Posts Tagged ‘Vitali Klitschko’


January 21, 2014

Wall Street Journal on January 20, 2014, reported that efforts to solve the political crisis in Ukraine foundered as opposition leaders refused to take part in talks with the government unless President Viktor Yanukovych joined the discussions. Excerpts below:

Hundreds of protesters, mostly masked and wearing helmets, lined up opposite riot police for a second day, throwing Molotov cocktails and cobblestones, and banging on makeshift drums. Police tossed stones back at protesters, fired rubber bullets and sprayed water on the ground in front of their lines that turned to ice in freezing temperatures.

Both sides said dozens had been injured since the clashes.

The escalation came amid frustration among younger and more radical protesters with the week long occupation of Independence Square in central Kiev, which has yielded few concessions.

Thousands of demonstrators have stood on the square since November to demand the government resign after it walked away from a trade and political deal with the EU and accepted a Russian bailout instead.

Opposition leaders have criticized the violence but said it was a result of Mr. Yanukovych ignoring their demands, including for snap presidential elections.

“I call on all citizens and patriots to defend their country and their future,” opposition leader and former world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko said. “Get in cars, minibuses, buses. You’re needed here so that Ukraine wins and not Yanukovych.”

After talks with Mr. Klitschko, Mr. Yanukovych ordered his national security adviser to arrange talks between the government and the opposition.

Mr. Klitschko said the opposition wouldn’t take part unless Mr. Yanukovych did. Opposition leaders sent their deputies to talks with Mr. Yanukovych’s representatives with a list of demands including repealing the new laws.

Some in the opposition say they are concerned that the offer of talks, announced late Sunday night, was a ruse to calm tensions and buy time before launching a crackdown.


December 11, 2013

Fox News on December10, 2013, reported that several thousand police in riot gear stormed a protest camp in the central square of the Ukrainian capital, clashing with demonstrators as they dismantled barricades and evicted protesters from tents. Excerpts below:

Protesters shouted “Shame!” ”We will stand!” and sang the Ukrainian national anthem.

The police tore down barricades surrounding the camp at Independence Square, but then moved back after fierce resistance from thousands of protesters, whose ranks swelled as the night went on.

The police took up positions on the perimeters of the camp, then began clashing with demonstrators and trying again to dismantle the barricades.

Scuffles broke out between police and opposition lawmakers, one of whom laid down on the snow trying to block a vehicle from advancing on the camp. An Orthodox priest sang prayers, and one protester undressed to his waist in the frigid air, got down on his knees and shouted “Stop this … We are one people!”

Kiev police said authorities were merely trying to clear the streets leading to Independence Square, but not to remove the main encampment, the Ukrainian Interfax news agency reported.

Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko, who is the reigning world heavyweight boxing champion, urged Ukrainians to rush to the center of the capital to defend democracy. “We will say no to a police state, no to a dictatorship,” he told protesters in the square.

The confrontation at the protest camp unfolded as EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland were in the city to try to talk to the government and the opposition and work out a solution.

Soon after Yanukovych spoke in a televised broadcast, opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk told demonstrators at the square that the protest leaders were still insisting on their key demands: that Yanukovych fire the government, appoint a new one committed to signing an association agreement with the EU, release all the arrested protesters, and punish the police who beat peaceful demonstrators.

Riot police have twice previously dispersed demonstrators with clubs and tear gas, beating some severely enough to send them to intensive care.

Yanukovych also vowed to renew talks with the EU on the trade and political agreement. He indicated he was still willing to sign the EU deal at a summit in spring, but only if the EU can offer better financial terms. He said at present, the EU agreement could cost economically struggling Ukraine billions in lost trade with Russia, which has used trade threats to try to keep Ukraine in its orbit.

The EU’s enlargement commissioner, Stefan Fule, said Tuesday the bloc was ready to step “up the European Union’s financial assistance programs to help Ukraine implement the agreement, when signed.”

Ukraine’s dire economic straits have also been a factor in its political crisis. The country of 46 million people has been in recession for more than a year…

Moscow has worked aggressively to derail the deal with the EU and lure Kiev into its own economic group by offering price discounts and loans as well as imposing painful trade restrictions.