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Candidate for Ukraine’s presidency urges Kiev to stop using army for suppressing protests

April 24, 2014, 20:43 UTC+3 KHARKOV

Mykhailo Dobkin also called upon the opposition and the Kiev authorities to pass a memorandum on mutual understanding as soon as possible

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© ITAR-TASS/Artyom Geodakyan

KHARKIV, April 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s authorities must stop immediately the use of Army units for the suppression of protests in the east of the country, Mykhailo Dobkin, a candidate for the post of president in the May 25 election representing the Party of Regions said Thursday at a session of the Kharkiv Regional Council.

Aggressive rhetoric is coming from the Kiev officials more and more often, Dobkin said.

“They call some people patriots and dismiss others as a ‘horde’,” he said. “Authorities claim that some Ukrainians have died for the country’s freedom while others have died for God only knows what.”

“The most aggressive representatives of the Kiev government feel free to do whatever they wish to and that’s why I believe we’ve been absolutely right to include an immediate renunciation of the use of Army units as an instrument to suppressing protests in the East into the list of our demands,” Dobkin said.


Candidate proposes memorandum on mutual understanding

Dobkin also called upon the opposition and the Kiev authorities to pass a memorandum on mutual understanding as soon as possible.

Speaking at a plenary session of the Kharkiv regional council, Dobkin suggested putting the memorandum into parliamentarians’ appeal as to priority measures on decentralization, a higher role of local governments, a constitutional reform and stabilization of social and political situation in the country.

“We want… that the authorities listen at last to the opposition and sign a memorandum on mutual understanding that will help de-escalate tension in the country,” the head of the Party of Region’s faction in the Kharkov regional council said.

“Today this attempt failed once again. On technicalities, what the government offers is a set of phrases, and nothing concrete. What the opposition factions suggest has an absolutely clear message and proposals that can be put into practice,” he said. “Compromises must be made. One can use force to drive people away from a seized city council, but one cannot change people’s mind and make them like and respect the present authorities,” Dobkin said.

Deputies supported his proposals.

The Kiev government launched an active phase of the punitive operation near the city of Slavyansk in the Donetsk region Thursday morning. Armored vehicles are being brought into the area and snipers are occupying combat positions.

Officials at the Interior Ministry in Kiev claim in the meantime that five protesters have been killed in the course of the armed standoff.

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