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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  January 24, 2014 11:30am-12:01pm EST

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also into western new york. snow in the midwest and the northeast. back to you, stephanie. >> thank you, and thank you for watching aljazeera america, i'm stephanie cy. >> the demonstrations in ukraine's capital are spreading into the rest of the country. protesters have died and the embattled president is talking to opposition leaders who want new elections. ukraine is the "inside story." hello, i'm ray soares. with government coffers bare,
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the government got a bailout, not by looking west to the european union, but looking north to moscow, staving off discover short-term, buzz not a permanent solution. demonstrators in the heart of the ukrainian capital are not giving up. after weeks of water hoses dousing in the sub-freezing cold. opposition parties got an audience with yanukovych, with protests that have begun to spread to other regions. it's locked in a tug of war over its future. a truce between protesters and government forces held for much of thursday. it followed the most violent clashes since the crisis began in mid november. now for the first time protesters have been killed.
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today, ukraine's prime minister tried to avoid a coup. former heavyweight champion boxish has called on president yanukovych to fuse the crisis. ahead of meeting the president, he was optimistic. >> what is your hope for the president? >> right now, stop the conflict in -- and basis for starting political negotiation. and to stop the aggression against activists, and all activists have to be freed. it's the main points where it's the base points where we can start negotiations. >> yanukovych has called for an
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emergency session of parliament next week. >> first of all, we all need to act within the law, and second, there's that political space for parliament. >> reporter: yanukovych is under pressure from protesters, the police have begun making arrests. two protesters were shot to death on wednesday, the circumstances unclear, and another is believed to have fallen to his death from the top of the soccer stadium, as some threw rocks at the police. >> the government is counting on the fact that they can scare people with the murders and tortures, hoping that the people will give up. blue we're waiting for the victory and waiting for everything to end peacefully. >> reporter: demonstrators took to the streets in november, when yanukovych did not sign a deal with the european union,
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instead ties with russia. speaking out against the violence, the u.s. embassy revoked visa for ukrainians. and the obama administration is considering sanctions against the government. >> we continue to urge yanukovych and his government to respect the rights of protesters, and if we have to take steps, we will >> reporter: what began in kiev is spreading to other parts of the country. in one of the more dramatic moments of the day, protesters were able to force one regional governor to resign. a yanukovych supporter, he quickly rescindid his resignation, saying that he was under duress. >> joining us now from the
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ukrainian capital is aljazeera america's grieve jennifer glass. has the time limit on the truce passed and has there been any movement on the square? >> reporter: you know, ray, the time that it has passed, and it actually passed a few hours ago here, and as it was the time approaching, that went on the street that has been the battle ground here, and that's the road that runs from the parliament to the main thoroughfare here in kiev, so far that truce has held. just a few minutes ago, we saw one of the opposition leaders talking to the protestors there were the megaphone, talking to the police to please bish calm . >> you know, the developments have been carrying on throughout
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the day in such rapid succession and i wonder whether the large group of people on the streets is able to keep up with what's going on and be aware of what's being done if their name? >> you would be surprised. everyone here is very connect. it has been a very 21st century revolution here if you will. people are on twitter, and as a matter of fact, there's a young lady, as you watch the opposition leader speak to the crowd last night, everyone is live tweeting what's going on. and a lot of the protesters are connected not only by their cellphones, but also with a lot of social media. they have some of the protesters have walky-talkies and really, that's why it has been such a fluid movement. so we see whenever there's word that something might happen,
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people do flock to the square, and tonight, there are thousands of people out here in subzero temperatures, tonight and last night as well because they know this is a critical time, they know it's a time when decisions are going to be made, and it's a tipping point. people wonder what's going to happen next, and what their leaders are going to say, and whether they really have made any progress. >> thursday is about to become friday. it's the dead of night in a part of the world where it gets pretty cold during the winter. how do such large groups of people sustain themselves if they plan it stay there overnight? >> well, there's a camp here on independent square, so inside of the tents, it's quite warm. and a lot of the people out on the streets have been rotating. keeping themselves warm around
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oil drums filled with wood and open fires. they have been very very resourceful. and the ukrainians have been used to the cold. it wants been -8 celsius. and they say it's not really that cold. wait until it gets to -12, -15. they have been used to the cold, but there's so much at stake here. >> you're talking about the lennon shipyards in the 1980s, or occupying wall street in the recent years, when you get a long-term encamp. like this, sometimes the demands morph and change, and the reasons people say they're out there seem to change. how does that happen in this case with something going on since the autumn? >> reporter: it has, ray, and it all started as a protest after president yanukovych failed to sign a trade deal with the european union. a deal that many of the
