainian EU-integration.”

Azarov said all the causes of latest street protests were almost eliminated, which is why the government has to get the country back to work towards EU-integration and towards its usual development.

11:26 GMT: Nearly 412 people have been taken to hospital during the 15 days of protests in Kiev, according to Oleg Tatarov, Chief Deputy of Head Investigation Department of Ukrainian Ministry of Home Affairs. Over 220 policemen were injured, 126 of them were taken to hospital. 5 policemen still remain in serious condition, says Tatarov.

More than 64 criminal cases have been opened and 14 people have been arrested by Kiev police since the beginning of the protests.

11:23 GMT: The anti-government activists were informed about the decision of Ukrainian Court to ban their demonstration. The protesters have to unlock all the governmental buildings within five days, say Ukrainian law enforcement authorities.

According to Ministry of Home Affairs, once this period has passed “the police will impose measures” to unlock the buildings.

On Wednesday The Ukrainian Court announced that it is illegal to block the governmental buildings as well as Kiev City Administration.

09.00 GMT: Assistant US Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said she will hold meetings with the representatives of both Ukrainian government and pro-Euro-integration opposition, reports Ria Novosti.

Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Leonid Kozhara (R) shakes hands with US' Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland during a ceremony in Kiev on December 5, 2013.(AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)

She has already arrived in Kiev for 20th Meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council which will be held on 5 and 6 December in the Ukrainian capital.

Earlier on Monday she said she is ready to support Ukraine “as it works to meet the remaining few requirements for an association agreement with the European Union and the trade benefits that come with it.”

08:22 GMT: Anti-government protesters are heading to the International Exposition Center on the Brovadsky Avenue where the 20th session of OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) will be held on Thursday, reports Ukrainian agency UNIAN. The activists are holding the banners reading “Protect the freedom of press.”

There will be a special briefing dealing with protection of journalists. The issue comes after more than 40 journalists were injured during the latest protests in Kiev.

07.50 GMT: Thousands of pro-government activists from Ukrainian Party of Regions are now heading to the building of Verkhovna Rada, says RIA Novosti. They are gathering in Mariinsky Park near the Ukrainian parliament. This is the third day the ruling party holds a meeting to support President Viktor Yanukovich.

At the same time, nearly 2,000 pro-EU integration protesters are picketing on Independence Square. Over 100 people with flags from the Strike (Udar) opposition party are picketing on Bankovaya Street next to the Presidential Administration building. Dozens of anti-government protesters are blocking Sadovaya Street next to the Cabinet of Ministers.

A man attaches a red and black flag, widely used by Ukrainian nationalists, to a lamp post in front of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers building in the early morning hours during a rally to support EU integration in Kiev December 5, 2013.(Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

Men look at a flag being attached to a lamp post as they gather in front of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers building, during a rally to support EU integration in Kiev December 5, 2013.(Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

06.50 GMT: The violent dispersal of protests by Berkut police forces on Saturday morning allegedly was carefully planned, reports Ukrainian agency UNIAN. It was revealed from radio traffic records of Berkut chiefs during the dispersal.

”According to radio records it is clear the assault was planned beforehand. The actions of Berkut groups were clearly coordinated. Commands, voices – all these can help the investigation find out the names of the culprits,” said Anatoly Grytsenko, a Ukrainian MP who received the radio traffic records from unnamed Berkut officer.

He will send the records to the current Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Viktor Pshonka.

Earlier on Saturday Berkut police forces, using tear gas and clubs, violently dispersed the pro-EU integration protesters on Independence Square in Kiev. At least 35 people were injured in the clashes with seven of them still remaining in hospital.

06.00 GMT: Hundreds of pro-EU integration protesters resume their picket near the building of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers demanding the government’s resignation, says RIA Novosti.

The protesters have blocked the central entrance to the building. They are holding flags of EU and Ukrainian opposition Svoboda (Freedom) party. Police are now blocking the side passages to the building.

At the same time hundreds of pro-government activists are gathering near the building of Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament. Police buses are now blocking the access to the Rada.

Some groups of pro-EU demonstrators are now blocking Bankovaya Street which leads to the Presidential Administration of Ukraine.

two columns of protesters march towards Ministers' Cabinet; most carry ultra-nationalist party "Svoboda" flags #kiev#Ukraineprotests

— Irina Galushko (@IrinaGalushkoRT) December 5, 2013

Wednesday, December 4

23:16 GMT: At 10 am local time on Thursday, Ukrainian legal authorities said that they will announce a court decision regarding the ban of blocking government buildings and the Kyiv City State Administration, RIA Novosti reports.

“I appeal to all the organizers and participants of the rally: there is a court order with clear demands to free the occupied buildings," Victor Pshonka Prosecutor General of Ukraine said in a video message posted on the website.

22.30 GMT: Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the US State Department of State, said during a daily press briefing that “everybody [in Ukraine] needs to come together to help get Ukraine back on a path towards Euro-integration.”

“We’ve encouraged all parties in Ukraine – the government, the opposition, and civil society – to work together to start a dialogue, and indeed, to get them back on a path towards European integration,” she says.

Harf believes that this protests are “only a pause in the process”, and “they will get back on this path” [Euro-integration]. “They’ve already taken a number of reforms towards European integration, and we hope they’ll take more.”

According to Harf “it’s possible for Ukraine to have a good relationship with both Russia and the European Union and the United States, and we don’t think that there’s a zero-sum game outcome that needs to happen from this.”

21:03 GMT: Russian Minister Sergey Lavrov urged outside forces not to interfere in Ukraine's domestic affairs.

"I hope that Ukrainian politicians will be able to bring the situation into a peaceful vein. We encourage everybody not to interfere," Lavrov said in a news conference after talks with NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.

 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gives a press conference following a meeting of Nato's Foreign Affairs minister at the organisation's headquarters in Brussels on December 4, 2013.(AFP Photo / Virginia Mayo)

Lavrov said that Kiev used its discretion and sovereign right to choose a direction for their country. "I do not quite understand the scope of the aggressive actions on the part of the opposition," Lavrov said, also questioning EU response to the issue.

On Tuesday NATO foreign ministers responded to events in Ukraine by issuing a statement condemning the use of "excessive force" against protesters. Lavrov said he did not understand "why NATO adopts such statements," asking foreign ministers whether they were planning to intervene in Ukraine, according to Reuters.

"All allies made clear that this was firmly about supporting the aspirations of the Ukrainian people for a European future, that there was no military operation planned in Ukraine, and it was provocative to discuss that,"
an anonymous source from the US Secretary of State John Kerry delegation to Brussels told Reuters.

20:39 GMT: Activists are planning to continue the blockade of the presidential administration and the cabinet of ministers building, one member of the opposition told the gathering at Maidan square.

“The more united and effective we are with the blockade, the more effective the result of our actions will be,”
Aleksandr Turchynov, chairman of the political party All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland", told the activists, RIA Novosti reports.

He also called on Ukrainians to provide more food, warm clothing and financial assistance to the cause.

Protesters rest in Kiev's City Hall, now an organisational hub for protesters who have occupied the building, December 5, 2013.(Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

20:13 GMT: The economic situation in Ukraine remains stable, however, in the case of a deepening political crisis, it may worsen, said First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Sergey Arbuzov. Yet if the situation stabilizes quickly, then the politician says there is nothing to fear. He has also warns of provocateurs on the streets of the capital.

"I think we need to get this over with, because you can wake up and get higher prices on bread, or some other situation that can be provoked with such actions," Arbuzov was quoted by RIA Novosti.

19.50 GMT: Opposition leaders including Vitaly Klitchko, who has spent more than decade living in Germany, took German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on a tour of Independence Square, where the diplomat met pro-European protesters.

"The gates of the European Union are still open. Ukraine has to be on board in Europe and the offers from Europe are still valid," Westerwelle told reporters.

From left: Leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR) party's faction in the Verkhovna Rada, Vitaly Klitschko, and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle among supporters of pro-EU integration on Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev on December 4, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko)

19.35 GMT: Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov says opposition members will be offered a seat on the investigating committee that will look into the violence that followed last Saturday’s mass protest, in which hundreds were injured.
“We will guarantee maximum openness and transparency of the entire process for the benefit of the public,” assured the politician through a statement on the government website.

