News / Europe

    Ukraine Opposition Cool to Power-sharing Offer

    Vitali Klitschko, Head of UDAR (Punch) party, left, Oleh Tyagnybok, head of the Svoboda party, center, and Arseniy Yatsenyuk of the Batkivchchyna party attend meeting on Independence Square, Kyiv, Jan. 25, 2014.
    Vitali Klitschko, Head of UDAR (Punch) party, left, Oleh Tyagnybok, head of the Svoboda party, center, and Arseniy Yatsenyuk of the Batkivchchyna party attend meeting on Independence Square, Kyiv, Jan. 25, 2014.
    James Brooke
    Police and protesters clashed overnight in Ukraine, hours after embattled President Viktor Yanukovych tried to ease tensions by offering key government posts to two top opposition leaders.

    Reuters reported that one of the president's main foes described the offer as a "poisoned" attempt to kill off a protest movement in a country plunged into unrest by Yanukovich's U-turn from the European Union towards Russia.

    On Saturday, Yanukovych offered the position of prime minister to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, one of the leaders of the political opposition, which has waged two months of anti-government protests. Opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko, a former international boxing champion, was offered the post of deputy prime minister responsible for humanitarian issues.

    News of the offer appeared Saturday on the president's website, a day after he agreed to re-shuffle his government and amend controversial new anti-protest laws.

    According to Reuters, Klitschko told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, "This was a poisoned offer by Yanukovich to divide our protest movement. We will keep on negotiating and continue to demand early elections. The protest by Ukrainians against the corrupt president must not have been in vain."

    A large crowd of protesters blocked a government building with police inside early Sunday in central Kyiv. Demonstrators threw stones and smoke bombs. Police responded with stun grenades and tear gas.

    Speaking to a large crowd Saturday in Kiev's Independence Square, Yatsenyuk said the opposition is "not afraid" of accepting more political responsibility, but that Yanukovych must still meet several key opposition demands and that talks will continue.

    Klitschko joined Yatsenyuk Saturday, saying Yanukovych has agreed to opposition demands, including the release of arrested protesters and the rescinding of recent changes to the constitution. Klitschko said, however, the protests will not stop.

    The opposition has demanded that both Yanukovych and Ukraine's number two leader, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, step down. Protesters have also called for early elections.

    The crisis was spawned by Yanukovych's November 21 decision to back out of a trade agreement with the European Union in favor of closer economic ties with Russia.

    The decision resulted in a multi-billion-dollar bailout from Moscow that analysts say staved off near-certain bankruptcy for the impoverished country. But pro-European protesters were angered by the turn toward Moscow and took to the streets of the capital, Kyiv, where they have maintained a presence ever since.

    The protests have spawned deadly clashes between protesters and police.

    On Saturday, the opposition denied allegations that protesters are holding two police officers in Kyiv's occupied city hall.

    Ukrainian officials have warned protesters to release the officers or face police action to free them.

    Witnesses say the protest movement appears to have been infiltrated in recent weeks by members of a violent far-right militant group known as Right Sector, a loose alliance of nationalist organizations. The presence of the group adds a volatile element to the standoff that analysts say both the government and the mainstream opposition are struggling to contend with.

    Anti-government forces were also occupying at least six regional capitals after storming government facilities across a wide swath of western Ukraine.

    Protesters Reinforce Barricades As Ukraine Talks Break Downi
    X
    January 24, 2014 7:27 PM
    Talks between the Ukrainian president and the opposition aimed at ending days of violent anti-government protests appear to have broken down without agreement. The demonstrations erupted two months ago after President Yanukovich refused to sign an agreement bringing the country closer to the European Union - instead opting to sign deals with Russia. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
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    by: Juan Valdez from: USA
    January 26, 2014 10:45 AM
    God speed to you Vasily. We Americans support freedom from tyranny but we are tired of butting in to other people's problems.

    by: Tom Hyde from: Salem Oregon USA
    January 26, 2014 8:01 AM
    Don't equate power sharing with the offer of being a minister. In Ukraine all the power is in the president.

    by: Anonymous
    January 26, 2014 7:34 AM
    So if this was USA or Uk and demonstrators stormed govt buildings would the authorities stand by and do nothing? Yanukovich is the democratically elected leader. If people dont like his pro Russia policys then vote him out next year. Thats REAL democracy. Not threats and rioting on the streets.
    In Response

    by: Alex from: Canada
    January 26, 2014 4:47 PM
    actually people do not decide anything anywhere especially in Ukraine.
    USA and EU decided to get rid of Yanukovich as they usually do in all over the world. Besides if they let people to vote they may re elect Yanukovich again. Revolution is the only way and it is another reason for opposition not accept any compromises.
    In Response

    by: Tom Hyde from: Salem Oregon
    January 26, 2014 1:49 PM
    Some of the people of Ukraine have decided they do not want to wait until the next scheduled election. Therefore they are protesting. This is their way of impeaching the president.

    by: alex from: Canada
    January 26, 2014 2:14 AM
    VOA good job.
    You successfully removed my posts. That is how you brainwash people. You publish false reports.

    by: Arthur from: Kiev
    January 26, 2014 1:55 AM
    Don't turn your back on Ukrainians people. We need your help. We are one nation in former USSR who restricted Moscow influence and want more ties with EU and USA.
    In Response

    by: Alex from: Canada
    January 26, 2014 4:58 PM
    Yes, please. Keep pouring money into this insanity. Keep supporting fascists. Keep listening to those who are the same criminals as the current government just paid by US and EU.

    by: Alex from: Canada
    January 26, 2014 1:53 AM
    Who is Who

    1. Klichko lived in Germany for the past 10 years. For 2013 he actually paid USA taxes which means that he lives in USA now. He also has SSN ( social security number).
    He is a boxer with 23 years of experience. 15 years in professional box. He does not have brains to act by himself. Have you ever seen a boxer with live brain cells after so many years in box.

