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The town going behind Ukraine's back

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 01:59

Nov 27 - The tiny Ukrainian town of Rava-Ruska on the Polish border has asked to join the European Union, after the country last week abandoned a deal to forge closer ties with the bloc. It's the latest in a wave of pro-European protests sweeping the country, with demonstrations in Kiev now in their fifth day. Ivor Bennett reports.

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Beethoven's 9th symphony, a new flag - the Berlin wall connotations are no accident. The residents of this town want a new allegiance. On the border with Poland, Rava-Ruska is where Ukraine meets Europe. And it now wants to be part of it, hundreds putting their name to a plan to join the EU. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) RAVA-RUSKA MAYOR, IRINA VERESCHUK, SAYING: "If every city, and every citizen, signs this, do you really think Europe will not pay attention? Today we have different calls, different demands - like for the resignation of the government, the resignation of the president. But the main thing is Europe. We have to join it! This is our chance!" Town Mayor Irina Vereschuk contacted the Council of Europe with her proposal after Ukraine's government abandoned plans for closer ties with the bloc. She's also appealed to member states, asking them to accept her town into their Union, without the rest of the country. Geographically, there's not much in it - the Polish border is just 2 kilometres away. Politically though, residents who back the plan say they're worlds apart. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) RAVA-RUSKA RESIDENT, ROMAN YURCHYK, SAYING: "There is law there, law that works! And one law for everyone. And this is the first and the main thing!" The pro-Europe protests began in Kiev, where they're now in their fifth day. Hundreds gathered outside the building where the government meets, angry at the country's decision to ditch the deal with the EU in favour of one with Russia. Among them opposition leader Oleh Tyahnibok. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) SVOBODA PARTY LEADER, OLEH TYAHNIBOK, SAYING: "We're demonstrating that we are ready to take the necessary radical action, and we understand clearly that the only way out of this situation for Ukraine is a change of power. We need different people in power, because this government is leading the country to nowhere." The protests have been met by increased security, which Ukraine's prime minister says he's not afraid to use if demonstrations turn violent. But despite the warning, the demonstrations look set to continue for some time yet.

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The town going behind Ukraine's back

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 01:59