News / Europe

Ukraine Protests Continue Despite Amnesty Offer

Ukraine On Brink Of Civil War, Warns Former Presidenti
X
January 30, 2014
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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population 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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid