Ukraine protests: it is time to go, opposition leaders tell president →
Shaun Walker | December 2, 2013
A troika of opposition leaders, including the heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, called on President Viktor Yanukovych to resign on Monday, as parts of Kiev remained under the control of throngs of anti-government protesters.
Police have deserted the centre of the city, while thousands of people blocked entrances to government buildings and gathered again on Independence Square.
It is unclear, even to those involved, whether events constitute a temporary gap in the matrix or the cusp of a genuine revolution, but there is anger among those on the streets that will be hard to quell.
Yanukovych, blindsided by the ferocity of the protests against his decision to turn away from an integration pact with the EU in favour of improved relations with Russia, has kept a low profile since the protests began and on Monday was reported to have told a TV station that he still planned to leave on a long-planned trip to China due to start on Tuesday.
In his first public address since the unrest began, the president said in the television interview that “any bad peace is better than a good war”, and called on Ukrainians to abide by the country’s laws.
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, on a visit to Armenia, blamed outside actors for the protests, which he said amounted to an attempt to unsettle Ukraine's legitimate rulers.
"This reminds me more of a pogrom than a revolution," Putin told reporters on a visit to Armenia.