News / Europe

    Ukraine's Concessions Fail to Sway Opposition Protesters, New Fighting Erupts

    Protesters Reinforce Barricades As Ukraine Talks Break Downi
    X
    January 24, 2014 7:27 PM
    Talks between the Ukrainian president and the opposition aimed at ending days of violent anti-government protests appear to have broken down without agreement. The demonstrations erupted two months ago after President Yanukovich refused to sign an agreement bringing the country closer to the European Union - instead opting to sign deals with Russia. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
    Ukraine's President Vows Concessions to Anti-Government Protesters
    Henry Ridgwell
    Embattled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, facing massive anti-government protests in Kyiv and regional capitals, has agreed to re-shuffle his government and amend controversial new anti-protest laws.

    The concessions were revealed Friday, but hours later TV footage showed huge fireballs lighting up the night sky in central Kyiv. Witnesses said angry protesters entrenched behind huge barricades threw firebombs and rocks at police, who responded with tear gas.

    The fighting had stopped at midweek, with a truce called after at least three protesters battling police died - two of them by gunfire.  

    Ongoing talks between the president and opposition leaders were expected to have stretched through the weekend, but it was not clear early Saturday what impact the new rioting would have on the talks.

    One of the leaders - Vitaly Klitschko - described the meeting to the protesters gathered in Independence Square late Thursday night.

    "Long hours of conversations, long hours of conversations about nothing.,” Klitschko told the protesters. “Now I understand that to sit down at the same table, with the man who has already decided to lie to you is pointless,” he said.

    Arseniy Yatseniuk, another opposition leader, told protesters to defend their territory.

    "The decision has been made,” he said. “We are announcing Hrushevskiy Street the territory of the protesters of Independence Square. Not a step back, I ask everyone."

    The opposition is demanding that the government resign and snap presidential elections held.

    Minister of Justice Olena Lukash criticized their actions.

    "Unfortunately for the second time the leaders of the opposition have declined from publicly denouncing the extremists' actions. They also do not condemn the capture of local administration buildings," said Lukash.

    Protesters are still occupying government buildings in several western cities in Ukraine after the protests spread beyond Kyiv Wednesday. The governor of Lviv was forced to sign a resignation letter. He says it was done under duress.

    Opposition groups allege widespread police brutality - including the shooting dead of at least two protesters, and the torture of protesters in detention a charge security forces deny.

    The accusations of police brutality have inflamed the protests against President Yanukovich, says Andy Gundar, director of the Ukrainian Institute in London.

    “This is something that the people will not forgive him. And the line has been crossed. So I think it’s going to be a very, very difficult next few days," said Gundar.

    The protesters are unlikely to back down, says Orysia Lutsevych of London-based policy institute Chatham House.

    “Clearly the protesters went out with the demand of the resignation of the government back two months ago. So I think this demand will have to stay in place and be met if they want civil peace and calm, and people back home from the squares. The problem in Ukraine is also the legislation. That is, they have to change the electoral code before they run any elections," said Lutsevych.

    Both the government and the protesters are refusing to give any ground. Fears are growing of more bloodshed in the coming days.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: PermReader
    January 25, 2014 8:56 AM
    Henry, the full impression from your post is that Kiev`s Maidan is the only citadel of the rebels.Show the proper map next time,please.

    by: Joseph Effiong from: Calabar - Nigeria
    January 25, 2014 6:20 AM
    How can a sovereign state be allowed to be used by russia ? Is there any russian allied that is not tyrannic ? What happened in syria is soon to happen in Ukraine. Russian interest is so important to Ukrainian president than the well-being of his people.
    In Response

    by: Dan Ramsey
    January 25, 2014 8:54 PM
    This is the way that the KGB does business, and Vladimir Putin is KGB from his head to his toes. Even though they call it the FSB now, it's the same thing.

    In addition to being a two-bit thug, Yanokovich is a stupid klutz who is nothing but Moscow's puppet. Ramming through that anti-protest law was incredibly dumb. It was like throwing gasoline on a fire. But no doubt that's what Putin told him to do. After all, Putin did the same thing following the protests in Russia against him in 2012.

    Once KGB, always KGB.

