Ukraine’s opposition will march on parliament to pressure lawmakers struggling to end a deadly three-month political standoff, jeopardizing compromises that eased tensions over the past week.
Vitali Klitschko, a former boxing champion and EU man, and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a lawmaker and former central banker, plan to lead thousands of demonstrators today on the first mass action outside their Independence Square compound since Jan. 19, when the last attempt to reach parliament erupted in clashes with police.
“If politicians don’t make a decision, we the people will,” Serhiy, a 23-year-old from the Lviv region near Poland, said inside the encampment, wearing camouflage and a bulletproof vest adorned with a paper “self defense” badge. “We’ve had enough. We’re fighters. We haven’t come here to listen to talks. If we decide to act, we’ll act.”
The standoff began Nov. 21, when Yanukovych pulled out of a free-trade deal with the EU, opting instead for President Vladimir Putin’s offer of $15 billion of aid and cheaper gas.
Russia, which stopped buying bonds from Ukraine’s cash-strapped government after Yanukovych’s Russian-born prime minister, Mykola Azarov, resigned on Jan. 28, said yesterday it will resume purchases, including $2 billion this week. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov made the announcement just as Klitschko and Yatsenyuk were meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin to seek financial and political backing to form a new government.
Source: Business Week