EU suspends Ukraine trade deal plans amid protests

The EU says it is putting on hold work on a key trade agreement with Ukraine, saying the government's arguments have "no grounds in reality". Protesters have taken to the streets in support of the agreement, which was rejected by the government.

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McCain: Russian interference in Ukraine 'not welcome'

US Senators John McCain and Christopher Murphy told journalists on Sunday that Ukraine faced "a clear choice between its past and future", voicing their support for pro-EU protesters who have been out in the streets for the third week in a row demanding a European future for their country.

Speaking to journalists after addressing crowds, both senators said Russia's interference in Ukrainian matters was not welcome, adding that it was disturbing to hear that the EU may be suspending talks with Ukraine on the trade and political agreement.

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Senators tell Ukraine protesters 'US stands with you'

US Senator John McCain told thousands of Ukrainian protesters camped on Kiev's main square on Sunday that Ukraine's destiny lay in Europe and that it would make Europe better.

Senators John McCain and Christopher Murphy both addressed the crowd from a stage.

U.S. Senator John McCain takes a photograph during a pro-European integration rally Credit: Reuters

"We are here to tell you that the American people and the United States Congress stands with the people of Ukraine," Murphy told the crowd.

"The way towards change goes through peaceful protest. And in America we stand in awe of the fact that despite the violence on the square you have remained peaceful in support of change," he added.

Pro-European integration protesters take part in a rally at Independence Square in Kiev Credit: Reuters
housands massed on Sunday for a rally against President Viktor Yanukovich Credit: Reuters

Senator McCain: 'Ukraine will make Europe better'

US Senator John McCain outside his hotel in Kiev yesterday.
US Senator John McCain outside his hotel in Kiev yesterday. Credit: REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk

United States Senator John McCain has told protesters rallying for Ukraine's integration within the European Union that "Ukraine will make Europe better and Europe will make Ukraine better".

"We are here to support your just cause, the sovereign right of Ukraine to determine its own destiny freely and independently," Senator McCain said.

"The destiny you seek lies in Europe."

Ukrainian president supporters rally in Kiev

Supporters of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych have rallied in central Kiev, waving flags and displaying placards of the their leader's political party, the Party of Regions.

Supporters of Ukranian President President Viktor Yanukovich hold flags and placards during a rally in central Kiev.
Supporters of President Yanukovich hold flags and placards during a rally in central Kiev. Credit: REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
Supporters of President Yanukovych rally in central Kiev.
Supporters of President Yanukovych rally in central Kiev. Credit: REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

EU says Ukraine government has 'no grounds in reality'

The European Union says it is putting on hold work with Ukraine on a trade agreement, saying Ukraine government arguments have "no grounds in reality".

EU enlargement chief Stefan Fuel tweeted that he had told Ukraine's first deputy prime minister Serhiy Arbuzov last week that further discussion on the trade agreement was conditional on a "clear commitment" by Kiev to sign. However, Mr Fuel said he had not heard back from the Ukraine government.

Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych previously rejected a deal with the EU, leading to weeks of demonstrations.

The trade deal was set to strengthen ties between Ukraine and the EU.

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Pro-European protesters remain barricaded in Kiev

Pro-European integration protesters remain barricaded in Independence Square in Kiev after US Senator John McCain met with Ukrainian opposition leaders yesterday, voicing his support for the demonstrations.

Protesters stand guard at a barricade at Independence Square in Kiev.
Protesters stand guard at a barricade at Independence Square in Kiev. Credit: REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Protesters gather under an image of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.
Protesters gather under an image of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko. Credit: REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev
Volunteers distribute free tea at a pro-European integration protesters' camp at Independence Square.
Volunteers distribute free tea at a pro-European integration protesters' camp at Independence Square. Credit: REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

McCain: The future of Ukraine lies in Europe

US Senator John McCain is in Ukraine to meet members of the opposition and government as efforts to mediate the political crisis in the country continue.

Senator McCain said he was clear that he saw the future of Ukraine inside Europe.

Further protests have been called by both sides tomorrow. Today tens of thousands attended rival rallies in the centre of Kiev.

Read: Thousands of Ukrainians stage rival rallies in Kiev

John McCain meets with Ukrainian opposition leaders

US Senator John McCain met with the leaders of the Ukrainian opposition tonight in Kiev.

Senator McCain had talks with Vitaly Klitschko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleh Tyahnibok to "reiterate" the US's "commitment to a peaceful resolution" following large protests.

US Senator John McCain (R) speaks with Ukrainian opposition leaders Vitaly Klitschko, Arseny Yatsenyuk and Oleg Tyagnibok Credit: Reuters

He called for the democratic right to protest peacefully to be respected. He said:

"Ukraine is a western, a European nation and of course none of us want any violence. These are peaceful demonstrations and we argue strongly that no violence should be imposed by anyone. This is their democratic right."

Democrats and Republicans have condemned the Ukrainian government's measures during weeks of protests by hundreds of thousands of people over President Viktor Yanukovich's decision to scrap a trade deal with the European Union and steer Ukraine closer to Russia.

Read: Thousands of Ukrainians stage rival protests

Thousands of Ukrainians stage rival rallies in Kiev

Tens of thousands of Ukrainians rallied in support of President Viktor Yanukovich in central Kiev today, separated by a line of riot police from anti-government protesters who have camped out for weeks in a nearby square.

A day after talks between the government and the opposition failed to resolve the political crisis, Yanukovich's supporters waved the blue flags of his Party of Regions and chanted the president's name.

Thousands of people seen on Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine. Credit: Reuters/Gleb Garanich
Pro-government supporters hold a portrait of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich Credit: Reuters/Gleb Garanich
Ukrainian riot police stand in front of pro-European integration protesters Credit: Reuters/Gleb Garanich
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