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Viktor Yushchenko: Ukraine opposition does not control streets

January 30th, 2014
03:02 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The Ukrainian opposition does not control the street protests that have raged for months in the country’s capital, Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

“I don’t think that the political opposition of Ukraine has the control of the entire situation on Maidan,” or Independence Square, Yushchenko said through a translator.

The opposition, he said, has not provided a “comprehensive pact” that would satisfy the demands of the protestors.

The opposition is concerned with “the fight for power,” but less with “the strategic course of the country.”

Protestors have camped out on Kiev’s Independence Square since November, when the president reversed a decision to sign a long awaited trade deal with the EU – at least four have been killed.

Yushchenko made a clear plea Thursday for his country to choose integration with Europe over ties with Russia.

“Two thirds of Ukrainian citizens confirmed their choice – European,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour from Kiev.

“These are those main messages that Ukrainian nation is sending: We want into Europe. It’s our home. We want to return back to our home.”

Everything that takes place on the Square, he said, is part of an “anti-Russian message.”

“It’s basically like 300 years ago, a similar political agreement was signed which took away from us sovereignty and independence for three and a half centuries,” he said, referring to a 17th-century agreement with the Russian tsar.

Ukraine, he said, wants to realize a “European political course.”

“It’s a formulation of a free trade zone with the European Union. It’s a road map of a visa-free regime. In other words, it’s a return to the policy of democracy and freedom.”


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