19.30 GMT: Pro-European demonstrators in Kiev’s Independence Square have urged imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to halt her hunger strike.

“Yulia Tymoshenko is our national leader and we need her to be healthy for our sake,” one of the opposition leaders Aleksandr Turchinov told the crowd.

Tymoshenko went on strike on November 25, when it first became apparent that Ukraine was pulling out of the trade deal with the EU.

19.20 GMT: Parliament speaker Vladimir Rybak has insisted that Ukraine will sign the co-operation agreement with the European Union early next year.

The politician said the agreement will also depend on successful trilateral talks between Kiev, Moscow and Brussels.

Russia has agreed to such talks, but the EU has not, though Rybak said that all sides "had no objections".

19.10 GMT: Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Arbuzov says the authorities are ready to discuss "the most contentious" issues with the opposition once negotiations with pro-European leaders begin.

"I think it is a real possibility that when we sit down at the table, issues such as early presidential elections will come up. I believe we are ready to talk them over," Arbuzov told Ukraine Channel Five.

Arbuzov refused to say if the government would accept an early poll. Viktor Yanukovich's five-year presidential term runs out in 2015.

18.10 GMT: Ukrainian interior minister Vitaly Zakharchenko has publicly ordered riot police not to use force against peaceful protesters, according to the ministry’s spokesperson. At the same time, the minister reminded the organizers of the protest rallies across Ukraine that they bear responsibility for any violent actions that originate there.

So far dozens of protesters have been charged with public disorder during violent clashes starting from last Saturday. Several police officers are also under investigation.

RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin

17.25 GMT: The interior ministry says Afghan war vets will be allowed to accompany police patrols near public demonstrations, following a proposal by several organizations representing the veterans of the war that ended in 1989. The veterans say they will hope they can defuse tension and root out "provocations."
“We will stand between the riot police and the people, in order to prevent bloodshed. We know about this from our own experience, so we will stay the course,” veteran marine Oleg Shulyak was reported as saying by the ministry.

16.10 GMT: 305 people sought medical help following the pro-European protests that have been going on since Saturday, says Kiev municipal health department chief Vitaly Mokhorev.
Mokhorev told UNIAN news agency that 120 had serious enough injuries to be hospitalized, and nine currently remain in medical care, but that there have been no fatalities.

15.30 GMT: The pro-European crowd dispersed by the police on November 30 were “provocateurs, not students”, embattled Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov has told Council of Europe General Secretary Thorbjorn Jagland.

“There are about 2,500 paramilitaries in Kiev prepared to provoke violence from the authorities. The government is showing restraint, it is the opposition that is using force,” said Azarov during a meeting in Kiev.

Nonetheless, Azarov said the police may have “overreacted” during the night, which left dozens injured.

15.10 GMT: German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle is scheduled to meet leading opposition members including Arseny Yatsenyuk and Vitaly Klitschko on Wednesday evening, according to the German embassy in Kiev.

Westerwelle is in the Ukrainian capital as part of an OSCE summit, scheduled months before the current wave of protests.

RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko

15.05 GMT: Protests around the country are proceeding peacefully, according to the police, ITAR-TASS news agency reports.

“There have been few outbreaks of violence, and the situation in the capital and the country as a whole remains calm,” says an official statement.

The biggest crowds have been recorded in Kiev outside the interior ministry building and the parliament, where ten thousand people have gathered.

13.24 GMT: The talks between the leaders of parliamentary groups didn’t produce any results, Vitaly Klichko, leader of the Strike (Udar) opposition party, told Ukrainian agency UNIAN. Vladimir Rybak, the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, was leading the talks.

The negotiations were held after a planned parliamentary session didn’t take place. In the morning, opposition politicians blocked the tribune in the Ukrainian Parliament.

12.37 GMT: Over 1,000 pro-integration activists are now standing in the street in front of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, reports Ukrainian agency UNIAN. They shout slogans and hold anti-government posters saying “Berkut is a military criminal group” and “Wake up! Don’t kill our children!” The demonstrators demand the dismissal of Berkut special police forces as well as resignation the Minister of Internal Affairs Vitaliy Zakharchenko.

On Saturday, Berkut forces violently dispersed the anti-government protesters.

Supporters of Ukraine's European integration in a detention center in Kiev, where they are being held for involvement in disorders on December 4, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Iliya Pitalev)

12:17 GMT: Over 500 students from Kiev National University are heading to the Ministry of Education and Science, reports RIA Novosti quoting Ukrainian agency UNIAN. They demand the resignation of the Minister of Education Dmitry Tabachnik.

The students are currently forming a column in front of the memorial to Taras Shevchenko, a famous Ukrainian poet, near the university building. They’re shouting slogans and distributing leaflets calling upon the citizens “to join the Euromaidan” (appealing to passers-by to take part in EU-integration protests).

According to Ukrainian media, the Ministry of Education and Science has demanded the names of the students participating in the recent pro-integration protests. However, the ministry itself has denied the claim.

10.28 GMT: Nearly 28 protesters were injured in the past 24 hours according to Kiev City Administration, says RIA Novosti. Police also report the overall number of officers wounded during all 4 days of protest.

“Over 220 members of the police forces were injured during the protests, seven of them are in serious condition,” says the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior Affairs. The ministry added that several policemen were poisoned by unknown gaseous substance.

10.05 GMT: Vitaly Klitschko, leader of the Udar (Strike) opposition party, says the protesters can make the Ukrainian president resign, reports ITAR-TASS quoting the German newspaper Bild. “There are thousands of people on the Independent Square. You haven’t seen such an amount since Orange revolution.”

Klitschko says he is going to run in the next presidential elections.

“For nearly 20 years of independence we have done nothing to develop the country. There is a high rate of unemployment in Ukraine. Now I would like to change the situation myself.”

09.48 GMT: A large number of protesters have gathered on the Independence Square next to the Verkhovna Rada, Interfax Ukraina reports. They are supporting the democratically elected head of state, Viktor Yanukovych.

Fairly pedestrian pro-Yanukovich Party of the Regions rally underway in Kiev. pic.twitter.com/CmrSSEir6U

— Roland Oliphant (@RolandOliphant) December 4, 2013

08.22 GMT: Ukrainian PM Nikolay Azarov called upon the protesters to negotiate.

“The government is ready to negotiate. So am I.”

“We should accept the decision of the Ukrainian Parliament to trust its Cabinet of Ministers. We have to stop the escalation of political tension,” he said during a cabinet meeting.

Previously on Tuesday the government survived a no-confidence vote at a session of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.

He said the government is controlling the situation in the country.

“There are no reasons for protests, the executive authorities are now working regularly.”

“I want to address people, your leaders are pushing you to crimes. They would hide beneath the immunity of the government, but you have nowhere to hide,” he added.

“The Ukrainian Government is ready to give its civilians a right to hold peaceful protests,” says Azarov.

06.55 GMT: 20 buses with Berkut special police forces and police internal forces are now in Mariinsky Park. They are blocking the crossroad between Grushevskaya and Sadovaya Streets near the building of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, says RBK Ukraina. The buses are standing tight which make it impossible for transport to cross. Traffic police are also blocking the crossroad, but still give way to passers-by.

Grushevskaya Street.(Google map)

06.31 GMT: A group of protesters threw a Soviet Union flag on the pavement by the entrance to Independence Square. “If you want to get in, you have to walk over it,” they said, RT correspondent Irina Galushko reports from Kiev.

#ussr flag on #euromaidan #Ukraineprotestspic.twitter.com/a33SJ8TZiR

— Irina Galushko (@IrinaGalushkoRT) December 4, 2013

06.05 GMT: The protesters are now forming a column which is going to the building of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, reports ITAR-TASS agency. Overnight over 1,000 demonstrators have been rallying on Independence Square.

The activists say they expect more support groups from the western and eastern parts of Ukraine. In addition, students are to join the protesters today.

05.46 GMT: The pro-EU integration protesters resume their picket near the building of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, says RIA Novosti. Hundreds of demonstrators are now standing in line along the central entrance.

