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Struggle in Kyiv

Anne-Sophie BrändlinDecember 17, 2013

Protests continue in Ukraine as the country has become a center of geopolitical jockeying between the EU and Russia. Moscow and Brussels accuse each other of putting undue pressure on Kyiv to force tighter ties.

Kiew Ukraine Demonstranten
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

For weeks, thousands of protesters have been defying subzero temperatures in Kyiv to protest against President Viktor Yanukovych - initially, for his last-minute rejection of an association agreement with the EU.

Ukrainian police have tried to break up a large protest camp in the center of Kyiv several times, with riot police and demonstrators clashing on the Maidan, Kyiv's central Independence Square. But pro-European protesters are staying put, and are demanding Yanukovych’s resignation, among other things.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton visited Kyiv to seek a solution to the political crisis. While Brussels has rejected the Ukrainian government's request for a credit of 20 billion euros ($27.5 billion), Moscow was happy to comply with a loan of 15 billion dollars.

Yet Yanukovych did not sign up to a Russian-dominated customs union, as pro-European protesters had feared. And the EU has said the door is still open to the association agreement. It is still unclear what Yanukovych has in mind.

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