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Yanukovych declares truce with protesters amid threat of sanctions

English.news.cn   2014-02-20 10:56:06

KIEV, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych announced a truce with protesters late Wednesday after 26 people were killed in violent street clashes, which incurred the threat of sanctions from the European Union (EU).

"The sides announced a truce and the start of a negotiation process aimed at ending the bloodshed (and) stabilizing the situation in the country for the benefit of civil peace," Yanukovych said in a statement after a meeting with opposition leaders. The statement did not give any further details.

Vitali Klitschko, one of the leaders of the protests, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that Yanukovych agreed that there would be no attempt to storm the protesters' encampment on the Independence Square in downtown Kiev, the main site of rallies since last November.

Hours before Yanukovych's announcement, the president replaced the army chief, and his security service vowed a nationwide "anti-terrorist operation" to restore order in the country after arms and ammunition dumps were looted.

A tense stand-off between riot police and protesters continued in Kiev early Thursday, two days after the bloodiest outburst of violence in nearly three months of demonstrations, which have sought to keep Ukraine open to Europe .

According to the Ukrainian Health Ministry, at least 26 people were killed and more than 300 others injured during the violence in Kiev that erupted Tuesday morning, when anti-government protesters attacked police with Molotov cocktails outside the parliament building.

The activists also set on fire the headquarters of the ruling Party of Regions in downtown Kiev. The police responded with stun grenades and tear gas to push the crowd back.

The police began to surround the Independence Square late Tuesday, dismantling barricades and dispersing demonstrators with stun grenades and water cannon.

Tuesday's unrest marked the latest wave of clashes between demonstrators and riot police in the political standoff, which began last November when the Ukrainian government's decision to backtrack on the country's European integration angered many Ukrainians.

On Thursday, foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland will travel to Kiev to meet Yanukovych before returning to Brussels for a meeting of all 28 EU foreign ministers to decide on targeted sanctions for Tuesday night's violence.

In Moscow, the Kremlin said Russia hopes that a settlement of the situation in Ukraine will be achieved by its legitimate authorities.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday that it is the complete prerogative of Ukrainian legitimate authorities to search for the means for such a settlement.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called on the international community to be objective and restrained while assessing the political situation in the country.

"We hope for the most responsible position of our international partners to prevent actions that in some way may contribute to the further escalation of the internal conflict in Ukraine," the ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

The ministry also urged foreign countries to base their position on reliable and proven facts.

Related:

Photo>>>Violent clashes leave at least 26 dead in Ukraine

Photo>>>France, Germany condemn violence in Ukraine

European leaders call on Ukraine to end violence

BRUSSELS, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- The NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and also leaders from Croatia and Latvia, among others, have called on an end of violence in Ukraine on Wednesday.

"Ukraine's ties with NATO will be seriously damaged" on escalation of violence in Ukraine, said Rasmussen in his statement. Full story

UN chief urges "immediate end" to violence in Ukraine

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Wednesday called for an "immediate end" to the violence in Kiev, capital of Ukraine, where deadly clashes have caused heavy casualties.

A statement issued here by his spokesperson said Ban continued to follow developments in Ukraine with increasing alarm. "He urges an immediate end to the violence in the strongest terms and again stresses that resorting to such measures by any side is totally unacceptable." Full story

U.S. President Obama condemns violence in Ukraine

TOLUCA, Mexico, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Visiting U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday condemned violence in Ukraine, warning of consequences if violence continues in the east European country.

Obama on Wednesday traveled to Mexico to attend the North American Leaders' Summit which is held in Toluca, a city in central Mexico. "We have been deeply engaged with our European partners as well as the Ukrainian government and the opposition to try to ensure that violence ends," Obama said shortly after arriving in Toluca. Full story

European leaders call on Ukraine to end violence

BRUSSELS, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- The NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and also leaders from Croatia and Latvia, among others, have called on an end of violence in Ukraine on Wednesday.

"Ukraine's ties with NATO will be seriously damaged" on escalation of violence in Ukraine, said Rasmussen in his statement. Full story

Editor: chengyang
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