Police are partially blocking the passage to the building. Ten buses with Berkut special police forces have driven into the Mariinsky Park.

The next meeting of the cabinet is scheduled for later in the day.

00:06 GMT: Busses carrying forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine have left from Crimea to join security forces in Kiev, the ministry told UNIAN agency. Sixty people left on Sunday, while the rest accompanied by 18 pieces of equipment left the region on Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 3

23:40 GMT: Activists on Maidan Square are preparing a sleep-in for the night. RIA Novosti reports a decline in the number of participants at the main square, many of whom have gone home for the night. Those that came from other parts of Ukraine are spending their night in the activist-controlled mayor’s building, the trade unions building as well as numerous tents.

Supporters of Ukraine's closer integration with the European Union warm themselves around a fire on Independence Square in Kiev.(RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin)

22:13 GMT: All nine suspects arrested for organizing mass unrest on Sunday have been detained for two months, the prosecutor general office told UNIAN agency. The arrested are suspected of committing serious crimes in connection with clashes next to the Ukrainian presidential administration on Sunday. Overall 11 people are facing criminal charges.

21:50 GMT: The European Commission has not yet confirmed the visit of a Ukrainian delegation to Brussels, announced by Prime Minister Azarov on Tuesday, Maya Kosyanchich, spokeswoman for EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton announced.

"We cannot confirm the visit of the Ukrainian delegation to Brussels. The date and the place are to be decided through diplomatic channels, and where such agreement is reached, we will announce it," Vesti quotes.

Earlier, the Ukrainian Premier Nikolay Azarov said that a delegation would go to Brussels on December 4 to hold the talks regarding European integration.

Ukranian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov gestures during a session of the Parliament in Kiev December 3, 2013.(Reuters / Gleb Garanich)

"Tomorrow our delegation will go to Brussels, and we'll keep holding talks, which will give us a chance to sign the Agreement on European integration under conditions beneficial for Ukraine," a statement by the premier on the government's Web site read. "Simultaneously another delegation will go to Moscow, since we want to strengthen our strategic partnership with Russia."

In the meantime European Commission representative Olivier Bailly also confirmed that Brussels has not finalized any dates for the Ukrainian delegation’s visit. Bailly said that the EU was ready to conduct negotiations with Kiev under the terms of the association agreement but not the text of the agreement, saying that “all the conditions for the EU signing of the initialed text of the Association Agreement with Ukraine remain in force,” ITAR-TASS quotes.

18:41 GMT: US Secretary of State John Kerry has canceled his visit to the OSCE summit in Kiev scheduled for December 5-6 in connection with the Ukrainian government’s U-turn on the EU, a senior State Department official told the New York Times.

US Secretary of State John Kerry.(AFP Photo / Thierry Charlier)

“We wanted to send a very strong signal of support for those countries that have moved forward with the EU because of what it means to their commitment to reform. Had that been the case with Ukraine, it would have been a tougher decision whether to go to the OSCE, but since that didn’t happen we’re going where the European decisions were made,” the official was quoted as saying by the media.

Kerry, who currently attends a two-day NATO meeting in Brussels, will instead go to Moldova, to support the country which the official believes has been “under some pressure from its big neighbor.”

NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday condemned the use of “excessive force” against the protesters in Kiev and urged the Ukrainian government and the opposition “to engage in dialogue and launch a reform process.”

LIVE NOW: Picture from the "official" #EuroMaidan camp in #Kiev. Party is live and kicking. #Ukraineprotestspic.twitter.com/jq2gRNIRm6

— Stun (@TheBlogPirate) December 3, 2013

17:58 GMT: The demonstrators are erecting army tents on Independence Square (Maidan) in Kiev, Interfax reports. At least 10 such tents have been pitched near the stage where performers are entertaining the Maidan protesters, and more are being installed near the square. Camp fires have also been lit near the tents.

Meanwhile, opposition leaders are meeting with several foreign ambassadors to Ukraine, Interfax said. The purpose of the meeting was not immediately clear.

#Euromaidan#Euromaydan #Євромайдан Dec. 3: Didn't see this 1 & others in the morning. We're growing! #Kyiv#Ukrainepic.twitter.com/epQX5MmSXq

— Ukrainian Updates (@Ukroblogger) December 3, 2013

17:25 GMT: A Ukrainian delegation on Wednesday is heading to Brussels for talks on the association agreement with the EU, while another delegation will fly to Moscow for strategic trade partnership talks, Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov said in a televised address.

“Tomorrow our delegation will go to Brussels, and we will continue negotiations, which will enable us to sign the EU association agreement on terms favorable for Ukraine,” Azarov said.

“At the same time tomorrow, a delegation will head to Moscow, as we want to strengthen our strategic partnership with the Russian Federation,” he added, saying that the talks will focus on “restoring trade and economic relations” with Russia.

16:39 GMT: Thousands of protesters turning up near the presidential administration building in Kiev joined a peaceful stand-off with a thick cordon of police blocking entrance to the area. Twitter users identified the first lines in the cordon as unarmed cadets from the Interior Troops. On Sunday, dozens of young officers from the Interior Troops were injured by violent protesters from ultra-right groups, who attempted to break through a cordon with flares, stones, chains and even a tractor to storm the presidential administration. Some reports mistakenly referred to the young cadets as members of the Berkut special police forces, who carried out the brutal dispersal of Maidan protesters on Saturday morning.

Силы Беркута встретили оппозиционеров в 5 рядов #Євромайдан#euromaidanpic.twitter.com/Jy0x792Mx8

— Никита Баталов (@nikbatalov) December 3, 2013

15:38 GMT: The barricades erected around Kiev’s Independence Square, the Maidan, are being reinforced with barbed wire out of fear of a riot police crackdown.

After the motion of no-confidence in the Cabinet of Ministers was defeated in the Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday, “we are trying to prevent any attempts of provocation from the Berkut special police forces and the government,” a protester told Itar-Tass.

14:49 GMT: Journalists covering the Kiev protests are being equipped with helmets, goggles, respirators and bright orange vests with the word “PRESS” emblazoned on them, RIA Novosti reports.

Protesters wave flags as they make their way to Independence Square in Kiev December 3, 2013. (Reuters/Stoyan Nenov)

14:00 GMT: Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov’s spokesman, Vitaly Lukyanenko, said he expects a regular Cabinet meeting to be held Wednesday, although the Cabinet building is currently being blocked by a group of protesters.

“We expect that common sense prevails, the building will be unblocked, and we will hold our session,” the spokesman said.

#Ukraine: Opposition will blockade Presidential Administration until President dismisses govt #euromaidanpic.twitter.com/NAcG00HCeq

— Maxim Tucker (@MaxRTucker) December 3, 2013

13:20 GMT: Reports that the Ukrainian Army may intervene in the ongoing protests on either side of the political divide are nothing but a “certain provocation,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in a statement published on its website.

“According to the Ukrainian Constitution, any participation of the units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which serve exclusively for the defense of the country, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, in any internal political struggle is absolutely ruled out,” the ministry said.

cheers on #euromaidan: "praise to the heroes!" and "praised be the nation, death to the enemies"

— Irina Galushko (@IrinaGalushkoRT) December 3, 2013

12:45 GMT: The protesters led by some of the leaders of the Ukrainian opposition have headed towards the presidential administration building “to demand the government’s resignation and announce early presidential and parliamentary elections,” according to Batkivschina (Fatherland) leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Protestors wave flags and shout slogans during a demonstration in support of EU integration in Kiev December 3, 2013. (Reuters/Gleb Garanich)

Yatsenyuk claimed President Viktor Yanukovich “has not yet left with any sort of visit and remains in Kiev until tomorrow morning.” Earlier, the head of Yanukovich’s administration has confirmed that the President is flying to China with an official visit on December 3.

11:30 GMT: The Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, headed by Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov, survived a no-confidence vote at a session of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, on Tuesday. The motion garnered only 186 votes, short of the 226 majority required for it to pass.

11:25 GMT: Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov gave a speech ahead of the vote, apologizing for law enforcement agencies’ actions during the dispersal of the pro-EU rally on Saturday morning, saying that all those responsible for violence would face charges and promising a vigorous Cabinet reshuffle”.

