News / Europe

Russia Rebukes Germany for Participating in Kyiv Protest

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gives an interview to federal TV channels at the Ostankino TV Center In Moscow, Dec. 6, 2013.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gives an interview to federal TV channels at the Ostankino TV Center In Moscow, Dec. 6, 2013.
VOA News
Russia's prime minister has admonished foreign politicians who have participated in the political events unfolding in Ukraine.

Dmitry Medvedev said Friday that foreign politicians who participated in the pro-European Union demonstrations in Kyiv were acting inappropriately. He said he considered their actions as "interference in internal affairs."

Medvedev's remarks were in reference to German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle's appearance at a pro-EU rally in Kyiv earlier in the week.

Thousands of demonstrators are protesting in the Ukrainian capital, where Western diplomats have gathered for an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe meeting.

Demonstrators have been calling for the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, after he backed out of a trade deal with the European Union.

  • Ukrainian police officers stand in line during protests in Kyiv, Dec. 6, 2013. 
  • Kyiv's City Hall is now an organizational hub for protesters who have occupied the building, Dec. 6, 2013.
  • Protesters rest inside Kyiv's City Hall building, Dec. 6, 2013.
  • Supporters of Ukrainian EU integration sing and wave flags during a protest in front of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers building in Kyiv,  Dec. 6, 2013. 
  • Protesters eat at their tent camp in Independence Square in Kyiv, Dec. 5, 2013.
  • Protesters drum on empty barrels as they rally in front of a government building in Kyiv, Dec. 5, 2013.
  • A man wrapped in a Ukrainian flag distributes tea to protesters at Independence Square in Kyiv, Dec. 4, 2013.
  • A man carrying a Ukrainian flag gestures as he stands on top of a bridge overlooking Independence Square, Kyiv, Dec. 4, 2013.
  • Protesters clash with police during a demonstration in support of EU integration in Kyiv, Dec. 3, 2013.
  • Police stand guard over protesters in front of parliament during a demonstration in support of EU integration, Dec. 3, 2013.

The protests erupted last week, after the Yanukovych government refused to sign the EU trade deal, announcing instead that it would seek to preserve and strengthen its economic lifeline with Moscow.

On Thursday, several Western officials attending the OSCE meeting challenged the Ukrainian government to consider the protesters' concerns.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said his government was "ready for dialogue" with the protesters.

Three former Ukrainian heads of state have endorsed the anti-government protests.

Russia -- Ukraine's largest foreign investor, trading partner and chief natural gas supplier -- has in recent months exerted strong economic pressure on cash-strapped Kyiv aimed at derailing the EU deal.

Earlier this year, Moscow imposed restrictions on goods from Ukraine, forcing a 25 percent drop in Ukrainian exports and dragging the Ukrainian economy into recession.

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