Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych has spoken in public for the first time since striking a number of economic deals with Moscow.
He defended the deals, and offered nothing to the hundreds of thousands of pro-EU protesters that have been trying to hound him out of office this last month.
“It’s very important other countries don’t interfere in our internal questions, and that they don’t consider themselves the masters here, anywhere, on this square or anywhere else,” he said during a 90-minute television address.
This appeared to be another attempt to brand voters’ rejection of him and his government as somehow foreign-driven. The only sign Yanukovych gave offering his opponents any comfort was by saying he might not run for re-election in 2015 if he felt he might lose.
“Nobody is going to wait, the protesters who are holding the rally at Independence Square do not want to wait till 2015, when new presidentials will be held. There is no sense waiting! What for? To live the whole of 2014 and half of 2015 in such horror?” said one young woman.
“I can’t say exactly if the president hears us or not. I have the impression that even if he hears us he hardly understands us. At least his behaviour proves he has been living in his own world of illusions. That’s my impression,” said one young man.
Morale remains high among the protesters, and some of their leaders say they are hoping to maintain the demonstrations through into the New Year.