Ukrainians Continue to Protest EU Snub
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Ukrainians planned another demonstration in the capital to condemn President Yanukovich's decision to eschew integration with the European Union in favour of financial aid from Russia.
Protesters have occupied Kiev's Independence Square for a month, unhappy with the president's pivot to Moscow, and have planned another rally on Sunday calling for his resignation.
But their persistence and presence appears to have had little effect on the president, who last Tuesday met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and persuaded him to buy $15bln of Ukrainian bonds and slash Russian gas prices by one-third.
Yanukovich has resisted calls for greater EU integration and rejected demands to leave office. He has also said he will not call a snap election.
But the ongoing political crisis could undermine his long-term staying power, Al Jazeera reported.
Last week Yanukovich said he would only seek re-election in a March 2015 presidential vote if he had enough pre-campaign support.
Putin played down fears that the bailout was a way to keep Europe at a distance, describing the financial package as a “brotherly” act to stave off an economic crisis.
"Now we see that Ukraine is in difficult straits ... if we really say that they are a brotherly nation and people then we must act like close relatives and help this nation," Putin told his annual news conference after his meeting with Yanukovich.