He said that Ukraine would continue talks on integration with the EU, adding that “both the European Commission and the EU are ready to consider the issue of financial compensation to Ukraine”.

Azarov also called on opposition leaders to immediately end the blockade of the Cabinet of Ministers’ building, warning that they will be “held responsible for this.” Opposition MPs shouted “Lies!” and “Resign!” in an attempt to disrupt Azarov’s speech.

Ukraine's Prime Miister Mykola Azarov greets deputies of the majority after a vote for his resignation at the parliament in Kiev on December 3, 2013. (AFP Photo/Sergei Supinsky)

11:23 GMT: Ukraine’s Finance Minister, Yury Kolobov, said in televised statement that the country was paying its debts on time. His comments come after the cost of Ukrainian government bonds rose sharply over concerns about the weekend’s unrest in Kiev. The protests have sparked investor worries that Ukraine might default on its $15.3 billion debt over the next two years.

"Ukraine is a reliable borrower and is flawlessly fulfilling, and will fulfill, all of its obligations on time," Kolobov said, Reuters reported.

10:38 GMT: General-Secretary of the Council of the EU Thorbjorn Jagland is set to arrive in Kiev to participate in the meeting between the Ukrainian parliamentary groups on Wednesday, RIA Novosti reported, citing his press secretary. The premier and foreign ministers are also to take part in the debate.

Protestors wave flags and shout slogans outside parliament in Kiev December 3, 2013. (Reuters/Stoyan Nenov)

10:17 GMT: Three thousand five hundred people have departed from the western Ukrainian city of Lvov to join the demonstrators in Kiev over the last three days, Interfax news agency reported, citing the Coordination council of the Lvov area – an organ set up to coordinate the actions during protests.

09:50 GMT: Government officials, including the prime minister, could not get to their workplaces, which were blocked off by the protesters, the cabinet’s spokesman Vitaly Lukyanenko told RIA Novosti.

“This creates serious tension in the work of the government,” he said. “It’s fulfilling its responsibilities but in a way that’s far from normal.”

Pro-Yanukovych protesters also gathered by the Parliament, debates still ongoing in Rada #Kiev#euromaidanpic.twitter.com/wjnOHgmLnH

— Paul Gypteau (@paulgypteau) December 3, 2013

09:27 GMT: France has invited a top Ukrainian opposition figure, Vitaly Klitschko, to Paris to discuss a stand-off with the country's government that has caused thousands to take to the streets, Reuters reported. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told RFI radio he had sent a message to world champion boxer Klitschko to invite him.

"It's not up to us to interfere in domestic issues, but the other day we spoke with Yanukovich and it seems normal to me to meet Mr. Klitschko as well, since Mrs. Tymoshenko is in prison," Fabius said, speaking of jailed Ukrainian opposition figure and ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko.

Protesters stand in front of riot policemen in front of the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev prior to the parliament session on December 3, 2013. (AFP Photo/Sergei Supinsky)

09:20 GMT: Arseny Yatsenyuk, leader of the Batkivshchina (Fatherland) opposition party, has demanded that Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov come to the parliament session prior to debates over a vote of no confidence in the Cabinet.

09:18 GMT: Speaking at the Verkhovna Rada session, Ukrainian opposition leaders have demanded that the government and President Viktor Yanukovych resign, and have called for Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko to face criminal charges.

The Azarov government is responsible for both the crackdown of the protest and the collapse in the economy. The country’s authorities must be fully and legitimately replaced,” said Vitaly Klitchko, leader of the Strike (Udar) opposition party.

Meanwhile, MPs of the ruling Party of Regions have called for a special commission to assess the situation in the country.

08:00 GMT: Clashes have occurred between the protesters and the Berkut special police forces in Kiev, RT’s video agency Ruptly reports. Dozens of rally participants have tried to break through police cordons near Ukraine parliament. Some of them attacked the police with sticks. The law enforcers have been fighting back, not letting the protesters pass.

06:20 GMT: Workers protected by police have been mounting a stage near the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada. Twenty police buses have been spotted nearby, RIA Novosti reports. It’s unclear why the works are being done, as there was no information of the governing Party of the Regions plans to have its own rally near the Rada building.

06:11 GMT: The opposition has enough MPs in the Ukrainian parliament to vote in favor of the cabinet’s resignation on Tuesday, according to the deputy speaker of the Rada, deputy head of the opposition Svoboda party Ruslan Koshulinsky.

Protesters rest at a barricade at Independence Square in Kiev December 3, 2013. (Reuters//Vasily Fedosenko)

Today we are speaking about the cabinet’s resignation as of the main task the opposition has set for itself in the parliament. We have the necessary number of MPs to fulfill that goal,” Koshulinsky told Channel 5 TV.

The opposition wants the parliament to pass a motion of no confidence in the cabinet “for betrayal of the Ukrainian people.

06:08 GMT: A large number of protesters have gathered in front of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada. The site of the rally has been encircled by law enforcers, mostly from the Berkut special police force.

The protesters sang the Ukrainian national anthem and shouted “police with the people” slogans before opposition leaders began to deliver their speeches.

Smaller groups of protesters have been seen by the offices of the Cabinet of Ministers, the National Bank and the government.

those who camped out overnight by the govm't office head towards the Rada (parlm't) #euromaydan#Ukraineprotests

— Irina Galushko (@IrinaGalushkoRT) December 3, 2013

00:28 GMT: The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine says that police are allocating staff tasked with patrolling the streets and identifying provocateurs and violators of public order.

“The police is ready to respond to all your requests and create with the public joint patrols in crowded event areas held in order to identify violators of public order. The police are prepared to allocate sufficient staff,”
the ministry’s statement reads.

Monday, December 2

23:40 GMT: Ninety one law enforcement officers were hospitalized with different types of injuries following clashes with protesters in Kiev, says the chief of Central Hospital of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Anna Kovalenko.

“Many patients have damaged limbs, arms, legs, broken ribs, bruises, but there are those who have deep wounds, and may require surgical intervention in the future,”
Kovalenko was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

22:59 GMT: Several hundred activists moved 600 meters from Maidan Square to the Oktyabrsky Palace to take refuge for the night, RBK-Ukraine reported.

At least 300 people have taken refuge at the building occupying most of the rooms. Free meals are also being offered as well as medical assistance.

According to protesters, the security guards have let them into the building so they can take refuge and spend the night.
Meanwhile at Maidan, the main scene of the anti-government protest, demonstrators are stocking up on firewood as the temperature outside is -2 degrees Celsius.

Protesters supporting EU integration warm themselves around fire near a barricade at Independence Square in Kiev December 3, 2013. (Reuters / Stoyan Nenov)

22:37 GMT: The level of crime in Kiev has not increased overall despite mass protests, according to the UNIAN news agency which cited city police.

"The level of overall crime in the capital remained stable except for well-known cases involving the police clashes with protesters,” a police statement read.

22:03 GMT: Nine people have been arrested, suspected of committing serious crimes in connection with Sunday's clashes next to the Ukrainian presidential administration, RIA Novosti reported, citing the Internal Ministry of Ukraine.

Police in Kiev have also opened 11 criminal cases in connection with attempts by supporters of the opposition to storm the presidential administration on Sunday.

"They were notified of being suspected of committing serious crimes, in particular resistance to law enforcement officers during the execution of their duties to protect public order, organizing riots and attacks on law enforcement officers,"
said a Facebook statement on the official website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The arrested are charged under Articles 342 (resistance to authority, law enforcement agency), 345 (the threat of violence with respect to a law enforcement officer), 294 (rioting), and 348 (attempt on the life of a law enforcement officer) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

Protesters supporting EU integration stand behind a barricade on a street next to Independence Square in Kiev December 2, 2013. (Reuters / Stoyan Nenov)

21:44 GMT: RIA Novosti reports that information leaflets are beinghanded out in the center of Kiev with instructions on how to recognize provocateurs, who are attempting to foment confrontations with police. The leaflets call on Ukrainians not to provoke or attack security forces.

According to instructions, provocateurs cover their faces with masks and do not reveal their names. They also wear lightweight shoes and shout slogans at police to incite violence. The leaflet tells Ukrainians to trust only the information from opposition leaders or their representatives.

