Skip to main content

Radical protesters spark Ukraine police fears

By Susanna Capelouto, CNN
updated 7:32 AM EST, Sat January 25, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dealing peacefully with protesters is "futile" said Ukraine's interior minister
  • Talks between opposition leaders and the government ended in a stalemate
  • The European Union is holding talks with the government and protesters
  • Radical protesters killed a policeman, the Interior Ministry said

(CNN) -- Using peaceful means to deal with pro-Western protesters "remain futile," Ukraine's Interior Ministry said Saturday.

Interior Minister Vitaly Zaharchenko accuses Oleg Layashko, leader of Ukraine's Radical Democratic Party, of calling for attacks on law enforcement.

"As a result a policeman has been killed with a shot in the head overnight, and three other policemen have been captured by protester," he said in a statement. He accused protesters of accumulating weapons and ammunition.

Talks between Ukraine's government and leaders from three other opposition parties over the past few days have gone nowhere.

Protests against the government began in November when President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign a trade agreement with the European Union in favor of stronger economic ties with Russia.

The opposition is demanding the resignation of the government and early elections, but the government has so far refused and in turn accuses the opposition of creating a climate for extremist behavior.

Hundreds of protesters continue their vigil in Kiev's Independence square and surrounding streets where they set up a tent cities and put up barricades. Large plumes of black smoke billowed up from the barricades Saturday as riot police watched and waited nearby.

Early Friday the Interior Ministry said that if protesters left the street where the violence has been focused, police would not seek to prosecute them and promised police would not use force against those rallying in Kiev's Independence Square.

The European Union is now trying to end the growing stalemate. EU representative Stefan Fule met with Yanukovych and opposition leaders Friday and Saturday.

"My talks in Kiev showed the need for a series of concrete steps to first start to rebuild trust of people by stopping the spiral of violence and intimidation," he said.

Fule's talks were only a precursor to a scheduled visit next week by the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and a European Parliament delegation.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT