Ukraine President appeals to EU amid protests

2013-12-03 10:10
People shout slogans and wave Ukrainian and European Union flags during an opposition rally at Independence Square in Kiev. (Genya Savilov, AFP)

People shout slogans and wave Ukrainian and European Union flags during an opposition rally at Independence Square in Kiev. (Genya Savilov, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Kiev - Facing huge anti-government demonstrations after spurning a deal with the European Union, Ukraine's embattled president sought on Monday to quell public anger by moving to renew talks with Brussels.

The opposition, meanwhile, scrambled to secure enough votes in parliament to oust the Cabinet and try to force an early presidential election, in the biggest unrest in the country since the 2004 Orange Revolution.

President Viktor Yanukovych struggled to reaffirm his grip on power as thousands of demonstrators besieged government buildings in Kiev, his party suffered defections and three cities in the west of the country openly defied the central government.

The protests were sparked by Yanukovych's decision to ditch the political association and free trade pact with the EU, followed by the violent dispersal of a small peaceful rally in Kiev over the weekend.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who strongly opposed the EU deal, denounced the opposition protests in Kiev as "pogroms."

On Monday, Yanukovych called European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and asked to renew negotiations on signing the association agreement. He also said in an interview with Ukraine's main television channels that he remains committed to European integration, but would like to negotiate better terms for the fragile Ukrainian economy.

Oust cabinet

Yanukovych urged the opposition for calm and dialogue with the government. But his call fell flat with opposition leaders who were hoping to summon enough parliamentary votes on Tuesday to oust the Cabinet led by Yanukovych's loyal supporter, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, and force an early presidential vote.

"We need to change the system. There must be a complete reloading of the leadership," world boxing champion turned opposition leader Vitali Klitschko told reporters.

It was unclear whether the opposition could muster the 226 votes it needs in the 450-seat parliament to oust Azarov and his Cabinet.

The opposition controls about 170 seats, but independents hold 35 more and the governing Party of Regions was shedding support. At least three of its lawmakers quit in protest and one of them, Inna Bohoslovska, previously a vocal government supporter, called on other legislators to leave the party.

A top agriculture ministry official also resigned on Monday.

Oleksandr Yefremov, head of the Party of Regions faction in parliament, said lawmakers would discuss the situation on Tuesday morning and might then put a no-confidence motion up for a vote. But he argued that there were no grounds to dismiss the government because of the protests, which have revolved on Kiev's main Independence Square, popularly referred to as Maidan.

Putin

"Our goal is to make sure that the people on Maidan calm down," Yefremov said.

Opinion surveys conducted before the protests showed about 45% of Ukrainians supporting closer integration with the EU, with a third or less favouring closer ties with Russia. But the protests, and the police violence, appear to have unleashed anger against the government and tipped the balance more strongly in favour of integration with the EU.

Putin, speaking on Monday on a visit to Armenia, called the demonstrations an attempt by the opposition to destabilise the government.

"The events in Ukraine look more like pogroms than a revolution," he said.

Officials in the western cities of Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil announced they were going on strike and called on their residents to turn out for protests.

Scores of protesters from Lviv and elsewhere in western Ukraine have headed to Kiev by train and car to take part in the rallies.

"Yanukovych is now fighting for his political survival, and time is no longer on his side," said Tim Ash, an emerging markets analyst with Standard Bank in London.

The opposition also was getting support from Ukraine's main television channels, which are owned by the country's wealthiest businessmen. Instead of largely toeing the government line, the channels have begun to give a greater platform to the protesters.



- AP

Read more on:    eu  |  vladimir putin  |  viktor yanukovich  |  ukraine
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Saturday Newlands - 12:32 PM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    DELAYS between Wynberg Hill and UCT due to 2 Oceans Marathon
  • Saturday Hout Bay - 12:31 PM
    Road name: Hout Bay Main Road
    EXPECT DELAYS between Hout Bay and Constantia due to 2 Oceans Marathon
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9790

Bold Design The BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone combines the iconic BlackBerry...

From R2979.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.