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Thousands of Ukrainians descend upon Kiev in massive rally



by Joseph Earnest  December 16, 2013


Newscast Media KIEV—Hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters converged on the central square of Ukraine's capital Kiev on Sunday in a dramatic show of morale after nearly four weeks of daily protests. Anti-government protesters have set up an extensive tent camp there and erected barricades of snow hardened with freezing water and studded with scrap wood and other materials.

The United States was also considering sanctions on Ukraine in response to its curbing of protests against the Ukrainian government's decision not to sign an association agreement with the European Union (EU), the State Department said last Wednesday.

"All policy options, including sanctions, are on the table in our view, but obviously that still is being evaluated," spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki told reporters at a regular press briefing.

"I'm not going to get into specifics of that," she added. "We' re considering policy options. There obviously hasn't been a decision made."

Kiev, the national capital of Ukraine, has seen weeks of mass protests since the announcement of a decision by President Viktor Yanukovych on Nov. 21 to suspend signing political and trade deals with the EU, a path to eventual EU membership, in favor of keeping closer ties with Russia instead.

The attempt of riot police to clear and retake Kiev's Independence Square overnight set off a strong response from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who said the U.S. expressed its " disgust" with the move.

"The United States was appalled last night by what happened in Kiev," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. "The Ukrainian government's response to peaceful protests over the last two weeks has been completely unacceptable."

Ukraine still has a chance to "save its European future," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland told reporters after a two-hour meeting with Yanukovych Wednesday.

"Listening to the voices of the people in Ukraine is something we feel is important," Psaki said. "This was a case where Ukraine was deciding between two paths."

In the face of the protests, which present a serious challenge to Yanukovych's leadership, Ukrainian officials this week renewed talks with the EU agreement. They say they will sign the deal once some issues are worked out.

However, the EU's top official on expansion issues, Stefan Fuele, cast doubt on the prospect on Sunday. He said work was "on hold" and that the words and actions of Yanukovych and his government were "further and further apart."

Yanukovych backed off the agreement on the grounds that the EU was not providing adequate compensation to his economically struggling nation for potential trades losses with Russia. Add Comments>>


Source: CNTV China














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