News / Europe

Ukraine Opposition Leader Launches Hunger Strike

An Interior Ministry officer walks past a board displaying a portrait of jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko at a protest tent camp set up by her supporters in central Kyiv, Nov. 18, 2013.
An Interior Ministry officer walks past a board displaying a portrait of jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko at a protest tent camp set up by her supporters in central Kyiv, Nov. 18, 2013.
VOA News
Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has begun an indefinite hunger strike to force the Ukrainian government to sign a landmark trade agreement with the European Union.

Tymoshenko announced on Monday she would go on hunger strike after President Viktor Yanukovych announced he is scrapping plans for the agreement, calling the decision "difficult, but unavoidable." He said the Ukrainian government is instead focusing on trade ties with Russia.

The EU pact was suspended after parliament refused to pass legislation freeing former prime minister Tymoshenko. Her release was a key EU condition for signing the Association Agreement with Ukraine.

The decision sparked skirmishes in a central square in the Ukrainian capital, with police firing tear gas at demonstrators protesting the government's decision.

On Sunday, tens of thousands of pro-Europe demonstrators swarmed Kyiv in one of the largest protests since the Orange Revolution nine years ago.

Several hundred people supporting President Yanukovych also marched through Kyiv for a second day Monday.  

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday criticized Russian pressure over the accord, and said the EU offer remains on the table.

Russia is accused of exerting months of political and economic pressure including threats to Ukraine's oil supplies.
 
Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov told parliament Friday that the move did not alter Ukraine's strategy of EU integration.

Tymoshenko is in detention on charges of abuse of power stemming from her time in office. She says the charges are politically motivated.

Ukrainian protester Petro Lyutko said Tuesday he will camp in a square in central Kyiv until November 29, when the matter comes up for the EU's decision in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius. "Until the 29th -- until Ukraine's fate is decided in Vilnius. Until then we will stay here because there is no other way. We have to fight for European values for the future of my grandchildren," he stated.

Fellow protester Vadim Toropov said if the agreement is not approved, Ukrainians will opt for a change of government, one way or another.

If this doesn't happen, we're going to change the authorities, and the only question then will be which way to do it -- the military way? Because after yesterday's beatings by the riot police, people are ready to fight."

The topic is expected to remain open for discussion between the EU and Ukraine at Friday's Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid