KIEV, April 10 (RAPSI) – The Ukrainian police have launched a criminal investigation in connection with an act of arson carried out against the Ukraine’s Communist party offices in Kiev, Deputy Interior Minister Sergei Yarovoi said at a press briefing on Thursday.

The Communist headquarters was taken over by Maidan activists in late February., some activist groups having taken up residence there.

According to Ukrainian news reports, on Wednesday the building was surrounded by police, who ordered the protesters to vacate the premises in compliance with a court’s order.

Later in the evening, the Communist party reported that the office was torched with no injuries or fatalities. The Communist faction in the parliament’s lower house, Verkhovna Rada, stated that it would abstain from taking part in any proceedings in the Rada, until the arson is investigated and the guilty brought to justice.

On February 22, Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada (parliament) impeached Viktor Yanukovich and amended the constitution. Presidential authority was assigned to parliament speaker Alexander Turchinov and a presidential election was scheduled for May 25.

Russia has denounced the events in Ukraine as an armed coup. President Vladimir Putin said during a news conference in March that Yanukovych remains Ukraine’s legitimate president.