21:24 GMT: What people are witnessing on the streets of Kiev is an attempt to topple “democratically elected, legitimate government,” legal expert Alexander Mercouris told RT.

The only way out of this crisis, Mercouris argues, is to hold elections in due course. Yet the lawyer believes that President Yanukovich “has shown less than firmness and clarity in a situation such as this,” referring to the criticism expressed by the Ukrainian President over the conduct of security forces during protest crackdowns on Friday. “I don’t really see this being completely out of proportion to what the riot police are expected to do.”

21:17 GMT: President Viktor Yanukovych’s press secretary, Darko Chepak, told RIA Novosti that the Ukranian leader has not accepted the resignation submitted by the head of his administration, Sergey Liovochkin.

"I did submit on Saturday a request for resignation, which was rejected. Today my main goal is to work hard to resolve the situation peacefully and overcoming the crisis,” Chepak said, quoting Liovochkin.

Protesters supporting EU integration participate in a rally at Independence Square in Kiev December 2, 2013. (Reuters / Stoyan Nenov)

20:58 GMT: The White House has urged all parties in Ukraine to respect democracy, condemning the Ukrainian government’s actions against protesters.

“The violence by government authorities against peaceful demonstrators in Kiev on Saturday morning was unacceptable,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at a briefing. He also called “disturbing” the reports of journalists allegedly being targeted by security forces.

20:37 GMT: Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich has asked the nation to respect democracy and voice their concerns at the polling stations, calling on “politicians not to rush” into events.

The "election will come, people are determined. Whoever gets elected - so be it. It has always been so, and it must be so," Yanukovich said in an interview with Ukrainian TV channels.

20:19 GMT:
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has issued a statement on the ongoing events in Ukraine, calling on all parties involved to “avoid any further violence.”

The UN chief also asked Ukrainians to “uphold the democratic principles of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” while Ban encouraged “meaningful dialogue between all concerned.”

Protesters supporting EU integration rest on a barricade at Independence Square in Kiev December 2, 2013. (Reuters / Stoyan Nenov)

20:10 GMT: European Commission José Manuel Barroso said the EU is ready to receive a Ukrainian delegation to discuss “some aspects” of the EU association agreement with the country, but stressed that no part of the text of the deal will be re-negotiated.

“The European Commission stands ready to discuss aspects of implementation related to the agreements already initialed, but not to re-open any kind of negotiations,” Barroso said.

19:56 GMT: Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso have on Monday agreed that a Ukrainian working group will visit Brussels in connection with the association and free trade agreement with the EU.

“We are setting up a working group to go to Brussels and we will start the dialogue,” Yanukovich said.

He also stressed that Ukraine wants more favorable conditions for the deal because the country’s economic interests are at stake.

19:49 GMT: Ukraine is ready to increase purchases of Russian gas if Moscow agrees to reduce the price om it, Viktor Yanukovich, told the journalists in capital, Kiev.

“Let’s agree on the following: we renew the consumer market, and you drop the price,” he said.

Yanukovich has reminded the supply of Russian gas to Ukraine has decreased by 18 billion cubic meters this year.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (R) speaks to Ukrainian and Russian journalists during an interwiev in Kiev on December 2, 2013. (AFP Photo / Presidential Press-Service Pool / Andrei Mosienko)

19:23 GMT: Kiev and Moscow have agreed to start negotiations aimed at repairing bilateral relations this week, Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovich, told the journalists.

“We [Russia and Ukraine] know each other well, our working groups in all areas have a long history of cooperation and not a lot of time will be needed for us to understand each other,” he said.

There’ll be only a few issues during the talks, which would require the involvement of the presidents, Yanukovich stressed. According to the president, one of those important issues is the price on gas.

19:01 GMT:
President Viktor Yanukovich said that Ukraine has paused the signing of an association agreement with the EU as it didn’t want to lose its renewed dialogue with Russia.

“If we sign the agreement, we’ll lose this dialogue. It won’t make any difference anymore,” he explained.

According to Yanukovich, Kiev and Moscow started talking again after the Commonwealth of Independent States summit, which took place in Minsk, Belarus in October.

People supporting EU integration attend a rally in Kiev, December 2, 2013. (Reuters / Gleb Garanich)

18:41 GMT: The protesters blocking the entrance to the building of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers said they are ending their protest for Monday, but will be back again the next day. At least 300 people with opposition parties’ flags were standing in the area and preventing anyone from entering the building when the work day finished.

18:32 GMT: The Ukrainian authorities have identified the people responsible for provocations at a pro-EU rally in Kiev, which was violently dispersed by the police at the weekend, Nikolay Azarov, the country’s prime minister said at a meeting with EU and US ambassadors.

“We’re only interested in avoiding such provocations,” he said, adding that it’s actions from the so-called “ultras” from the anarchist Bratstvo (Brotherhood) party and “well-trained people” from the Svoboda (Freedom) organization, which left the police no choice but to use force.

17:55 GMT:
The Ukrainian leaders were unaware that the police would use brute force to disperse the pro EU-protesters in Kiev at the weekend, Nikolay Azarov, the Ukrainian prime minister told Western ambassadors during a meeting in the country’s capital.

“I’m telling you absolutely frankly: neither the president [Viktor Yanukovich] nor the PM new that such an operation was being prepared,” he stressed.

A man attaches a poster with a portrait of the President Viktor Yanukovych depicted as Adolh Hitler with a bullet hole in his head as the protesters block the Ukrainian Cabinet of the Ministers building in Kiev on December 2, 2013. (AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)

17:32 GMT: Kiev police chief, Valery Koryak, has been fired from his job after force was used against the protesters in the capital at the weekend, Nikolay Azarov, the Ukrainian prime minister said as he met with EU and US diplomats.

As for the rest of the city’s police force, a process of informing and explaining has been conducted with them, the PM added.

17:15 GMT: Law enforcement officers “went too far” when they dispersed the pro-EU rally in Kiev at the weekend, but such harsh actions could’ve well been provoked by the protesters, the press-service of the Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovich, said.

17:05 GMT:
Ukraine has proposed some changes to the EU to make the association agreement between the sides, Nikolay Azarov, the country’s prime minister, told Western diplomats in Kiev.

“We’d like to discuss the provisions, which bother us. We’d like our initiative to be treated attentively and maybe we’ll be able to achieve compromise,” he stressed.

Protesters hold a placards reading "Ukraine is Europe" as they block the Ukrainian Cabinet of the (AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)

16:52 GMT: The Ukrainian authorities detect elements of a coup in the attempts to block the government agencies by the protesters, but are exercising restraint at the moment, the country’s prime minister, Nikolay Azarov, told the ambassadors from EU states and the US in Kiev.

“Here we understand that peaceful demonstrations and hampering the work of government agencies are two different things,” the PM stressed. “Blocking the operations of government agencies has nothing to do with peaceful demonstrations. All these are signs of a coup. This is very serious. We are displaying patience, but we don’t want our opposition partners thinking there’s no control.”

He also assured the diplomats that the government is ready to provide guarantees that force won’t be used against peaceful demonstrators in the capital.

Protesters are seen near barricades which blocked the main avenue in Kiev December 2, 2013. (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

16:33 GMT: The situation with mass riots in Kiev is out of control, the Ukrainian prime minister, Nikolay Azarov, said as he met EU and US diplomats in the capital.

“Things have changed. On the one hand, we aren’t exonerating the law enforcement agencies, but on the other hand, politicians who are joining the action now are dramatically radicalizing the situation. The mass character of the action became uncontrollable or rather controlled by certain political forces,” he is cited as saying by RIA-Novosti news agency.

Azarov said that some political forces have “an illusion” that they can topple the government, adding that the opposition is developing a plan, which involves taking the Ukrainian parliament building by force.

On the other hand, the Ukrainian authorities have ordered the police not to use force against peaceful protesters and is expecting the opposition to abstain from provocations, the PM stressed.

Protesters sit on barricades which blocked the main avenue in Kiev December 2, 2013. (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

16:20 GMT: The talks on the association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union will resume after the upcoming visit of the Ukrainian delegation to Brussels, Jan Tombinski, EU ambassador to Ukraine, stressed.

