EU's Ashton demands more urgency from Ukraine politicians

EU's Ashton demands more urgency from Ukraine politicians
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Ukraine’s currency the hryvnia has fallen to a five-year low against the dollar, amid international efforts to seek ways to stabilise the economy and solve the political crisis.

Meeting President Viktor Yanukovych in Kyiv, the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton
said Ukraine wouldn’t get “large dollops of money”, but discussions were underway on a potential economic package.

She expressed frustration at a lack of urgency among Ukrainian politicians.

“Although there is a sense of violence decreasing, there is still great concern about the situation on the ground and great concern to see that those who have committed violence are brought to justice and a great desire to see some kind of transparent and independent process to achieve that,” Catherine Ashton said.

In Ukraine’s parliament there were heated exchanges over a proposal that would see a return to the country’s constitution from the time of the Orange revolution.

Yanukovych would remain in office but with reduced powers, with a technocrat government in charge until elections next year.

While the president’s supporters – often bussed in from the regions – were again present in the capital, the president himself is thought unlikely to accept the idea.

He has already agreed to a repeal of new anti-protest laws and removed his prime minister.

The acting premier has blamed the slide in the currency – 10 percent since November – on the confrontation on the streets.

The European Parliament is preparing to call on Thursday for sanctions against the authorities after criticising the violence towards protesters.

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