By Mick Krever, CNN
Champion heavyweight boxer and Ukraine’s foremost opposition leader Vitali Klitschko told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday that “Ukraine is [the] most corrupt country in Europe.”
Large crowds gathered yet again in Ukraine on Tuesday calling for the resignation of their government.
Earlier in the day, the opposition lost a no-confidence vote in parliament in an attempt to topple the government.
“Ukrainians don’t want to live in [a] police country,” Klitschko said from a noisy Independence Square in Kiev. Somebody must take responsibility for police abuse, he told Amanpour.
“We call to the people: ‘If you want to live with Europeans…we have to come into the street and make peaceful demonstration against the government.’”
Amanpour pressed Klitschko on what the opposition’s plans were for the coming days.
“The strategy [is] to show for government our will. And if a couple of hundred thousand people are coming [then the] government can’t say no, we [won’t] listen to you.”
“We are ready to talk,” he said, but insisted that someone in the government must take “responsibility” for abuses.
Late last month, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich rejected a trade deal with the European Union, many say under heavy pressure from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We understand that the influence is very big from Russia,” Klitschko said, but that influence is on Ukraine’s president, not its people.
“And we hope [President Yanukovich] defends the interest of the people and not interest of neighbor countries.”