Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich have held fresh talks to try to resolve the political crisis in the country. But after the hour-long meeting, neither was talking. Yanukovich has called on the president to rescind his order dissolving parliament and calling fresh elections. The Russian Duma has condemned the decree. But Yushchenko will not budge. He accuses pro-Russian forces in parliament of violating the constitution by persuading pro-western MPs to cross the floor and swell their majority.
Thousands of protesters have camped out in Kiev’s Independence Square, the scene of the Orange Revolution that helped bring the president to power three years ago. Some blame the crisis on the prime minister’s ambition. Still others called for Yushchenko to resign.
Not everyone has taken to the streets. Before the orthodox celebration of Easter, many have chosen to stay at home. In this Ukrainian family, the mother said: “Why go out on the streets now. This problem has to be solved in accordance with the law. The politicians must come to an agreement. Or also the constitutional court of justice must decide. We have nothing to do with it, we can only choose whether to vote or not to vote.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has telephoned President Yushchenko to express his concern that the crisis could impact negatively on Ukraine’s economy. He has called for a resolution of the dispute by negotiation and other legal means.