Protesters: Ukraine's leader must defend nation at summit




  • In US
  • 2019-12-08 14:16:14Z
  • By Associated Press

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) - Several thousand people rallied Sunday in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv to demand that the president defend the country's interests in this week's summit with Russia, Germany and France on ending the war in eastern Ukraine.

Many Ukrainians are concerned that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a political novice, could be out-maneuvered by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the summit on Monday in Paris.

Zelenskiy is eager to make progress on ending the war with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, where fighting has killed some 14,000 people since 2014. Russia wants to use the summit to increase pressure on Zelenskiy to fulfill the 2015 Minsk peace accord, which gives the rebel-held regions more autonomy in exchange for ending the fighting.

Germany and France helped to broker that 2015 deal, but it has been repeatedly ignored.

The Minsk accord calls for Ukraine to be able to regain control of its border with Russia only after local elections are held under Ukrainian law in the separatist regions and the regions receive autonomous status. But Zelenskiy says Ukraine must get control of its border before local elections are held.

At the rally in Kyiv's Independence Square, demonstrators held banners reading "No compromises!" and "No surrender!"

"I lost a lot of friends who were killed in the east, and I won't allow their blood to be shed in vain. The authorities are negotiating with the Russians and making some deals behind our backs," said Anton Trigub, a 36-year-old veteran of the fighting.

"For five years now, war has been going on in Ukraine, we are very tired ... But Putin can take advantage of this fatigue, and we do not need peace at all costs under Russian conditions," said Tamara Lukashuk, a 52-year-old musician.

Former President Petro Poroshenko, who lost his re-election bid to Zelenskiy, told the rally "if if this peace is a surrender of Ukrainian interests, it is not peace but capitulation ... we cannot allow elections at gunpoint."

Presidential spokeswoman Yulia Mendel said Zelenskiy would make tough demands at Monday's summit.

"The first three steps that President Zelensky will take at a meeting in Paris: the terms and conditions of the return of captured Ukrainians; a real, not fake, ceasefire; and, of course, the withdrawal of foreign troops and bandit formations from the territory of Donbass," Mendel wrote on Facebook, using a term for Ukraine's eastern regions.

Local elections may be held after border control is returned and "when there are no foreign troops and illegal armed groups" in the area, she wrote.

COMMENTS

More Related News

After interview, Pompeo cursed at reporter, yelled:
After interview, Pompeo cursed at reporter, yelled: 'Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?'

Sec. Pompeo unloaded on NPR host Mary Louise Kelly after an interview in which she questioned him about Ukraine and other hot-button issues, NPR said.

'Take her out': Recording appears to capture Trump at private dinner saying he wants Ukraine ambassador fired

A recording reviewed by ABC News appears to capture President Donald Trump telling associates he wanted the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired while speaking at a small gathering that included Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman -- two former business associates of Trump's personal lawyer

The middleman: How Lev Parnas joined Team Trump and became Rudy Giuliani
The middleman: How Lev Parnas joined Team Trump and became Rudy Giuliani's fixer in Ukraine

Lev Parnas was once so close to Rudy Giuliani, he named Giuliani his son's godfather. Now Parnas is cooperating with the Trump impeachment inquiry.

Now Testifying for the Prosecution: President Trump
Now Testifying for the Prosecution: President Trump

WASHINGTON -- The House managers prosecuting President Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors have failed so far to persuade Senate Republicans to let them call new witnesses in his impeachment trial. But in their own way, they have come up with a star witness they can bring to the floor: Trump

Dems Aim to Put
Dems Aim to Put 'Knife in the Heart' of Trump's Defense

About four hours into Thursday's session of the Senate impeachment trial, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the House's lead impeachment manager, had yet another video clip queued up to show senators in order to help make Democrats' case for President Trump's removal.Taking full advantage of their video privileges

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US