Ukraine Prime Minister Mykola Azarov says he does not want his country to become a “battlefield” between the EU and Moscow.
Brussels’ criticism of Russia after Kiev backed out of a trade deal with the EU has prompted a robust response from Moscow. It was “inappropriate” said President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman to speak of pressure from Russia.
On the streets of the capital Kiev opinions among the protesters differed.
“Ukraine is Europe and we have to consider ourselves as Europeans, our culture is closer to Europe. We are fed up with obeying the elder brother (Russia) for the past 70 years,” said Melnikova Olga a pensioner from Kiev.
Another protester Vadim Torpov used more strident language:
“Until the signing of the agreement with the EU if this doesn’t happen we’re going to change the authorities and the only question then will be which way to do it – the military way? Because after yesterday’s beatings by the riot police, people are ready to fight,” he opined.
It was on Monday night that violence flared around a van that some claimed was an undercover police patrol spying on protesters.
Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has confirmed President Viktor Yanukovich will attend the summit in Vilnius with the EU and discuss possible three-way talks on Ukraine’s economic problems which would also involve Russia.
Azarov also announced that Kiev would start talks with Russia on reviving economic relations with Moscow in December. “We will draw up a ‘road-map’ for re-establishing our relations,” he said.
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