16:15 GMT:
The Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovich, and his government are ready for talks with the protesters in Kiev, the country’s prime minister, Nikolay Azarov, said at a meeting with foreign ambassadors.

He also urged the ambassadors from the EU states do everything in their power to persuade the opposition leaders to sit down at the negotiating table.

15:36 GMT:
Thousands took to the streets of the Western Ukrainian cities of Lvov, Ternopol and Ivano-Frankovsk on Monday, after the authorities of the strongly pro-Western cities announced general strikes.

#євромайдан Івано-франківськ страйкує!! pic.twitter.com/SC678DInlD

— Sekond.org (@Sekond_org) December 2, 2013

Сьогоднішній тернопільський #євромайдан з незвичного ракурсу наприклад. pic.twitter.com/45aiYsRReD

— Сов (@OWL_MD) December 2, 2013

15:05 GMT: Kiev mayor, Aleksandr Popov, has called on the protesters occupying the city administration building to “let the employees work normally for the city, its citizens and guests”. Popov warned that blocking the administration’s work may result in “delays in payments for public sector workers, food shortages, water, power and heating shortages”, and may disrupt the work of hospitals, schools and kindergartens.


— Алекс Влад (@vladalexandruk) December 2, 2013

14:42 GMT: President Yanukovich calls José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, and asks him to accept a Ukrainian delegation to discuss details of the association agreement.Barroso says that the Commission is ready for such talks.

The Ukrainian leader also promises the EU chief that the use of force during the protests by law enforcers will be investigated and the findings of the probe will be presented to the public, reports RIA Novosti, citing an EU Communiqué.

14:01 GMT: Ukrainian Defense Minister, Pavel Lebedev, has dismissed reports of tanks being dispatched to Kiev as a “blatant provocation”. The minister stressed he was “certainly” not involved in control of the situation in Kiev, saying that there is no emergency situation that he is aware of.

(FILES) Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich meets with Defence Minister Pavlo Lebedev in Kiev (Reuters)

Claims by some of the Ukrainian opposition leaders that imposing a state of emergency was being considered by President Yanukovich’s ministers were fueled by social media reports of buses filled with military and tanks heading to Kiev. The Ukrainian Ministry of Interior on Monday said they only dispatched additional interior troops to ensure public order and guard administrative buildings. About 1,000 servicemen are currently standing guard in Kiev, the ministry added.

13:52 GMT:

"revolution" says graffiti on the #euromaidan barricade; speaker at the rally calls for a "better, normal life" #euromaidan

— Irina Galushko (@IrinaGalushkoRT) December 2, 2013

Activists stay in front of tents set up during a protest on Kiev’s central square on December 2, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin)

13:43 GMT: Several Ukrainian mass media groups have quit the presidential inter-agency task force, which watches over freedom of speech and defends the rights of journalists in Ukraine. A joint statement issued by Ukrainian NGO Institute of Mass Information, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Association of Press Publishers, blamed President Yanukovich for the “continuously deteriorating” freedom of speech situation in Ukraine, claiming that “independent information in the media was being deliberately chipped away.” More than 40 Ukrainian and foreign journalists have been “brutally beaten” by the Ukrainian police since November 29, the statement claims.

Arseny Yatsenyuk (centre L), a Ukrainian opposition leader and Oleg Tyagnibok, head of the All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda (Freedom) Party, attend a news conference in Kiev December 2, 2013. (Reuters / Stoyan Nenov)

12:38 GMT: A committee of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has supported a draft censure motion on the government, a leader of the “Batkivschina” (“Fatherland”) opposition political block was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti. The draft document will be debated in the Rada on Tuesday, according to another opposition leader, Vitaly Klitschko.

Meanwhile, the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Vladimir Rybak, said President Viktor Yanukovich “will support the dialogue between political powers and society,” Itar-Tass reports.

When asked if Yanukovich will comply with the Verkhovna Rada decision if it votes for the resignation of the government, Rybak replied the president said he will back any decision of the parliament.

convo in the crowd: - someone got arrested -- really? -- well, I read it on twitter, so I guess so #euromaidan#Ukraineprotests

— Irina Galushko (@IrinaGalushkoRT) December 2, 2013

free lard (salo) and cheese sandwiches handed out on #euromaidan#Ukraineprotests

— Irina Galushko (@IrinaGalushkoRT) December 2, 2013

11:57 GMT: The European Commission has condemned seizures of public buildings in Kiev by the opposition and has spoken out against any kind of use of force, according to EC spokesperson Pia Hansen, cited by Itar-Tass.

11:54 GMT: Videos showing how some of the Maidan protesters spent their night in prayer at a nearby monastery are surfacing on YouTube. Some, however, complained in social networks that the ongoing service “deprived them of their sleep,” but most were thankful for the clergy offering them a shelter.

11:35 GMT: The EU is currently not considering imposing sanctions on Ukraine following the protests in the country, said Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for Catherine Ashton, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Answering questions at a media briefing in Brussels on Monday, the spokesperson stressed that the EU stands for basic freedoms in Ukraine, but the process must be peaceful so both sides in Ukraine’s conflict can settle the divide at the negotiation table.

11:29 GMT: 9 people detained in Kiev as part of the criminal investigation into the December 1 rioting in the Ukrainian capital, according to police officials.

11:01 GMT: Over 40 journalists suffered injuries in recent clashes between protesters and police in Kiev. Most of them were wounded during the siege of the presidential administration on Sunday, Interfax reported.

Around 20 people remain in Kiev hospitals, according to the Chief Physician of the Kiev medical emergency station, Anatoly Vershigora. Out of 190 people, who sought medical assistance on Sunday and on Monday, 58 were police officers. Six of the injured are foreigners, including two citizens of Poland.

An injured man receives medical help from Interior Ministry members during a rally held by supporters of EU integration in Kiev, December 1, 2013. (Reuters / Gleb Garanich)

10:53 GMT: Ukrainian MPs from Crimea, a southern region where the bulk of the population are ethnic Russians, have accused the opposition of violent actions and infringement of the country’s constitution.

Recent events in Kiev have made us seriously worried for the future of our country. Political and economic stability, as well as integrity and the foundations of the constitutional order are under threat,” says the Crimean Parliament’s official statement.

The MPs believe that it’s “a bunch of politicians trying to overthrow the government under the guise of the fight for the pro-European way of development,” pointing at the fact that the protests in Kiev are supported by the Ukrainian neo-Nazi party Svoboda (Liberty).

10:26 GMT: Introducing a state of emergency in Ukraine has not yet been discussed, according to Vitaly Lukyanenko, spokesman for the country’s Prime Minister, as cited by Itar-Tass. Earlier there were reports that Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovich, was going to summon the National Security Council to announce a state of emergency. According to Ukraine law, the president has the right to impose it by himself, without endorsement by the parliament.

The Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, Vladimir Rybak, believes there’s no need in introducing a state of emergency.

The issue has not been raised at any level,” he told Interfax Ukraine.

9:47 GMT: RT’s Aleksey Yaroshevsky currently in Kiev reports that demonstrators are mounting barricades and getting ready for further standoffs.

9:30 GMT: A video has appeared online showing the Ukrainian Berkut special police force beating the detained anti-government protestors. The rally participants are lying on the ground, not making any kind of resistance to the police officers, who are kicking and clubbing the detainees. The video was posted on YouTube by user Volodimir Tishchenko, who says the episode he covertly filmed on his phone took place on December 1 near the Ukrainian Government House.

On Sunday, Kiev Police Chief Valery Koryak resigned following accusations that law enforcement officers used disproportionate force while dispersing an opposition rally in downtown Kiev. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich condemned the use of force against the demonstrators and ordered the prosecutor general to investigate the situation.

08:35 GMT: The authorities of the western Lvov region, who support Ukraine’s integration with the EU, have announced a regional strike. In pro-Russian Crimea, authorities are preparing to hold an urgent meeting and address the head of the state.

08:05 GMT: A petition on the ‘We the People’ website of the White House in the US to interfere militarily in the conflict in Ukraine has been signed by over 12,000 people. In the meantime, Sergey Smolyaninov in the Crimean city of Sevastopol has on own initiative asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to send troops to Ukraine to “protect the sovereignty of the country and Russian nationals living in Ukraine.”

