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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    Comments page of 2
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    by: Grossmore from: us
    January 25, 2014 4:06 PM
    Vasily, I read your posts with great interest. Thank you for keeping us in the know from the inside. We would like to know about yulia tymoshenko, the "friend" of hillary clinton (the aggrieved "wife") ... is she part of the solution or part of the scum???

    by: Vasily from: Ukraine
    January 25, 2014 3:29 PM
    to all our American friends, Greetings.
    This is a revolution, make no mistake. This is a revolution that will undermine authoritarian Russia to its core. This is the Russian revolution that Putin has postpone. Everything here is fluid. Elements of the "Police" and other "security" services are defecting to our cause. Viktor Yanukovych is being exposed for what he really is - a criminal thug. Now he tries to bribe those who he thinks are in the "leadership" - you see, he even thinks like some sort of a squalid Arab or Iranian. Unfortunately for him, he tried to bribe other illegitimate reprobates...
    Now, the industrial "democracies" have no clue of what is going on here. and their confusion is reflected by their inability to identify corruption and decay.
    we are revolting against the whole infrastructure... believe us that we understand that "everything is connected to everything else..." and that the corruption has metastasized from Russia to Ukraine to Europe... we get it!!! and against THAT we revolt.
    No one is financing us... the spirit of America is shamefully absent... the beacon of liberty has been replaced by the badge of cowardice.
    In Response

    by: jpavlvs from: California
    January 26, 2014 9:38 AM
    I've been to Ukraine 4 times in the last several years. I stayed in the Dnipro Hotel in downtown Kiev twice. It breaks my heart to see what's happening there. Please know I am behind your movement. Good luck.
    In Response

    by: frank33 from: france
    January 26, 2014 9:04 AM
    my dear Vasily I know you are right
    I have been coming to Ukraine since 2004 and spent over 1 and 1/2 there
    big country beautiful people of course I have a (beautiful )Ukrainian girl friend !
    But I am well aware of your situation
    this last august poverty hit me like never before whilst some youngsters were spending money like crazy I saw job offers going for 10€ a day who would work his ass off for that??!!
    I know the level of corruption of your elites
    How can iot be that all (most of your deputies be millionaires ride an armoured car and have bodyguards??
    surely there is a problem there
    I am in touch everyday with 1 friend in Kyiv (notice the spelling)
    I also know quite a bit about your history (quite tragic )Funnily enough my friend told me on September 12 that a revolution would probably happen by the end of the year. well!!!
    Yanukovitch is a just an ordinary delinquent like Stalin or Ceausescu were in the beginning ..
    Worse even he’s got blood on his hands
    I understand you were disappointed with Julia or Yuchenko but Yanukovitch was the worst choice!
    First he gave lease to the Russian fleet in Sebastopol for another 20ys.
    Who has heard of a foreign army “occupying a territory elsewhere?
    Apparently Putin despises him for being a criminal though Politovskaia and Litvinenko don’t say thank you to him
    And he apparently pocket 1 USD on each barrel of oil leaving Russia
    Anyone knowing the story of Ukraine should feel empathy for you
    The sincere desire of Ukrainians for a decent life with western standards of democracy is legitimate
    I’ve come with planes buses trains and always full of Ukrainians living in Germany France or Belgium or England
    What they all say is we need stability
    Yanukovitch did not say so but you can bet he sold the Ukrainian gas company to Putin .
    Therefore tying you to his good will
    People tell life gets better in Belarus :but train and gas companies and other facilities have been sold to Russia making them near slaves (mujiks again to Russian imperialism )
    Putin is a KGB man and in 1 conference he just said it ::”we did it !”meaning they (kgb took over !)
    As a Frenchman ; country of human rights ; I am ashamed to see that hardly a word was spoken for you (okay ambassadors were convoked all over EU but so what ?? )
    It is no surprise that 1 ½ million Ukrainians live in Canada 1/2in Portugal and God knows how many in Germany England or Italy.
    No one leaves his country willingly less they hope for a better life
    E U waists billions uselessly and when Ukraine needed 15Blls they miserably offered 600millions
    Putin did not miss the opportunity to buy you out for a fistful of dollars… poor you !!
    I was in Kharkov this summer
    Now how can the mayor of an Ukrainian city (the 2sd indeed) own 1 or 2 factories and a hotel in Germany and buy himself a private jet??
    EU and Switzerland should freeze their assets of your leaders that would bring them back to their senses indeed!!
    Meanwhile our president ride around on his scoot to check out his mistresses!! appalling !!
    But I want you to know that you do have friends an supporters her
    Warmly Udachi my friend

    In Response

    by: Peter from: United States
    January 26, 2014 8:37 AM
    Vasily, more Americans than you know are behind the cause and want to see a free and independent Ukraine!
    In Response

    by: olya from: USA
    January 26, 2014 8:16 AM
    Vasily...I agree. Where is Obama and Kerry? Finally a country that had a soft 'backbone' in the past, is rising from the soviet ashes and the USA just sends $$$ to Libya, Africa etc, but will not lift one finger during this historic moment where the old and the young are finally standing up to cry for CHANGE ??
    In Response

    by: Alex from: Canada
    January 26, 2014 1:47 AM
    Just a few comments.
    Vasily you are one of two. Ether you are dump, uninformed idealist who just obsessed with revolution or you are a liar.
    My father in law is slightly over 80 now. He and his friend are earning money on the streets every time they go somewhere where they asked to go. They get 250 Hryvnia( Ukrainian money) which is approximately around $30 in cash. As they say in their age they do not care anymore as long as they are paid.
    Besides I come to Ukraine once a year at least. Sometimes twice a year. I have relatives in there and I know everything from the first hands.
    I also lived in Ukraine most of my life.
    I understand that you want to impress your American friends by telling them this BS.
    Just about about corruption.
    Yes, current government is corrupted the same as all the previous governments including those who in so called opposition now.
    It is fight for power. For Ukrainian establishment it is mafia war.
    The war between Eastern Ukraine mafia (Yanukovich), Central Ukraine mafia (Timoshenko, Yatzenuk) and western Ukrainian fascists. Forgot to mention one brain dead boxer.
    USA and EU know that very well but this is a good opportunity to establish their own interests in Ukraine so they use this situation.
    They do the same that they did in Egypt, Libya, Syria.
    They made a big mistake over there. Instead of stable dictatorship they have unstable radicals and fanatics who hates them even more.

    In Response

    by: Norma Dobrenin from: US
    January 25, 2014 7:39 PM
    Vasily, do not be offended by idiots from "CO" - they have no idea what it means to have a socialist authoritarian dictatorship suffocating the life out of you; but they will soon... the lies the deceit and corruption, the erosion of "rights" Americans thought as unalienable... suddenly become alienable - burnt on the alter of some other priority... usually to accommodate the "poor" or the "disadvantaged" or the differently "oriented..."

    Vasily, I hope you succeed... tear down this infrastructure... build a new one... we have done it with the corruption of England... you can do it with the corruption of Russia. but Remember that the whole House of Israel is watching you - so be True and Just and Merciful...!!! in Jesus Name
    In Response

    by: Irina from: Aurora, CO
    January 25, 2014 4:11 PM
    That's cute, Vasily. Revolting against the whole infrastructure? Looks like you'll have to continue "revolting" for the next couple hundred years. Good luck.
    In Response

    by: Marla Brinkley from: USA
    January 25, 2014 3:53 PM
    finally, Vasily, we thought something bad had happened to you. why do you write in VOA exclusively??? many people want to hear what you report. Please, Vasily, your indictment against US is misplaced, its not we who are cowards... its Hussein!!!
    Comments page of 2
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