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Ukrainian opposition leaders ready to sign association agreement with EU

November 29, 2013, 18:30 UTC+3 KIEV
“Europe has left the door open to us but it has shut it for Yanukovich,” boxer-turned-politician Vitaly Klichko said
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KIEV, November 29. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian opposition has criticized Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich for refusal to sign an association agreement with the European Union at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius.

Ukraine’s former boxer Vitaly Klichko, who is the leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms/UDAR (PUNCH), said in a statement circulated on Friday that Ukraine would sign an association agreement with the European Union anyway but that would happen under a new president and a new government in Ukraine.

“Europe has left the door open to us but it has shut it for Yanukovich,” Klichko said. He has already announced his intention to run for president at the 2015 presidential elections in Ukraine.

Another opposition leader, the imprisoned Ukrainian ex-prime minister Yulia Timoshenko, on Friday urged the students who had been demonstrating on Kiev’s Independence Square, locally known as Maidan, against Yanukovich’s refusal to sign the association agreement to come out in a united front with the Ukrainian opposition. Timoshenko serves a seven-year prison sentence for exceeding her powers when signing gas agreements with Russia.

“Speeches, slogans, songs and dances on Independence Square, all this is beautiful, strong and energizing but what all of us will do after November 29?” Timoshenko asked.

“I advise you to continue demanding, peacefully but insistently, that your will be implemented and that the agreement be signed,” the ex-prime minister said in her appeal. She emphasized that a union with opposition politicians would significantly strengthen the student team, make their victory more probable and would facilitate the process of bringing together all Ukrainian patriotic forces for a decisive battle.

Ukraine’s opposition leaders, including Arseniy Yatsenyuk (Batkivshchina/Fatherland); Vitaly Klichko (UDAR/Punch); and Oleg Tyagnibok (Svoboda/Freedom party), are expected to deliver speeches at Kiev’s Independence Square upon their return from the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius at 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT) on Friday.

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