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The latest breaking news from Ukraine in English

Ukrainian crisis: January 17

The latest events from Ukraine.

Ukrainian crisis: January 17
Vadim Kolesnichenko
Фото: Макс Левин

LB.ua chronicles the latest events in Ukraine in English for foreign readers.

Read previous articles on the topic:

Ukrainian crisis: January 15

Ukrainian crisis: January 16

8:14. Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Ben Cardin offered to expand the action of 'The Magnitsky Act' to the whole world. Before this the main intention of the law was to punish Russian officials who were thought to be responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky by prohibiting their entrance to the United States and use of their banking system.

8:28. The Party of Regions does not exclude that scandalous laws adopted on January 16 will be amended when the Verkhovna Rada will work according to its regulations, said 'regional' Dmitry Svyatash.

8:41. Leader of the civil initiative 'Third Ukrainian republic', former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko today will be discharged from the hospital, where he's been staying for a week in intensive treatment after the night on January 11, when he took a hit on the head from 'Berkut' riot police.

8:54. The opposition intends to hold the 8th National veche - against anti-democratic laws - on Kyiv's Independence Square on January 19.

9:07. International organization Freedom House calls on President Viktor Yanukovich to dismiss the laws adopted by the Verkhovna Rada, that violate the country's commitment to human rights.

9:25. International human rights organization Amnesty International has criticized the amendments to the law 'On the Judicial System and Status of Judges"'and the procedural laws regarding additional measures to protect the safety of citizens, made by the Verkhovna Rada on January 16.

'In the case of signing by President Viktor Yanukovich the law will destroy any manifestations of public unrest in Ukraine, will begin repressions and turn Ukraine into a dictatorship', says a press release of the organization.

9:44. A body of an unidentified men has been found in the House of Trade Unions, occupied by Euromaidan protesters on Kyiv's Independence Square. The corpse has no signs of a violent death.

10:12. About 100 AntiMaidan activists are protesting on European Square against beatings of AntiMAidan supporters by Euromaidan self-defense.

10:24. The situation with the adoption of the budget, followed by constant provocations of the so-called opposition, oligarchic exigencies of confrontation in the struggle for the presidency demanded the Communist Party deputies to make quick decisions today, said the Communist Party leader Petr Simonenko.

10:28. Journalist Tatyana Chornovol says she feels anger or resentment towards the 'executors' of her beating, but wants to punish the organizer and the customer of the beating.

10:46. The laws accepted by the Verkhovna Rada on January 16 conflict with the obligations under the Association Agreement with the European Union, twitted European Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fule.

10:51. Ministry of Environment of the Russian Federation believes that shale gas production in Ukraine may lead to water pollution in the territory of Russia.

10:58. Kyiv Pechersk district court dismissed the claim of the party 'Batkivshchyna' to the Main Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General on the return of property seized during the search of the office of the political party on December 9, 2013.

11:08. Former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko called for the establishment of a resistance movement 'People's Front of Independence' to storm the 'ruling gang'.

11:30. Deputies of the opposition parties 'Udar' and 'Batkivshchyna' Irina Gerashchenko and Elena Kondratenko filed an official request to Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka in connection with the use of force by security forces against journalists on January 10 under the building of Kyiv Sviatoshynsky court.

The document available to LB.ua edition featured three journalists - LB.ua photojournalist Max Levin, his counterpart Alexei Chernyshev from Tsenzor.NET and chief editor of the news agency 'Ryadom s vami' ('Next to you') Elena Belozerskaya.

11:34. Deputy Anatoly Gritsenko decided to leave his elected position.

'I was elected to Ukraine's parliament, not to the North Korean. Workin in the Verkhovna Rada, that with its laws violates basic constitutional rights of 45 million citizens, and instead of strengthening democracy and the rule of law turns the Ukrainian state into a dictatorship, - I can't', wrote Gritsenko in his Facebook.

11:45. According to the police data, a cause of death of the man whose body was found in House of Trade Unions in Kyiv last night was the cardiac insufficiency.

11:45. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko calls on the opposition to challenge in court the vote in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on January 16, 2014.

11:58. Automaidan activists believe that the laws adopted yesterday by the Verkhovna Rada, if they come into force, will not prevent them from holding rallies, said Euromaidan activist Sergei Khadzhinov.

12:06. Kyiv's budget for 2014 will be much less than in 2013. General Fund used to finance the budget sphere, protected articles, and municipal allowances are paid, will make only 11 billion UAH (~1,3 billion) against last year's 16.1 billion UAH (~$2 billion).

12:12. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said that the laws adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine yesterday without debate conflict with Kyiv's international obligations.

12:30. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt believes that it's no longer possible to cooperate with Kyiv the way it was before, and says that the situation should be discussed at the upcoming meeting of the EU as early as Monday, January 20th.

12:56. Ukrainian human rights activists from influential organizations expressed their deep resentment with scandalous law by 'Kolsnichenko-Oliynyk' adopted in the parliament by raising hands on January 16. They are convinced that in this way the Ukrainian authorities declared war to Ukrainian civil society.

