As Ukrainian protesters spent another night braving the cold to demand a European future, their President slammed what the EU is offering his country.
Viktor Yanukovich went on national television to explain his U-turn on signing a trade deal with the bloc, branding its terms on financial aid for Ukraine as humiliating.
“I don’t want to be rude but you don’t have to humiliate us like this,” he said. “You know, we are not little children. You can’t buy us with candy.”
Under economic pressure from Moscow, Yanukovich will instead revive trade talks with Russia. He will, however, still attend this week’s EU summit in Vilnius.
Loreta Grauziniene, the speaker of Lithuania’s parliament, has addressed the crowds in Kyiv, encouraging them to pursue their protests.
“It is a difficult road but you have to follow it with pride,” she said. “I believe in the Ukrainian people. I know you love your country and for the sake of your children and your grandchildren, you will do everything you can for Ukraine to be in Europe.”
President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, denies that Moscow influenced the U-turn although he insists that a free-trade deal between the EU and Ukraine would threaten the neighbouring Russian economy.