World Bulletin / News Desk
Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov on Thursday accused opposition protesters of trying to stage a coup d'etat and said it would be unrealistic to hold an early presidential election, Russian news agencies reported.
"A genuine attempt at a coup d'etat is being carried out," Interfax quoted Azarov as saying on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, referring to weeks of protests over the government's decision to scrap plans to sign a landmark trade pact with the European Union.
He was quoted as saying the unrest, in which three people on the side of the protesters have been killed, made it "absolutely unrealistic" to held an early presidential vote. The next presidential vote is to be held in spring 2015.
Gorbachev urges Putin, Obama to help end crisis
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev urged the presidents of Russia and the United States on Thursday to help broker negotiations to end violent protests in Ukraine, which he said was facing a possible "catastrophe".
Gorbachev, 82, a Nobel Peace laureate whose reforms helped end the Cold War but led to the Soviet Union's demise, appealed to Russia's President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama to help Ukraine resolve the conflict peacefully.
"Without the help, without the cooperation of authoritative representatives of our two countries this (situation) could lead to catastrophe," Gorbachev, who has Ukrainian heritage, said in an open letter posted on his foundation's website.
"I ask you to seize the opportunity and take a decisive step to help Ukraine return to the path of peaceful development. I am really relying on you," he said. "The opposing sides should sit at the negotiation table."
His call for further talks in Ukraine echoed the view of current leaders such as German ChancellorAngela Merkel, who expressed outrage on Thursday over Ukraine's crackdown on the protesters and said the focus must be on de-escalation and dialogue.
The protests erupted in November after Yanukovich rejected a trade pact with the European Union in favour of boosting ties with Russia, Ukraine's Soviet-era master.
Gorbachev, who was born into a mixed Russian-Ukrainian family in 1931, is disliked by many Russians for what they see as his role in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, which was followed by years of political and economic chaos.Last Mod: 23 Ocak 2014, 17:33