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Ukrainian opposition leader refuses to take part in public debates with Yanukovich

February 12, 2014, 0:12 UTC+3 KIEV
"He must step down. So, I will be ready to meet with him for debates at any time within the presidential campaign", Vitaly Klitschko said
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© ITAR-TASS/ANDREAS GEBERT

KIEV, February 11, 23:32 /ITAR-TASS/. Leaders of the Ukrainian opposition party UDAR Vitaly Klitschko has refused to take part in televised debates with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.

“I am ready to take part in televised debates with Yanukovich. But first he must take one courageous step. Amidst the acute political and economic crisis he has driven Ukraine to, he must recognize his responsibility and step down. So, I will be ready to meet with Yanukovich for debates at any time within the presidential campaign”, Klitshchko wrote in his Facebook account.

On February 9, Klitschko told a crowd of his supporters on Kiev’s central Independence Square, or Maidan, where a routine “popular veche” - a self-styled grassroots assembly -- was held that President Yanukovich had called him out for public debates. “He called me out for a public debate and I agreed at once but I told him that he should come to Independence Square for debates with the people,” Klitschko said. He did not specify either the place or the time of the debates but acted in line with the oppositionists’ tradition of apportioning all blame for the situation in the country to Yanukovich and called for an early presidential election.

In the meantime, Anna Herman, a lawmaker with the ruling Party of Regions said the debates Yanukovich had invited Klitschko to take part in would take place only if the leader of UDAR party expressed readiness to debate on a pan-Ukrainian scale. “If Klitschko is ready for discussions in a pan-Ukrainian format then I think the challenge that Yanukovich offered to him will remain in effect,” she said.

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