    I'm hoping and praying that perhaps one or two prominent Ukrainian generals will turn against Yanokovich and tell him that unless he agrees to new elections, he will no longer have the support of the armed forces and that, if so ordered, they will not fire on their own people.

    by: Joseph Effiong from: Calabar - Nigeria
    January 25, 2014 6:19 AM
    How can a sovereign state be allowed to be used by russia ? Is there any russian allied that is not tyrannic ? What happened in syria is soon to happen in Ukraine. Russian interest is so important to Ukrainian president than the well-being of his people.

    by: Voilemere from: France
    January 24, 2014 4:36 PM
    hey Vasily, excellent report, thank you. I do believe that the Ukrainian revolution will set the tone for the much needed structural reforms in Russia. Putin presides over Russia like an Arab malignancy and its time to go... i think he can sense that too. Him and Assad and the stench of the Iranian Mullahs... all must go.

    by: Lisa from: USA
    January 24, 2014 3:30 PM
    Vasily, everyone is looking forward to your reports. your courage and our silence is putting US to shame... believe me Vasily, our hearts are with you. and don't answer questions that may jeopardize you...

    by: Den from: Ukraine
    January 24, 2014 3:03 PM
    Help us please! We will be very difficult to overcome Yanukovych!
    In Response

    by: Dan Ramsey
    January 25, 2014 9:02 PM
    There is a lot that the west can do to help the reform movement in Ukraine.

    To start with, Barack Obama and other western leaders can be much more vocal in their support of the reform movement than they have been to date.

    Also, the west can provide clandestine funding to the reform movement, which I suspect that we are already doing behind the scenes.

    If Yanukovich tries to use the army to crush the protests, the west can freeze the millions of dollars in stolen money that he and his cronies keep in western banks.

    But most importantly, the west can make it known to both Yanukovich and Vladimir Putin that if Russia tries to intervene militarily to prop up Yanokovich, the consequences will be severe. Russia will be drummed out of the G8 and the WTO, foreign capital will be withdrawn, new capital flows into the country will be shut off, and they will all have their assets now held in western banks frozen indefinitely.

    Also, moving a couple of US aircraft carrier battle groups into the Black Sea would also underscore the point that an armed intervention by Russia could have other severe consequences as well.
    In Response

    by: Penny Breton from: USA
    January 24, 2014 4:39 PM
    how shall we help you? remember that Ukraine stopped issuing visas... what can we do to help you?

    by: Vasily from: Ukraine
    January 24, 2014 12:55 PM
    to our American friends - greetings.
    as I told you, i will continue to update you of the evolving events. the first thing you must understand is that we have no leaders here. you will do yourselves a grave disservice if you think that by interviewing a giant boxing imbecile who is viewed by so many here with derision, that he knows anything of events - he does not. The real leaders are beginning to emerge slowly. The fear that we have here is that violent Neo-Nazi groups who started coalescing in response of Muslim incursion into Ukraine, are gaining power and acceptance and influence... and that is no good for anyone.

    Some people among us think that we will be able to control these idiots when we have achieved our goal of separate liberal democracy... but many doubt it. and yet another sign of concern is the sudden influx of weapons in the streets... nobody knows with certainty where they are coming from or who is supplying them - they are coming from the East - so it could be the Russians who supply them... if you think that this is improbable than you are imperfectly acquainted with the state of Russia's decay... it is advanced!! - well, its very cold here... we are doing our best
    In Response

    by: Joseph Effiong from: Calabar - Nigeria
    January 25, 2014 6:30 AM
    Since soviets is abandoned toilet, russia is looking for a way to destroyed Ukraine.
    In Response

    by: Joseph Effiong from: Calabar - Nigeria
    January 25, 2014 6:28 AM
    Since soviets is abandoned toilet, russia is looking for a way to destroyed Ukraine.
    In Response

    by: cg 13 from: Germany
    January 24, 2014 2:37 PM
    hey Vasily, thank you, I see Klitschko being paraded here on the news... he looks and sounds like an imbecile... and definitely no leader... he will be lucky if he doesn't get himself killed soon...

    Vasily, you mentioned weapons streaming into the streets... why would Russians supply weapons to Ukrainian separatist movement..? do you think Putin is setting up an incident...?? you obviously are in need of financing, who is financing you..??

    Vasily, the neonazi groups - are they just against Muslims..? we have them here neonazis protecting the communities against Muslims filth... how big are they in Ukraine...?? are they armed..?? Vasily, be safe, i fear the future... but i see the reaction against the Muslims in Europe is gaining strength... and that can only be good.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.