Home / World

Ukraine opposition calls for mass rally

By Agencies in Kiev | China Daily | Updated: 2013-12-16 07:24

Ukraine's opposition called on Sunday for another monster rally against President Viktor Yanukovych's rejection of a trade deal with the EU as he ponders closer economic ties with Moscow.

Tension mounted in Kiev as authorities planned a rally of their own, busing in thousands of Yanukovych supporters from the provinces, setting up a camp in a park not far from the opposition and vowing a "non-stop protest".

Ukraine's security services were on high alert, as opposition leaders urged a massive turnout for the rally on Independence Square where the crowd swelled to hundreds of thousands last weekend.

Protesters have been camped out on the square for more than three weeks since Yanukovych failed to sign the EU deal.

The Ukrainian leader is under intense pressure to decide whether to align his nation with the West by signing a deal with the EU, or to join a Moscow-led Customs Union.

He is set to travel to Moscow next week to meet President Vladimir Putin. The opposition movement adamantly opposes a proposed free trade deal with Russia.

"All Ukrainians must go out to Maidan to voice their aspirations to live in a modern European country," said Vitali Klitschko, a former heavyweight champion and head of the UDAR party, using Independence Square's Ukrainian name.

"We see the attempts to frighten us, but they will fail."

The party of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko said on its website that Sunday's rally would feature "leaders of opposition parties, public figures and foreign guests, particularly American senators".

Outspoken US Republican Senator John McCain flew into Kiev on Saturday and met with Klitschko, nationalist leader Oleg Tyagnybok and the head of Tymoshenko's party, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. McCain voiced support for protesters camped out for weeks in the capital, a move sure to anger Moscow for what it sees as Western meddling in its backyard.

McCain is the latest of a string of European and US dignitaries to tour the sprawling protest camp set up behind tall barricades - prompting Russia to accuse the West of excessive involvement.

The senator praised what he called "an incredible show of patriotism".

Yanukovych on Saturday made a move to appease the protest movement by suspending Kiev's mayor. Opposition leaders praised the decision but said it did not go far enough, calling for the dismissal of the interior minister and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.


 Ukraine opposition calls for mass rally

Pro-European Union activists gather during a rally in Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday. The opposition called for a vast turnout on Sunday. Dmitry Lovetsky / Associated Press

(China Daily 12/16/2013 page11)

Today's Top News

Editor's picks

Most Viewed

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349