The corresponding statement was signed by chairman of the Ukrainian Helsinki Union Nikolai Kozyrev, its executive director and director Arkady Bushchenko and head of Kharkov Human Rights Group Yevhen Zakharov.

13:00. 'Berkut' riot police employees beat and detained a participant of pilgrimage to Kolokolny well, located in Mezhigorie. where President Viktor Yanukovichs's private residence is situated.

According to preliminary reports, the man, local resident Petr Katsymon, was brutally beaten on the body (ribs) and was held in a bus of the security officials for some time.

13:18. The Verkhovna Rada is not going to cancel the results of the vote in the parliament on January 16, said Vladimir Rybak, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada.

13:20. If the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich signs the laws approved in The Verkhovna yesterday, on January 16, this will lead to far more tough suppression of rights in Ukraine that, for example, in Russia.

Russian TV-chanel 'Dozhd' ('Rain') performed a comparative analysis of Ukrainian and Russian legislative initiatives taken a little earlier and considered rigid and undemocratic.

Thus, the criminal codes of both countries have article 'Libel'. But in Russia the maximum penalty on it is five million rubles or compulsory labour, while in Ukraine its up to 2 years of imprisonment.

Next article is criminalization of the riots. In Russia one may be imprisoned for ten years for their organization, whilst in Ukraine it's 15 years.

The violation of the procedure of holding a rally in Russia envisages a penalty of up to 20 thousand rubles, but in Ukraine you may be arrested for up to 10 days.

The maximum penalty for appeals to extremist activities and dissemination of extremist materials in Russia is 3 to 5 years, and in Ukraine it's only 3 years.

Yesterday Ukrainian lawmakers introduced a concept of a 'foreign agent', meaning a public organization receiving funding from abroad, which must register in a special register. In Russia once can be imprisoned for up to two years for violation of this law, whilst the punishment for such violations in Ukraine is not yet entirely clear.

13:30. Podolsky District Court of Kyiv closed proceedings in the case of deprivation of AutoMaidan activist Sergei Dihtyarev of driving license.

13:38. Pechersk District Court of Kyiv closed the criminal case against Yulia Tymoshenko's lawyer Sergey Vlasenko due to the end of the limitation period.

Sergey Vlasenko has been accused of beating his ex-wife Natalia Okunskaya. Tymoshenko believed the case was politically motivated.

14:18. European Parliament President Martin Schulz called on President Viktor Yanukovich not to sign the laws restricting freedoms adopted in the Verkhovna Rada yesterday.

14:39. Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara said that the laws adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on January 16 are 'aimed at the implementation in Ukrainian legislation of a number of standards that already exist in the laws of most European countries'.

14:54. American actor George Clooney appeared at a press conference devoted to the film 'The Monuments Men' in a T-shirt with Yulia Tymoshenko face.

15:03. Verkhovna Rada deputy Roman Zabzalyuk excluded from the opposition 'Batkivshchyna' faction on January 16 withdrew the statement of resignation, said Vladymyr Rybak, Speaker of The Verkhovna Rada.

15:17. Praesidium of the Supreme Soviet of Crimea appealed to the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine with a proposal to consider the termination of activity of the opposition party 'Svoboda'.

15:34. Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko summarized the outcome of the police work in 2013. He said that the Interior Ministry has demonstrated a professional attitude in performing its duties.

15:47. Leaders of the three opposition parties - Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Vitali Klitschko and Oleg Tyahnibok - at a joint meeting in the House of Trade Unions adopted an appeal to the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich with a call not to sign bills that were passed in an unconstitutional way by the Verkhovna Rada on January 16.

16:06. President Viktor Yanukovich signed the law 'On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2014'.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the budget revenues in 2014 constitute 392,6 billion UAH, expenses - 471.3 billion UAH. Revenues of the general fund of the state budget - 342,7 billion UAH, expenses - 409.4 billion UAH. Th elimit of the budget deficit is 71.6 billion UAH or 4.3% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Ukraine. The minimum wage from January 1, 2014 will constitute 1218 UAH, from July 1 - 1250 UAH, from October 1 - 1301 UAH.

16:20. The opposition leaders reacted quietly and without any emotions on the adoption of the bills, restricting the rights and freedoms of the citizens, passed yesterday by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in violation of the parliamentary regulations.

'There was nothing new for us in everything that happened yesterday in the Ukrainian parliament. Everything that Yanukovich does to usurp power - it's their methods, methods of their regime. Their goal is to copy the Russian and North Korean methods. Yanukovich has started learning, little by little, to be a dictator', said 'Svoboda' faction leader Oleg Tyagnibok at a joint press conference on the results of the joint meeting of the opposition leaders.

'The authorities are afraid of what we do. So we will continue to do what we did', he said, adding that the opposition is going to hold the 9th National veche on Sunday, January 19.

'Now we are more interested in the procedure ща the adoption of these bills. Therefore, we are working on our actions, working on various scenarios and our response to these options', stressed Oleg Tyagnibok.

16:33. The opposition leader Yuriy Lutsenko was discharged from the hospital, where he spent a week after been beaten by 'Berkut' fighters on January 11.

