Video: Deal reached in Ukraine; Update: Protesters agree?

posted at 8:01 am on February 21, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Under pressure from all sides, and with Moscow signaling that it wants a low-key approach to the rebellion in Kiev, the government in Ukraine has cut a deal to end the standoff in the streets. President Viktor Yanukovich has agreed to early elections in December, and more critically a return to the constitution that was superseded in 2004, which will make the presidency a weaker office. Power would shift to a coalition government, to which all three major parties in Ukraine have agreed.

But will that be enough? CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh wonders whether the Euromaidan protesters will be satisfied with a deal that leaves Yanukovich in power at all:

The Washington Post’s Will Englund thinks it will take guarantees that Yanukovich has been bypassed in order to sell the deal in the streets of Kiev:

The protesters want Yanukovych out of office immediately and have sworn they will not leave the Maidan, the protest epicenter also known as Independence Square, until he leaves the presidency.

Opposition political leaders also would have to be assured that a coalition government — that is, the prime minister and cabinet — would have real authority and not simply be window dressing for Yanukovych.

Yanukovich won’t have much choice in the matter. The parliament, nominally controlled by his party, demanded a withdrawal of police from Independence Square the day after clashes in the streets left dozens dead, some from Berkut snipers captured by videographers. That was followed by the entry of police officers from the western-Ukraine city of Lviv into Independence Square — to side with the protesters:

Just 24 hours earlier, as she had said on Thursday, it was “absolute chaos” in the city’s Independence Square. Clashes between security forces and protesters left dozens of people dead. More than 70 have been killed since violence erupted on Tuesday.

But by midday Friday in Kiev, as Soraya reported on Morning Edition, much of the “debris and chaos had been swept up and swept away.” One dramatic moment: the arrival of police officers from the city of Lviv. They announced they were were to support the protesters, Soraya says.

The scene is “180 degrees different,” Soraya added.

Yanukovich is seeing his political support crumble underneath him. Englund further notes for the Post that a new envoy from Moscow may have made the difference between defiance and deference to popular will:

A key player in the talks could turn out to be Vladimir Lukin, dispatched from Moscow Thursday by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Until now, Russia’s lobbying of Ukraine has been so aggressive that Europeans have characterized it as bullying. But Lukin is a respected low-key figure, and his appointment seemed to signal a change in the Kremlin’s tone.

Putin has tried to bind Ukraine and Yanukovych to Russia with economic ties and stymie closer relations between Kiev and the European Union. But Russian analysts said Thursday that the Ukrainian president has shown he cannot defeat the opposition and that the past two days of street fighting, coupled with defiance throughout western Ukraine, have exposed his weakness. If that thinking now extends to the Kremlin, Putin might try to cut the best deal he can.

Any new government in Ukraine will still have to maintain a working relationship with Moscow. The cultural, political, and economic ties are too strong for a complete break, and no democratic government in Kiev could sustain that kind of rupture for long. Putin may have had his knuckles rapped by Ukrainians in this case, but he can still cut deals — as long as he doesn’t give the appearance of propping up a dictator, especially if that means sending troops and tanks over the border as Putin did in Georgia in 2008. The arrival of Lukin may have included a message that no such help would be forthcoming, and that Yanukovich needed to cut a deal soon.

We’ll see if it holds, but if it does, Ukraine may have made a big step out of the Cold War shadows.

Update: German negotiators say the Euromaidan protesters have agreed to the deal:

We’ll see how soon they begin leaving Independence Square, though. They may wait for the coalition government to form and take power first.


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Obama to take credit in 5…..4……3…..

cmsinaz on February 21, 2014 at 8:04 AM

Yanukovych will have to go, or nothing is resoled. The protesters need to see him gone.

Putin gets little from this. He avoids a black eye.

dogsoldier on February 21, 2014 at 8:07 AM

Video: Deal reached in Ukraine

…yes…sure!/

KOOLAID2 on February 21, 2014 at 8:10 AM

The Click is ticking once Russia is free of the Olympics all bets are off.
DaTechGuy on DaRadio on February 21, 2014 at 8:14 AM

Yep. Putin told his puppet Yankovich to chill until the Olympics are over, then he’ll roll the tanks.

ConstantineXI on February 21, 2014 at 8:21 AM

Obama to take credit in 5…..4……3…..

cmsinaz on February 21, 2014 at 8:04 AM

Indeed.

I guess he’s batting .500 on that whole “Cross the Line” thing.

BigWyo on February 21, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Obama to take credit in 5…..4……3…..

cmsinaz on February 21, 2014 at 8:04 AM

A key player in the talks could turn out to be Vladimir Lukin, dispatched from Moscow Thursday by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Looks to me like, once again, Putin is showing Obama to be the boy king that he is.

Flora Duh on February 21, 2014 at 8:26 AM

Re-read some earlier articles about the area on Gates of Vienna.

So the militant socialist based protestors want to join the socialist EU. Part of that is because it continues the break with Russia?

The government has been making deals with Russia so it has the appearance of siding or being controlled by Russia.

It really sounds like which socialist entity do they want to tie themselves to.

Lesser of 2 evils? Let them decide.

TerryW on February 21, 2014 at 8:37 AM

cmsinaz on February 21, 2014 at 8:04 AM

The Big Fail never ceases to show how unimpressive he is, does he? He won’t waste this opportunity I’m sure.

battalion on February 21, 2014 at 8:47 AM

Let us all hope that this holds and a civil war does not break out on the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the “The Great War”……………. World War I.

