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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid