Ukrainian opposition rejects President’s calls for dialogue

12 December 2013 10:42

Ukrainian opposition leaders have rejected a call by President Viktor Yanukovych for talks aimed at ending two weeks of protests against his move to step back from a key trade deal with the European Union, in favor of boosting ties with Russia, VOA reports.

Yanukovych issued an invitation late Wednesday for a national dialogue with religious, civic and opposition leaders, while urging protesters encamped in central Kyiv to avoid "confrontation and ultimatums."

In rejecting the president's call, opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk repeated demands that the president first release all prisoners detained since the protests began and that he and his government then resign.

Yatsenyuk spoke hours after police retreated from a huge protest encampment in Kyiv's Independence Square, after trying to dismantle a makeshift tent city erected by swarms of demonstrators.