Two recent posts from Victor Katolyk:
The negotiations between Kuchma, Yanukovych, and Yushchenko will be held at 18:00 in the presence of international mediators. Yushchenko refused to hold eye-to-eye meetings with Kuchma or Yanukovych.
The negotiations will be mediated by Xavier Solana, Jan Kubish, Alexander Kwasniewski (President of Poland), Valdas Adamkus (President of Lithuania) and, possibly, other European and Russian diplomats.
Jan Kubis is OSCE Secretary-General. This does seem to be a good sign, except a post after it reveals what may be a worrying development:
In Lugansk, the session of the Oblast council has finished its sitting. The deputies adopted a decree about creating an autonomous south-east republic and signed an appeal to Putin with a request for recognition, – says the press center of the Ukrainian Socialist Party.
Currently, the local deputies are awaiting the arrival of Moscow mayor Luzhkov.
One thing I’ve noticed over the past twenty-four hours has been the creation of parallel authorities within Ukraine, notably the National Salvation Council established by Yuschenko which has begun issuing issuing decrees and establishing its own military command structure for forces loyal to it. The worry I have is that while Yuschenko’s position appears to be strengthening – see, for instance, that reporters on Ukrainian state TV are moving away from the Government – those who fear a Yuschenko victory are moving to set up their own parallel (and perhaps secessionist) administration.
As I write this, though, Victor has another update noting that the head of Yanukovich’s headquarters has said that “creating an autonomy in the Eastern oblasts is not the best solution”. However, the idea is now on the table. After the relative quiet since Wednesday evening, this afternoon looks like another critical phase. A lot will depend on how hardline both sides are in the negotiations.
There’s now also an official statement from the Council of Europe urging a peaceful solution.