    2. Fascist Oleh Tyahnybok. He was awarded Waffen - SS and SS-Galitchina golden cross in 2011 while visiting Canada. He calls to get rid of none Ukrainians. On July 20, 2004, Tyahnybok was expelled from the Ukraine parliamentary after he made a speech in the Carpathian Mountains where he called Ukrainians "to take automatic guns and fight against Moskali ( Russians), Germans, *** ( Jews) and other scum"
    Besides he demands to introduce the paragraph called nationality in Ukrainian passport so that non Ukrainians will not be accepted into government jobs.

    3. Current president front man for Eastern Ukraine mafia. Currently he does not have any criminal records but had two in the past when he was 17th years old and a little over 20. Those were mostly hooligans acts. Many people did similar staff at that time but he got caught twice. I said he is not smart.

    4. Julia Timoshenko front man for Central Ukraine mafia. Her previous boss was arrested and jailed in US for 10 years. (Pavel Lazarenko). She was his deputy and the first assistant. She was also charged with bribery when tried to bribe a general in Russian ministry of defense. She signed gas deal with Russia so that Russia would drop charges against her. This deal costs Ukraine extra $800 million a month.

    All the other jerks are close to the west and central mafia groups.

    This is a political landscape in Ukraine.
    In Response

    by: Tom from: Salem Oregon
    January 26, 2014 4:32 PM
    Some of them are making mistakes but they are out there doing what they believe in. Not sitting on the couch just calling all the rest jerks.

    by: Anonymous
    January 25, 2014 11:35 PM
    I'm surprised that no one from VOA points out how cynical and frivolous was the offer by Yanokovych. Under the system that he and his cronies pushed through, only the president has any power. he would just try to eliminate his two main political competitors. the economy and the government budget are in terrible shape. How convenient to then blame Yatseniuk once the country goes bankrupt. and to hide Klitschko in a useless job, how clever.

    by: a friend from: above
    January 25, 2014 6:21 PM
    Vasily, in your previous thread you mentioned a lot of weapons streaming through the East of Ukraine and into the streets, implying that they are coming from the Russian side... did you managed to find out who were bringing those weapons, and who is paying for them? please, Vasily, this is very important to US... could you send the serial number of the weapons.
    In Response

    by: Ryb from: boston
    January 26, 2014 9:25 AM
    Martina, you're so clueless you make me laugh, look up Switzerland and their gun laws...
    In Response

    by: jim brooke from: kyiv
    January 26, 2014 12:57 AM
    Marina,
    if Americans make you laugh, what do Russians do?
    it is interesting that the NATO alliance makes you secure enough to make silly gratuitous comments about Americans. Where would Lithuania be without NATO, and where would be NATO without the United States? Given the isolationist mood in the United States and the expansionist mood in the Kremlin, you might think of cutting back on taking silly stereotypical swipes at your primary protectors. You are not living in Portugal...
    In Response

    by: Martina Volodya from: Lithuania
    January 25, 2014 7:02 PM
    I doubt if they would even know where to look... the first thing a Communist dictatorship does is confiscate all personal weapons of citizens...
    Americans, you make me laugh, you think that all the world is like you, where everyone can get access to personal weapon... let me tell you, that only very few Government in world allow their citizens to have weapons - I can think of only two - you and Israel... very few Government even trust their citizen to vote...

    by: Ombaluma from: Kenya
    January 25, 2014 5:35 PM
    hey Vasily, one would have thought that if Obama is willing to finance Al Qaeda in Syria through Libya, he would be willing to offer some form of help to you guys... Oh, sorry, my mistake, you are Christians...
    now, if you were the Muslims Brotherhood... I am sure Obanga would have been right there - behind you... very far behind you...

    by: concerned bystander from: usa
    January 25, 2014 4:36 PM
    Vasily,

    I am an American photographer trying to get to Kiev to document these events. If not too much trouble, could you contact me? altprint0 at gmail. Thanks, and much luck to you!
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    January 26, 2014 2:07 PM
    http://ny.mfa.gov.ua/en/consular-affairs/services/visas
    you do not need visa to Ukraine if you an American citizen
    In Response

    by: Massarich from: Germany
    January 25, 2014 5:21 PM
    many of us have tried to get in touch with them, but Ukraine have stopped all visas especially to Americans and "Westerners" in general. you can get access to the region if you have a Russian passport and a lot of money to pay bribes... the region is collapsing - you can't trust anyone there, the "police" is not what you are used to... they are mainly Russians and the "protestors" are native Ukrainians... and the hatred between the two goes back a long time...
    Comments page of 2
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