U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged the Ukrainian government on Tuesday to “listen to the voices of its people” after President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to spurn an agreement with the European Union sparked days of massive protests.
”We urge the Ukrainian government to listen to the voices of its people who want to live in freedom and in opportunity and prosperity. We urge all sides to conduct themselves peacefully. Violence has no place in a modern European state,” Kerry told a news conference after a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.
After two weeks of street protests, Ukraine’s parliament has debated and voted on a no confidence motion by Ukraine’s opposition. But the hope of protesters, who chanted outside the parliament, were dashed, as the government defeated the move for a vote of no confidence.
The vote extended the most serious political confrontation seen here since the Orange Revolution of 2004.
But Ukraine’s embattled president, Viktor Yanukovych, evidently felt secure enough Tuesday to fly out of the country. He embarked on a four-day visit to China, leaving behind a nation divided.
Inside parliament, Udar Party leader Vitali Klitschko hammered on the corruption theme. He demanded dismissal of the government. He warned Prime Minister Mykola Azarov:
“Do not drive yourself and the country into a corner. Do not share the lot of dictators who fled their countries forever,” said in Ukrainian Klitschko, a former boxer.
When the vote came, lawmakers followed party lines, defeating the motion by 40 votes.
By nightfall, thousands of protesters gathered again on Ukraine’s Maidan or Independence Square, just the way they did almost a decade ago during the Orange Revolution.
“This Maidan is more radical than the first Maidan, so people will not go home,” said Paul.
Before nightfall, behind their barricades, protesters were seen carrying boxes of gas masks, spools of barbed wire and stacks of orange helmets.