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ukrainians really put their hopes on, and they hoped that it would bring change. corruption is a big problem in a lot of people's lives here, the most corrupt country in europe. and ukrainians hoped that it would bring a deal to europe. and that's how this all started. and that's why they took to the square. and little by little, as yanukovych ignores them, it's growing and growing and growing, and now we have a full grown revolution. >> stay warm, stay safe. that's aljazeera america's jennifer glass in kiev. we're going to take a short break, and when we come back, we're going to take a closer look at the demands of the opposition and the prospect of the process
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>> welcome back to "inside
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story." i'm ray soares. on this edition of the program, we're discussing the political crisis in ukraine. and the process began in november when the government turned down a deal with the europeaeuropean union, and it hn a violent turn. we have the ambassador to the ukraine, john hurst. and research associate from the ukrainian studies. and from the ukraine, the executive director of the national minorities of the ukraine. ambassador, let me start with you. you heard our reporter in the square mention that over time, the demonstrators have upped their demands, and they have seen the possibility for getting a greater prize. did yanukovych miss an opportunity. and does he continue to miss them? >> i'm not sure that the protesters have upped their
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demands. in the very first days of late november, people in the square were calling for the president yanukovych to step down, and they are doing it again now. i'm not sure that those demands are realistic. i think that there are many steps that mr. yanukovych has to take to try to quell the arrests. but it's unlikely that he will step down there power. what we have seen over the past two months is a regularly handheld effort by mr. yanukovych to per wad persue protests from coming off the square without giving them anything, and that's why they have not gone away. he thought that they would be pleased. and they're interested in a government that's not corrupt. interested in a government that promoted democracy, and interested in developing themselves in freedom. and in association with the
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european union. >> if we were to go down to the square together and talk to the people occupying it for weeks and months, would they see the president's now agreement to open a session of parliament as progress, as a kind of victory? we seem to be having audio problems with kiev. tara, i know you're not there, but you're in regular contact with people who are, and is there a sense that yanukovych is at least meeting them at least part way? >> no, i don't think so. i don't think anybody, especially after the deaths of what the ukrainians are saying at least seven people actually. after those deaths, i don't
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think anybody really, very few people in the ukraine, and i'm sure that it's the same in the u.s. and western experts, trust a word that president yanukovych says, and therefore, we're all going to be very sceptical that he's going to be willing to form some kind of compromise. the demands of the protesters are a culmination of years of frustration since yanukovych came to power in 2010. and the reason why there's so much anger on the streets, and far greater anger by the way than in the orange revolution when ambassador hurst was there, but president yanukovych has attacked the fundamental basis on which the ukraine is based on, he has destroyed all of those things, and the two straws that broke the camel's back was first in november, that we have eluded to, and second, black
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thursday, last week, when ukraine became a democracy in the shape of 21 minutes in the parliament. so the anger is far deeper, and plus, on top of that, when i was there in december in kiev, is just this incredible anger of the country being corporate raided on a massive scale, far greater than the 1990s, which was bad enough, by the people in power. in effect, most ukrainians believe that al capone is running the country, and not a corrupt politician, and that's the way it's put to me by ukrainians. they really do believe that these guys have gone way too far. if you add to that the bloodshed that has happened this week, none of those protesters, i'm sure, believe that yanukovych has a future in ukraine. and that's the problem that he has today. he's supposed to be a president
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under the constitution who guarantees ukraine's democratic rights, and he gave that away last thursday when he signed those draconian laws into power. >> let me try again to speak to aanna lin in kiev, and is therea sense in the crowd that they are starting to at least be heard bring the leaders of the country? the truce ended and they were not pushed out by the police, the president has met the leaders of the opposition, and has promised to open an emergency session of parliament. >> yes, things that are important for the crowd because first, the decision of the parliament is enrolled only for january 28th, which is in five days, and as for today, they
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have five persons dead. they have many people in the clinics, and they have many arrests of activists, and people who are on the investigation trial. and who could be in prison for ten years in the demonstration. so i think this is not enough. enough that the president yanukovych is saying now. it's absolutely not enough. and the people should stay on the streets until yanukovych and his government would go away. >> do you think that that's a safe thing to do? does it appear that the army or the police are not going to try again to use force to make you leave? >leave? i would love to believe it, you know, but i could not answer you.
