UKRAINE UPDATE (from latest to approx 1630 Kyiv time):

The following key events have taken place this evening;

- Parliament dismissed 5 Constitutional Court Judges and proposes that the (interim/new?) President removes those judges who were installed by the President and those judges within the Higher Court Council who were appointed by quota. Furthermore, judges who had contravened their terms of office will also face punishment.

- Unknown arsonists have set alight Communist Party Leader Petro Symonenko's house in the village of Horenka, Kyiv oblast.

- Halyna Hereta (see earlier posting) has fled the country.

- Suspect being questioned for the murder of "Vesty" journalist Viacheslav Veremia.

- Former Minister of Social Politics Natalia Korolevska, who was dismissed from her post earlier today, has emptied her offices of paperwork into two vans and her whereabouts are currently unknown.

- Singer Ruslana is a possible candidate for a ministerial post in the new unity government.

- Sevastopol City Council has voted on favour of creating an emergency "Leadership to secure the functioning of the city" («Управління з життєдіяльності») headed by Russian citizen Oleksandr Chaliy.

- Kharkiv Mayor Hennadiy Kernes tried to broker a peace deal with pro-democracy protesters this evening who are occupying the offices of the Regional State Administration. When asked to remove all titushky" from the streets, Kernes resigned himself to saying that this was now the task of Interior Minister Arseniy Avakov.

- Automaidan leader Dmytro Bulatov has returned to Ukraine. 

- Oleksandr Turchynov has held talks with EU representative Catherine Aston about stabilising the situation in Ukraine.

- 1+1 journalists have appealed to the Ministry of Interior to ensure protection for all journalists. In a statement they cite attacks on 1+1 reporters in eastern and southern parts of Ukraine.

- The former deputy of Ukraine's Secret Services has said that Russian forces engaged in the struggles against the Maidan were paid for by Ukrainian oligarchs and criminals. He also said that he has the evidence to prove this.

- Governor of Kharkiv Region Mykhailo Dobkin says that he plans run for president.

- The OSCE has designated Tim Hildemann as its Special Envoy to Ukraine.

- Speaking in the corridors of Ukraine's parliament today, Viktor Yanukovych's loyal spokesperson Hanna Herman said: "There are enough people around to condemn Yanukovych without me. I do not renounce the people. My American friend told me that for forty days, Christ even spoke with the devil. I think that Yanukovych is not worse than the devil". She then went on to say that it was bad advisers that had led Yanukovych to take criminal decisions: "Unfortunately my humble influence was overcome by our so-called 'hawks' within Yanukovych's circle". Herman also said (sorry... last thing!) that she will resign from the Party of the Regions if it opposes European integration.

- US Vice Secretary of State William Burns will arrive in Kyiv on a visit on 25-26 February.

- Two high raking former officers of the Interior Ministry have been arrested in connection with the disappearance of Ihor Lutsenko and Yuriy Verbytskyy during the crisis. 

- Parliament elects Oleh Makhnytskyj as the new Prosecutor General. 

- Parliament dismisses the acting Minister of Culture, Leonid Novokhatka.

- The whereabouts of Ukraine's former First Lady, Ludmila Yanukovych, are also unknown. Her residence has been left empty.

- Parliament elects Valenty Nalyvaichenko as Head of Ukraine's Secret Services.

- Parliament authorises the Security Services, the Ministry of Interior and the General Prosecutors office to issue border control guards with the names of suspects wanted for questioning in connection with the deaths of protesters and on suspicion of corruption.

- Odessa and Dnipropetrovsk Regional and City Councils have decided to pull down all Lenin statues in their respective areas statues themselves.

- Parliament has temporarily shelved disbanding "Berkut" riot police to ensure that the final motion covers all bases.


1635.Parliament will decide the date of fresh elections to the Verhovna Rada. The provisional date being proposed is 22 June 2014.

1630. Anatoliy Kinakh's new parliamentary group, "Economic Development" has been officially registered in the Ukrainian Parliament. The announcement was made by Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov. The new group has 33 MP's. 

1600. Former acting PM Serhiy Arbuzov's press office has issued a statement on his behalf: "I want to reassure citizens that even though I am hospitalised, I am endeavouring to oversee the activities of the active Cabinet of Ministers,  understanding the extremely complex economic conditions that exist in the country following the exhausting political adversities".. Head of Sumy Regional State Adminstration, Ihor Yahovdyk, resigns.

1530. Eight statues of Lenin have now been demolished in Eastern Ukraine's Dnipropetrovsk region, including in Dnipropetrovsk, Kryvyy Rih and Nikopol.

1529. After saying that there is noone to do business with in Ukraine and that the legitimacy of the the new authorities there are highly questionable, Russian PM Dmytro Medvedev said (in response to questions from reporters) that he was not aware whether Mykola Azarov was in Russia but "everyone has the right to choose their place of residence, including the former Prime Minister named by you".

1520: According to a report issued by ZN.ua, Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin held a telephone conversation yesterday yesterday during which they agreed on the joint interest in the need for the situation in Ukraine being stabilised and its territorial integrity retained.

