President Victor Yanukovich pins blame on anti-government demonstrators
Renewed assaults on protesters l February 20 declared Day Of Mourning. EU moves closer to taking sanctions
Moscow accuses US diplomats of ‘puppeteering’ Ukraine
After the deaths of 25 people in clashes a day earlier, Ukrainian protesters were prepared to stand and fight again Wednesday. Police want to clear them out of central Kiev. Some of them died trying to stay put Tuesday – using projectiles and burning barricades to keep security forces at bay at Kiev’s Maidan, or Independence Square, CNN reports.
Thousands of demonstrators have packed Independence Square since November, when President Viktor Yanukovych reversed a decision to sign a trade deal with the European Union and instead turned toward Russia.
Police and protesters were among Tuesday’s dead. A journalist and a government employee died, too. More than 240 others were hospitalized, Ukraine’s health ministry said.
Overnight, demonstrators stocked up, passing stones hand to hand, filling Molotov cocktails and stoking flaming barricades with wood and tires.
They prepared a makeshift compressed-air cannon to catapult the projectiles into police ranks.
Hundreds of others came out to give moral support to those holding the square and to add their numbers to the throng wanting to keep the opposition movement alive.
Even as the European Union scheduled a meeting on Ukraine for Thursday and the leaders of France and Poland called for sanctions over the violence, Yanukovych fired fresh vitriol at his opposition. He pinned blame for the violence exclusively on protesters, but he would have none of it himself.
“This is my life principle – no power is worth a drop of blood spilled for it,” he said in a statement. Yet he issued a veiled threat to protesters.
Opposition forces should “disassociate themselves from the radical forces that provoke bloodshed and clashes with law enforcement,” he said.
Otherwise, admit to supporting them and be treated accordingly, Yanukovych demanded.
Opposition leaders pointed the finger back, painting their supporters as the victims, not the aggressors.
Neither side seems to have a monopoly on the use of violence, and in the mayhem, it is sometimes hard to tell who is carrying it out.
The journalist who died Wednesday was shot the night before, after a group of masked people stopped a taxi he was riding in, according to a statement by his newspaper Ukrainian Vesti. They wore camouflage clothes and were throwing Molotov cocktails. They beat other passengers in the car, the paper reported.
Basescu calls on Yanukovych not to use force or order reprisals against protesters
Romania’s President Traian Basescu has called on his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych not to use force or order reprisals against protesters, and find instead solutions through dialogue to prevent any increase in the number of victims, Agerpres informs. ‘Romania’s President, Mr Traian Basescu, is deeply concerned about the wave of violence and loss of human lives as a result of clashes in the streets of Kyiv, where Euromaidan protesters have been facing law enforcement officers. Romania also witnessed violent clashes in its 1989 Revolution, when more than 1,000 people were killed in the fight for freedom and democracy. We learned back then that violence is not a solution and that options have to be sought through democratic dialogue. Mr President, Traian Basescu, is calling on Ukraine’s President, Viktor Yanukovych, not to use force or order reprisals against protesters. Such an action will not be a democratic solution to the credibility crisis facing the incumbent parliamentary majority in Ukraine,’ reads a press release issued by the Romanian Presidential Administration. The release also says that continuing violent reprisals against protesters is not a solution to the crisis currently facing Ukraine, as this way violent clashes will surely escalate. ‘Romania’s President, Mr Traian Basescu, is also calling on Ukraine’s President, Mr Viktor Yanukovych, to seek solutions through dialogue in order to prevent any increase in the number of victims in Kyiv and other areas of Ukraine,’ reads the release.
PM Ponta: I join calls on Ukrainian authorities for peaceful crisis settlement
At the start of a Government meeting on Wednesday, Romania’s Prime Minister Victor Ponta called on Ukraine’s authorities to find solutions for a peaceful settlement of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, pointing out that Romania’s position on this issue is perfectly coordinated with that of the European Union and the US. ‘At Romania’s northern borders, there is a very serious political and social situation. I am joining the calls of all the representatives of the Romanian State and the position of Mr. Corlatean that expresses the position of the Romanian Government, that is for the Ukrainian authorities to settle a crisis without the use of violence and without human casualties, which has already happened. Romania’s position is perfectly coordinated with that of the European Union and the US. Because the bad things are happening at Romania’s national borders, I hope this call and these diplomatic efforts will lead to a halt in violence and to democratic solutions in the neighbour country,’ said Ponta.