Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ukraine Pres.Says Protesters Increasing Tensions; Goes on Sick Leave to Get "More Breathing Space"

Ukraine's President has accused the opposition of increasing tensions after parliament backed an amnesty for detained anti-government activists. In a statement, Viktor Yanukovych also said the authorities have "fulfilled all obligations," the Euro News website reports today (January 30, 2014).

The opposition claims the president hurried to herd members of parliament into voting for a partial amnesty in order to stop activists from occupying government buildings in Kiev and other communities. The stubborn Yanukovych refuses to allow a national election for Ukraine, which is what most protesters are seeking.

The amnesty bill passed late last night, but it has done little to ease tensions which increased after the prime minister's resignation earlier this week.

Things appear to be getting worse following the president's decision to go on sick leave today with a respiratory ailment. Some opposition figures say they suspect Yanukovych, 63, might be simply giving himself more breathing space after being forced into concessions to try to end the protests.

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