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Ukraine Interim President Vows Moves Toward European Integration

Newly-elected speaker of parliament Oleksander Turchynov, who on Sunday assumed interim presidential powers, is seen in the parliament building in Kyiv February 22, 2014.
Newly-elected speaker of parliament Oleksander Turchynov, who on Sunday assumed interim presidential powers, is seen in the parliament building in Kyiv February 22, 2014.
VOA News
Ukraine's new interim president is promising to chart a course toward European integration, now that Russian-backed president Viktor Yanukovych has been ousted.
 
Parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Turchynov, a longtime ally of opposition leader and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, spoke Sunday, just hours after being elevated to an interim presidency in a parliamentary vote.
 
Turchynov also said the new government wants to build relations with Russia on the basis of what he called "a new and fair partnership of good neighborly relations." He has promised a new government by Tuesday, and lawmakers have called for new elections on May 25.
 
Russia - a strong backer of the ousted president - said Sunday it has recalled its ambassador to Kyiv for consultations on what it says is "the deteriorating situation in Ukraine."  A Russian Foreign Ministry statement cited a need for "a comprehensive analysis" of developments in Kyiv.
 
The whereabouts of Yanukovych remained unclear one day after he fled Kyiv for his support base in the country's east.
 
Opposition party leader Vitali Klitschko said Sunday Yanukovych should take full responsibility for the chaos in Kyiv that has resulted in the deaths of nearly 100 anti-government protesters in the past two weeks.

People visit makeshift memorials to the victims of the recent clashes in central Kiyv on February 23, 2014.People visit makeshift memorials to the victims of the recent clashes in central Kiyv on February 23, 2014.
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People visit makeshift memorials to the victims of the recent clashes in central Kiyv on February 23, 2014.
People visit makeshift memorials to the victims of the recent clashes in central Kiyv on February 23, 2014.
​Yanukovych appeared on Sunday to be losing the support of his former allies, with his Party of Regions issuing a statement blaming him for the surge of deadly violence that wracked the capital in recent weeks.
 
Party leader Oleksandr Yefremov said "Ukraine has been betrayed and its people put against each other.  ...All responsibility for this lies with Yanukovych," he said. 
 
In other developments, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will travel to Ukraine on Monday for talks with key players and to discuss measures to stabilize the economy.
 
Protests erupted in November when Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties to Russia.  The protests began peacefully, but descended into violence. 
 
Ukraine is split between those in the East where many have traditionally favored ties with Russia, and those in the West who lean toward the European Union.
 
The United States and European allies have warned Russia not to send forces into Ukraine.
 
U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice told NBC's Meet The Press that it would be a "grave mistake" for Russia to intervene militarily.
 
Ukrainian protesters took control of Yanukovych's offices in Kyiv Saturday.  Others let themselves onto the grounds of the ousted president's secretive lavish estate outside Kyiv, which among other extravagances includes a vintage car collection and a private zoo, and toured his house. Some said they were stunned that one person could have so much while others in Ukraine have nothing.

Ukraine protests in pictures:

Amid Upheaval, 'Glory to the Heroes'i
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February 22, 2014 10:05 PM
It was a day of mourning on Kiev's Independence Square for dozens of people killed during the past week's clashes between police and pro-reform protesters. But it played out against a backdrop of political high drama. VOA's Al Pessin has more.

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Comments
     
by: Regula from: USA
February 24, 2014 7:56 AM
What a biased article. No insight into the real events and geographic realities of Ukraine. No insight into the real conditions at these protests. Meanwhile the US already afraid that Russia could fight for Crimea and the southern provinces - why would that be the US's decision? Ukraine isn't in NATO - yet! So Russia has to take the occasion, because this abusive EU association agreement forces Ukraine to join the NATO now, while its rights in the EU have to wait for indefinite years! What a betrayal. And the EU/US have the nerve to talk of democracy and freedom - but whose freedom? That of the US 1%? Nobody else gets any freedom other than to poverty in this deal.

As many police as demonstrators were killed and injured - and everybody is accusing Yanukovich because the police had to protect itself? I would see how the US police wouldn't shoot when attacked with molotov cocktails, steel pipes, chains, stones and guns.

by: Daniel Cocciardi
February 24, 2014 4:00 AM
Susan Rice is a Brookings Institution fellow. The Brookings Institution favors interventionism in every corner of the world. Rice knows absolutely nothing about the Ukraine or Russia.

by: Harry from: Australia
February 23, 2014 6:12 PM
It would be a grave mistake...so said Susan Rice.Is that an opinion or a threat?It is best to be clear with the Russians if a threat was intended.As seen with the Georgian invasion ,Putin is quite unpredictable.The Russians still view Ukraine as part of their dominion and obvious vestiges of that old soviet mindset are still there today.
In Response

by: Regula from: USA
February 24, 2014 7:46 AM
Crimea and the eastern provinces of Ukraine are Russian - not just Russian speaking. Those regions were included in Ukraine by the Soviet Union to dilute the influence of the rightwing extremists who fought with the Nazis against the Soviet Union in the Second World War. So yes, surely, Russia has an interest in those regions and might even fight for them if necessary - to protect its own Russian compatriots. Surely, if you were Russian in Crimea or the southern provinces, you would hope that Russia would come to your help when needed. It's the US who intervenes in completely criminal ways in Ukraine, pushing Ukraine to govern by mob rule - just to deter from the US's mafia tactics of destabilizing one more country. Nuland even stated the price of that destabilization as $5b!

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