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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
KYIV, UKRAINE (BosNewsLife)– Braving freezing temperatures, thousands of protesters were weighting their options amid confusion if and when the president would meet their demands for early elections, closer ties with the European Union, and more freedom in this former Soviet nation.
After four hours of negotiations with President Yanukovych, ex-economy minister and current opposition leader of the Fatherland party, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said there was a “high” chance of finding a solution to end the bloodshed.
Yet, the influential heavyweight boxing champion-turned opposition leader Vitali Klitscko appeared less optimistic when talking to reporters.
“This was not easy. We have some agreement, but let’s see whether the people will accept that or not,” Klitschko said.
He later told the crowds that the president had made no concessions during the talks. “I had the same reaction,” he said, while protesters began shouting slogans that included “shame! shame!”
Anger has been fuelled by recent street battles between demonstrators and riot police in which at least three protesters are now known to have died. Two of them passed away of bullet wounds.
However Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has accused the opposition of wanting to take over power by force.
“I call this an attempt for a coup d’etat,” he said in an interview.
“Our EU partners should say the same. What would they do in their country if the presidential residence is being attacked?,” he wondered.
Church leaders have appealed for prayers, while some Christian groups distributed Bibles among protesters.
Priests of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church are also praying with demonstrators, despite threats by the government to outlaw their denomination.
(BosNewsLife’s NEWS WATCH is a regular look at key news developments in, but not limited to, (former) Communist nations and autocratic states impacting the Church and compassionate professionals.)
(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since 2004).
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