Day 729: Protests Outside Rada As MPs Gather Signatures For No-Confidence Vote

February 16, 2016
Photo: Kosa Kazimka / Hromadske

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An Invasion By Any Other Name: The Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine


Ukrainian Parliament Expresses No Confidence in Government – But Fails to Dismiss Yatsenyuk

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, expressed its dissatisfaction with the Cabinet of Ministers of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk with a majority vote of 247 out of 450 members, but failed to muster enough votes to oust him.
The vote was 194 in favor and 2 against, with 12 abstaining and 28 not voting.
Translation: That’s it: the government of Yatsenyuk remains standing. 30 votes shy of resignation. The spectacle at the Verkhovna Rada is over.

As we reported earlier, the Rada had cast 247 votes of disatisfaction with the government, as this prominent MP, one of the leading activists of the Maidan protest movement, tweeted:

Translation: 247 deputies voted for a resolution to acknowledge the work of the government as unsatisfactory. To vote for resignation is dangerous.

But the Rada failed to gather votes from the Opposition Bloc, which walked out in protest. The Opposition Bloc, whose members did not endorse the Maidan protests, has supporters of the now-disbanded pro-Russian Party of Regions among its members.

Translation: Yatsenyuk became prime minister thanks to Maidan; but remains now thanks to Akhmetov. And now Akhmetov will make a deal with Poroshenko.

Translation: and Yatsenyuk himself understands this all too well, but will not turn in his resignation himself. P for Politics.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

247 in Ukrainian Parliament Vote ‘No Confidence’ in Yatsenyuk Cabinet; Opposition Bloc Walks Out in Protest

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, voted no-confidence in the cabinet of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk this evening in Kiev.

But it may be that they will stop shy of dismissing Yatsenyuk. 

Translation: 247 deputies voted to recognize the work of the government was unsatisfactory. To vote for resignation is dangerous.

Translation: The opposition Bloc left the meeting hall. They will not vote for the resignation of Arseniy Yatsenyuk. This is a maneuver by Rinat Akhmetov.

Akhmetov, one of Ukraine’s most controversial oligarchs and the owner of numerous coal mines, has at times supported the government in Kiev and at times made deals with the Russian-backed militants in order to protect his assets. 

Translation: The Rada recognized the unsatisfactory work of Yatsenyuk’s Cabinet of Ministers.
Many Ukrainians have been watching the vote closely hoping the government will be forced to move on; hundreds are outside the parliament protesting.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenuk Demands Vote for His Resignation
As the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, counts the votes for a “no-confidence” resolution on the government, the beleaguered Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has demanded that a vote be made in order for him to resign.
Translation: Yatsenyuk demands vote for his resignation.
Speculation is already beginning about what a post-vote government will look like.

Translation: “We have forgotten the smell of burning tires on the Maidan” — Lutsenko.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

Ukrainian Parliament Poised to Oust Prime Minister Yatsenyuk
A tense vote is under way in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, and it appears enough votes are gathered to dismiss the controversial Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in a “no-confidence” vote from the government.
The vote has been watched closely in the last hours:

Translation: Nadezhda Savchenko signed the statement of non-confidence in the Cabinet of Ministers.

Translation: #Lutsenko has criticized #Cabinet of Ministers and called on the Rada to vote for no confidence in the government.

Translation: Poroshenko has traded Shokin for Yatsenyuk.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

Reports Of Fighting This Evening Near Donetsk And Gorlovka

There are reports this evening of fighting in the Donetsk and Gorlovka areas.

Translation: At the airport there are continued single volleys from something heavy…

Translation: #Gorlovka – fighting is under way on the outskirts, still sounds far away

Translation: Avdeyevka hears something heavy in the direction of the airport… not frequent

Translation: Bangs in the west getting louder and more frequent. Can hear salvoes and explosions.

Translation: Besides the loud bangs from the direction of Abakumov and Staromikhailovka can hear bursts of gunfire.

Translation: #Donetsk 18:45 West (Staromikhailovka, Trudovskie) Tank (mortar) already pounding for 30 minutes + small arms
— Pierre Vaux
Prosecutor-General Shokin Reportedly Resigns

Another report from Leviy Bereg says that Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin has already written a letter of resignation

According to Leviy Bereg‘s source, Shokin handed his letter of resignation over to the President this morning.

— Pierre Vaux

158 MPs Reported To Have Signed Petition For Vote Of No-Confidence

Yuriy Lutsenko, leader of Bloc Petro Poroshenko, has put a resolution for a vote of no-confidence in the Cabinet of Ministers to the Verkhovna Rada, Leviy Bereg reports.

According to Leviy Bereg’s source, 158 MPs have signed a petition calling for a vote on the dismissal of Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s government. 150 signatures are required before such a vote can be called.

If the vote goes ahead and the resolution is endorsed by at least 226 MPs, then the government will have to resign.

