The chance of a peace agreement in Kiev seems bleak, as efforts to solve Ukraine’s political unrest peacefully have become “futile,” in the words of the nation’s interior ministry.
This video from ITN shows protestors storming government buildings in Ukraine. The protests began in November after President Viktor Yanukovych opted in for a bailout from Russia instead of finalizing a treaty with the European Union.
In a statement Saturday, Ukraine’s interior minister blames the inability to effectively negotiate a peace deal on “radical groups.” "The events of the last days in the Ukrainian capital have shown that our attempts to solve the conflict peacefully, without recourse to a confrontation of force, remain futile." (Via BBC)
Protests have spread beyond the capital cty of Kiev to as least five more western cities.
One of those cities is Lviv where there is substantial support for European integration — the issue that set off the uprising three months ago. Protesters also laid siege to the regional administration of Rivne.
The New York Times writes, “The protests, while not clearly coordinated, were all in response to the increasingly ominous situation in Kiev, where demonstrators near the Dynamo soccer stadium had clashed fiercely with the police throughout this week, burning police buses, beating some officers and setting large numbers of tires on fire.”
During this conflict, at least four protesters and a policeman have died, and the U.S. has revoked the visas of several Ukrainian officials.
As clashes continue, Europe is sending mixed messages. The European Commission chief threatened Ukraine’s president with “possible consequences for bilateral relations.” But German Chancellor Angela Merkel quickly went on record in Berlin saying, “Sanctions against Ukraine are not on the order of the day … What is important now is to stop the violence.” (Via EUobserver)
Ukraine's president, Viktor Yanukovych, did seem to put forward an olive branch Saturday, reportedly offering the position of prime minister to opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk. A response from Yatsenyuk has not yet been made public.