Political crisis in Ukraine is result of western support for opposition - Russian Foreign Ministry
18 February 2014, 16:33
Russia on Tuesday blamed the policies of Western countries for the latest clashes between pro-EU protesters and police on the streets of Kiev.
'What is happening is a direct consequence of the policy of connivance among those Western politicians and European agencies that have been shutting their eyes to the aggressive actions of Ukraine's radical forces since the beginning of the crisis,' the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
Pro-gov't activists vow to fend off Maidan aggressors
Pro-government activists have gathered outside the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev to stand up against Maidan aggressors after reports suggested that radicals were mounting an attack on police cordons.
Journalists report sighting helmet-wearing men with sticks that are flocking to the frontline. They are said to be tearing off cobble stones and pulling them on blankets closer to the site of clashes. Radicals allegedly spot red-and-white ribbons that let them identify allies.
All obstacles are being moved out of the way, including tents. One of the makeshift tents reportedly caught fire after it was hit with an explosive combat pack and burned down to smoldering ashes within an hour.
A rival rally of pro-government protesters under the Party of Regions banner is under way near the parliament building. Demonstrators call for an "end to fascism and nazism" and vow support to President Viktor Yanukovich.
Reporters talk about whiffs of smoke in the government compound and smell of burning tires coming from the juncture between the Europe Square and Grushevsky Street, which have seen the most of recent protest action.
Ukraine's Berkut troops are gradually pushing the crowd away from the Regions Party office in downtown Lipetskaya Street. The mob has moved to the juncture between the Lipetskaya and Institutskaya Streets, with Maidan Defense activists in the frontline. Their ranks are swelling.
A large group of anti-governemnt protesters has gathered near the Manuilsky monument, while police have cordoned off Lipetskaya Street near the Regions HQ. Some radicals earlier tore down the metal fence around the party's compound, broke into the courtyard and set a car alight. Others allegedly seized all office files. A sscore of women staff inside the headquarters have fled the building, while security officers are reported to still be inside.
Kiev protest march spirals off into mass clashes
Tensions are running high in the heart of Kiev after a protest march in the Mariinsky park near the Ukrainian parliament spiraled off into massive clashes between activists and riot police. Interior Ministry troops are reported to be under attack, with protesters throwing fire crackers and handmade explosives at the police.
Some of the most violent activists are said to be tearing cobble stones off the pavement and piling them closer to police cordons. One officer has allegedly been injured in the clashes and rushed into the safety of a police camp.
Violence in the Mariinsky park flared off near a police cordon that divided two rival rallies – those in support and against the ruling Party of Regions – outside the parliament building in Kiev. Pro-government protesters set up a podium in the park and called on the rally to mobilize the country.
A speaker has reportedly been urging the crowd to move to the left of the tent camp to "show support to the soldiers" of Interior Ministry troops there.
A group of anti-government radicals have meanwhile attacked the Regions Party HQ in Lipetskaya Street in Kiev. According to a Ukrainian news agency, masked attackers have set the party's flag on fire and are now smashing the office windows with stones. Office staff are pouring water at the raving mob.
Reporters say a Molotov cocktail has hit one of the windows, which is now ablaze. They say some radicals have been scaling the fence in an attempt to get at the front door of the besieged building.
Ukraine parliament registers move to bring back 2004 Constitution – vice speaker
The Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada, the upper-house parliament, has allegedly registered the opposition's initiative to bring back the 2004 Constitution. This is according to Ruslan Koshylinskiy, parliament's vice-speaker.
"We've registered it and received the registration number," he said.
According to the opposition, Verkhovna Rada's Chairman Vladimir Rybak is holding a meeting with leaders of the major parliamentary factions. They will allegedly discuss whether to put the return of the 2004 Constitution on the agenda.
Earlier, opposition demanded that the 2004 Constitution initiative be scheduled for parliamentary debate on February 18. The parliament has up until now been rejecting all attempts to put the initiative through.
Voice of Russia
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