Despite warnings from Western leaders, including President Obama, a truce agreed to by the opposition and the Ukrainian president, violence erupted on Thursday morning. At least 50 are dead after two days of violence.
A statement issued by Ukrainian President Yankovich blamed the renewed eruption on the opposition, who according to the president bought time to get weapons to protestors.
“The opposition used the negotiation period to buy time, to mobilize and get weapons to protesters.”
President Obama drew another red line, but it is hard to see how he or other western leaders could afford sanctions against the Ukraine. Europe is dependent on natural gas from Russia, which run by pipeline to Central Europe. This is possibly another empty thread.
President Barack Obama spoke about anti-government prostests in Ukraine. Obama, speaking to reporters in Toluca, Mexico, before a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, warned Ukraine’s military against intervening to halt the demonstrations.
After announcing visa bans for 20 members of the Ukrainian government, Secretary of State John Kerry threatened with future sanctions.
“All of us are deeply disturbed. We are talking about the possibility of sanctions or other steps with our friends in Europe and elsewhere in order to try to create the environment for compromise.”
Foreign ministers of Poland, France and Germany are meeting with Ukrainian President Yankovich and the European Union will discuss sanctions against the Ukraine at an emergency meeting.
Eyewitnesses reported to media outlets that live rounds, molitov cocktails and a water cannon was being used on Independence Square. There is also video footage that shows snipers firing on demonstrators.
Eyewitnesses have told international news agencies that they have counted between 21 and 27 protesters’ bodies after clashes in Kiev.
Video footage has emerged apparently showing snipers firing on demonstrators who had been trying to retake their protest camp in Independence Square.
One policeman was also killed, officials said, and more than 20 injured.
In other developments:
Parliament and cabinet buildings have been evacuated because of fears that they could be stormed by protesters
As many as half of the 45 Ukrainian athletes at the Olympics in Sochi have left the games to return home, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Olympic committee has said
Russia wants a “strong government” in Ukraine, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday, “so that people don’t wipe their feet on the authorities like a doormat”
President Yanukovych’s chief of staff has said if sanctions are imposed and the situation escalates, “there is a danger that the country could split into two parts,” the Unian news agency reports
Trains between Kiev and the western city of Lviv – one of the protesters’ strongholds – have been suspended, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reports. A railway spokeswoman said this was because of damage to the lines
The situation is volatile and could easily get out of hand. Meanwhile Putin and Obama are at odds and take up with opposite sides. Russia wants a strong government that people won’t wipe their feet on like a doormat, while the West wants freedom that permits non-violent protest.