Peace talks in Ukraine have ’come too late’ (video)

  • 2014-01-23
  • From wire reports, RIGA

Three people have died amid clashes between police and protesters in Kiev, Ukraine (photo: twitter)

Talks between opposition parties at the government in the Ukraine have come too late, the Latvian Foreign Minister has said.

Edgars Rinkevics urged both sides to resolve the ongoing protests through dialog. Three people have died amid protests calling for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych.

Demonstrators are calling for the resignation of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych after he failed to sign an  EU association agreement last year. Activists are also angry over recent laws by the government, deeming protests illegal. 

Ukrainian officials have denied police would have been responsible for the deaths as they're not carrying live ammunition, the BBC reports. 

"Any move closer to authoritarianism or dictatorship will never be acceptable," The LETA news agency quoted Rinkevics as saying. 

Baltic leaders are in the Ukraine to attend talks and monitor ongoing protests.

Lithuania has sent one of its leading political figures to attend talks between opposition and ruling parties. Andrius Kubilius, a Seimas opposition figure, has been invited by former heavy weight boxer and opposition political leader Vitali Kitschko to attend the talks.  

Elsewhere, Estonian Riigikogu foreign committee chairman Marko Mihkelson, Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (PRU) secretary general Tiit Riisalo and foreign secretary Veiko Lukmann have also departed for the Ukraine to get a first-hand view of the developments in the country. They will pen a statement on the protests to present to the EU. 

On Saturday, Jan. 25, Yanukovych offered opposition figures several top government posts, hoping to coax his opponents into ending protests that threaten to bring the country to a standstill, says Reuters.

Opposition figures, including former heavy weight boxer Vitali Klitschko turned down the post saying the decision should rest with the people

In the latest developments, the Ukrainian government is holding a special session to review anti protest laws. Prime Minister Azarov has also offered to resign.

Earlier, Baltic leaders condemned the use of 'shocking' violence in the Ukraine.

In Riga, over 100 protestors rallied outside the Ukrainian embassy and the Freedom Monument this week holding up flags and chanting slogans.

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said the Ukrainian government would have to take responsibility for the violence and called for urgent dialog. 

"The Ukrainian government will have to take political responsibility and immediately start a high-level political dialog between all parties in order to overcome the crisis," said Paet.

Paet added that the legal acts approved by the Ukrainian government last week, by ignoring democratic procedures, endanger the chance of solving the political crisis with democratic means and contradict the state's international obligations.

He expressed condolences to the families of the victims and to people who have suffered in the violence.

There were stronger words from Lithuania who threatened sanctions against Ukraine if the violence continued. A statement from its Foreign Ministry read:  "It is the duty of every government to ensure the right to assembly and freedom of expression for its citizens. Lithuania stands ready to provide any necessary assistance to the Ukrainian people expressing their firm commitment to European values. We continue consultations in the EU on all possible actions, not excluding the possibility of targeted sanctions, if violence continues."

"We are deeply shocked by the death of several Euromaidan protesters and many more injured in Ukraine tonight."

Lithuanian Prime Minister, Algirdas Butkevicius said: I clearly say that I condemn the bloodshed in Ukraine. Ukraine has to stop any fight against the local people as soon as possible and to solve the problems in a diplomatic way or in a way of the negotiations."

Latvian Foreign Minister, Edgars Rinkevics called the events in Ukraine "deeply disturbing."

Follow the protests live here: