Heavyweight boxing champion and UDAR (Punch) party leader Vitaly Klitschko (C), head of the All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda (Freedom) Party Oleg Tyagnibok (R) and Ukrainian opposition leader Arseny Yatsenyuk (Reuters/Gleb Garanich)
Opposition leaders called for an early presidential election following a Saturday meeting with the government, where top administration posts were offered to protest leaders and a review of the constitution was promised.
Following the talks, the head of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform party, Vitaly Klitschko, said that Yanukovich agreed to many demands. “But we do not step back and demand elections this year,” he told protesters.
“What is Yanukovich ready for? For release and amnesty of all those detained. To work on getting back to the constitution of 2004. Dismissal of government on certain conditions. [He] still does not agree to abolish dictatorial laws, but only to amend them,” Klitschko added.
“Our demands: get rid of those laws…have presidential elections this year. Negotiations are continuing and we must hold on. And we will not succumb to any provocations.”
— Arseniy Yatsenyuk (@Yatsenyuk_AP) January 25, 2014
The opposition is ready to head up the government and bring Ukraine into the EU, said Yatsenyuk.
“Our task – is a new Ukrainian government…Viktor Yanukovich…proposed for the opposition to head up the government. Are we afraid to carry responsibility? We are not afraid to take on responsibility for the country’s future. We accept that responsibility and we are ready to bring Ukraine into the EU, which calls for the release of Yulia Tymoshenko,” Yatsenyuk said.
Batkivschina leader Arseny Yatsenyuk continued:“Our country is put by those at power to the brink of falling apart …We demand that Yanukovich relieves the position of Ukraine’s president and we need a new constitution.”
Leader of the nationalist Svoboda opposition party, Oleg Tyagnibok, told the protesters that those in power are backing down and are changing their tune from two days ago. “To Maidan! To Maidan! Glory to Ukraine!”
Yatsenyuk: “draconian laws must be abolished in parliament on tuesday. this is our priority, and we will not back down”
— Alexey Yaroshevsky (@Yaro_RT) January 25, 2014
The government’s negotiations with the opposition have so far yielded no results, which could signal that the standoff between the two sides will continue for the next couple of days, RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky explained.
Meanwhile rioters are storming the Ukrainian House international convention center, which reportedly has 150 riot police inside, RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky reported.
During the Saturday meeting, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich offered top government posts to protest leaders and promised a review of the constitution, aimed at giving more power to parliament.
Yanukovich proposed the post of prime minister to Arseny Yatsenyuk, justice minister Elena Lukash said after the president’s meeting with opposition leaders.
“The president offered the post of prime minister to Arseny Yatsenyuk. In the case of the latter’s consent to take the post, the president of Ukraine will decide on the resignation of the government,” Lukash said.
Vitaly Klitchko was offered the post of deputy prime minister for humanitarian affairs.
The president’s offer came as the government struggles to cope with protests and violence that continue to grip the entire country.