News / Europe

Ukraine Opposition Rejects New Calls for Dialogue

  • Pro-European Union activists shout as they listen to Ukranian opposition leader Oleh Tyahnybok, during a rally in the Independence Square in Kyiv, Ukraine, Dec. 13, 2013.
  • People pass by a barricade erected by pro-European integration protesters in central Kyiv, Dec. 13, 2013.
  • Pro-European Union musicians perform in Independence Square in Kyiv, Ukraine, Dec. 13, 2013.
  • People pick up food inside the Kyiv City Council building which is occupied by pro-European integration protesters, Dec. 13, 2013.
  • Pro-European Union activists warm themselves near a bonfire and guard barricades on the main street Khreschatyk in Kyiv, Dec. 12, 2013.
  • Interior Ministry personnel block a street in central Kyiv, Dec. 12, 2013.
  • Pro-European integration protesters warm themselves by a fire in Independence Square in Kyiv, Dec. 12, 2013.
  • Tents and belongings of pro-European integration protesters are seen near Independence Square in Kyiv, Dec. 11, 2013.
  • Riot police pull pro-European Union activists out from their camp in Independence Square in Kyiv, Dec. 11, 2013.
  • Pro-European integration protesters standing behind barricades confront a line of riot police approaching at Independence Square in Kyiv, Dec. 11, 2013.
  • Pro-European integration protesters line up in front of riot police in Kyiv, Dec. 11, 2013.
  • Riot police leave a bus after protesters threw a smoke bomb, outside City Hall in Kyiv, Dec. 11, 2013.
Protests in Kyiv
VOA News
Ukrainian opposition leaders have rejected a call by President Viktor Yanukovych for talks aimed at ending two weeks of protests against his move to step back from a key trade deal with the European Union, in favor of boosting ties with Russia.

Yanukovych issued an invitation late Wednesday for a national dialogue with religious, civic and opposition leaders, while urging protesters encamped in central Kyiv to avoid "confrontation and ultimatums."                                                                                                                                                      
In rejecting the president's call, opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk repeated demands that the president first release all prisoners detained since the protests began and that he and his government then resign.

Yatsenyuk spoke hours after police retreated from a huge protest encampment in Kyiv's Independence Square, after trying to dismantle a makeshift tent city erected by swarms of demonstrators.

In Washington Wednesday, The Pentagon said U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by telephone with his Ukrainian counterpart, Defense Minister Pavlo Lebedyev.  He said Hagel called for calm and warned the Ukrainian minister against using the country's armed forces against its civilian population.

A Pentagon statement said Lebedyev told Hagel that the Kyiv government does not intend to deploy troops to quell the protests.

In Kyiv Wednesday, Ukraine's Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said Ukraine is requesting $27.5 billion in financial assistance from the European Union before it will sign an association agreement with the 28-nation bloc.

For its part, Russia is seeking to form a trade bloc of former Soviet republics and satellite countries to rival the European Union, and has in recent months exerted strong economic pressure on its impoverished neighbor to scuttle the EU deal.

Earlier this year, it imposed restrictions on goods from Ukraine, cutting Ukrainian exports by 25 percent and dragging the country into recession.

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Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
December 11, 2013 12:57 PM
what are we doing in there

by: John Mengel from: Denver USA
December 11, 2013 12:41 PM
Right about now Mr. Putin must really be pining away for those "Back in the USSR" days. You know, the ones where they would just send in the T-72 Tanks to just run tent cities down . . . It must be so hard to be a strongman wanna-be when Angela is looking over your shoulder and saying "Nein!".

by: Ninjaboy4273
December 11, 2013 12:28 PM
They both need each other in some way, why are people rioting about the union.

by: Richard Vindiola
December 11, 2013 12:25 PM
Why did the security control raid the demonstrator's tent city? The police can just do that?
In Response

by: Kazik from: Hartford
December 11, 2013 1:41 PM
Bravo Ukraine. Now turn on Poland.
In Response

by: turntech_godhead
December 11, 2013 12:43 PM
There is always going to be unjustices in the world. People in power like to abuse power though I believe that this is influenced. It will be forgotten just like the students who were sprayed down on an American college.

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