Ukraine has been celebrating the 20th anniversary of its independence from the Soviet Union.
President Yanukovich used the occasion to talk of continued economic reform with a view to joining the EU.
But elsewhere in the capital, Kiev, thousands of people marched, angry at the trial of his main adversary, the former prime minister Julia Tymoshenko.
Ukrainian police prevented them from marching to the presidential administration building.
Tension ran high on Wednesday among Tymoshenko’s supporters after the court refused to give her two days parole to leave prison detention to see her mother during the Independence Day holiday.