SC.Charlie on February 21, 2014 at 8:48 AM

East~wall~ West

wolly4321 on February 21, 2014 at 8:49 AM

The important thin is to get them into the EU so the globalists can start cutting up the melon

What stands between them and Ukraine is Putin

Oh, and in that case, they care about the little people

entagor on February 21, 2014 at 9:22 AM

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” – Thomas Jefferson

myiq2xu on February 21, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Boy, I’m sure glad that Obama and Kerry were able to pressure Putin into convincing Yanukovych to agree end the standoff. /

Hill60 on February 21, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Those red lines really work.

Jocundus on February 21, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Good summary, Ed.

Putin told his puppet Yankovich to chill until the Olympics are over, then he’ll roll the tanks.

I find that highly doubtful. He had a plausible excuse in Georgia (albeit not one I’d defend). In Ukraine, there’s high risk and low reward. He can get a lot more out of economic and political moves than military ones. Let’s say this deal holds, the Presidency is less powerful, and its officeholder changes by year end. Ukraine is still in financial turmoil, and Russia will still offer them a better deal than the EU can. Putin probably bets that he can keep Ukraine in the fold long enough that eventually they’ll revert back to dependence. It’s what happened after independence, and it’s what happened after the Orange Revolution, Not one Russian soldier was sacrificed and Russia had plausible deniability of its behind-the-scenes actions. So why would Putin change course now, especially with his international opponents lacking Russia’s motivation and stamina?

calbear on February 21, 2014 at 10:44 AM

But by midday Friday in Kiev, as Soraya reported on Morning Edition, much of the “debris and chaos had been swept up and swept away.” One dramatic moment: the arrival of police officers from the city of Lviv. They announced they were were to support the protesters, Soraya says.

Ever since the independence of Ukraine from the Soviet Union in the 1990′s, there have been tensions between the Europe-friendly, predominantly Catholic western part of Ukraine, and the Russia-friendly, predominantly Orthodox eastern part of Ukraine, with Kiev as the focal point of the conflict. The arrival of police officers from Lviv signals that the western Ukrainians are willing to fight against Putin and Russian domination, and Putin and Lukin may have been willing to share power in order to avoid an all-out civil war in their backyard, a few hundred miles from the Olympics.

In the long run, this could lead to a division of Ukraine into two nations, one pro-European, and one pro-Russian, similar to what happened to Czechoslovakia, but with greater strategic implications, due to the importance of the Black Sea.

Steve Z on February 21, 2014 at 10:47 AM

First the protestors have to turn in their guns including the 2,500 captured weapons.

Meanwhile is Russian going to give up on the ancient Russian capitol of Kiev, the critical warm water naval port of Savastopol, and the the bread basket of the old soviet empire?

Viator on February 21, 2014 at 11:10 AM

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/ukraine-protests-over-eu-agreement-delay/

Ukraine’s president, opposition leaders sign peace deal
********************************************************

Ukraine
15s
===
Ukraine lawmakers vote to dismiss acting Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko who executed orders to gun down protesters – @ChristopherJM, @MaximEristavi
end of alert
==============

Ukraine
10m
Ukrainian medic who tweeted ‘I am dying’ after being shot in the throat survives after emergency surgery – @NBCNews
read more on nbcnews.com
==========================

Poland
14m
Polish minister caught on camera warning Ukraine protest leader ‘you’ll all be dead’ http://fw.to/WPKqZSC – @Telegraph
see original on twitter.com
===========================

Kyiv, Kyiv City Municipality, UA
23m
Photo: A somber mass in Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, for the dead – @RichardEngel
see original on twitter.com
=============================

Kyiv, Kyiv City Municipality, UA
24m
Photo: Ukrainian president, opposition leaders sign peace deal – @GermanyDiplo via @KiritRadia
see original on twitter.com
==========================
European Union
43m
EU’s Catherine Ashton says decision on future of Ukraine sanctions will depend on what EU foreign ministers on ground in Ukraine say – @Reuters
end of alert
==============

European Union
55m
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Ukraine deal: ‘Implementation will be key and it will be very difficult’ – @NBCNews
end of alert
============

European Union
56m
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says EU, Russia agree that violence must stop in Ukraine to ensure stable future – @Reuters

canopfor on February 21, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Ukraine’s president, opposition leaders sign peace deal
2m
====
Photo: Ukraine’s President Yanukovych shakes hands with opposition leader Klitschko – @Reuters via @ajamlive
see original on twitter.com
===========================

https://twitter.com/ajamlive/status/436893744563240960

canopfor on February 21, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Ukraine’s president, opposition leaders sign peace deal
28s
====
Ukrainian parliament votes to allow release of jailed opposition figure Yulia Tymoshenko – @AP, @pwaldieGLOBE
end of alert

canopfor on February 21, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Ukraine’s president, opposition leaders sign peace deal
1m
=====
Photo: Protesters attack truck outside Ukraine parliament as it races by plaza – @pwaldieGLOBE
=====================

https://twitter.com/pwaldieGLOBE/status/436900686694215680/photo/1/large

canopfor on February 21, 2014 at 11:40 AM

The Rada has voted to free Yulia Tymoshenko!!!!

Gingotts on February 21, 2014 at 12:43 PM

The Rada has voted to free Yulia Tymoshenko!!!!

Gingotts on February 21, 2014 at 12:43 PM

(Ted Cruz breathing a sigh of relief.)

slickwillie2001 on February 21, 2014 at 2:15 PM