KIEV, February 02, 21:32 /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian opposition leaders have asked the West for financial assistance, the leader of the Batkivshchnina (Fatherland) political party’s parliamentary faction, Arseny Yatsenyuk, said Sunday at a rally of opposition supporters in downtown Kiev’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square).
“We have turned to our Western partners with a request to provide us with financial assistance. Us means the Ukrainian people,” Yatsenyuk explained.
He said the Western partners are “ready to help the Ukrainian nation, but we need to restore people’s rule for that.”
The lawmaker said Ukraine’s unicameral parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, should amend the Constitution and “strip the president of dictatorial powers.”
“We will have to elect new Ukrainian authorities on the basis of the new Constitution,” he said.
Maidan was today the venue for "an information rally" of opposition supporters that gathered some 5,000 people.
Protesters have held anti-government rallies that have often turned into violent clashes with police in Ukraine since the country refused to sign an association agreement with the European Union at a summit in Vilnius in November 2013 and opted for closer ties with Russia instead.
Parliament’s decision to pass a set of laws toughening punishment for public order violations on January 16 triggered a second wave of demonstrations in Ukraine, with protesters seizing government buildings. Three protesters are believed to have been killed, and up to 200 policemen injured. The authorities later repealed the laws that caused the opposition’s discontent.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov has resigned, and the Ukrainian authorities also decided to pardon participants of riots on condition that protesters vacate state and local power institutions they seized in Kiev and other regions within 15 days. Opposition leaders reacted defiantly and with skepticism to the amnesty law that came into force on Sunday.