Saturday, 29 March 2014

Moscow has warned about this for weeks

Masked 'Right Sector' nationalists besiege Ukrainian Parliament
The Ukrainian parliament is witnessing a second day of picketing, as hundreds of Right Sector activists pressure MPs to sack the interior minister.


RT,
28 February, 2014



Earlier other protesters tried to force their way into Kiev’s Rada to stop a vote on austerity measures.

Just a month after street protests forced President Viktor Yanukovich from the country, Ukrainian capital faces a new wave of anti-government demonstrations.
The worst action against the authorities is staged by the Right Sector, an umbrella organization of radical activists, who played the key part in the February bloody stand-off. At least a thousand of the activists are standing guard around the Verkhovna Rada building on Friday demanding that the MPs vote on sacking the freshly-appointed interior minister.

 The protesters accuse Arsen Avakov of ordering what they call a political assassination of one of their leaders, Aleksandr Muzychko. The notorious Right Sector brute, who made media waves in Ukraine thanks to videos of him bullying officials and threatening to hang Avakov, was gunned down in a police raid aimed at arresting him.
Right Sector vowed revenge for their comrade’s death and for a second day are attempting to pressure Ukrainian lawmakers into sacking Avakov. A draft bill to that effect has been filed with the parliament on Friday by an independent MP, a move which may have stopped a planned siege of the building by the radicals.


The legislators do not appear to be happy with the protest rally at their doorstep. Speaker Aleksandr Turchinov, who was also appointed acting president of Ukraine, branded the Right Sector’s actions a provocation.
The Ukrainian parliament is the foundation of the legitimate Ukrainian power. Without this foundation there would be no power at all,” he said.


There is an attempt to destabilize the situation in Ukraine, it its center, in its heart, in Kiev,” Turchinov added, further alleging that the Right Sector activist may be agent provocateurs hired by Russia. He didn’t explain how exactly Moscow, which put Right Sector leader on the international wanted list, can give orders to the fiercely nationalistic organization.

Supporters of the right wing party Pravyi Sector (Right Sector) read newspaper as they protest in front of the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on March 28, 2014. (AFP Photo / Genya Savilov)
Supporters of the right wing party Pravyi Sector (Right Sector) read newspaper as they protest in front of the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on March 28, 2014. (AFP Photo / Genya Savilov)


Amid the confrontation an unconfirmed report claimed that the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are debating whether they should issue sanctions against Right Sector or completely outlaw it.

The idea is reportedly supported by the chair of the Ukrainian national security service Andrey Parubiy, who also happens to have strong links with the main competitor of the Right Sector among radical activists, the Maidan Self-Defense. Members of the alternative organization are being recruited en mass into the freshly created Ukrainian National Guard, while Right Sector activists are reportedly reluctant to join in.
Supporters of the right wing party Pravyi Sector (Right Sector) protest in front of the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev on March 28, 2014. (AFP Photo / Ganya Savilov)
Supporters of the right wing party Pravyi Sector (Right Sector) protest in front of the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev on March 28, 2014. (AFP Photo / Ganya Savilov)


The confrontation between the government and the Right Sector received an unexpected twist on Thursday, when an alleged phone conversation between two officers of the Sokol (Falcon) special service unit was leaked on YouTube. The people were discussing a special operation similar to the one with Muzychko being prepared against Yarosh on the order of Ukrainian Security Service head Valentin Nalivaychenko. The authenticity of the tape remains under question.
Meanwhile less-radical Ukrainians find their own reasons to restart street protest. 

On Thursday a group of several dozen people tried to force their way into the parliament just as MPs were preparing to vote on a package of austerity measures suggested by the government. The protesters demanded that the package was dropped and for greater transparency of the government work.

The protest may have worked, since MPs didn’t pass the anti-crisis package in the first vote and had to vote again.
Supporters of the right wing party Pravyi Sector (Right Sector) protest in front of the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev on March 28, 2014. (AFP Photo / Genya Savilov)
Supporters of the right wing party Pravyi Sector (Right Sector) protest in front of the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev on March 28, 2014. (AFP Photo / Genya Savilov)
Still from RUPTLY video
Still from RUPTLY video
Men climb onto the parliament building as activists of the Right Sector movement and their supporters gather to demand the immediate resignation of Internal Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov, in Kiev March 27, 2014. (Reuters / Valentyn Ogirenko)
Men climb onto the parliament building as activists of the Right Sector movement and their supporters gather to demand the immediate resignation of Internal Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov, in Kiev March 27, 2014. (Reuters / Valentyn Ogirenko)




Putin, Obama discuss political chaos in Ukraine
The Ukrainian parliament is witnessing a second day of picketing, as hundreds of Right Sector activists pressure MPs to sack the interior minister.