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-- positivetively. >> i'm sure that it's a very tough thing to decide. especially when people have already died. >> they're taking people on the street or from their place in their cars, and torturing them and taking them to the forest and torturing them there. and this is not investigated, absolutely. and nobody was punished from the police. >> an an anna lin is in kiev. we're going to take a short break s. when we come back, we'll talk about the way forward for ukraine and the countries in europe and the rest of the world that are watching this drama unfold. this is "inside story."
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>> i'm r i'm ray soares. continuing with the ukraine. the european union, and the political moves are spreading, and still with us, yanukovych in the presidential palace or the demonstrator on the streets. >> i think you have a very difficult situation, and now explain why. on the one hand, you have the first time in the ukraine, a president who is afraid of leaving power. he was afraid of losing power before the crisis, because of
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the opposition leaders to do that, and also because of corruption charges, abrogation of the duties and the bloodshed. so you have a president on one side who doesn't want to compromise, and doesn't want preterm election that's he would lose because of his fear of leaving power, and on the other side, you have protesters who don't see him anymore as ruler of the country. so you have two very entrenched positions, i don't see how this could move forward without international mediation without the kind that took place in the revolution, and people behind the scenes, such as ambassador hurst who played an important role, because the ukrainians are on different sides. >> the ambassador is squeezed now between moscow and the street? >> i think that the role of
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moscow has been overplayed. it's largely a ukraine -- he's right, the events of the past week has made it more difficult. but he has not used force because he knows it would be the end of his position intentionally. and ukraine continue tolerate that kind of massive force, so use small force. i think there's the possibility of compromise. i think that it's right where the united states is engaged, and the compromise would be that yanukovych takes step to ensure a fair and free election a year from now, he releases from yale. anjail.and he removed all of ths that he signed last week, and he does all of those things, and
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those are serious gestures. so far he has done nothing, he's unwilling to talk, and he has steps that he could take short of leaving power, leading to compromise, but it would need international help. and maybe the past ukrainian presidents who stood up for democratic processes. >> anna lynn, you just heard the ambassador talk about how president yanukovych hasn't done anything, and is that what's pushing these protests beyond and into other parts of the country? >> i must say that on november 30th, all of the people, the students and the people demonstrating, they have beaten them, and this was i think the first big push,
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because then people came not for immigration, but for dignity against the beating of innocent people. >> we're told that ukraine is a divided country, and that not all ukrainians feel the same way about these issues. as the protesters begin to go to other provinces, will the ukrainians pull together and will there be a regional nature to this revolution that separates the country? >> there might be a regional difference, but also, the difference in the world view of people. yanukovych also could have some
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chances. some percent of people support his ideas. the political scene, stability. or they still have the soviet way of thinking. but the people of ukraine, i think that we are able to reconcile with each other. and they have already shown the peace process. and i think that's important. we could at least with the charges. >> i should point out in the
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short time that we have left, are we settling in for a long siege or stand off, and is this nothing could be wrapped up? >> it's the whole demonstration with the orange revolution in 17 days, and i expect that it could take a minimum of weeks more and it could be longer. the government has to compromise, and so far we have not seen that. >> does president yanukovych still have some support from the countryside in the more industrial russian-speaking areas that supported him when he was first leaked in. >in -- elected? >> he has some support, it frightened him and his colleagues, so the east is not as solidly behind him as it once was. >> before we go, tara, is the rest of the world distracted by
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other matters? the leaders of those countries are in geneva talking about syria, they're not pointing to kiev right now. >> yes, there has been far less international engagement now, compared to say 2014. then the eu was brought into the equation and played a very positive role. u.s. will have to lead the way. that's the way it is. it did so yesterday, but the eu is slow. far too slow. and we understand today is different than 2014. you have tremendous internal problems. but i think the bloodshed crossed the line, so they inevitably are coming aboard. >> tara, anna lynn, and ambassador in washington. that brings us to the end of the show. we'll stay on this one n.
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washington, i'm ray soares. welcome to al jazeera america. i'm stephanie sy here are the stories we're following for you. >> it has been a farce because anyone who believes that bashar al-assad is going to willingly transition out of power is obviously -- it's just crazy. >> senator john mccain weighs in on those shaky peace talks. reports of concessions to protesters in ukraine, and a ve


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