KIEV, December 14, 23:35 /ITAR-TASS/. More than 60,000 people attended a rally organised by the ruling Party of Regions in Kiev on Saturday, December 14.
“This is the maximum number of participants that was registered in the middle of the day,” the city police said.
At the same time, some 13,000-14,000 opposition supporters rallied in Kiev’s Independence Square.
The Party of Regions had brought together people from eastern, central and southern regions of the country. Oleg Kalashnikov, leader of the Military Union of Ukraine, told ITAR-TASS that “people want to speak in support of the president, they are outraged by what is happening at Independence Square, and until now have had no chance to make the voice of regions be heard.”
Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov stressed the need to solve all disputes through negotiations. “Any disputable and most complex issue can and should be solved at the negotiating table. It’s wrong to take people away from their work and families. People should lead a normal life,” he said at the rally, referring to mass opposition protests.
He warned against attempts to divide the country into two camps: west and east. “To me as prime minister, Ukraine is one country, and if there is a trouble in the east, west, south or north, it is our common trouble, and there is no need to divide Ukraine and build barricades. We must understand that we have shared goals and objectives,” Azarov said.
He said his government would sign agreements with Russia next week, which would create new jobs. “Our market is in Russia. Next week we will sign important agreements with Russia in Moscow, which will give us new jobs,” he said.
The participants in the rally supported the resolution read out from the podium, which reiterated Ukraine’s commitment to European integration and modernisation of all spheres of life.
“Adventurists from the opposition are trying to seize power by force. Opposition politicians are using the European aspirations of people in an attempt to replace their demands with their own. European integration was and remains our strategic priority pursued by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and the government. Modernising all spheres of life, increasing the competitiveness of the national economy and improving the quality of life of our citizens our are task and our goal. We are close to Europe now as never before owing to the actions taken by the present authorities,” MP Mikhail Chechetov of the Party of Regions said.
“But we do not want to achieve European integration any cost. It must take into account the national interests of the country and the interests of each of its citizens. We state our support for the balanced actions of President Viktor Yanukovich to carry out Ukraine’s foreign policy on the basis of national interests and pragmatism. This is the only way for our state to survive among modern global challenges and threats,” he said.
“We want to develop our country, not build barricades. We say no to chaos and yes to stability and order! We call on all citizens of Ukraine to unite for the sake of peace in Ukraine. We urge the opposition to unblock government and public institutions and begin negotiations. The only possible way for our country to develop lies through reconciliation and consensus,” the resolution said.
“All sides should act strictly by law and the Ukrainian Constitution. We can stop the escalation of violence and prevent the division of the country only if we unite for the sake of peace and public order,” Chechetov said.
“Our rally is open-ended. It will continue until the situation in the country stabilises. The Party of Regions stands for the development of the economy, preservation of existing and creation of new jobs, for high European standards in Ukraine. We want Ukraine to be a prosperous and stable country, which will carry out effective reforms for the benefit of every citizen of Ukraine. No to civil confrontation; yes to unity and consensus! Let us save Ukraine!” the MP concluded.
While the resolution was being read out, President Yanukovich made a practical step towards the opposition by dismissing Kiev Mayor Alexander Popov and National Security and Defence Council Deputy Chair Vladimir Sivkovich at the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office, which suspects them of having violated the constitutional rights of citizens who were in Independence Square on November 30 in Kiev. The president expressed confidence that the Prosecutor General’s Office would investigate those events objectively and offer society “concrete legal measures for responding to the committed unlawful actions.” He also invited law enforcement agencies to carry out the investigation openly and transparently and “close the question.”
Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka also announced that Kiev police chief Valery Koryak and his deputy Pyotr Fedchuk had been notified that they were suspected of having acted in excess of their powers when ordering the opposition rally to be dispersed on November 30. Both have been placed under house arrest.