News / Europe

Ukraine Protests Continue Despite Amnesty Offer

Ukraine On Brink Of Civil War, Warns Former Presidenti
X
January 30, 2014 2:48 AM
Ukraine’s former president has warned that the country is on the brink of civil war after two months of anti-government protests. Lawmakers are debating an amnesty bill for detained protesters, with supporters of President Yanukovych demanding that demonstrators leave government buildings. But the protesters say they will only leave their barricades after the downfall of the entire government, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from Kyiv.

Watch related video from VOA's Henry Ridgwell

VOA News
Ukrainian anti-government protesters are vowing to continue demonstrating despite passage of a law offering amnesty to those arrested during the protests over the past two months.

"They voted for these laws only in their own interests. They want us to evacuate all buildings, like Kyiv city hall where we still have a chance to warm up as its minus 20 outside right now, but they won't do anything because we saw how they canceled laws that were adopted on the 16th of January, but Yanukovych has yet to sign this decision. They only sign the laws they need," said one protester, explaining the thinking behind the refusal.

The parliament approved the measure late Wednesday, offering amnesty to those detained only if the anti-government groups abandon the public buildings they are occupying.

Lawmakers passed the measure Wednesday night, but the opposition in parliament opposed the move. Opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk described the condition that protesters vacate the buildings as "unacceptable".

Protests in Kyiv

  • An opposition supporter looks on as he warms himself next to a fire in a barricade near Kyiv's Independence Square, Jan. 31, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters march in central Kyiv, Jan. 31, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters march in central Kyiv, Jan. 31, 2014.
  • An opposition supporter stands next to a burning tire at a barricade in central Kyiv, Jan. 30, 2014.
  • Riot police stand in a cordon facing anti-government protesters as temperatures stand at minus 20 degrees Celsius at a barricade near Independence Square in Kyiv, Jan. 30, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters walk in the tent city at Independence Square in Kyiv, Jan. 30, 2014.
  • Protesters, with signs reading "Mother" on their chests, and ""The government don't kill our children," walk away from a police cordon in central Kyiv, Jan. 30, 2014.
  • Members of various anti-government paramilitary groups walk in formation during a show of force in Kyiv, Jan. 29, 2014. 
  • Members of various anti-government paramilitary groups attend a religious service at a chapel in Kyiv, Jan. 29, 2014. 
  • A protest camp in Independence Square, Kyiv, Jan. 28, 2014. (H. Ridgwell/VOA)
  • Protest camps in Independence Square, Kyiv, Jan. 28, 2013. (H. Ridgwell/VOA)

In an interview with VOA's Russian service, the newly-elected president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Anne Brasseur, said her organization should help the country resolve the crisis.

Ukraine - Key Dates

2013

  • Nov. 21: Ukraine suspends plans to sign EU association agreement
  • Nov. 30: Riot police crack down on anti-government protesters in Kyiv
  • Dec. 17: Russia offers $15 billion in loans and slashes gas prices

2014

  • Jan. 16: Ukraine parliament passes anti-protest law
  • Jan. 22: Protests spread, two protesters shot and killed in Kyiv clashes
  • Jan. 25: President Viktor Yanukovych offers government posts to top opposition leaders
  • Jan. 28: Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigns, parliament repeals laws restricting protests
  • Jan. 29: Parliament approves law offering amnesty to detained protesters if demonstrators abandon occupied buildings
"We should help the Ukrainians emerge from crisis, without going into the details of their domestic policy and the path which they want to walk. We cannot violate Ukraine's sovereignty," she said, adding that an urgent debate is planned on Thursday to discuss the Ukraine situation.

"Dialogue is the only way to move forward," Brasseur added. " If the assembly can help in the beginning of this dialogue, we will be happy to bring representatives of the authorities and the opposition together in this conversation."

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian president's web page said President Viktor Yanukovych is on sick leave due to acute respiratory disease accompanied by fever. It did not say how long he would be on leave or whether he will be trying to work at all during that time.

Demonstrators first took to the streets in November when President Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties to Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin promised Wednesday that even if the opposition comes to power in Ukraine, Moscow will make good on its pledge of a $15 billion loan to Ukraine, along with substantial natural gas discounts.

You May Like

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid