Sunday, 1 December 2013

Trouble brewing in the Ukraine

I have little doubt in my mind that the West is stirring up trouble in Ukraine disguised as a democracy movement to screw with Russia. The Ukraine had its own reasons for rejecting an agreement with the EU that would have seriously shortchanged them.

Ukrainian leader 'outraged', slams violence in Kiev as police disperse protesters
The Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovich, has stated his outrage at the violent events which occurred in Kiev’s Independence Square, and harshly condemned the actions that led to the employment of force against the protesters.

30 November, 2013

The Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovich, has stated his outrage at the violent events which occurred in Kiev’s Independence Square, and harshly condemned the actions that led to the employment of force against the protesters.

I demand that the General Prosecutor's Office urgently provide me – and Ukrainian society – with the results of a prompt and objective investigation in order to properly punish the perpetrators,” said the leader in his address to the Ukrainian people, published on the presidential website on Saturday.
The special task force, Berkut, armed with clubs and shields dispersed the protesters at Kiev’s landmark Independence Square early on Saturday. They had been demonstrating against the government’s decision to suspend signing a key integration deal with the EU. 

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich reads his notes before the plenary session of the European Union's Eastern Partnership summit on November 29, 2013 in Vilnius, Lithuania.(AFP Photo / Alain Jocard

Thirty-five people were reported to be detained. However, they were released later in the day. According to medics, 35 people were injured - seven of whom were hospitalized.

After the protest at the Independence Square was dispersed, between 5,000 and 10,000 protesters assembled in Kiev's St. Michael's Square on Saturday evening to continue rallying against Yanukovich’s government.
The EU condemned the excessive use of force by the police during the rally and urged Kiev to carry out an investigation and prosecute the perpetrators, said both the European Union’s top foreign policy official, Catherine Ashton, and the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Fule, in a statement given to Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Saturday.
Fule also urged the Ukrainian authorities to refrain from the use of force on his Twitter account.
#euromaidan ‪#Ukraine:following events with great concern,urge to refrain from use of force against those peacefully expressing their views

The US envoy to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, also condemned “the violence against peaceful demonstrators.”
Meanwhile a petition has been posted on the US White House website asking the US government to help “peacefully overthrow the current Government and President” of Ukraine and to hold “democratic elections for a new parliament and bring to justice all present perpetrators of state power”.
The petition has gathered about 40,000 signatures.
Another petition created on Tuesday asked the US government to impose sanctions on the Ukrainian president “unless Mr Yanukovich signs the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement” The petition has gathered about 116,000 signatures – which is more than the 100,000 threshold needed for the petition to be reviewed by the administration.
A general view shows the square in front of the Mikhailovsky Zlatoverkhy Cathedral (St. Michael's golden-domed cathedral) during a rally supporting EU integration in Kiev November 30, 2013. .(Reuters / Valentyn Ogirenko)

Moscow has said that it is ready for trilateral talks with Kiev and Brussels over the economic consequences of the association deal between Ukraine and the EU.
We were not the ones who proposed or insisted on these talks, but if the European Union and Ukraine want us to discuss the economic consequences of the association to our trilateral relations, we are ready, in principle, to so,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Nebenzya said on Saturday.
Political commentator Aleksander Nekrasov told RT that there isn’t much support among the Ukrainians for the association with the European Union.
I don’t think there’s much support [for the deal with the EU]. I think there’s a lot of confusion, a lot of people don’t understand what’s going on. The most important thing for the Ukrainians to know is that there won’t be a free visa area. They won’t be able to travel to the West; they will encounter a lot of opposition from the West. The feeling is across the EU is that immigrants steal their jobs, they use their benefits and that they are a burden to their economies. I don’t understand why Ukrainians would want to go to countries which are basically hostile to them.”
Chris Weafer, a senior partner in the Marco advisory consulting firm told RT that the people will be convinced not to join the EU, as Ukraine needs more financial support then the EU can provide.
We’ve heard from the bureaucrats and leaders as expected, disappointment with Ukraine’s decision but to be honest there will probably be a certain sense of relief as well. Ukraine has got a population of 45 million people, a very struggling economy; it needs a great deal of financial support to grow and pull out of this slump it’s in. The European Union is not in so financial shape nor is it in political shape to start making overtures to Ukraine. It has far more pressing problems in countries like Greece and Spain. Both sides will be happy to come back to this when they are in a stronger position,” Weafer said.
RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin

Meanwhile, several dozen people wearing masks have gathered near St Michael’s Square bearing sticks, and performing a coordinated series of actions in front of the media and passers-by. It is unclear why they decided to adopt the masks and what their purpose is. Locals speculate that they are practicing self-defense to guard against the riot police.

