25 January, 14:33

Protesters collecting weapons in Kiev City Administration building - Ukrainian interior minister

Protesters collecting weapons in Kiev City Administration building - Ukrainian interior minister

Ukrainian Interior Minister, Vitaly Zakharchenko, claims the opposition is stock-piling firearms in the Kiev City Administration building and that a conflict between different protester groups is worsening.

"The events of the last several days in the capital of Ukraine have shown that our attempts to resolve the conflict peacefully, without resorting to forcible confrontation, were futile. Our calls have not been heard, and the truce agreement has been broken," Zakharchenko said in an open statement on Saturday.

"Information obtained by the law enforcement agencies indicates that firearms are being stock-piled at the Trade Unions House and the Kiev City Administration building," Zakharchenko said.

Yanukovych fires Kiev city administration head

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has fired Oleksandr Popov as head of the Kiev City Administration and appointed parliamentarian Volodymyr Makeyenko of the Party of Regions in his place, in line with decrees published on the presidential website on Saturday.

Before the appointment, Makeyenko headed the Verkhovna Rada committee on the rules of procedure, parliamentary ethics, and parliamentary functions.

Popov was suspended as the Kiev City Administration head after the special police task force Berkut dispersed an opposition rally on Independence Square in Kiev on November 30, 2013.

Riots in Kiev continues: protesters seize three policemen, one stabbed

In Independence Square in the Ukrainian capital, where a mass opposition rally is taking place, three law enforcement officers were captured on Friday evening.

According to Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs, "the so-called security on Independence Square attacked three police officers who were on duty." One of them was stabbed.

It is reported that the captured policemen were held in the Kiev City State Administration building, which is under opposition control.

The wounded policeman has already been released and hospitalized. The fate of the other two policemen is still unknown, reported MIA.

Read also:                                                                 - US, EU increasingly aware of danger of flirting with Ukrainian opposition – Lavrov

Mass unrest has resumed in Grushevsky street in the center of Kiev. Stones and Molotov cocktails are being hurled at police.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said in a special statement that "despite prolonged negotiations between the opposition and the authorities, as well as preliminary truce agreements, some radical groups beyond the protest leaders’ control have resumed attempts to provoke police into using force".

Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko told the public and Interior Ministry personnel that the police were prepared for a peace settlement to the conflict on condition that previously concluded agreements were observed.

"These calls fell on the rioters’ deaf ears," the Interior Ministry said.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry has warned Radical Party leader Oleg Lyashko, a member of the national parliament, he may be indicted on criminal charges for threats against law enforcement officials.

"Murder or violence threats against police, as well as their relatives, in any way related to performing official duties is punishable as a criminal offence," the Interior Ministry said.

The corresponding article of Ukraine’s Criminal Code is applicable to Lyashko’s public calls on TV for detaining police, the statement runs.

Ukrainian truce teeters as protesters erect new barricades in Kiev centre

An agreed cessation of hostilities in Kiev is at risk. The protesters are building barricades in downtown Kiev despite the recent decision to look for ways to settle the crisis in the next day or two. The agreement was reached following four-hour talks between Ukraine's President Victor Yanukovych and opposition leaders.

President Viktor Yanukovych proposed to free detained protesters in return for a temporary cease-fire but amid deep uncertainty that antigovernment demonstrators would accept the tentative deal.

"The sides discussed the need to immediately vacate illegally seized buildings, a possible amnesty campaign and other issues that may be debated during a special [parliamentary] session, which won approval from the participants in the talks," Ukrainian Justice Minister Olena Lukash, who is also a member of the group looking for a solution to the current political crisis in Ukraine, said in a statement, published on the president's website.

Protesters began erecting fresh barricades around their camp in central Kiev in the early hours of Friday after heckling opposition leaders who emerged from a four-hour meeting with the Ukrainian leader with a potential compromise aimed at halting violent clashes with police.

Vitaly Klitschko, leader of the party "UDAR" (Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms), when speaking before opposition supporters who gathered in Independence Square here early Friday, called for a "general strike".

"Today's authorities have to face a general strike! If we stick together, it will be impossible to defeat us. We shall live in a new Ukraine even this year," the oppositionist declared.

Klitschko's speech was accompanied with calls "to launch an attack" and "go only forward".

Opposition leaders continue to addresss those present, telling them about the outcome of talks with President Viktor Yanukovych. Their speeches are interrupted by protesters' shouts and whistling.

Read also:

- Ukrainian opposition rejects government's terms, promises to continue talks

- Ukrainian opposition leaders agreed with President Yanukovych on armistice and release of detainees

- Ashton to meet with Ukrainian president, opposition leaders

- Ukrainian gov't will step down if parliament demands it – PM Azarov

- President Putin, Russian Security Council members discuss Ukraine, Syria

- Events in Ukraine are coup attempt, early presidential elections impossible - PM Azarov

Voice of Russia, Interfax, RIA, AFP, TASS, WSJ

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