BREAKING: Ukraine President: Truce Reached, Will Negotiate with OppositionPosted: February 19, 2014
Tribune wire reports – Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said on Wednesday he had agreed a “truce” with opposition leaders, after street violence in which at least 26 people were killed, and a start to negotiations to end further bloodshed.
A statement on the presidential website said that during talks with the three main opposition leaders, Yanukovich had agreed firstly a truce and secondly “the start to negotiations with the aim of ending bloodshed, and stabilising the situation in the state in the interests of social peace.”
The statement, issued on the eve of a visit by the foreign ministers of Germany, Poland and France, appeared to indicate that riot police who on Tuesday night advanced on to Kiev’s Independence Square would not take further immediate steps to break up the encampment of protesters.
Former economy minister Arseny Yatseniuk, one of the opposition leaders, said in a statement on the website of his Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party: “The storming of the Maidan (Independence Square) which the authorities had planned today will not take place.
“A truce has been declared. The main thing is to protect human life,” he said.
Yanukovich issued his statement after meeting Yatseniuk and the two other opposition leaders, boxer-turned-politician Vitaly Klitschko and far-right nationalist Oleh Tyahnibok.
WARNINGS FROM WEST
President Barack Obama, echoed by the Pentagon, warned on Wednesday that there would be consequences if violence continues in Ukraine, saying the Ukrainian military should not step into a situation that could be resolved by civilians.
Going head to head with Russia in a dispute heavy with echoes of the Cold War, the United States urged Yanukovich to pull back riot police, call a truce and talk to the opposition.
European Union leaders condemned what they called “the unjustified use of excessive force by the Ukrainian authorities” and said they were urgently preparing targeted sanctions against officials responsible for the crackdown.
EU officials said Yanukovich himself would not be on the list to keep channels of dialogue open. The foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland will visit him on Thursday, hours before an emergency EU meeting to decide on the sanctions.
Yanukovitch, backed by Russia, denounced the overnight bloodshed in central Kiev as an attempted coup and his security service said it had launched a nationwide “anti-terrorist operation” after arms and ammunition dumps were looted.
In the western bastion of Ukrainian nationalism, a regional assembly declared self-rule and crowds seized public buildings.
Neighboring Poland’s prime minister, Donald Tusk, said Ukraine faced civil war, even partition, if dialogue fails: “What if no compromise is achieved?” he asked in parliament. “We will have anarchy and perhaps division of the state or civil war, the beginning of which we may now be witnessing.”
Protesters have been occupying central Kiev for almost three months since Yanukovich spurned a far-reaching trade deal with the EU and accepted a $15-billion Russian bailout instead.
The sprawling nation of 46 million, with an ailing economy and endemic corruption, is the object of a tug-of-war at a global level between Moscow and the West. But the struggle was played out at close quarters, hand to hand, in fighting through the night on Kiev’s Independence Square, or Maidan.
After night fell, fires blazed along the barricaded frontline between the protesters and riot police but there was no immediate sign of a repetition of Tuesday’s violence…
- Ukraine’s Yanukovich Agrees ‘Truce’ With Opposition, Start To Negotiations (businessinsider.com)
- West readies Ukraine sanctions, Yanukovich slams coup bid (trust.org)
- West readies Ukraine sanctions, Yanukovich slams coup (trust.org)
- U.S. urges Ukraine to call truce with opposition (reuters.com)
- Ukraine leader denounces opposition coup bid (stuff.co.nz)
- West readies Ukraine sanctions (cyprus-mail.com)
- Ukraine after the Maidan (blogs.reuters.com)
- Ukraine: Europe considers sanctions (radionz.co.nz)
- Obama warns Ukraine of ‘consequences’ if violence continues (dawn.com)
- Ukraine on brink of civil war as thousands of anti-government protesters mass in central Kiev to confront police again after a night of violence that left 26 dead (thisismoney.co.uk)