Ukraine’s main opposition leaders have agreed to take part in talks with President Victor Yanukovich – as part of efforts to end the country’s political crisis over Europe.
Vitaly Klitschko, Arseny Yatsenyuk and Oleh Tyahnybok – who have been calling on Yanukovich’s government to resign – all said that they would take part in the discussions.
Yarsenkuk told crowds of pro-EU protesters at Kyiv’s Independence Square: “We will pass on to him [Yanukovich] your demands. We will fight for our general victory!”
Thousands of people been taking part in daily demonstrations in the Ukrainian capital since the government suspended negotiations on an EU trade pact last month in favour of closer ties with Russia.
Moscow wants Kyiv to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan. The union is seen a step towards a broader economic alliance of former Soviet states.
On protester at Independence Square told reporters: “On December 17, President Yanukovich will either sign this counteractive union agreement with [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin – or he won’t. December 17 will be a decisive day for us.”
After Kyiv suspended talks on its long-planned Association Agreement with the EU – saying it could not afford to sacrifice trade with Russia – Brussels pledged more financial aid in efforts to resurrect the deal.
Ukraine’s First Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov is in Brussels for talks with EU officials. Arbuzov told euronews that the “strategic task… is integrating with the EU.”