Ukrainian anti-government protesters stood their ground in Kyiv’s Independence Square on Thursday. They rebuilt barricades after the police tried to clear the area the previous day.
They have been protesting for more than two weeks after President Viktor Yanukovych rejected an EU trade deal in favour of closer ties with Russia.
One of the protesters, Sergei, told euronews:“In Moscow, they think that what is happening here is anti-Russian. In Europe they think that what we are fighting for is pro-European. As a matter of fact, our actions are against the bandits (of the Ukrainian government). Most of the protesters who can be seen here are demonstrating for themselves.”
Meanwhile the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, has said that Yanukovych “intends to sign” the EU trade and cooperation agreement, which would be an about-face for the president.
However, Yanukovych will meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin at bilateral interstate commission session scheduled for December 17 in Moscow. Protesters fear he will sign an agreement with Russia at that meeting.
They have vowed to stay in Independence Square braving the cold, and the police, until this political tug-of-war is resolved to their satisfaction.