News / Europe

    Ukraine Rebukes West for Criticism of Anti-protest Law

    Pro-European integration supporters with taped mouths attend a rally against newly approved anti-protest laws in Kyiv, Jan. 17, 2014.
    Pro-European integration supporters with taped mouths attend a rally against newly approved anti-protest laws in Kyiv, Jan. 17, 2014.
    Reuters
    Ukraine on Friday rebuked the West for what it called foreign interference in its internal affairs after an outcry over legislation rushed through parliament to curb anti-government unrest in the ex-Soviet republic.
     
    The U.S. State Department and senior European Union politicians voiced deep concern with the measures, which still need President Viktor Yanukovich's signature and foresee prison terms of up to 15 years for “mass violation” of public order.
     
    Demonstrators first hit the streets in Kyiv in November after Yanukovich backpedaled at the last minute from a free trade deal with the EU in favor of closer ties with Kyiv's Soviet-era overlord, Moscow.
     
    Protests quickly spiraled into an all-out movement against Yanukovich's government, attracting as many as 800,000 people at its peak. Numbers have dwindled since, but several hundred people remain camped out on Kyiv's central square or are occupying public buildings like City Hall.
     
    On Sunday, at least 50,000 people demonstrated against Yanukovich in Kyiv.
     
    The law, sped through parliament by Yanukovich's allies on Thursday, winning support from 235 of 450 lawmakers, sparked an uproar from the opposition and protesters.
     
    Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara “expressed concern” over the foreign criticism and said it was “considered in Kyiv as meddling in the internal affairs of our state”, according to a ministry statement.
     
    Kozhara, it said, made his comments during a meeting on Friday with the EU's ambassador to Kyiv, Jan Tombinski, and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt.
     
    The new law further bans any unauthorized installation of tents, stages or amplifiers in public places - all of which remain on prominent display in the protest tent city on  Independence Square in the Ukrainian capital.
     
    “I am deeply concerned by the events in Kyiv,” Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, said in a statement, adding that the legislation was “restricting the Ukrainian citizens' fundamental rights”.
     
    German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the course taken by Yanukovich was “a dead end ...Repression is no answer to a contentious, political debate”.
     
    Parliament's vote on the law, whose text ran to more than 100 pages, was taken by a sudden show of hands that caught the opposition off-guard.
     
    It followed a Thursday court ban on protests in Kyiv, which boosted opposition fears of an imminent police crackdown.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora