Several hundred protesters have reportedly tried to break into the Ukrainian president’s administrational office in the country’s capital Kiev, but were repelled by security forces guarding the building. The stand-off grew into clashes in the street.
The demonstrators, who demand access to the administration’s conference room in order to make a TV statement, are still clashing with the National Guard, TASS reports.
Earlier, protesters managed to break through the first cordon of security forces, but were prevented from entering the building.
The rioters’ demands include the introduction of martial law in Ukraine over the fighting with the rebels in the southeast of the country. They also insisted on the resignation of the heads of all Ukrainian security agencies, from defense minister to prosecutor general, due to their incompetence.
The Ukrainian Interior Ministry has, however, denied there were any attempts to storm the president’s HQ.
“There was no storming. There’s also nobody being detained and no one was injured during the action,” a ministry spokesman said.
Tuesday’s protest in Kiev was called by the All-Ukrainian Battalion Brotherhood, a fresh group that includes formers volunteer fighters, who went to eastern Ukraine, as well as Maidan activists.
The Ukrainian capital has already seen several protests by volunteer troops, who returned from Ukraine’s war-torn Donetsk and Lugansk regions, after the government disbanded the Aidar volunteer battalion last week. On Sunday and Monday, Aidar fighters staged a protest and burnt tires outside the Defense Ministry.
In September, Amnesty International accused Aidar of “widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions” during the warfare in the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions.
The Ukraine conflict began last April when Kiev sent regular forces and volunteer battalions to the southeastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions, after they refused to recognize the country’s new, coup-imposed authorities.
The death toll in the Ukraine conflict has exceeded 5,000 people. Over 10,000 have been injured, according to UN estimates.
Earlier on the day, representatives from several Ukrainian volunteer battalions, including Aidar and Azov, attempted to storm the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine in Kiev.
Also on Tuesday, the Ukrainian authorities declared the country’s capital, Kiev, an area of increased terrorist threat.
“There were explosions in Kharkov, Odessa, in the Zaporozhye Region. The terrorist threat is now becoming a reality. Therefore, with no panic and fuss, we must ensure adequate counter-terrorism measures,” Aleksandr Tereschuk, the head of the Kiev police, said, as cited by Russian daily Kommersant.
According to Tereschuk, concrete roadblocks, which will be reinforced by snipers, are to be erected on all eight roads leadings in and out of the capital during the next two weeks.
Other security measures, announced by the police, include equipping Kiev’s subway with metal detectors and enticing civilians to patrol the city together with the security forces, he added.
Around 1,500 servicemen representing the National Guard and State Guard, as well as cadets of police academies, are to be deployed in the city, the police head said. Their main task will be protecting the airports, bridges and the railway, Tereschuk stressed.
Meanwhile, a source within the Ukrainian security forces told Kommersant that the increased police presence in the city is needed to tackle the rapidly rising crime rate in the capital.
“For example, the number of car thefts has doubled… We have to come up with countermeasures,” he said.
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