Breaking News Bar
updated: 2/21/2014 9:04 AM

Ukraine: Opposition agrees to deal with president

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Priests standing on top of a bus holding captured policemen ask protesters Friday to release the group during clashes between opposition and government forces in Kiev, Ukraine. The policemen were eventually set free. Ukraine's presidency said Friday that it has negotiated an international deal intended to end battles between police and protesters that have killed scores and injured hundreds. It was unclear whether the deal would appease protesters, and shots rang out Friday morning in central Kiev.

      Priests standing on top of a bus holding captured policemen ask protesters Friday to release the group during clashes between opposition and government forces in Kiev, Ukraine. The policemen were eventually set free. Ukraine's presidency said Friday that it has negotiated an international deal intended to end battles between police and protesters that have killed scores and injured hundreds. It was unclear whether the deal would appease protesters, and shots rang out Friday morning in central Kiev.
    associated press

 
Associated Press

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's president gave in to pressure from European diplomats and offered concessions Friday to defuse a crisis that has divided his country and left scores dead. Shots rang out near Kiev's protest camp and protesters fought among themselves about what to do next.

The capital remained tense after President Viktor Yanukovych announced early presidential elections and promised to bring opposition members into the government -- but didn't say when.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

German and Polish officials and an opposition spokeswoman said the Maidan protest movement had agreed to a deal with the president. But it is unclear whether the president's belated concessions will be enough to satisfy protesters who have occupied a piece of Kiev and government buildings around the country in a nationwide battle over the identity of their country.

European foreign ministers had stayed up all night in Kiev trying to negotiate an end to the standoff, prompted when the president aborted a pact with the European Union in November in favor of close ties with Russia instead.

Germany's Foreign Ministry tweeted Friday afternoon that the Maidan council, which has been leading the protest movement, "has decided that opposition leaders can sign the agreement." A spokeswoman for opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko, Oksana Zinovyeva, told The Associated Press that opposition figures were heading to the president's office and had agreed to a deal.

An EU official in Brussels said that if an agreement is signed, Russia and the EU would act as observers to ensure that it is implemented. Russia's government did not immediately comment.

The U.S., Russia and European Union are deeply concerned about the future of Ukraine, a nation of 46 million that has divided loyalties between Russia and the West. Shots were heard again Friday near the protesters' camp in Kiev, a day after the deadliest violence in Ukraine's post-Soviet history. It is unclear who was targeted and whether anyone was hurt or injured in Friday's incident.

Small groups of protesters advanced toward the president's office, torching one truck and seizing two others. Scuffles broke out between a few dozen radicals who wanted to attack the building and more moderate protesters.

Police who had been guarding the Ukrainian parliament building left Friday afternoon, taking their trucks and water cannon with them but leaving behind mattresses and hard hats. They were heading away from the protest camp, but it was unclear why they abandoned their positions.

"As the president of Ukraine and the guarantor of the Constitution, today I am fulfilling my duty before the people, before Ukraine and before God in the name of saving the nation, in the name of preserving people's lives, in the name of peace and calm of our land," the president said in a statement on his website.

Yanukovych also promised constitutional reforms trimming presidential powers, a key demand of protesters.

The opposition rejected similar invitations to join the government in the past, saying that constitutional reform giving parliament greater powers has to be passed first.

On the early elections, a Yanukovych ally said that they would be held in December instead of March -- not soon enough for many protesters enraged by police violence.

Lawmaker Inna Bogoslovskaya, allied with the opposition, told The AP that December is too late for elections. "After 77 corpses yesterday ... that changes the stakes," she said. "The Maidan (protest movement) demands immediate resignation of the president instead of early elections."

Protesters will not abandon occupied buildings until after the constitution is changed, she added.

------

Jim Heintz, Efrem Lukatsky, Yuri Uvarov and Angela Charlton in Kiev, David Rising in Berlin, Monika Scislowska in Warsaw and Karel Janicek in Prague contributed to this report.

Share this page
  • This article filed under:
  • News
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here