Ukraine: EU protest clashes as Tymoshenko starts hunger strike

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Ukraine: EU protest clashes as Tymoshenko starts hunger strike

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There have been increasingly ugly scenes in Ukraine as pro-EU protesters and police clashed in the centre of Kyiv.

Thousands turned out again on Monday night to denounce the government’s decision to abandon an association deal due to be signed with Brussels this week.

Violence flared around a van that some claimed was an undercover police patrol spying on protesters.

Seeking to defuse the tension, President Viktor Yanukovich addressed the nation for the first time since his government’s U-turn on Europe.

Pledging to create “a society of European standards”, he said: “Nobody will steal our dream…of a European Ukraine.”

But for now, under economic pressure from the Kremlin, Yanukovich is reviving ties with Russia rather than turning to the West.

Jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has
launched a hunger strike in protest.

In a letter read to protesters by her lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko, Tymoshenko said: “As a sign of unity and solidarity with everyone fighting on the streets in Ukraine and around the globe, I am going on an indefinite hunger strike with a demand for Yanukovich to sign the Association and Free Trade Agreements with the EU.”

Brussels has been trying to win freedom for the ex-prime minister, jailed after what Western governments say was a politically-motivated trial.

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