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Ukraine: Opposition leaders reject job offers from president

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Ukraine: Opposition leaders reject job offers from president


Job offers from President Viktor Yanukovych have been turned down by Ukraine’s opposition.

Opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk has refused the job of prime minister and boxing champion turned politician Vitaly Klitschko rejected the post of deputy PM. Both say they are ready to lead the country and take it into the European Union.

They are demanding that the recent anti-demonstration laws be completely rescinded; they also want detained protesters to be freed and legal action against them stopped. There is also a demand that presidential elections should be called sometime this year.

“What happened today was that Viktor Yanukovych announced that the government wasn’t ready to take responsibility for the country and suggested the opposition lead the government,” Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Fatherland Party leader, told supporters in Kyiv’s Maidan or Independence Square. “What is our answer to this? Are we afraid of responsibility? We are not afraid of responsibility for the destiny of Ukraine!”

Yatsenyuk, an ally of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, also called for her release.

Boxing champion turned UDAR opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko said: “We are not stepping back. We are holding our positions on Maidan and in the regions.”

As negotiations continue, so does the unrest on the streets, despite sub-zero temperatures and warnings from the riot police to go home or face the consequences.

On the edge of Independence square, one of Kyiv’s biggest conference centres has become a flashpoint. Used as a base for police officers during the demonstrations, it was attacked by protesters on Saturday night.

They already hold other key buildings including regional government headquarters outside the capital. But it has come at a cost.with the opposition claiming at least six activists have been killed.

President Yanukovych met leaders of the protest movement again on Saturday.

Spurred into action by his rejection of a trade deal with Europe in favour of closer ties with Russia, they are keeping up the pressure.

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