Sunday, January 26
At least 311 police officers have been injured in the Kiev riots, 118 of whom have been hospitalized with head injuries, fractures, burns, and stab and slash wounds. Some have also been poisoned by “unknown substances,” the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said in a Sunday statement.
The ministry’s press service also informed UNIAN news agency that 116 people have been detained in connection with the mass riots in central Kiev and that a criminal investigation into “mass disorder” on Grushevskogo Street has been opened.
Several people who were previously convicted, including those who have been charged with especially grave crimes, are among the detained.
Pope Francis on Sunday called for “constructive dialogue” in Ukraine, saying he was praying in the Vatican for the country and for those who have lost their lives in the ongoing unrest there. Following the Pope’s speech to thousands of faithful who gathered in St. Peter’s Square, two doves were released by children standing alongside his holiness.
However, as soon as the birds of peace took off, they were immediately attacked by a crow and a seagull. The crowd gasped as one dove broke free from the gull, losing some feathers, and another one was repeatedly pecked at by the crow. It was not clear what happened to the doves after they flew off.
— Jana Kasperkevic (@kasperka) January 26, 2014
A dove released during an Angelus prayer conducted by Pope Benedict XVI, is attacked by a seagull in Saint Peter’s square at the Vatican January 26, 2014 (Reuters / Alessandro Bianchi)
“The common thought voiced at almost all of those rallies is supporting the president and calling for the mayhem happening in several regions to end… The speakers are also demanding to abide by the Constitution of Ukraine,” Chechesov said.
Earlier on Sunday, five people described as provocateurs were detained at a pro-government rally by the police. A group of masked people with clubs briefly clashed with members of the rally, prompting police intervention. One man received a head injury after being hit with a club, Itar-Tass reports.
Protesters occupied an administrative building in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Sumy, proclaiming “People’s Rada” – an alternative regional parliament. The occupation of the building followed an opposition rally that claimed to have gathered 5,000 people. No clashes or resistance were reported during the taking of the building.
Meanwhile in Zaporozhye, the authorities have opened a criminal investigation into the attempt to storm the administrative building there. The attempt followed negotiations with a local city administration official, with media reports saying it was led by “radicals.” According to reports on Twitter, several people were injured in explosions from police stun grenades.
Hundreds of protesters, who gathered near government buildings in the southern Ukrainian cities of Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk, are being urged to storm the buildings, say reports on Twitter.
Earlier in Dnepropetrovsk, protesters who attempted to breach the barriers cordoning off the city administration building clashed with a group of men in sports uniform, Interfax-Ukraine said, citing local media.
— Nick (@NickSerkoff) January 26, 2014
The majority of people in Odessa do not support the rioters, the head of the city’s administration, Nikolay Skorik, told Itar-Tass. According to Skorik, the people have voiced their desire for the “stability and integrity of the country.”
Sunday’s riots in the south of Ukraine have been described as a daring action by the opposition, as this part of the country is traditionally considered to be supportive of President Yanukovich and his Party of Regions.
Hundreds of anti-government protesters have besieged a city administration building in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporozhye. Footage from the scene showed a large crowd of protesters facing off against a police line at the main entrance to the building. Media reports said there was an attempt to storm the premises, but there was no immediate confirmation of any demonstrators breaking inside.
Taking a photo of himself wearing protective helmet and vest, RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky says he “still can’t get used to the fact that this is the average Kiev selfie now.”
Ceasefire in Kiev. Protesters reinforcing barricades and mourning a deceased activist. Traditional Sunday rally has been cancelled
— Alexey Yaroshevsky (@Yaro_RT) January 26, 2014
- Ukraine defence minister rules out army’s interference in conflict(en.itar-tass.com)
- Ruling Party of Regions, Communist party banned in two Ukraine western regions(en.itar-tass.com)