Tuesday, 14 January 2014
Ukraine Opposition Leader Yuriy Lutsenko Out Of Intensive Care After Kiev Clashes
KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's opposition leader Yuriy Lutsenko has been released from intensive care after sustaining concussion during protests which turned violent in Kiev. A few hundred pro-European Union demonstrators protested outside a court after the sentencing of three men to six years in prison over a plot to blow up a statue of Soviet founder Lenin in 2011. Ruling party lawmaker Yuriy Polyachenko, who visited the hospital, said Mr Lutsenko had been transferred out of intensive care and was "in a stable condition". "Doctors have noted a concussion," he added. Mr Lutsenko's wife Irina said her husband had suffered concussion and head injuries after being attacked by police while he was trying to break up the clashes. The spokeswoman for Mr Lutsenko, Larisa Sargan told the online edition of Kiev's Segodnya daily he lost consciousness several times on his way to hospital after recieving "about 10 blows to the head". Ukrainian television showed several protesters being carried by stretcher to an ambulance that had been rushed to the scene. City authorities said 17 opposition members had been injured and 11 were briefly hospitalized. The interior ministry said in its defence that anti-riot troops began firing tear gas and making arrests only after being pelted with bottles by protesters who were trying to block police vans as the three convicts were being led out of the courthouse. Ukrainian nationalists have been driving anti-government protests which erupted in November after president Viktor Yanukovych ditched a historic EU trade agreement in favour of closer ties with old master Russia. The rallies were fanned further by anger over violence that broke out when hundreds of officers beat dozens of demonstrators while end rowdy protests on November 30. Anti-government forces are planning another mass Independence Square rally for Sunday afternoon. Opposition reignites call for Yanukovych sanctions Former boxing champion turned opposition lawmaker Vitali Klitschko said the incident should finally trigger European sanctions against Mr Yanukovych and his family that the opposition has been advocating in the recent weeks. "The issue of personal sanctions is more relevant now than ever before," Mr Klitschko said in a statement issued after he met European politicians and lawmakers in Germany. "We now understand that the Yanukovych regime will stop at nothing." Mr Lutsenko was a prominent member of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko's pro-Western government and remains a close ally of the jailed opposition leader. The 49-year-old was himself put in prison on contested charges in late 2010 but pardoned by Mr Yanukovych under EU pressure in April last year.