Protests continue in Ukraine

Ukraine Protest
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian protesters lambasted parliament on Thursday for its lack of action, and a senior U.S. diplomat arrived in Kiev to try to help find a resolution to the country’s grinding political crisis.

Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met separately with President Viktor Yanukovych and with opposition leaders during her two-day stay in the Ukrainian capital.

A statement on Yanukovych’s website said the president “emphasized that he would do everything to prevent escalation of the conflict.” There were no immediate details about her meeting with the opposition figures.

CCTV’s Michal Bardavid  reports from Kiev, Ukraine where the opposition is pushing to a constitutional change that would severely cut the embattled president’s powers.
Follow Michal on Twitter:@michalbardavid 

Nuland’s visit comes amid growing frustration over parliament’s failure to enact constitutional reforms and an amnesty for protesters. The legislature met three days this week, but produced no results and adjourned Thursday until next week.

In Kiev on Thursday, about 2,000 demonstrators marched toward parliament carrying a banner reading: “We are tired of waiting.” Protesters said they were ready to resume clashes with police, if parliament’s inaction continued. They want Yanukovych to resign and a new election to be held, as well as more human rights and less corruption in their nation of 45 million people.

The U.S. and the European Union have called for Yanukovych and the opposition to reach a compromise and warned Yanukovych against using more force against the protesters. The massive demonstrations began in late November after the president spurned the EU in favor of getting a $15 billion loan from Russia to shore up his debt-ridden nation.

The European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, adopted a non-binding resolution Thursday urging the bloc’s 28 nations to prepare targeted sanctions such as freezing assets of “Ukrainian officials, legislators and oligarchs personally responsible for the attacks on and deaths of protesters.”

Three protesters were killed in clashes with police and another one was abducted and then found frozen to death.

Prosecutors in Kiev, meanwhile, said a prominent opposition activist and journalist, Tetyana Chernovil, who was severely beaten in December fell victim to hooliganism, according to the Interfax news agency. Chernovil links the attack to her stories exposing alleged high-level corruption and her participation in the protests.

YURAS KARMANAU, Associated Press
Jim Heintz in Kiev and Juergen Baetz in Brussels contributed.