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Former Ukrainian presidents support anti-government protests

Updated: 2013-12-05 AM 10:33:07 (KST)
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Three former Ukrainian presidents have voiced their support for the ongoing mass anti-government protests.
In a statement Wednesday, Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko expressed solidarity with the peaceful civic actions of the protestors.
They condemned the excessive use of police force and urged the government and opposition leaders to engage in dialogue.

The protests, now in their second week, were sparked by the government's last minute decision to suspend plans to sign an integration pact with the European Union.
The opposition says the U-turn was the result of Russian pressure.
Tens of thousands of protestors remain at the Independence Square in Kiev, and continue to block the main government building.
The protestors want President Viktor Yanukovich.. and his cabinet to resign.
However, the government on Tuesday survived a no-confidence vote in parliament.

The protests were relatively peaceful until clashes broke out over the weekend,.. when police used tear gas and stun grenades to keep protestors away from the presidential building.
Police also beat protestors with batons.

NATO has condemned the use of "excessive force" against protestors, and urged all parties to refrain from further clashes.
Russia is urging the West to stay out of Ukraine's internal affairs, and also called for "stability and order" as the protests intensify.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow was keeping a close eye on the events in Ukraine.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.

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