07:40 GMT: The EU might impose sanctions on those responsible for use of force against protesters in Kiev, ITAR-TASS news agency quoted an unnamed source in the EU headquarters. Brussels says it is following the developments in Kiev “anxiously’, and warned Ukrainian authorities against the use of excessive force against citizens who took to the streets of the capital.

07:30 GMT: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is planning to have a bilateral meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kozhara, while on a visit to Kiev on December 5 for the OSCE Council.

Lavrov's deputy Grigory Karasin, who confirmed the news to Interfax, has also ensured the latest protests in Ukraine did not impact the plans for holding the OSCE ministerial meeting in Kiev.

"So far there have been no reports of the postponement or a change of format. We are preparing for the OSCE Council of Foreign Ministers," he said.

07:10 GMT: Government House is blocked, encircled by protesters. Berkut riot police are taking a passive stance, simple remaining in the courtyard of the building, guarding the entrances of the facility.

05:26 GMT: From 5,000 to 6,000 protesters are marching from Independence Square to the House of Government to carry out a peaceful demonstration. Protesters demand the president and the government step down, Russian news agencies report from Kiev.

A protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask stands in front of a barricade near the government building in Kiev December 2, 2013. (Reuters / Stoyan Nenov)

03:20 GMT: The EU can implement sanctions against “specific people responsible for using force in Kiev,” an EU diplomat told the Itar-Tass news agency in Brussels. The institution “is taking a neutral position, but it believes that those who use excessive force need to be held responsible,” the official stated. “If the country’s government will not do anything about it, the EU has its own measures, including introducing a possible ban of entry to the EU countries.”

Participants in a rally in support of Ukraine's integration with the EU, spend a night at the barricades on Kiev's Independence Square on December 2, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Iliya Pitalev)

02:00 GMT: In Lvov Oblast in Western Ukraine, where pro-EU activists have always been particularly active, the authorities have announced that a general strike will take place on Monday.

00:12 GMT: The situation in Kiev is quiet right now. However, police have said that they will take the city administration building by force if protesters refuse to leave it, RT’s Aleksey Yaroshevsky says.

Participants in a rally in support of Ukraine's integration with the EU, in Kiev's city hall occupied by protesters on December 1, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin)

Sunday, December 1

23:29 GMT: The number of protesters injured in clashes in the Ukrainian capital on Sunday has risen to 165, city officials have announced. 109 demonstrators were hospitalized.

22:46 GMT: Heavyweight Champion Vitali Klitschko, leader of opposition party Udar, has beed heckled and harangued in Kiev's Independence Square as he called for protesters to go home and abide by the plans of Udar.

I am telling you folks, our opposition has very direct plan,” he stated, addressing protesters. After demonstrators interrupted his statement, Klitschko continued: “This is politics, you already went on the street, you are protesting. This is a provocation, don't stay here, it will end up with blood. It will end up with that we will not be able to fulfill our plans.”

21:59 GMT: The number of protesters injured in clashes in the Ukrainian capital on Sunday has risen to 112, city health officials have announced. Forty-two demonstrators were hospitalized.

21:23 GMT: Some 120 police officers sought medical attention after Sunday’s riots, 53 of whom were hospitalized.

20:40 GMT: Tensions are dying down in the country’s capital, although the situation is still on a knife’s edge, RT’s Aleksey Yaroshevsky reports from Kiev. He estimates that there are still up to 20,000 people protesting at the central square.

Yaroshevsky adds that the stand-off between protesters and police is continuing at the administrative headquarters of Ukraine’s president.

20:37 GMT: Protesters began building a tent city at the Independence Square in Kiev. Twelve large army tents have already been installed near the city’s main post office building. Organizers have also begun to collect supplies of food and firewood, RIA Novosti reported.

RIA Novosti / Pyotr Zadorozhny

20:14 GMT: Sitting protest at Kiev's central street.

20:01 GMT: At least 29 journalists were injured across Saturday and Sunday in violence in Kiev, with many of them having been beaten by the riot police, claimed a list originally published on the Facebook page of Ukrainian media expert Zoya Kazanzhy. The list included a Reuters journalist, an AFP journalist, a polish journalist and an unidentified journalist of Associated Press. Kazanzhy, who compiled the list, said that the riot police deliberately targeted some of the journalists as “instigators” despite media badges, after they refused to leave the scene of clashes or stop filming beaten protesters.

19:47 GMT: The speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Dmitry Rybak, has urged the government and the opposition to sit at the negotiating table on Monday in an interview with local TV channel Inter. Rybak guaranteed that during the meeting every side would be able to “express its views.” He also called the violent dispersal of the Maidan square protesters an “impossible” incident for Ukraine, saying it was not supported by the government.

19:18 GMT: Brief clashes have been reported near the monument to Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin after a group of masked rioters attempted to deface the monument. The rioters, whom the Maidan protesters described as “provocateurs” on Twitter, threw flares, climbed the monument and covered it with nationalist writings, also attacking the dispatched police. Sound bombs and smoke grenades were reportedly used during clashes, and several people were detained.

19:03 GMT: Thousands rallied in the streets of Ukraine’s sixth largest city, Zaporozhye, in support of the pro-EU demonstrators in Kiev, media reports said.

18:51 GMT: Dozens of protesters have attempted to deface the monument of Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin on Kiev’s Bessarabskya Square, but have been repelled by the police who stopped them from succeeding. Brief clashes between the sides followed.

OMG. Protesters are trying to take down the Lenin monument in Kiev pic.twitter.com/TWGWD4AgOE

— Alexey Yaroshevsky (@Yaro_RT) December 1, 2013

18:46 GMT: Russia analyst, Martin McCauley, told RT that this is the first time in Kiev that such violence has been used against protesters.

“The riot police are in a very difficult position, because they have to decide whether – if they use force again – will Yanukovich and his government survive,” he added. “Ukraine is weak, the economy is weak, the living standards are disappointing, and therefore the people on the street are not rational.”

18:38 GMT: A Ukrainian delegation will go to Brussels “next week” for talks on the country’s EU integration, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara told local TV channel 1+1.

18:26 GMT: A Kiev court has imposed a ban on demonstrations in the village that houses the residence of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. Around 100 motorists reportedly attempted to reach the village located in the Kiev region prior to the ban, but the attempt was thwarted by the police. However, activists who took part in the “protest” drive said on Twitter that they may try to repeat their actions on Monday.

Supporters of Ukraine's EU integration clash with police by the Presidential Administration building on Kiev's Bankovaya Street (RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin)

18:15 GMT: Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said that it identified some of the people behind Sunday’s violent clashes in Kiev as radical members of the anarchist “Bratstvo” (“Brotherhood”) party. More than 300 members of the organization took part in riots near the presidential administration building, the ministry said in a statement. It also said one of the leaders of the nationalist party “Svoboda” (“Freedom”) was among the rioters who stormed the Kiev mayor’s office.

17:40 GMT: Germany has urged Ukraine to protect peaceful demonstrators and ensure the people's right to assembly. Germany’s Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, said in a statement that he “vigorously calls on the Ukrainian government to ensure freedom of assembly and to protect the peaceful demonstrators from any kind of intimidation and violence.”

17:30 GMT: Watch RT's Alexey Yaroshevsky reporting from Kiev.

17:23 GMT: At least 53 people were injured in the violent clashes in Kiev on Sunday, and 14 of them have been hospitalized, said an updated report issued by the city’s administration.

17:07 GMT: Thousands of Ukrainians also took to the streets of the historic city of Lvov on Sunday in support of the pro-EU demonstrators in Kiev, RIA Novosti reported. The mayor of the strongly pro-Western city had previously criticized the violent dispersal of protests in Kiev which took place on Saturday morning, and warned that the whole of Lvov would take to the streets if anything similar happened there.

Ukrainian protesters shout slogans as thousands gather for a pro-EU opposition rally in the center of western Ukrainian city of Lviv on December 1, 2013. (AFP Photo / Yuriy Dyachyshyn)

16:42 GMT: Grocery stores in and near Kiev’s Maidan square have run out of food, drinks and paper cups, RIA Novosti reported, citing local media. Some students have been distributing cookies, sandwiches and mandarins to support the protesters rallying on the square, the media said.