Meanwhile Yatsenyuk has just finished up his report to the Rada: 

— Pierre Vaux
Popular Front MP Says For Rada, Not Poroshenko, To Decide On Resignation Of Government

InfoResist reports that Mykola Kniazhytskyi, an MP in Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s Popular Front party, has said that it is for the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, to decide on the resignation of the government, not President Poroshenko.

“This depends on parliament, not on the President. We will not support the resignation of the government…

The President should not interfere in the political process of the Verkhovna Rada, even despite the fact that there is a party that carries his name.” 

Meanwhile in the Rada, Yatsenyuk is beginning his official report to the chamber on the progress of work in the parliament. 

— Pierre Vaux
Poroshenko Asks Yatsenyuk And Shokin To Resign

President Petro Poroshenko has asked the prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and the Prosecutor-General, Viktor Shokin, to resign.

The announcement comes after weeks of mounting tensions and anger at the failure of the government to enact reforms, heightened by several high-profile resignations this year. The most recent of which, that of deputy Prosecutor-General Vitaly Kasko yesterday, saw scathing criticism of Shokin, who Kasko said had sabotaged reforms and was maintaining a “Soviet” prosecutorial system.

In a statement published on the President’s website, Poroshenko said that since the start of the year, the pace of reforms had slowed, leading to the loss of support for the government amongst the members of the coalition.

“The tensions between the government and the parties has become so high-voltage that it is creating a threat to the viability of the coalition. The collapse of the coalition would in turn inevitably plunge the country into a deep and prolonged political crisis.”

While Poroshenko said that he did not have the constitutional right to make personnel decisions within the Cabinet, he could not “stand by and watch what is happening.”

There needed to be, he claimed, a “total reformatting” of the Cabinet, on the basis of the current coalition, consisting of his own party, Yatsenyuk’s Popular Front, Samopomich and Batkivshchyna. Oleh Lyashko’s Radical Party left the coalition late last year.

— Pierre Vaux

3 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed, 7 Wounded Over Last 24 Hours

According to Ukrainian reports, yesterday saw the worst fighting of the year so far. 

Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, a military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, has announced that three Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and seven wounded over the last 24 hours.

All of the casualties were, he said, as a result of combat, with over 200 shells fired over that same period by Russian-backed fighters.

In addition, the Donetsk Regional State Administration reports that one civilian died yesterday of gunshot wounds in the village of Zaytsevo, north of Gorlovka.

According to this morning’s ATO Press Centre report, Russian-backed fighters conducted 79 attacks over the last 24 hours.

Ukrainian-held areas of Zaytsevo were shelled, the report says, with 120 mm mortars and self-propelled artillery, while mortars were also used to shell neighbouring Mayorsk. To the west of Gorlovka, Ukrainian positions outside Novgorodskoye were attacked with grenade launchers.

The pro-separatist Donetsk News Agency (DAN) reports meanwhile, citing the local administration, that more than 27 houses in separatist-held areas of Zaytsevo had been damaged by Ukrainian shelling last night.

One child was reportedly concussed as a result of Ukrainian shelling of the northern outskirts of Gorlovka, which, DAN says, was conducted with 120 mm mortars and grenade launchers.

In the south of the Donetsk region, there were skirmishes between Ukrainian and Russian-backed fighters near Nikolaevka and Novotroiskoye. While Ukrainian positions near Kominternovo, Gnutovo and Shirokino were shelled with mortars, grenade launchers and heavy machine guns were used in attacks on defensive positions outside Granitnoye.

To the west of Donetsk city, Marinka and Krasnogorovka were shelled with mortars. To the north, there were attacks on Peski, Opytnoye, Avdeyevka and the Butovka mine. 

Maksim Zhukovsky, the separatist-backed head of the Petrovsky district of Donetsk, claimed this morning that two houses in the Trudovskie neighbourhood, which borders Marinka, had been destroyed by Ukrainian shelling. 

In the Lugansk region, Ukrainian positions in the village of Tryokhizbenka were attacked, the Lugansk Regional Administration reports, with automatic grenade launchers, heavy machine guns and small arms by Russian-backed fighters near Sokolniki.

— Pierre Vaux

Protests Outside Rada As MPs Gather Signatures For No-Confidence Vote

Following last night’s reports that the majority of MPs in President Petro Poroshenko’s party now support a vote on the resignation of the prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, protesters have gathered outside the Verkhovna Rada.


Signatures are being collected for a vote of no confidence in the prime minister, with 150 required before such a vote can be put to the Rada.

The Rada also voted today on a package of measures today required to comply with the International Monetary Fund and secure a visa-free agreement with the European Union.

However due to failure to establish sufficient support for the package across the chamber today, Speaker Volodymyr Groysman has deferred the second reading of the bills until Thursday, only one day before the EU deadline for the visa regime. This itself may well become a crisis point for the government, regardless of the fate of Yatsenyuk, if the package is not passed swiftly.

— Pierre Vaux