Compare that with the bias of this article

Ukraine's bloody crackdown leads to call for sanctions
Violent dispersal of pro-European protesters sparks opposition demand for trade embargo

1 December, 2013

Ukraine's opposition leaders called for western sanctions to be imposed and urged demonstrators to further protest action after police used force to break up a demonstration on Saturday against the government's refusal to sign a trade deal with the EU.

Kiev's central Independence Square has been ringed by police to prevent a repeat of the rally, which saw up to 10,000 people waving flags, singing songs and demanding the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych.

The protest was prompted by Yanukovych's confirmation on Friday that he had decided to turn his back on a landmark pact with the EU, instead keeping Ukraine closely aligned with Russia.

About 500 police officers descended on the square – the symbolic heart of the 2004 Orange Revolution against elections rigged in favour of Yanukovych, as well as Ukraine's 1990 anti-Soviet protests – at 4am on Saturday, attacking protesters with truncheons. Yanukovich said on Saturday he was "deeply outraged" by the events which led to violent confrontation between protesters and police. He called for an immediate investigation, though did not specifically blame the police for the incidents.

"I just can't believe it happened," said student Igor Mitrov, with a bandaged head and a bloodstained Ukrainian flag in his hands. Mitrov, 22 was among protesters regrouping in the grounds of Kiev's St Mikhailovsky monastery. "The police were beating the girls with rubber batons and we, the guys, were trying to defend them. But without success."

Yaroslava Fedorash, 20, from Lviv in western Ukraine, described how police surrounded and pushed protesters into a metro station. "We were not resisting: we were just singing the Ukrainian anthem," she said. "I saw a girl whose hand was broken and the ambulance took her from the site."

The police action has generated international outrage. Britain's envoy to Ukraine, Simon Smith, tweeted that he was "hugely disturbed this morning to see pictures of deplorable intimidatory violence". The prominent Ukrainian human rights campaigner Yevhen Zakharov said the attack on peaceful demonstrators was unprecedented.

Yanukovych's opponents called the police action an attempt to "intimidate" people and demanded the resignation of the country's most senior police officer, Vitaliy Zakharchenko. They called for a general strike and urged people to attend a rally on Sunday to demand that Yanukovych step down and western countries impose sanctions.

Yulia Tymoshenko, the jailed former prime minister and opposition leader, whose incarceration on corruption charges is suspected by the west of being part of a political vendetta, called on Ukrainians to "step up against dictatorship and violence of Yanukovych" in a letter to the nation read by her daughter.

Vitali Klitschko, world heavyweight boxing champion and leader of the opposition Udar, or "Punch", party, warned that the violence against protesters should not be excused. "If we forgive such actions today, tomorrow they will repeat, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, and Ukraine will turn into a police state."

Ukraine's prime minister, Mykola Azarov, said on his Facebook page that he was "outraged and concerned" about the incident but did not have enough information to make a final judgment. Ukrainian media are reporting that Sergiy Liovochkin, the president's chief of staff, has resigned in protest over the violence.

Police claimed their officers had been responding to complaints from municipal workers who said the demonstrators had been preventing them from preparing the main square for Christmas. "The actions of Berkut [the riot police unit] started after the protesters began fighting back at the police, scattering them with rubbish, glasses, bottles and burning sticks," a police statement said.

Thirty-five people arrested in the square were released following opposition complaints. Antoliy Vershygora, the head of the Kiev ambulance service, said seven people had been treated in hospital and that a further 14 needed medical assistance.

It was revealed on Friday that Yanukovych would not be signing an EU association and free trade deal at a summit in Lithuania as he could not afford to sacrifice economic ties with Russia. His decision was condemned by the European commission president José Manuel Barroso as a Russian "veto".

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