Kiev burns in deadly riots

by our European Affairs correspondent

TWENTY-SEVEN people have been killed and hundreds more injured as police and security forces battle with Nato-backed rioters for control of the centre of the Ukrainian capital, Kiev this week.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has urged the Ukrainian government and opposition to show restraint and resume “sincere dialogue” but the US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R Pyatt blamed Viktor Yanukovich for the escalation of the crisis. The imperialist emissary said: “From this moment on, the USA holds Yanukovich responsible for everything that happens in Ukraine”.

But the Russians say these sorts of statements have only encouraged the opposition in further acts of violence, which the Kremlin blames on the “criminal actions” of the radical opposition.

The Putin government blamed the renewed clashes on Ukraine’s pro-European Union and fascist opposition, calling it an attempted coup and a “brown” revolution. And he warned that Russia would use its influence to defeat a “pro-fascist revolution” in the former Soviet republic. Meanwhile American and EU leaders are threatening to impose economic sanctions on the beleaguered government of Viktor Yanukovych.

President Yanukovich said opposition leaders “crossed a line when they called people to arms” as riot police battled with protesters who have been occupying Independence Square for the past two months.

The opposition, which many believe is largely financed by European and American imperialism, called their followers onto the streets after rejecting President Yanukovich’s latest appeal for an end to violence while supporters of the ruling Party of Regions marched towards the Ukrainian parliament calling for an “end to fascism and nazism” and vowing support to President Viktor Yanukovich.

Yanukovich said that opposition leaders demanded full power without elections, which is unconstitutional. “I told the opposition leaders many times — elections are close. If people trust you, you will be in power. If they do not, you won’t. But both must occur legally, according to the Constitution of Ukraine,” Yanukovich stated.

Yanukovych said opposition leaders had to “draw a boundary between themselves and radical forces,” or else “acknowledge that they are supporting radicals” warning that then they will be treated accordingly.

Twenty-six people were killed on Tuesday in the most violent clashes yet to have occurred between security forces and protesters since the opposition took to the streets of Kiev in November 2013 to protest against Yanukovych’s decision to reject EU terms for associate membership in return for a Russian bailout loan agreement.

Ten of the casualties were Ukrainian police officers, who died of gunshot wounds, as did the rest of the victims who included a journalist from a Russian-language evening newspaper and a worker who was killed when an opposition mob stormed and torched the Party of Regions HQ in Kiev.

The security forces are using stun grenades and tear gas to contain the mob, who are responding with Molotov cocktails and small-arms fire. The police have, so far, not used fire-arms and they have held the opposition mobs entirely responsible for all those killed or injured by gun-shot wounds.

Franco-German and Anglo-American imperialism are divided on who they want amongst the motley crew of opposition leaders to replace Yanukovich has and have, so far, stalled any attempt to form an “alternative” opposition government that could pave the way for Libyan-style “regime change”.

But they all want Yanukovich and his pro-Russian party out. A concerted effort throughout Europe has now begun to demonise the Ukrainian leader to prepare the way for economic sanctions and direct imperialist support for the opposition that could plunge the country into civil war.