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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs