Ukraine government resigns, parliament scraps anti-protest laws amid crisis
Kiev, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his government Tuesday, amid a political crisis fired by violent protests on the country’s streets.
Azarov and his Cabinet will continue in their roles until a new government is formed, a notice on the presidential website said.
Yanukovych’s announcement comes only hours after Azarov submitted his resignation and as the national parliament met in an emergency session aimed at ending the crisis.
In a first step, lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to repeal sweeping anti-protest laws whose passage this month angered anti-government demonstrators.
But activists on the street have said that while the concessions are a step in the right direction, their fundamental grievances have yet to be addressed.
Source: Concord Monitor
Ukraine prime minister resigns, government offers concessions
The two developments were significant concessions to the anti-government protesters who have fought sporadically with the police for the last 10 days after two months of peaceful around-the-clock demonstrations.
The protests erupted after President Viktor Yanukovych turned toward Russia for a bailout loan instead of signing a deal with the European Union and have since morphed into a general plea for more human rights, less corruption and more democracy in this nation of 45 million.
The departure of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov removes one of the officials most disliked by the opposition forces whose protests have turned parts of Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, into a barricaded maze.
However, Azarov’s spokesman told the Interfax news agency that another staunch Yanukovych ally, deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov, will assume temporary leadership of the Cabinet, a move that is unlikely to please the opposition.
Other key issues remain unresolved in Ukraine’s political crisis, including the opposition’s repeated demand that Yanukovych resign and a new election be held.Source: Yahoo! (AFP)
Ukraine opposition presses for more concessions
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was expected to hold talks on the crisis in Kiev, shadowed by a warning to the West by Russian President Vladimir Putin not to meddle in Ukraine’s internal affairs.
The United States was also keeping a close watch on the situation, with Vice President Joe Biden speaking to Yanukovych in a telephone call and President Barack Obama backing protesters in his State of the Union address.[notify textbox-white]Would the U.S. back the American citizens, as it did/does the citizens of Ukraine, the al-Qaeda led rebels in Syria, and the Muslim Brotherhood militants in Egypt, if an uprising were to occur demanding the resignation of its government? (This is not a question equating the citizens of Ukraine with either al-Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood.)[/notify] Source: EuroNews
The government resigns – Ukraine and the opposition wait for the next moves
Euronews correspondent in Kyiv says: “The next step is to wait to hear from the opposition. The resignation of the prime minister was a call to them to head the government and to face the problems which have led to this political crisis.”
So what will be the next moves? How will the political vacuum be filled, a continuation of demonstrations that have marked this square on the map of the world or an easing of the protests and posturing and a path towards a solution?
One protester said: “A people’s government should be formed. The next things then to happen are: the president’s resignation followed by snap elections, presidential and parliamentary.”
A march in the capital showed the anti-government demonstrators do not have a monopoly on protests. Thousands of supporters of President Viktor Yanukovych, many from the regions, streamed into a park in front of the parliament. Their banners read stop Maidan and they denounced the opposition for “prostituting Ukraine for the Europeans”.