RT,
28 February, 2014

Russian president held a phone conversation with Barack Obama to discuss possible scenarios of stabilizing the chaotic social and political situation in Ukraine. Putin once again highlighted the ongoing extremism rampant in Kiev as well as other regions

The leaders spoke for about an hour on Friday, discussing the situation in Ukraine. Vladimir Putin drew Obama’s attention to the continuing acts of intimidation against civilians as well as government and law enforcement agencies conducted by extremists in Ukraine, the Kremlin said in a statement.
In this context, the Russian leader proposed to President Obama to consider possible steps that the international community can take to help stabilize the situation.
Meanwhile, in a statement from the White House, Washington said that a phone call was a follow up of a proposal presented by Secretary of State John Kerry to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, at the Hague earlier this week. No details on the proposal was given, but it also allegedly involves diplomatic solution to Ukraine.
Both leaders agreed that the specific parameters of such a cooperation will be discussed by the foreign ministers of Russia and the United States.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin.(AFP Photo / Alexei Nikolsky)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin.(AFP Photo / Alexei Nikolsky)
In the meantime, the UN Security Council held another closed meeting on Ukraine on Friday. After the discussions, ambassador Vitaly Churkin spoke to the press, once again outlining Russia’s position in this crisis.
Someone must seriously think through what they are doing and the consequences of certain actions they are advocating,” Churkin said. Our international partners insist that the only way out is to have this presidential election on May 25. In a situation of political chaos in the country? What will be the effect of those elections if some of the regions do not participate or turnout is very low in the course of those elections?”

Russia keeps insisting that Ukraine needs a constitutional reform before any elections could take place that would be both legitimate and relieve the chaotic situation in the country.
There is no political leader in sight who might be able to unite the country. All the politicians one can hear about are extremely divisive for the Ukrainian society,” Churkin explained. The other thing that is going to come up in the next couple of months is most likely dramatic decline of the living standards of people, because of IMF package which now has been proposed to them.”

Vitaly Churkin, Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to the media after a closed-door session of the Security Council to discuss the situation in Ukraine March 28, 2014 at UN headquarters in New York.(AFP Photo / Stan Honda)
Vitaly Churkin, Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to the media after a closed-door session of the Security Council to discuss the situation in Ukraine March 28, 2014 at UN headquarters in New York.(AFP Photo / Stan Honda)

Churkin said that Western partners as well as Ukrainian representatives keep urging Russia to engage in a dialogue – at the same time turning a deaf ear to what Russia is saying.
If you want dialogue, please respond to what we’ve been saying. They are responding, sometimes, but the response is that: ‘Well, but you know, the Ukrainians.. We understand the importance of constitution, but how can they do it now? Can they do this constitutional assembly? There is no one to organize the constitutional assembly!”

Well, if there is nobody to organize, maybe this is exactly the role of the international community? This Compact support group we have been proposing to help them organize those things if there is nobody currently in Ukraine who can take this responsibility,” Churkin said.

Our position is very clear,” Churkin said, adding it is disappointing that those things which are obvious to us do not seem to sink in in the minds of our international interlocutors and our Ukrainian colleagues.”

The current constitution in Ukraine does not provide for sufficient rights of the regions, Churkin explained. Regardless of whether you consider the 2010 document or the law of 2004 to which Ukraine reverted a day before the coup deposed the government.

In Ukraine, every time a new president comes in, they change a constitution. They change the constitution to suit a particular politician, a particular set-up play between various political forces at a given moment,” Churkin explained.

Local governors appointed by Kiev can hardly be considered public representatives, Churkin said, pointing out that those same corrupt oligarchs whom the people were standing against on Maidan now rule in the Eastern Ukraine.

