News / Europe

Ukrainian President Condemns Violence

Ukraine Protesters Regroup as West Condemns Violencei
X
December 01, 2013 12:53 AM
Several Western governments have condemned Ukraine’s crackdown Saturday on pro-European protesters in the capital. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more from Kyiv.
VIDEO: Several Western governments have condemned Ukraine’s crackdown Saturday on pro-European protesters in the capital. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more from Kyiv.
VOA News
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Saturday condemned what he calls "actions" that have led to violence during opposition demonstrations in Kyiv, saying he was "deeply outraged" by the violence at the capital's Independence Square, without directly blaming police.
 
Riot police in Ukraine used batons and stun grenades to break up an opposition demonstration early Saturday, after the president failed to sign a free trade pact with the European Union. Numerous injuries were reported.
 
He called for an immediate investigation in order to punish those responsible.
 
Protesters say the police attack was unprovoked. Ambulances treated dozens of injured demonstrators — mostly for wounds to the head and arms — as police used batons, stun grenades and tear gas to clear the square.
 
By dawn several hundred protesters — many of them bandaged and still covered in blood — had sought refuge at a monastery a short distance from Independence Square. Police say 25 people were arrested.
 
The Interior Ministry said riot police moved in after protesters threw trash and flares at uniformed officers.
 
Western nations critical
 
The U.S. State Department also condemned the attack against the demonstrators, saying "violence and intimidation should have no place in today's Ukraine."
 
The rights group Amnesty International called the violence a "shameful disregard for peoples' rights." It called for an independent investigation into the allegations.
 
On Friday, the European Union criticized Russia for pressuring Ukraine into abandoning the landmark free trade deal with the European bloc.
 
The snub, announced last week by Yanukovych, reverberated through an EU summit in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel was captured Friday on video telling the Ukrainian leader, "We expected more."
 
Yanukovych responded by telling the German leader, "The economic situation in Ukraine is very hard. And we have big difficulties with Moscow."
 
The summit, which ended Friday, had been expected to showcase the signing of the agreement.
 
As last-minute negotiations failed, thousands of opposition protesters in Kyiv gathered for a second time this week in the center of the city to demand the president's resignation.
 
European news reports say the EU-Ukraine deal began unraveling in late October, when Moscow demanded that cash-strapped Kyiv immediately make full payment of a nearly $1 billion natural gas bill, or face a gas cutoff as winter braces the region.
 
Moscow has also in recent months imposed restrictions on Ukrainian imports, dragging the Ukrainian economy into recession and triggering a warning from Moscow of more economic difficulties if Kyiv signed the EU pact.
 
Last week, as the Ukrainian president scuttled the EU deal, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said the country's top priority now is to repair relations with Moscow.
 
Calls for mass strike
 
Opposition leaders have called for a nationwide strike in response to the crackdown - and say they are uniting to form a national resistance headquarters until new elections are held.
 
Arseniy Yatsenyuk, leader of the Motherland party, blamed President Yanukovych for the violence, saying he "has the blood of our children, the blood of students, the blood of youth on his hands, and he has to be held responsible for it."
 
"It was his order, and Viktor Yanukovych, who is guilty of this, will be forced to resign," said Yatsenyuk.
 
The chair of the European Union Presidency, Lithuania, condemned the police crackdown, while the US embassy urged Ukraine to "respect the rights of civil society."
 
Protestors are re-grouping in Kyiv ahead of a big rally planned for Sunday.
 
Jailed ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has urged the demonstrators to overthrow the government.

VOA correspondent Henry Ridgwell contributed to this report from Kyiv. Some information was provided by AP and AFP.

Torn Between East and West, Ukraine Debates Futurei
X
November 29, 2013 7:11 PM
As European leaders try to persuade Ukraine to sign on to a trade deal, its people face an uncertain future. After decades of Soviet rule followed by a high degree of economic dependence on Russia, Ukranians are nervous about antagonizing Moscow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid