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Top US diplomat comes to Kiev for talks

February 6, 2014
Associated Press

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian protesters lambasted parliament on Thursday for its lack of action and a senior U.S. diplomat arrived in Kiev to try to help find a resolution to the country's grinding political crisis.

Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland is to meet separately with President Viktor Yanukovych and with opposition leaders during her two-day stay in the Ukrainian capital, the U.S. Embassy says.

Her trip comes amid growing frustration over parliament's failure to enact constitutional reforms and an amnesty for protesters. The legislature met three days this week, but produced no results and adjourned Thursday until next week.

About 2,000 demonstrators marched Thursday toward parliament carrying a banner reading "We are tired of waiting." Protesters even said they were ready to resume clashes with police if parliament's inaction continued. They want Yanukovych to resign and a new election held, as well as more human rights and less corruption in their nation of 45 million people.

The U.S. and the European Union have called for Yanukovych and the opposition to reach a compromise and warned Yanukovych against using more force against the protesters. The massive demonstrations began in late November after the president spurned the EU in favor of getting a $15 billion loan from Russia to shore up his debt-ridden nation.

The European Parliament in Strasbourg adopted a non-binding resolution Thursday urging the bloc's 28 nations to prepare targeted sanctions such as freezing assets against those responsible for the violent crackdown on peaceful protests in Ukraine.

Three protesters were killed in clashes with police and another one was abducted and then found frozen to death.

Prosecutors in Kiev, meanwhile, said a prominent opposition activist and journalist, Tetyana Chernovil, who was severely beaten in December fell victim to hooliganism, according to the Interfax news agency. Chernovil links the attack to her stories exposing alleged high-level corruption and her participation in the protests.


Jim Heintz in Kiev and Juergen Baetz in Brussels contributed.



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