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Ukraine could destabilize if president fails to compromise, opposition warns

December 2nd, 2013
03:47 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Massive protests by Ukrainians against their government – upwards of 300,000 by some estimates – will succeed in forcing political compromise or snap elections, opposition leader and former foreign minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk insisted to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

The opposition’s key demand, Yatsenyuk said, is for the Ukrainian parliament to pass a vote of no confidence in the president, Viktor Yanukovych. He hopes that that would force compromise.

“Otherwise the situation could be not as stable as today,” Yatsenyuk said from Kiev. “And it much depends on this president: Whether is he ready to negotiate and whether is he ready to reach the compromise.”

“The ultimate goal of the opposition is snap presidential and parliamentary elections.”

Yatsenyuk leads the Batkivshchyna Party; former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who used to head the party, is currently in jail after being convicted of abuse of authority.

President Yanukovych declined late last month to sign a landmark trade deal with the European Union, many say under intense pressure from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Protests against the president’s decision have ballooned into the biggest since the Orange Revolution uprising nine years ago.

Those protests were sparked by claims that Yanukovych, who was then prime minister, was trying to steal the 2004 presidential election from his main challenger, Viktor Yushchenko. Yushchenko was eventually declared the winner, but served only one term amid infighting among his coalition partners.

Amanpour asked Yatsenyuk if the massive protests now taking place would be an “Orange Revolution Two.”

“It’s like a legacy of the Orange Revolution,” he said. “Due to the Orange Revolution, people have the spirit of freedom in my country.”

The European Union, Yatsenyuk said, was “very clear” that signing a trade deal would not be an auction.

“You can’t sell the country to the European Union or to Russia,” he said. “This is the way how to reform the country.”

President Yanukovych, he said, “has nothing to do with the European values.”

Ukraine’s leaders need to deliver changes, he said, something the “corrupted government” and “corrupted president” have not done.

“People still believe in their future – in their European future.”

“I believe that we will definitely reach our target: A prosperous and pro-European country.”

“And it’s not an easy job. I want to be absolutely frank. It’s not an easy job to topple the government, to change the president, to sign an association agreement. But this is our agenda.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Ukraine
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Ri

    If Yanukovych wants to support Russia he should move to Russia NOT in Ukraine!!!
    FREEDOM TO UKRAINE!!!

    December 2, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Reply
    • julia

      thank you, Ri!

      December 3, 2013 at 2:37 am | Reply
  2. Mikko Snellman

    All ukrainian parties are extremely corrupted. ALL parties. Also Yatsenuk and companions. Ordinary ukrainians do not really have alternatives. Corrupted ex-communists or corrupted western- and EU-spirited.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Reply
  3. Michael Bar

    All those people don't have jobs, they all get paid to go to those events... People from all over Ukraine are gathering there not because of political motives, because they are getting paid to be there and the guy is right, government is corrupted, but so as his party. How would they make people go there and stay there without financial contribution for this event?!

    December 2, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Reply
    • dixonds

      So are you saying that you do not do anything in your life until you get paid for that? A poor guy, I'm sorry for you.

      December 2, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Reply
    • fx

      Being personally in the thick of events I claim that it's not true. Pepole stand for their right to live in a better country because they are sick of current situation. It's not just abour EU. Nation's anger just reached its critical point.

      December 3, 2013 at 5:04 am | Reply
  4. Yulia

    I think the coverage is great, but can we spell Kyiv right?🙂

    December 2, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Reply
  5. Sokol

    Most Ukrainian people are fighting for the idea but not for money. They are taking risk of being injured in rallies in Kyiv no to be rewarded but for the future of their children.

    December 2, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  6. StanCalif

    Viktor Yanukovych badly underestimated his own people. Of course, "his people" are the new millionaires and billionaires in Ukraine, not the "common people" (very similar to Romney! "If you're not rich, it's your own fault"!) True, Obama hasn't delivered. A fantastic campaigner, but too little else. Our "middle class" continues to evaporate while we create more and more billionaires in the private sector. What do these new billionaires do with their wealth? Nothing for working class Americans. All their new wealth is created in China. Pay a little more in taxes??? Obscure idea! What's mine is mine, here are a few crumbs, stop complaining. Be happy if you have a job, just don't expect to live well and ever retire!

    December 2, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Reply
  7. John

    Two government overturn actions by the people of a country in 10 years. Yanukovich was the Dear Leader during Revolution #1... The opposition Leader rots in jail in Kharkov under dubious charges. Where is the freedom in freedom square?

    December 3, 2013 at 8:16 am | Reply

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