Ukraine President Promises Early Elections To End Violence

President Yanukovych says a deal is in place to hold early elections and form a transitional government, but many remain skeptical it'll happen.
Posted at 9:51 AM, Feb 21, 2014

Ukraine's president Viktor Yanukovych announced a possible deal to end protests and violence, but tension remains in the capital Kiev as the government and protesters clearly don't trust each other yet. A warning: some of the video in this piece is difficult to watch.

"Ukraine's president offers early elections as a solution to the violence sweeping his country. His concession causes tempers in Parliament to boil over as politicians clash over the best way to resolve the crisis." (Via ITV)

Violent protests and standoffs with riot police left more than 70 dead this week despite a ceasefire late Wednesday into Thursday. (Via RT)

Yanukovych and opposition leaders have now officially signed the deal. Still, even as Yanukovych announced the proposal, other European leaders who were in on negotiations like the Polish prime minister voiced skepticism.

"He says we cannot say with all certainty that the worst-case scenario has been avoided. The threats are still there. It would appear the protest leaders aren't happy with the deal." (Via Sky News)

Protests began in November when the former Soviet state spurned a deal with the European Union and instead took a bailout from Russia, though the protests only turned violent last month. (Via Euronews)

One of the protest leaders and former boxer Vitali Klitschko spoke in the country's parliament Friday.

VITALI KLITSCHKO: "What is happening now in Kiev, what's happening now in Ukraine is frightening. No one could have imagined that this could happen in our motherland — a Ukrainian going against a Ukrainian. Why? Because the authorities are trying to set people against one another." (Via Channel 4)

The Washington Post reports Yanukovych's political party announced a transitional government would be in place within 10 days along with elections in December.

The paper noted elections 10 months away is the most likely negotiation point to send the country back into chaos because protesters want Yanukovych out of office immediately. They say they won't leave Independence Square until he's gone.

For some perspective, The Wall Street Journal tweeted this comparison image early Friday morning of Independence Square before and after protests. (Via Twitter / @WSJ)