After Yanukovych backed off from signing
the agreement with the EU, pressure from
Moscow is now escalating to dictation how Ukraine’s president must handle the tens of thousands
protesters at Maidan in the center of Kyiv, who are demanding his resignation: Disperse them by violent crackdown with an
Previous attempts to do it with police
using clubs and sticks were unsuccessful, as the protesters responded in kind,
and the government was somewhat sensitive to worldwide condemnation of police
brutality. It is now pretending to seek a peaceful, negotiated solution. But
nothing is farther from the truth — in
the opinion of many skeptics.
While the standoff continues, Western
diplomats continue shuffling to Kyiv, trying to convince Yanukovych to
compromise with the opposition on key issues. While Yanukovych is maneuvering,
Russia’s President Vladinir Putin is becoming nervous and has already suspended
the next quarterly trunche of bailout loan.