Tensions continue to rise as hundreds of thousands gather for another rally against PM Yanukovich.
The European Union has said it will suspend efforts to work with Ukraine on a trade and cooperation agreement, as 200,000 government opposition protesters gather for a rally, marking the start of a fourth consecutive week of unrest. Al Jazeera reports. The EU said on Sunday that Kiev’s government has “no grounds in reality”.
Stefan Fuele, EU enlargement chief, said on Twitter that he told Ukraine’s first deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov that the EU would further discuss a trade agreement if Ukraine’s government showed a commitment to sign it. But Fuele said he has not heard back, so negations are on hold.
Meawhile, tensions are expected to mount as authorities have organised a demonstration to counter the opposition’s scheduled rally. They too vowed to hold a “non-stop protest” and said they would bus thousands of Yanukovich supporters from the provinces to a park near the opposition camp.
Protesters have remained in Independence Square in the capital Kiev since Yanukovich turned down the EU trade deal in favour of fostering closer ties with Russia.
Both US and European politicians have shown their support for the opposition’s cause.
According to CNN, U.S. Sen. John McCain took in the anti-government protest scene in Kiev’s Maidan square Saturday, snapping pictures with his cell phone as he met with opposition leaders. He called it an “incredible display of patriotism” in a tweet that includes an aerial photo of the square. McCain also said he was with the younger brother of heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, who is one of the opposition leaders. The Republican senator has been critical of Ukrainian authorities’ use of force against protesters.