16:34. The Supreme Economic Court of Ukraine in December took about ten resorts and hotels away from the Federation of Trade Unions.

16:39. Yulia Tymoshenko appealed to President Viktor Yanukovich with a request not to sign 'humiliating laws adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on January 16 without a vote'.

17:00. More than a hundred non-governmental organizations and activists have signed an appeal to the Ukrainian mobilization.

Appeal with the list of signatories is available on the website change.org.

17:12. Commission of the administration of Kachanovskaya penal colony decided to consider former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's appeal on commutation of prison regime in her presence.

17:45. The opposition party 'UDAR' leader Vitali Klitschko said that he is going to the regions - Eastern Ukraine - to call on people to participate in Euromaidan protests.

18:30. Leaders of the opposition parties 'Batkivshchyna', 'Svoboda' Arsenit Yatsenyuk and Oleg Tyahnibok do not support the idea of nominating a single candidate in the first round of presidential elections. While lawmaker, co-chair of the Parliamentary Cooperation Committee EU-Ukraine and Foreign Minister in 2009-2010 Petr Poroshenko and the opposition party 'UDAR' leader Vitali Klitschko support 'unifying concept', said former Interior Minister, leader of the civil initiative 'Third Ukrainian republic' Yuriy Lutsenko in an interview to LB.ua.

18:37. Donetsk Automaidan will hold its first action near President Viktor Yanukovich family's mansion on Rainisa street 65a-65g in the village Kalinkina (Donetsk) on January 19.

18:59. Secretary-General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland expressed concern about the adoption of several laws affecting fundamental rights in Ukraine.

19:12. European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule said he was shocked by the laws adopted by the Verkhovna Rada and warned that it would have implications for the partnership between Kyiv and Brussels.

19:27. The ruling Party of Regions supported have ended their rally in Mariinsky park near the Verkhovna Rada building.

19:45. Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine unveiled document refuting the myths that exist around the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine.

The document (.Pdf) in particular says:

- it is not true that the costs of the reforms in Ukraine, which are connected with the Association Agreement, reach $160 billion;

- it's a mistake to think that Ukrainian companies can not introduce standards and regulatory requirements of the EU and thus lose the competition for European companies;

- the EU assistance to Ukraine directly is not associated only with the signing of the Association Agreement;

- the Association Agreement is forcing Ukraine to legalize same-sex marriage;

- the Association Agreement has no impact on the problem of Ukrainian producers exporting their products to Russia.

This document will be updated whenever new myths on the Association Agreement appear, said the EU delegation.

20:13. President Viktor Yanukovich signed the laws adopted by the by the Verkhovna Rada on January 16, including scandalous law of authorship by the Party of Regions lawmaker Vladimir Oleynik and Vadim Kolesnichenko.

20:21. President Viktor Yanukovich dismissed Sergei Liovochkin from the position of the head of the Presidential Administration.

20:34. Viktor Yanukovich signed a decree on releasing Gennady Vorobyov from the post of Commander of the Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Reasons for exemption were not disclosed.

20:41. President Viktor Yanukovichs's Press Secretary resigned. Head of the Access to Public Information of the President' Administration Denis Ivanesko and director of the Institute for Strategic Studies Andrei Yermolaev resigned as well. They, in particular, are considered to be Sergei Liovochkin's people, who was dismissed Sergei Liovochkin from the position of the head of the Presidential Administration earlier today.

20:50. Deputy head of Kyiv's 'Berkut' riot police, colonel Nikolai Tyagnyryadniy said that former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko was injured when falling in 5 meters from riot police soldiers.

21:21. President Viktor Yanukovich has appointed Yuri Kolobov as a new Deputy Minister of Finance of Ukraine. Kaptilova Irina was appointed Deputy Minister of Finance - Chif of Staff, whilst was Yuri Shevchenko was dismissed from this post by a presidential decree.

Vladimir Kotsyuba was appointed Deputy Minister of Finance. Earlier Sergey Rybak held this position.

21:40. Commission of the administration of Kachanovskaya penal colony №54 (Kharkoiv region) denied former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko the possibility of transferring to the area of social rehabilitation.

21:56. Head of the U.S. State Department John Kerry said that the laws signed today by President Viktor Yanukovich violate the norms of the OSCE and the EU.

22:10. Prime Minister Nykolai Azarov charged the four ministries to pass the State Property Fund for privatization in late 2013 - the first half of 2014 objects of the total cost of 19-20 billion UAH (~$2,5 billion).

22:30. The headquarters of the national resistance (Euromaidan) have the operative information about the organization of provocations by the authorities on January 18 at Kyiv's Independence Square.

22:45. President Viktor Yanukovich has appointed Sergei Liovochkin dismissed from the post of head of the Presidential Administration his adviser.

23:01. Representatives of Lviv Euromaidan held spent 'a National veche of helmets and gauze bandages'.

23:23. President Viktor Yanukovich dismissed Kiev Sviatoshynsky Court judge of Kyiv region Vitaly Nikushin.

23:48. Leader of the Party of Regions faction Alexander Yefremov said that the opposition was aware of the drafting of the laws that were adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on January 16.

Read next: Ukrainian crisis: January 20

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