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Official clarification of the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Mr. Vitaliy Zakharchenko regarding the peaceful gatherings in Ukraine
09 December 2013 10:30

The peaceful gatherings in Ukraine began on November 24. For about a week they, indeed, had been exclusively peaceful.

On November 30 aggressive young men came to Maidan. They started building fences, throwing stones at the police and using tear gas.

When their actions crossed the law, the special police unit ‘Berkut’ intervened. The young men merged with the crowd and the police could not sort them out. Unfortunately, during the fight those who were not involved in the clashes were injured as well.

The police admit their guilt and apologize.

Then, a new ‘Euromaidan’ followed. Peaceful gatherings gained a completely different hue. Slogans and demands became political. That is to say, someone wanted to take advantage of a changed nature of people’s expression. And the next day everything became clear.

Let me draw your attention to the fact that the day before an increased activity on far-right forums came to notice.

I am talking about the far-right, racist, and xenophobic organizations such as ‘Bratstvo’, ‘Svoboda’ and football ultras groups. Their militants were the main strike force of ‘Euromaidan’. They carried out security functions on the square. Journalists wrote about them as wearing ‘Patriot of Ukraine’ yellow armbands.

In their forums, ultras do not hide that it was them who put up the fight with the ‘Berkut’.

Thus, since December 1 the issue of Ukrainian European integration has not being heard on the streets. There have been only political appeals for resignation of the Government and the change of power.

Without taking the blame from the police, I would like to emphasize that the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine is concerned that a majority of national mass media generally present information in a distorted, one-sided and biased way.

Also some MPs, exploiting their public recognition, misinform the society.  

Now, I would like to speak about certain events in more detail.

Seizure of administrative buildings is a crime in any country. Ukraine is not an exception in this regard.

Occupation by protesters of the premises of the Kyiv City State Administration, the Trade Unions building, the international Centre of Culture and Arts “October Palace”, calls to attacks on the Presidential Administration and other government buildings constitute violation of the law and are subject to criminal liability.

Unfortunately, those who encourage people to act this way have parliamentary immunity. Are they right in relation to their electorate?  Time will give us an answer.

The attack on the Presidential Administration building lasted nearly five hours. The internal security units withstood the pressure of the protesters. The attackers stormed the security line by tractor, used chains, stones, hammers, threw Molotov cocktails, sprayed tear gas, poked flame torches in the faces of the servicemen. It is exactly after these actions that the special police unit ‘Berkut’ was engaged.

In total 156 police officers were injured, 126 of them were hospitalized, 4 of them in serious condition.

Currently, the police are in a difficult situation. On the one hand, they have to ensure public order and calm. On the other hand, any attempts to stop illegal and provocative actions will be defined as a violation of the right to peaceful assembly. Therefore, in my capacity as the Interior Minister I have repeatedly appealed to the people not to cross the law and to act under the legislation in force only.

The cases of violation of the law will be carefully examined and scrutinized.

Following the investigation the police officers who exceeded their authority will be punished.

Will the organizers and participants of illegal actions be punished? It behoves the prosecutor's office and courts to decide.

Today, in their speeches some politicians call for making the lists of ‘Euromaidan’ foes. This doesn’t exclude the possibility of threats toward such persons or their relatives. The list includes judges, officers of the special police unit ‘Berkut’, investigators and others.

Threats of this kind constitute an element of crime according to the national legislation.

Such acts entail criminal liability.

One can also hear statements about innocence of persons suspected in committing crimes before relevant court rulings.

Such actions are qualified as interference in the work of the judiciary, which entails responsibility under the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Article 376).

Currently, under the pretext of ‘European integration’ new actions against the government and the police are being prepared.

I am confident that over some time the emotions will settle down and the situation will become clearer not only to the citizens of Ukraine, but to the international community as well.

I would like to ask you to be impartial in your analyses of the current events in Ukraine and to use information from as many sources as possible.

Thank you for your support and constructive criticism. I can assure you that Ukraine is interested in cooperation and friendly relations with Europe.

 

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