1515. The incredible figures about what and how much was spent to furnish Yanukovych's lifestyle in Mezhyhirya continue to be released. The latest extravagance to be revealed is that 30.66 million Euros were spent on mirrors!

1440. Hlavkom has published a copy of a telegram sent by Yuriy Illiyin, the man appointed last week by Viktor Yanukovych to take control of the armed forces. It was widely reported the the man Illiyin had replaced, Volodymyr Zamana, had refused to allow the army to be used in quashing the anti-government protests taking place throughout the country. On 20 February, almost immediately after taking up his post, Illiyin wrote a telegram to some of the strongest sections of the army (that include special forces and snipers). It confirms that Illiyin and his leadership were prepared to deploy the army in quashing the revolution with the use of arms.

1420. Discussions about EU Association and DCFT agreements will take place after announcement of new government.

1410. Vitaliy Bilous has been named as interim Prosecutor General. Born in the Donetsk oblast, he was deputy Prosecutor General to Viiktor Pshonka from 23 October 2013 to the present.

1400. Cox and Kwasniewski call on EU to urgently support Ukraine to protect her territorial integrity and to speedily help with the development of democracy and justice.

1345. Party of the Regions to announce its candidate for President next week after it holds its party conference on 1 March.

1340: Luhansk regional TV continues to scaremonger viewers about invasion of "Banderites". Regional TV in Luhansk is under the control of Regionnaire Rodion Miroshnyk, former press secretary to Party of the Regions head, Oleksandr Yefremov.. Press secretary of Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) calls on Russians not to refer to Ukrainans as "fascists" or "banderites".

1330. Halyna Hahera, secretary of the Kyiv Rada resigns.

1325: Yefermov: Regionnaire MP's resigning from party with "tears in their eyes". So far, 74 Regionnaire MP's have resigned.

1320: Donetsk Metropolitan Ilarion (Moscow Patriarchate) says Viktor Yanukovych not hiding in Nikol Monastery.

1315. Yefremov's announcement that the Party of the Regions has distanced itself from Viktor Yanukovych appears to have provoked a reaction from legionnaire supporters who are mobilising anti-Ukrainian "counter-revolutionary committees" in the Luhansk region.

1240. Lenin statue in village of Zuya, Bilohirsk rain, Crimea, is pulled down.

1235. Mayor of Yalta and governor of Sevastopol resign.

1230. Speaker Turchynov confirms new government will be formed tomorrow.

1217. More on Yefremov announcement that his Party has decided to go into opposition. He made this announcement during a meeting of leaders of parliamentary political factions who were meeting to discuss forthcoming Parliamentary agenda. He was interrupted by the leader of the Radical Party, Oleh Lyashko, who demanded that Yefremov false to his knees. Lyashko shouted: "It is not you tat divide to go into opposition, it is the people that have put you there. Repent for those killed!". Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov intervened. Yefremov continued: "We are all learning from our mistakes. One side today feels pain and transformation while the other side - euphoria".

1215. Lenin statue in Pervomaisk, Mykolayiv oblast, demolished.

1210. Turchynov announces that presidential campaign in Ukraine will commence tomorrow.: Lenin statue in Novhorod-Volynsky demolished.

1145. Head of Party of the Regions Yefremov announces that his party has accepted a decision to become the opposition in Parliament.

1144: Yatseniuk announces that the new coalition government (which should be announced by tomorrow) should include representatives of the Maidan.

1130: China announces it will not interfere in Ukraine's internal affairs and will continue to develop mutual Sino-Ukrainian cooperation.

1115: Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski calls for new leadership in Ukraine to be authenticated by early elections.

1043. Ex-President Vikotor Yanukovych and members of his inner circle are now officially wanted on charges of "mass murder of innocent protesters". 

1020: Oleksandr Bryhyncia says that Viktor Yanukovych is currently hiding in the St Nikhol monastery, Volnovaskyj raion, Donetsk region. This latest allegation comes on the back of a Facebook posting on the new Interior Minister's Facebook page showing a handwritten note - in Ukrainian - attributed to Yanukovych (see photo) saying: "From 24 February 2014, I President of Ukraine am refusing state security in accordance with Article 8 of the Law of Ukraine "About state security for state leaders and officials of Ukraine. (Signature V.F. Yanukovych)" 

1000: Statue to Serhiy Kirov in Kirovohrad pulled down by pro-democracy protesters. Kirov was a prominent Soviet political activist and member of the Soviet Politbureau. He was killed in 1934 in Leningrad. His statue was erected in 1937.

1000. Presidential governor in Ternopil resigns.

0955. Kyiv metro fully restored.

0900. Euromaidan meeting in Kharkiv continues to block access to Regional Governor's office demanding the resignation of Mykhailo Dobkin and city mayor Hennadiy Kernes.

0800: Journalist Mustafa Nayeem has published documents in which former Prosecutor General Pshonka called on Viktor Yanukovych to impose martial law. (We will post a copy of this letter separately).

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