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Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Ukraine: too little, too late from #Ukraine’s oligarchs | beyondbrics #EuroMaidan

Ukraine: too little, too late from Ukraine’s oligarchs | beyondbrics:

As the death toll from Tuesday’s deadly clashes between Ukrainian anti-government protestors and riot police rose to more than ten, and Kiev’s main square was lit by flames, the country’s powerful oligarchs called for an end to the bloodshed.

It was a case of too little, too late from the businessmen who many had hoped would use their influence to persuade Viktor Yanukovich, president, to avert bloodshed and seek compromise with the protesters.

Nonetheless, here are some of the statements by influential businessmen on Tuesday.
Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man and a longtime backer of Yanukovich, had this to say through his press service:

“Rinat Akhmetov strongly believes that there are no circumstances that would justify the use of force against peaceful citizens. Peaceful citizens must not suffer in any situation. This must be the main objective for the government, the opposition and all conflicting parties. Human losses and injuries suffered by protesters and law-enforcers during street clashes is an unacceptable price for political mistakes. Rinat Akhmetov urges an end to the bloodshed in the streets of Kiev and calls on all the opposing parties to return to the negotiation process immediately and continue to work without any delay until a solution is found that would take Ukraine out of this deep political crisis.”

Victor Pinchuk, son-in-law to former president Leonid Kuchma but not, unlike Akhmetov, considered a strong backer or Yanukovich, said:

“A peaceful solution must be found. It is imperative to refrain from the use of force and find a compromise. Ukraine since its independence has avoided bloodshed. We must return to this tradition immediately. From this minute, this is the responsibilty of everyone – those in power, the opposition, civil society, business. It is time for all sides to take courageous steps towards compromise that they may not yet have been ready to take even this morning. For each of us, love for Ukraine must be immeasurably more important than any other feelings and interests.”

There was no statement issued by Petro Poroshenko, the largest oligarch backing the anti-government protests. Moreover, in a sign of the direction in which events are turning in Kiev, his opposition TV channel, Channel 5, was taken off air.

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