Tens of thousands of people from all over Ukraine have gathered in central Kyiv to show support for President Victor Yanukovych.
Many of them believe closer integration with Europe is a mistake.
“Why don’t I want the EU? We won’t be asked to join it for another 15 years,” one protester told euronews. “We won’t get visas. They will simply push their goods on us. For instance, Polish bacon, which is worse than the Ukrainian one, as we all know very well. We can’t let homosexual couples adopt our children, because the kids will turn out like their parents.”
Others are less concerned about the dangers of a closer relationship with Europe, but more worried about losing out on ties with Russia. One demonstrator told euronews she thought relationships with both Europe and Russia wer possible.
“Maybe we need to sign something with the European Union, some relations so that our goods go over there, but we can’t lose our relations with Russia. Because Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are part of a single family.”
The pro-Yanukovych rally was held just a few hundred metres from Independence Square, where pro-EU protesters have been demonstrating for weeks.
They have been calling for the Yanukovych government to resign for suspending talks on an EU trade pact last month.
Some pro-EU demonstrators visited the rival rally, as one man explained.
“We are inviting people to come to our side because they’ve been brainwashed,” he told euronews. “They are being forced to think that we are… I don’t know… Nazis! Nationalists! That we will beat them up, we will kill them! It’s not like this, you understand!”
Security has been stepped up in the Ukraine’s capital amid fears of possible clashes between those who support the government and those who want it to fall.