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Opposition insists on Yanukovich’s participation in talks over political settlement

January 20, 2014, 16:01 UTC+3 KIEV
“It is reasonable to talk only with people who are in a position to make decisions and are responsible for their implementation," Vitaly Klitschko stressed
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© EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

KIEV, January 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian opposition is insisting that the country’s president personally participate in talks to settle the internal political crisis, Vitaly Klitschko, leader of the oppositionist UDAR (Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms) party, said on Monday.

Klitschko said it would be strange to negotiate with Andrei Klyuyev, secretary of Ukraine’s Security Council, whom President Viktor Yanukovich had appointed to head a task group to settle Ukraine’s internal political crisis.

“It is reasonable to talk only with people who are in a position to make decisions and are responsible for their implementation. That is why President Viktor Yanukovich must participate in the negotiations,” Klitschko emphasized.

Infographics A new wave of protests in Kiev A new wave of protests in Kiev
Map of Kiev locating clashes and protest rally sites. ITAR-TASS Infographics
He added it was very important for the talks to end with some real result.

“This is the only way to end the standoff without the conflict’s further escalation,” Klitschko said.

Viktor Yanukovich told Ukraine’s Security Council Secretary Andrei Klyuyev to create a crisis-settlement task group out of cabinet ministers and representatives of presidential administration.

According to Klitschko, Yanukovich has promised to meet with the opposition leaders on Monday. However, Anna German, a deputy from the ruling Party of Regions faction in the Ukrainian parliament, said that the first meeting of the working group and the opposition would take place later on Monday without the Ukrainian head of state.

 

Sunday clashes

Ukraine’s capital Kiev became a scene of fierce clashes between police and opposition demonstrators last Sunday. The protesters threw smoke pellets, stones and sticks at the policemen in which many law enforcers were hurt and even intended to seize government institutions. Yesterday’s wave of violence had been preceded by a rally or a “people’s assembly” as the opposition calls it at Kiev’s independence square, the eighth one since November. The opposition has been calling such meetings regularly with an aim to draw supporters predominantly from Ukraine’s Western regions.

 

New Rada

In his address to the protesters, the leader of Ukraine’s Batkivshchina (Fatherland) party Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced the opposition’s action plan for the near future.

Yatsenyuk announced that the Ukrainian parliament lost its legitimacy after a majority of deputies had passed bills on prosecution for slander and extremism on January 16. Other measures include stricter punishment for organization of mass riots, the blocking and seizure of buildings.

Besides, new laws introduce punishment for negation of crimes committed by fascists and prosecution for the destruction of monuments to Soviet soldiers. They also provide for additional measures to protect judges.

“Verkhovna Rada (parliament) lost its legitimacy after that vote,” Yatsenyuk said.

“That is why we should create our own People’s Rada (parliament) out of opposition representatives,” Yatsenyuk said.

In addition, the opposition intends to stage a public vote for the Ukrainian president’s resignation and work out a new constitution for Ukraine.

For his part, Oleg Tyagnibok, the leader of the Svoboda (Freedom) party, said that the opposition did not recognize and would not implement the bills which had been adopted by parliament on January 16 and which were signed by the Ukrainian president and were going to sabotage them.

The opposition also called for creating municipal militia for people’s self-defense and staging a public vote for the elections of the mayor of Kiev and members of the Moscow city council.

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry has initiated criminal proceedings against some opposition protesters for breaking law and order and attacking and hurting law enforcers, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s press service said.

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