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20 February, 2014 15:01   ▪  

MPs blocked from Parliament. Party of Regions sees no reason for emergency session

MPs who gathered to hold a parliament session at 3 p.m. were blocked from the Verkhovna Rada session room

Valentyn Zaichuk, the Verkhovna Rada Chief of Staff, locked the parliamentary session room.  

MPs were trying to break the door to get into the session room. Opposition and independent MPs kept coming to the Verkhovna Rada.

The police were not letting journalists in. They needed an order from the VR Speaker or Chief of Staff for that, they said.

MPs intended to hold an extraordinary session to regulate the crisis in Ukraine.

Oleh Liashko, an independent MP, said that the VR would have a session at 3 p.m.

According to earlier reports, at least 240 MPs are expected to convene in parliament. These are all three opposition factions, 40 independent MPs as well as “Serhiy Tihipko’s group” within the Party of Regions.

“We will elect new leadership unless Speaker Rybak opens the session,” Liashko said.

As of 2.30 p.m. MPs were taking journalist in through one of the entrances. Broadcasted by Hromadske TV, the session seems to already have many MPs. Batkivshchyna’s MP Volodymyr Ariev is posting photos from the session room on his Facebook page.

Earlier, active standoff between protesters and law enforcers resumed in downtown Kyiv. Maidan activists have pushed the police off the October Palace.

According to journalists who are in front of the parliament building at this point, Berkut is retreating towards Arsenalna metro station from there.  

Verkhovna Rada staff was also urgently evacuated from the premises.

Meanwhile, the Party of Regions sees no sense in gathering for today’s emergency session requested by the opposition, PR’s Volodymyr Oliynyk said, adding that the opposition has no powers to call for an emergency session.

“Turchynov is not Parliament Speaker so he has no power to convene a session. Therefore, we will see what the faction decides in this case. One thing I can say is that the faction has not gathered for a meeting and this issue has not been discussed. So, I don’t see a reason to convene in Parliament,” Oliynyk said. 

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