Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Ukraine

New Ukraine Government To Be Presented At Independence Square

Berkut riot police have been widely criticized for their violent response.
Berkut riot police have been widely criticized for their violent response.

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Reporter's Notebook: Bunking With The Berkut

The Berkut is Ukraine's most feared special-forces unit and is being vilified by tens of thousands of protesters in the capital, Kyiv. RFE/RL's Tom Balmforth happened to share a train cabin with two Berkut veterans and talked politics with them over vodka, cognac, salo, and quail eggs.
By RFE/RL
Representatives of the protesters who brought down President Viktor Yanukovych and leaders of Ukraine's mainstream political parties have agreed that the lineup of a new national unity government will be presented to the Ukrainian people on Kyiv's Independence Square.

The Maidan Council announced that the new government will be presented at a public assembly on Independence Square on the evening of February 26.

Independence Square, also known as the Maidan, was the focus of three months of antigovernment protests against Yanukovych.

Valeriy Patskan from the UDAR party said Maidan representatives will be included in the government.

Oleksander Turchynov, the speaker of the parliament and Ukraine's acting president, has said the legislature would form a new national unity government on February 27.

Berkut Breakup

Meanwhile, Acting Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said he has signed an order to disband the country's Berkut special police force.

Avakov, who was named interior minister on February 22, said on his Facebook page that he had signed an order on February 25 banning the riot police.

The Berkut has been blamed by antigovernment protesters for violent attacks against demonstrators.

In Focus: What Are Yanukovych's Options?

Avakov said on Facebook that "there is no Berkut any longer."

He said further details about the order will be given at a special briefing on February 26.

There are thought to be some 4,000 Berkut troops, who are well-trained and specialize in riot control and rapid-response operations.

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Ukraine should not become a battleground between East and West.

He said the country is going through an "extraordinary transition" and the issue is about "Ukrainians making their choice about the future."

Kerry made his remarks in Washington after meeting with his British counterpart, William Hague.

Kerry said Washington wants to work with Russia and others "to make sure this is peaceful from this day forward."

Kerry and Hague discussed urgent financial help for Kyiv.

Hague said Washington and London "see this in exactly the same way," adding "this is about the rights of...a free, democratic Ukraine to make their own decisions."

Hague said Kyiv's new leaders must prove they are willing to tackle reforms and corruption in exchange for financial support from the international community.

Based on reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS

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