Yanukovych asks Ukraine for understanding, Tymoshenko goes on hunger strike

Five days after demonstrations started all over Ukraine, prompted by the government’s rejection of a political and free trade deal with the European Union, the nation’s president came out with a non-committal statement. Meanwhile, the imprisoned leader of the opposition went on a hunger strike – her third since her criminal conviction more than two years ago.

While president Viktor Yanukovych in his lukewarm statement said he was not going to do anything to harm his nation and asked for understanding, imprisoned ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko said she decided to go on hunger strike to demand concrete action from the president.

“As a sign of unity, I announce an indefinite strike with the demand for Yanukovych to sign the association agreement,” she said in her public address, which was read from the stage on European square by Tymoshenko’s leader of defense team Serhiy Vlasenko.

In the meantime, in his address, released through the president’s official site, Yanukovych made no clear commitments about further actions. His government on November 21 reversed its own decision in support for the signing of an association agreement with the EU, a deal that would have paved the way for eventual membership in the 28-nation bloc of democracies.

To read the full story, visit The Kyiv Post.

(Eugenia Tymoshenko, the daughter of imprisoned opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, reads her address to protesters on November 24, when up to 100 000 people came out onto the street to demand that Ukraine signs a trade deal with Europe. Yulia Tymoshenko announced a hunger strike a day later. Photo: Katya Gorchinskaya/Kyiv Post)