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 One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs