News / Europe

    Ukraine’s Pro-Europe Forces Consolidate Gains After Mass March

    Protesters rally at Independence Square in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Dec. 2, 2013, as anger mounts at the decision to ditch a deal that would bring closer ties to the European Union.
    Protesters rally at Independence Square in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Dec. 2, 2013, as anger mounts at the decision to ditch a deal that would bring closer ties to the European Union.
    James Brooke
    Ukraine’s pro-European demonstrators erected barricades Monday, consolidating their control over Independence Square in the core of Kyiv, the nation’s capital.

    A few blocks away, they surrounded the Government Building, forcing Cabinet members and staffers to work elsewhere.

    Protesters occupied City Hall, renaming it “Revolution Headquarters.” A few blocks away, at another occupied building, three opposition leaders talked to a wall of TV cameras.

    Arseniy Yatseniuk, leader of the Fatherland Party, declared the opposition’s goal: “To hold snap parliamentary and presidential elections. This is the will of the Ukrainian people. Just look at the streets,” he said.

    Outside, an ebb and flow of thousands of protesters listened to speakers proclaim that Ukraine’s future is with Europe while also denouncing the government of Victor Yanukovych as undemocratic and corrupt.

    The protesters were defending gains won Sunday by a mass march. As many as one million people marched through central Kyiv - the largest protest since the Orange Revolution of a decade ago.

    Triggers

    Ukrainians are galvanized by two events.

    First, President Yanukovych made an abrupt U-turn when he yielded to Russian pressure and decided not to sign a trade and political association pact on Friday with the European Union.

    Then, on Saturday, videos were posted on the Internet showing riot police attacking peaceful protesters in Kyiv’s Independence Square.  

    By the end of the weekend, Ukrainians were shocked to learn that 300 people were injured. Half of them were police. Forty-three were journalists.

    Vitaly, a 48-year-old businessman, explained why he and his wife were walking behind the barricades on Kreschatyk, Kyiv’s main avenue.

    “At first, we were here for Europe," he said. "Now we are against the government.”

    At the far end of the avenue, Giorgi, a Ukrainian Orthodox priest, stood behind a barricade that towered over his head.
    “The last straw was the police beatings of women and children,” he said.

    On Monday, the government showed a conciliatory side. The police chief of Kyiv was fired.

    Further steps

    The speaker of the parliament, Volodymyr Rybak, a leading government figure, dismissed talk of declaring of state of emergency. Instead, he scheduled a confidence vote in the government for Tuesday. He also talked of dialogue through round tables - the same political formula used to fashion a peaceful exit from the Orange Revolution of 2004.

    Vitaly Klitschko, the boxer turned leader of the Udar opposition party, told reporters that today’s political confrontation should be solved peacefully.

    “Step by step," he said. "Peacefully. Friendly. Within the law.”

    President Yanukovych has decided to go ahead Tuesday with a four-day trip to China. Evidently, he hopes that Kyiv’s freezing temperatures will cool political passions.

    But some analysts say the president would be wise to stay home and shore up his political base.

    Several legislators abandoned his party over the weekend. On Monday, opposition street protests were held in three cities in Russian-speaking Eastern Ukraine - long the president’s political heartland.

    You May Like

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Scientists Detect Gravitational Waves in Landmark Discovery

    Researchers likened discovery to difference between looking at piece of music on paper and then hearing it in real life

    Prince Ali: FIFA Politics Affected International Fixtures

    Some countries faced unfavorable treatment for not toeing political line inside soccer world body, Jordanian candidate to head FIFA says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Vladimir Arkan from: Ukraine
    December 02, 2013 4:50 PM
    I told you, this is growing every minute...!!! we are going to win..!! no more the filth of Russia, no more threats, no more intimidation, no more decay and destitution corruption and degradation. Ukraine will rise economically - we have enough jews here to build "Wall Street" and enough jewish mathematicians to guarantee the most advanced technological innovations. if Russia just stop threatening us and intimidate our weak leaders we can be a great contributing member to the European coalition... we are productive, hard workers, we are caring people and compassionate people and we have the brains to propel us forward into economic prosperity.
    In Response

    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    December 03, 2013 12:04 AM
    I encourage you Ukrainian people to be able to be independent actually and fully upon Russia both politically and economically. I know your homeland is fertile and yields sufficient agricultural products. I am sure you could play a role as one of EU leading members even to offer bailouts to bankrupting members. Good luck Ukraine!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    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 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 US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    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 Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    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.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.