Ukraine protesters threaten tighter blockade over spurned EU pact

By REUTERS
December 4, 2013 00:36

KIEV - Ukraine's government faced a tightening blockade of key buildings by protesters in the capital Kiev on Wednesday amid a crisis over its rejection of closer ties with the European Union that has piled pressure on the creaking economy.

Protesters threatened to extend their blockade to the office of President Viktor Yanukovich, who flew to China on Tuesday leaving behind a country in turmoil over his government's decision last month to spurn a landmark EU trade accord.

The crisis has exposed once more the East-West tug-of-war playing out in Ukraine, which has oscillated between the EU and former Soviet master Moscow since the 2004-5 Orange Revolution overthrew the post-Soviet political order.

Yanukovich's prime minister, Mykola Azarov, said his cabinet would hold its weekly meeting on Wednesday in the government building, paving the way for a possible showdown with the protesters, who have blocked the entrances since Monday.


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