UKRAINE OPPOSITION APPEALS FOR AID FROM WEST

Daily Telegraph of London on February 2, 2014, reported that the opposition movement in Ukraine requests financial aid from Western powers that have pledged support for the protest movement against President Viktor Yanukovych. Excerpts below:

Ukraine’s opposition has called for international mediation and appealed for financial aid from the West for the first time in their protests against President Viktor Yanukovych.

Vitali Klitschko, the boxer-turned-politician, told crowds at a rally attended by thousands in Kiev that they needed Western powers, who have already pledged their support for the opposition movement, to get involved in negotiations with Mr Yanukovych so there are “no misunderstandings”.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a former foreign minister, went further, calling for aid: “We spoke to our Western partners and told them that we need real financial aid,” he said.

“They are ready to do it. By ‘we’, I mean the Ukrainian people. Not a single kopeck should go to the Yanukovych regime,” he said.

The country is struggling to break free of a painful recession and Russia has put its $15 billion (£9 million) package on hold until a new government is formed.

Protesters seeking Mr Yanukovych’s resignation held one of their largest gatherings in recent weeks on Sunday, with about 30,000 people assembling at the main protest site in Kiev’s central square.

The opposition is pressing for more concessions from Mr Yanukovych, including the immediate and unconditional release of all the scores of protesters arrested so far.

Mr Klitschko said they were “hostages” and called for the scrapping of an amnesty law approved by Mr Yanukovych last week that only allows the release if occupied official buildings are vacated within two weeks.

“The Ukrainian people have shown and have proven that they are able to defend their decision on Europe despite repressive measures being taken,” Mr Klitschko said.

The protest movement is also asking for a presidential election scheduled in 2015 to be brought forward to this year, while demonstrators in the streets want Mr Yanukovych to resign immediately.

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