Ukraine opposition leader says Yanukovich yields nothing in talks, fears bloodshed

  • World
  • Friday, 24 Jan 2014

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko said early on Friday that President Viktor Yanukovich had yielded nothing in talks with the opposition after two months of unrest, adding he feared possible bloodshed.

After speaking first to protesters manning barricades in confrontation with police, Klitschko told others on Kiev's Independence Square: "Hours of conversation were spent about nothing. There is no sense sitting at a negotiating table with someone who has already decided to deceive you.

"I earnestly wish that there will be no bloodshed and that people are not killed ... I will survive, but I am afraid there will be deaths, I am afraid of this," the boxer-turned-politician said.

Three opposition politicians - Klitschko, former economy minister Arseny Yatsenyuk and far-right nationalist Oleh Tyahnibok - met Yanukovich for a second round of talks on Thursday to try to wring concessions from him that would end two months of street protests and clashes with police in which three protesters have been killed.

But Klitschko said Yanukovich had refused to consider any suggestion that he or his government should step down because of the unrest, which has convulsed the country since Yanukovich walked away from a free-trade pact with the European Union in November in favour of closer economic ties with Russia.

He called for the anti-government movement in the capital Kiev and in other cities to be broadened.

"I believe we must go step by step - today a few towns, tomorrow there will be more. Today a few barricades - tomorrow more. We will extend the territory of the 'Maidan'," he said, using the local name for Kiev's Independence Square, the crucible of the protest movement.

Yatsenyuk, another opposition leader, also said more barricades should be built to extend the protest zone in Kiev.

"There was a list of demands that we did not get. Will we go

back? No! So now we will build barricades," he declared.

Witnesses said that in response to the opposition call, about 1,000 demonstrators, some carrying clubs and wearing masks, moved away from Independence Square and began to erect new barricades closer to the presidential headquarters.

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Richard Balmforth; Editing by Ken Wills)

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