There is a strong possibility today that peace may break out in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has signed a deal with protesters, including, among other things, new presidential elections in December of this year. Elections were previously to be held in March 2015. Three European Union foreign ministers spent two days in Kiev to assist in hammering out the deal.
Many protesters, angry over the dozens of people killed and hundreds more who have been injured by police actions this week, are not satisfied. They want Yanukovych to step down immediately.
As soon as the agreement was signed, the Ukrainian parliament voted to restore the nation’s 2004 constitution, another indication that peace could break out in Ukraine. Many of the extensive powers which Yanukovych had granted himself have been eliminated. He no longer has the ability to appoint the prime minister or to fire the cabinet. Parliament also voted to grant amnesty to the protesters.
Peaceful protests began in Ukraine in November of last year, when Yanukovych shelved an agreement for trade with the European Union, and instead opted for a deal with Russia. Russia has offered to send Vladimir Lukin, the country’s human rights commissioner, to assist the Kiev government and the protesters in negotiating a settlement to the growing conflict.
There have been rumors that Yanukovych has requested political asylum in Russia, but Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, dismissed them as nothing but “informational warfare.” Hopefully peace is breaking out in Ukraine, and its embattled president will not need asylum.
By Melissa Roddy