News / Europe

Western Diplomats Try to Break Ukraine Political Deadlock

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (R) takes her seat prior to meeting with Ukrainian opposition leaders, (from L) Oleh Tyahnybok, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and Vitaliy Klitschko in Kyiv Dec. 10, 2013.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (R) takes her seat prior to meeting with Ukrainian opposition leaders, (from L) Oleh Tyahnybok, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and Vitaliy Klitschko in Kyiv Dec. 10, 2013.
VOA News
As Ukraine’s street protests marked their third week, U.S. and EU officials arrived here Tuesday to try to break the deadlock with diplomacy.
 
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met with the three main leaders of the opposition. At the same time, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton met with President Viktor Yanukovych. Later, she visited the protest camp and met with opposition leaders as well.
 
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called Ukraine’s president on Monday night and urged a peaceful solution.
 
Minor gestures
 
Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych (L) shakes hands with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton during their meeting in Kyiv Dec. 10, 2013.Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych (L) shakes hands with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton during their meeting in Kyiv Dec. 10, 2013.
x
Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych (L) shakes hands with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton during their meeting in Kyiv Dec. 10, 2013.
Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych (L) shakes hands with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton during their meeting in Kyiv Dec. 10, 2013.
Yanukovych Tuesday held nationally televised talks with his three predecessors.  He appeared relaxed. He also made two minor gestures to the opposition, saying he favored the release of protesters jailed for what he called minor crimes. He said he was sending a delegation to Brussels for more negotiations with the European Union, and that he hopes to sign a political pact of association with the EU in March.
 
But the protesters were unmoved. Ukraine negotiated for six years over its EU association agreement that was supposed to have been signed last month.
 
On Tuesday, the three opposition leaders boycotted roundtable talks with the government.
 
Markiyan Matsekh, a 22-year-old IT worker from western Ukraine, said the police violence of past weeks showed him that Ukraine risks becoming a dictatorship.
 
“They went over the line, and this simply cannot happen in a democratic country,” he said, while warming up in a café next to the protest camp in central Kyiv. “I know that if I don’t stand for my rights now, then all my life I will be living in fear that I may be taken away, be judged without justice. So I am standing for my rights, for my future, for the future of my future children,” said Matsekh.
 
Kyiv vs. Yanukovych
 
Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich (2nd L) sits with three previous presidents, Viktor Yushchenko (L), Leonid Kravchuk (2nd R) and Leonid Kuchma (R) during their meeting in Kyiv Dec 10, 2013.Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich (2nd L) sits with three previous presidents, Viktor Yushchenko (L), Leonid Kravchuk (2nd R) and Leonid Kuchma (R) during their meeting in Kyiv Dec 10, 2013.
x
Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich (2nd L) sits with three previous presidents, Viktor Yushchenko (L), Leonid Kravchuk (2nd R) and Leonid Kuchma (R) during their meeting in Kyiv Dec 10, 2013.
Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich (2nd L) sits with three previous presidents, Viktor Yushchenko (L), Leonid Kravchuk (2nd R) and Leonid Kuchma (R) during their meeting in Kyiv Dec 10, 2013.
A new poll by Research & Branding Group indicates that western Ukraine overwhelmingly supports the EU pact - with 81 percent in favor. Overall, 46 percent of Ukrainians favor the EU pact, and 36 percent favor joining a rival pact with Russia.
 
Support for Yanukovych seems lukewarm in Kyiv, a city where 75 percent of votes cast in the 2010 presidential election went for Yanukovych’s opponent. And the police violence of recent weeks pushed a lot of people here to demonstrate.
 
On Tuesday afternoon, John, an American businessman, was dragging a small suitcase of food down a cobblestone street from his apartment to the demonstrators’ camp on the city’s central square.
 
He contrasted the current mass protest with the Orange Revolution of 2004: “It’s brought together not only opposition factions, but people feel that they have been betrayed by the last-minute about-turn on the EU, and especially a much broader segment of the population, who are offended by the brutality of the authorities,” said he.
 
For now, police have hemmed demonstrators in their tent camp in central Kyiv. With nighttime temperatures expected to drop to -16 Celsius and snow forecast for Wednesday, Ukraine’s president seems to be hoping that his best ally is Father Winter.

  • Pro-European Union activists gather during a rally in Independence Square in Kyiv, Dec. 10, 2013.
  • Pro-European Union activists warm themselves around a bonfire as they gather in Independence Square in Kyiv, Dec. 10, 2013.
  • A pro-European Union activist gives flowers to riot police on a main street in central Kyiv, Dec. 10, 2013.
  • Riot police gather to remove a barricade set up by supporters of EU integration in Kyiv, Dec. 9, 2013.
  • Ukrainian riot police block pro-European Union activists' tent camp in Kyiv, Dec. 9, 2013.
  • Interior Ministry personnel block a street during a gathering of supporters of EU integration in Kyiv, Dec. 9, 2013.
  • Protesters supporting EU integration occupy city hall in Kyiv, Dec. 9, 2013.
  • A young man stands on barricades defended by Pro-European Union activists next to government buildings in Kyiv, Dec. 9, 2013.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid