AirTalk for February 20, 2014

Violence in Ukraine escalates despite initial truce negotiations

UKRAINE-POLITICS-UNREST

LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images

A policeman aims towards protesters in central Kiev on February 20, 2014. Hundreds of armed protesters charged police barricades Thursday on Kiev's central Independence Square, despite a truce called just hours earlier by the country's embattled president. Protesters pushed the police back about 200 metres and were in control of most of the square they had occupied at the start of Ukraine's three-month-old political crisis.

Despite initial truce negotiations between Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s regime and opposition leader, both protesters and riot police officers used firearms in the deadliest day of the three-month political crisis.

Escalating violence in Kiev has ignited fear that President Yanukovych may deploy military forces. Reports from municipal health authorities say that at least 39 people have been killed on Thursday, bringing the three-day death toll up to 67. Unconfirmed reports of hundreds injured and more dead from the opposition’s lead medical staff suggest that the violence may be even more intense.

The European Union has agreed to impose sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on Ukrainian officials deemed “responsible for violence and excessive force.” The EU’s decision follows the announcement that the United States will impose sanctions against 20 civilian and political leaders in Ukraine.

What would a state of emergency mean for the protesters in Kiev? How will negotiations with foreign diplomats impact the Ukrainian government’s dealings with the opposition? What steps are necessary to reduce violence, death, and injury in Kiev?

Guests:

Matt Rojansky, Kennan Institute Director at the Wilson Center and former Deputy Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Hellmuth Tromm, Bloomberg News Editor in Kiev

 


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