This is what they do in Ukraine, they send people from Kiev, sometimes with very bad reputation. You know, notorious corrupt oligarchs have recently been sent from Kiev to eastern part of Ukraine. And of course people don’t like it. They want to be able themselves to elect their governors, they want to be assured that somebody in Kiev will not switch off their Russian language TV receivers, that they will be able to speak their mother tongue. So, all those things we believe need to be reflected in a new constitution which could become the result of the constitutional reform and the referendum.”



Against democratic principles’: EU’s Ashton denounces nationalists’ pressure on Ukraine parliament

The lawless actions of Ukraine's nationalists have finally caught attention of the intl community, with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton denouncing Right Sector for its ‘pressure’ and ‘undemocratic’ demand of the interior minister’s resignation


RT,
28 February, 2014

A day after neo-Nazi activists who helped bring the acting government in Kiev to power turned against it, Ashton has issued a statement condemning the pressure by activists of the Right Sector who have surrounded the building of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.”

This intimidation” the EU foreign policy chief believes, stands against all “democratic principles and rule of law,” as Ashton called on the ultra-right group to refrain from the use or threat of violence.”

Ashton stressed the need to hand over any unauthorised arms to the authorities immediately.”

At the same time she welcomed the impartial and credible investigation into the circumstances of the death of Aleksandr Muzychko,” whose death in a police shootout led to the latest showdown outside the parliament in Kiev.
The US Embassy in Kiev and the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine also issued a statement 'condemning' the Right Sector tactics at the Verkhovna Rada.

We welcome the statements of Pravy Sector’s leadership that they intend to keep their actions 'within the framework of the law." We urge all political forces to distance themselves from extremists, who undermine the efforts to stabilize Ukraine and to protect its sovereignty,” the joint statement read.

On Wednesday night, several hundred neo-Nazi activists from the Right Sector and their supportersbesieged the parliament building, pressuring lawmakers to sack the newly appointed Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. The Right Sector believes that Avakov is personally responsible for ordering what they call a political assassination of one of their leader, Aleksandr Muzychko, who was killed in a special operation in a city of Rovno on Tuesday.

Avakov said that he is ready to resign if ordered, but wondered what would happen to Ukraine if he does.
Resigning is not a problem for me, it wasn't three days ago, it isn’t now. I can do it immediately. The problem is, what direction will the country take in this case. We will move toward acting like the victorious gangs in Somalia, or we move in the direction of order? I prefer order,” Inter-fax quotes him as saying.


Activists of the Right Sector movement and their supporters gather outside the parliament building to demand the immediate resignation of Internal Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov, in Kiev March 27, 2014.(Reuters / Maks Levin)
Activists of the Right Sector movement and their supporters gather outside the parliament building to demand the immediate resignation of Internal Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov, in Kiev March 27, 2014.(Reuters / Maks Levin)


Aleksandr Turchynov, the self-proclaimed President of Ukraine earlier on Friday has called the Right Sector's tactics an attempt to destabilize the situation in Ukraine, in the very heart of Ukraine – Kiev.”


Yet the Right Sector's bullying techniques seem to work as the parliament on Friday registered a new bill aimed at deposing the Interior Minister. There is no date set for the reading of the bill, but local media outlets say it could happen as early as next Friday.

Earlier in the day, the Verkhovna Rada set up an interim investigation commission into the death of Muzychko nicknamed Sashko Bilyi. The Interior Ministry in the meantime announced plans to unveil the audio files related to the attempted arrest and subsequent killing of Muzychko.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs will disclose all documents, material, video and audio evidence,” Avakov said on his Facebook page.

The ongoing extremism rampant in Kiev as well as other regions was the topic of Friday’s phone conversation between the Russian an US leaders.

The reason for concern is simple. The Right Sector has secured a reputation of an organization that uses threatening violent tactics to achieve their objectives. In addition, it is widely believed that the ultra-nationalist paramilitary structure is in possession of a vast arms arsenal that has gone missing from military depots during the February unrest in Ukraine.

The growing strength of the Right Sector and their overwhelming bullying tactics are allegedly forcing informal discussions by Ukraine’s security officials to ban the movement, according to unconfirmed reports. Only a month after street protests – in which the Right Sector played a central role – forced President Viktor Yanukovich from the country, the movement is seen as an increasing threat to those who now cling to power in Kiev, as well as ordinary people across the country



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