A man swings a chain as protesters try to break through police lines near the presidential administration building during a rally held by supporters of EU integration in Kiev, December 1, 2013. (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

16:21 GMT: At least 22 people with various physical traumas, including chemical eye burns, sought medical aid following violent clashes on Sunday in Kiev, the city administration officials said. Those injured were both protesters and riot police officers, they noted.

Police have detained “several of the most active rioters,” according to a statement published on the Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s website.

The vicinity of the president's administration building is covered with rocks - pieces of pavement - which protesters threw at the police

— Alexey Yaroshevsky (@Yaro_RT) December 1, 2013

Strong scent of pepper gas is felt in the air, very hard to talk/breathe without a mask

— Alexey Yaroshevsky (@Yaro_RT) December 1, 2013

15:33 GMT: Several opposition leaders attempted to persuade people coming back to the street near the presidential administration building to leave it for Maidan. The opposition claims the clashes have been caused by the Ukrainian government’s “provocateurs”.

15:24 GMT: Nearly 100 police officers have been injured in Kiev clashes, police officials told Interfax. The police are currently negotiating with the people occupying the administrative buildings near Maidan square, the officials added.

15:18 GMT: OPINION: "The scenario very much resembles the Orange revolution the world saw not very long ago. In the current situation it is very unlikely that the Ukrainian president will retain his power and his seat,” political commentator Aleksandr Selivanov told RT.

“The opposition is only skilled in uprisings, in escalating the conflict and not peaceful resolution,” Selivanov noted, adding that the opposition is not ready to sit down for negotiations.

LIVE NOW: Tens of thousands march through #Kiev. For our freedom and yours! #UkrainEUkraine#euromaidanpic.twitter.com/KmhS3BLPvj

— Stun (@TheBlogPirate) December 1, 2013

14:57 GMT: Stones-throwing protesters attempt to retake the street near the presidential administration in Kiev, but are pushed back by riot police. The police have relocated the barricades further down the street.

Protesters try to break through police lines near the presidential administration building during a rally held by supporters of EU integration in Kiev, December 1, 2013. (Reuters / Stoyan Nenov)

14:50 GMT: Watch RT's Alexey Yaroshevsky reporting from Kiev.

14:45 GMT: Ukrainian riot police have dispersed the crowd of protesters who were attempting to storm the presidential administration building. Media reports say the police used force, beating people with batons, and that some of the protesters were injured.

Protesters try to break through police lines near the presidential administration building during a rally held by supporters of EU integration in Kiev, December 1, 2013. (Reuters / Stoyan Nenov)

14:40 GMT: The Ukrainian opposition leaders claim they have nothing to do with the violent clashes near the presidential building and accuse the government of causing the “provocations.” Ukrainian Prime Minister Azarov’s spokesman claims that “the situation is under control” and says that any attempts to turn “legitimate” protests into “unlawful action” will be thwarted.

Люди дают 10 минут Беркуту, чтобы разойтись. Так и кричат: 10 хвілін! #євромайданpic.twitter.com/Qgxyqq7aBX

— РБ головного мозга (@belamova) December 1, 2013

14:20 GMT: Protesters shout “10 minutes!” addressing the riot police, apparently threatening to renew attempts at storming the presidential building. The police cover their heads with shields and stand in formation. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry reports that 15 police have been injured in clashes and 8 of them have been taken to hospital.

14:14 GMT: A YouTube video shows an earlier attempt by the Ukrainian protesters to break the police cordon near the presidential administration building.

14:06 GMT: Stun grenades explode and smoke covers the street near the entrance to the Ukrainian president’s administration building in Kiev. Reports say tear gas has been used. The sounds of bagpipes could be heard amid loud chanting of protesters demanding President Yanukovich’s resignation.

Still from Ustream video

13:44 GMT: Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich is holding counsel in his residence outside Kiev, Itar-Tass reports, citing government sources.

13:26 GMT: Clashes with police are ongoing near the presidential administration building in Kiev, with gunshots, explosions, smoke, stone throwing at the police officers, and loud booing and whistling reported from the scene. The “President of Ukraine” sign has been vandalized with paint. Conflicting reports on Twitter claim that the building has already been entered by the protesters.

У входа в администрацию президента #євромайданpic.twitter.com/w4D8GW5C3j

— Review News (@Review_News_Net) December 1, 2013

Interior Ministry officers and riot police block the way in front of protesters near the presidential administration building during a rally held by supporters of EU integration in Kiev, December 1, 2013. (Reuters / Gleb Garanich)

13:19 GMT: Ukrainian opposition leaders call for a nationwide strike and claim that “revolution” has started, addressing the rally from a makeshift stage on Maidan square. Ukrainian media said some 700 thousand had gathered in and around Kiev’s main square.

13:07 GMT: Five policemen are injured as pro-EU protesters attempted to break a cordon with a bulldozer near the presidential administration building, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said. Police used loud speakers to urge the crowds to stop provocations, according to Interfax. However, some protesters on Twitter said the first line of the cordon had already been breached and the people were marching on.

People use a tractor while trying to break through police lines near the presidential administration building during a rally held by supporters of EU integration in Kiev, December 1, 2013. (Reuters / Sergii Polezhaka)

ШТУРМУЕМ БАНКОВУЮ !!! ))) #євромайданpic.twitter.com/ELpcD8xTje

— Reincarnation. (@TukvaSociopat) December 1, 2013

12:56 GMT: The Trade Union building near Maidan square is stormed and taken by protesters bearing emblems of the opposition parties, Itar-Tass reports. The security guards reportedly left the building.

Photo by Alexey Yaroshevsky, RT

12:49 GMT: A Ukrainian opposition leader and ex-boxing champion, Vitaly Klitschko, has called on President Yanukovich and his government to resign.

Vitaly Klitschko (3rd R, first row), heavyweight boxing champion and UDAR (Punch) party leader, Arseny Yatsenyuk (L, first row), a Ukrainian opposition leader, and Jaroslaw Kaczynski (2nd L, first row), leader of Poland's main opposition Law and Justice Party (PiS), attend a rally held by supporters of EU integration in Kiev, December 1, 2013. (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

12:38 GMT: Reports claim the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers building has been entered by the protesters. Earlier, hundreds of riot police surrounded the administrative compound.

Кабмін взято !!!!!!!! Рт!!!!!!!! #євромайданpic.twitter.com/uiPp8YwXJP

— Юрій Луценко (@LutsenkoYuriy) December 1, 2013

12:27 GMT: Protesters have planted Ukrainian and EU flags on the frame of a Christmas tree that was being erected in Maidan square.

Photo by Alexey Yaroshevsky, RT

12:12 GMT: Clashes have broken out near the Ukrainian President’s compound between protesters and riot police, with reports of gunshots and thick smoke coming from the scene. Some local reports cited by Itar-Tass claimed the offices are being “stormed.” Protesters drove a bulldozer to the compound, reportedly in an attempt to break the riot police cordon.

Revolutionary tractor moving closer to police barricade near presidential compound. pic.twitter.com/wFEu2Z5nFS

— Leonid Ragozin (@leonidragozin) December 1, 2013

11:45 GMT: A group of “provocateurs” break into the Kiev Mayor’s office building after breaking the windows and opening the doors from the inside, Itar-Tass reports, citing local media. The nearby pro-EU protesters reportedly have stopped the masked rioters from going further with what they said was “provocation.” An opposition journalist, Tatyana Chornovil, was said to be coordinating the “storming” of the government building.

Unidentified men break the door of the Kiev City State Administration (Kiev City Council) building during a rally held by supporters of EU integration in Kiev, December 1, 2013. (Reuters / Valentyn Ogirenko)

Photo by Alexey Yaroshevsky, RT

11:30 GMT: A tens of thousands-strong “raging crowd” has retaken Kiev’s Independence Square, commonly referred to as the Maidan, RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky reports on Twitter. Protesters chanting “Revolution!” and anti-government slogans started displacing metal shields that had been installed by police after a violent ejection of the protesters on Saturday morning