‘We’re Finishing What We Started’: Ukrainian Opposition Rejects Offer to Share Power

Protesters stand behind the barricade in front of riot police in central Kiev, Ukraine, on Jan. 25. (Photo: Sergei Grits, AP)
Protesters stand behind the barricade in front of riot police in central Kiev, Ukraine, on Jan. 25. (Photo: Sergei Grits, AP)

The Ukrainian opposition flatly rejected an offer from the president to share power Sunday following months of protests that turned deadly last week.

“No deal @ua_yanukovych, we’re finishing what we started,” tweeted opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych met the leaders of the three main parliamentary opposition groups for the second time Saturday, offering the prime minister’s post to Yatseniuk, leader of Batkivshchyna, the biggest opposition party.

Former heavyweight boxer-turned-politician Vitali Klitschko was offered a job of deputy prime minister for humanitarian affairs.

After initially mulling the offers, and telling protesters gathered at Independence Square, “We are ready to take this responsibility and to lead Ukraine to European Union,” Yatseniuk turned the post down, saying the president had not agreed to some key demands of the opposition including the calling of immediate elections. Elections are currently scheduled for next year.

“Negotiations will continue,” said Klitschko.

The protesters led by the opposition also want amnesty for protesters, a change in the constitution to give more powers to parliament over the president, the repeal of a tough anti-protest law adopted Jan. 16, and the signing of a free trade agreement with the European Union.

The protests initially began Kiev on Nov. 21 in reaction to Yanukovych’s rejection of the EU deal.

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SOURCE: Olga Rudenko
USA TODAY

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