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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid