This content is not available in your region

Ukraine's rejection of EU deal brings rival rallies at home

Access to the comments Comments
Ukraine's rejection of EU deal brings rival rallies at home
Text size Aa Aa

In Ukraine, confirmation of the decision not to sign up to closer ties with the EU has brought more people onto the streets of the capital Kiev (Kyiv) – on both sides of the east-west tug of war.

Pro-European demonstrators continued their round-the-clock protest, angry at Viktor Yanukovich for shelving the planned association agreement.

They set up camp last week after the president said he would not sign.

Some shouted “coward” when they heard the news from Vilnius.

The protesters say they still want Ukraine to embrace Europe.

“We will stay here until we win. We are many in number and they can’t beat us,” said an elderly woman.

“We have been with Russia for a long time, but we could not achieve anything. They think we are like a little brother, but we are an independent country and we want to live better,” a young man added.

Less than a kilometre away, a counter-demonstration formed in support of the decision to walk away from the EU deal.

Many had reportedly been bussed in from the east of the country where pro-Russian sentiment is strong. They, too, carried national flags as well as those of the ruling Party of Regions.

“We are not against an association deal with the EU, just not at any price. The right moment has not come yet – there is a right time for everything,” said a middle-aged man.

“We came today because we care about the future of our country. We think European integration is not necessary for us at the moment, so we came to support the president,” another man added.

Evidence of an anti-EU campaign has been visible in Kiev, with posters warning that closer ties would bring job cuts, high prices and gay marriage.

Ukraine has made its decision – but public opinion remains highly divided.