Fragile Truce in Kiev as Protests Spread Across Ukraine

Opposition leaders may be losing control of extremist factions

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Gleb Garanich / Reuters

Antigovernment protester attends a rally in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, on Jan. 24, 2014

A tenuous truce is currently being observed in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, after crisis talks were held Thursday between President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders, but the violent protests have spread to at least five other cities in the west of the country.

The opposition appears divided in its attitude toward negotiation. As some leaders urged the crowd to suspend protests, defiant shouts of “Revolution” and “Shame” could be heard. There are fears that protest leaders are losing control over the more extremist factions among the demonstrators — among them a shadowy coalition of right-wing and ultra-nationalist groups known as Pravyy Sektor (Right Sector), which has reportedly been behind much of the violence.

“We, the nationalists, have to throw off the regime of internal occupation in a revolutionary way, no other way is available,” one of its leaders, Andriy Tarasenko, told Agence France-Presse in an interview. He warned of a guerrilla war if the authorities continued with their crackdown.

Meanwhile in Lviv, protesters forced Governor Oleg Salo to resign in the street.

Salo later said that his resignation, which read “I ask to be freed of my duties,” was invalid since he was intimidated into signing it.

The current unrest erupted after President Yanukovych scrapped a trade deal with the E.U. in November. The protests took a violent turn on Sunday, after the government pushed through harsh antiprotest legislation. Parts of central Kiev were turned into a battle zone as protesters erected barricades and mounds of burning tires and lobbed Molotov cocktails at police, who responded with live ammunition, shock grenades and water cannons.

Activists have set up a live stream of the disturbances:

Dozens of people on both sides have been injured, and Wednesday saw the first confirmed fatalities so far, with two protesters shot dead by police forces. Opposition figures claim three more protesters have died.

A video apparently showing a protester stripped naked and harassed by police became a symbol of the worsening standoff, and prompted an apology from the Interior Ministry on Thursday.

[APAFP]

33 comments
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Gintare Jewelry

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Gintare Jewelry

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Stephen Stromberg
Stephen Stromberg

The government doesn't represent the people and instead represses them. Ukraine refuses to be a soviet satellite any longer.

TAHKICT
TAHKICT

yanukovich wants a war.he wants to be the Ukrainian lukoshenko.Otherwise, all he had to do was to stand down and wait for the elections because constitutionally he can’t be removed.Yet he chose to aggravate the opposition further. The only way the protesters will win peacefully is if the military backs them.I would love to see the army roll in and arrest the berkut (most of who were probably sent from belorussia and russia).

Kathrina Commy Hebzubah Izobs
Kathrina Commy Hebzubah Izobs

We care,getting worse now with too much violence,lives is important,why not come back to the discussion table

Pete Hernandez
Pete Hernandez

We have enough problems here in the US yet u don't see Americans rioting n shyt. Act civilized. U act like animals then u shall be treated like animals.

Ash Zee
Ash Zee

LOL, some peoples comments are very comical, I'm sure this will have an impact outside Russia and Ukraine, but on another note, we've got out own problems here at home, that's what we need to be talking about!

William Lalonde
William Lalonde

People concerned with for betterment of humanity care.

William Lalonde
William Lalonde

Dude shut up and go read TMZ you simpleton, this is actually relevant to world advancements.

Robert M Woods
Robert M Woods

people upset with the puppet masters - power to the people

Jonty Sylvester
Jonty Sylvester

I hope they can bring democracy and not trade bad apples for bad oranges

Phillip Ashwood
Phillip Ashwood

deteriorating or getting better? I don't know the background of this current news .. story

Diego Delgado G
Diego Delgado G

Muy sencillo, si Francisco Enrique Garcia decide ir a algún lugar, es seguro que estallará una crisis social en este.

Maidan
Maidan

Orange Revolution was peacefull. So was this one, untilthe police and government MORE than just provoked with thier brutality, infiltrators, and fraudent anti-protest law. Yanukovich to save the country ust step down. After what he did in 2004 with the massive vote fraud; he would have been sitting in jail now most anywhere else. How he got elected? By luck and cunningness no doubt. What he did since then; he must go for sure. 

Maidan
Maidan

Read more. Think more. And Americas problems can be seen with a microscope. If you visit Ukraine, the first thing one notices is the patience of the people. Walk a mile in there shoes, and just maybe you might understand. The police attacked first. But media does not play that up.  

harte.ryan
harte.ryan

Please shut up about something you obviously know nothing about

Maidan
Maidan

All world conflicts are not in the same boat. There is potential for this to be resolved without a civil war.

The big majority are against him. And that number is fast growing. Media portrayed this as an ethnical thing.

Maidan
Maidan

Sochi costs at least 51 billion. And has other problems. The makers of the documentary Putin's Games was offered a bribe not to show it.  

Maidan
Maidan

Sort of. The rioters are a very small percentage of the total protesters who are peaceful. The government purposely stirred things up. But probably didn't expect  the fighting backto be so tough.