Extremist Right Sector group rejects accord, insists President must quit
Yielding to hard Western pressure, Ukraine’s embattled President Viktor Yanukovych has agreed to call early presidential election, cede key powers to Parliament and form a coalition caretaker government. Ukrainian and Russian analysts described Mr. Yanukovych’s decision as total surrender.
The Ukrainian leader made the announcement on his website after marathon talks with opposition leaders brokered by the Foreign Ministers of Germany, France and Poland. The talks, which began on Thursday, went through the night and resumed on Friday. Russia was represented at the talks by human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin.
The three opposition leaders, Arseny Yatsenyuk, Vitaly Klitschko and Oleh Tyahnibok, approved the deal after “consulting” protesters in the streets.
However, the extremist Right Sector group, which led the clashes with police in recent weeks and wrecked a truce earlier this week, has immediately rejected the accord.
The far right group dismissed the deal as “another whitewash” because it fell short of the opposition’s demands for Mr. Yanukovych’s immediate resignation, dissolution of the Parliament, prosecution of the security services chief and a ban on Mr. Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions and the Communist Party.
“National revolution continues,” Dmitro Yarosh, the Right Sector leader said in a statement posted online.
Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski called the agreement “a good compromise,” but analysts said Mr. Yanukovych merely accepted the opposition’s demands.
“What compromise are you talking about? Yanukovych has signed an act of capitulation,” wrote Vladimir Kornilov, a Ukrainian political scientist.
“The West has dictated its terms of capitulation to Yanukovych, who did not even try to resist,” said Vigen Akopyan, editor of Russia’s Regnum online news service.
Mr. Yanukovych gave no timeline for the proposed steps, but the Parliament has already started implementing the accord. Legislators voted in the evening for reverting to the 2004 Constitution, which took away from President and gave to Parliament the right to appoint Prime Minister and the cabinet. The Constitution was scrapped after Mr. Yanukovych won presidential elections in 2010.
According to Vladimir Oleynik, a senior lawmaker from the President’s Party of the Regions, a coalition government is to be formed within 10 days and new presidential elections will be held before the end of the year, about six months earlier than scheduled.
Late on Thursday, the Ukrainian Parliament voted to call off an “anti-terrorist operation” the security forces had launched earlier this week to clear central Kiev of protesters. By Friday afternoon, all riot police were withdrawn from the scene of recent fighting.