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Violence, tension, diplomacy upped in Ukraine

Friday, January 31, 2014 - 02:11

Jan. 31 - Thousands of protesters in Ukraine wait for President Viktor Yanukovich's next move to ease political tensions in the former Soviet republic, where the hryvnia currency tumbled to fresh 4-1/2 year lows. Joel Flynn reports.

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EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: CONTAINS GRAPHIC MATERIAL Dmytro Bulatov had been missing since January 22. The prominent opposition activist turned up on Thursday, bloody and bruised - after, he said, being kidnapped and tortured. It's a shocking story even in the midst of months of mass protests against the rule of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. The embattled president has signed an amnesty law for demonstrators - despite being on sick leave. But more needed to be done, according to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, saying (English): "The offers of President Yanukovich have not yet reached an adequate level of reform and an adequate level of sharing of the future, so that the opposition can in fact feel that it could legitimately come to the table and form some kind of unity government." The protests are now ratcheting up tensions between Russia and the West. Reports said Vladimir Putin's government is urging Yanukovich to suppress the opposition - apparently described as an "insurgency". Kerry was due to meet opposition members at the Munich Security Conference later - the first meeting of its kind. Protesters in Kiev said the only outcome they would accept was Yanukovich's resignation. SOUNDBITE: Protester, Roman, saying (Ukrainian): "No laws will help him; the people demand he resign. We are going to stand here and freeze until we see him resign." SOUNDBITE: Protester, Oksana, saying (Ukrainian): "Today the president has to make some kind of concession, but whatever it is it won't be enough." SOUNDBITE: Protester, Yarem, saying (Ukrainian): "He is offering us a deal, but we need him to concede, to let go of his presidency." The political turmoil has sent Ukraine's currency tumbling to four and a half year lows. Carsten Brzeksi is from ING. SOUNDBITE: ING Senior Economist, Carsten Brzeski, saying (English): "The situation in Ukraine remains highly sensitive. Political unrest continues. This clearly has the potential for further escalation." Ukraine's economy was in already in trouble before unrest began. Now its capital city now more closely resembles a war zone.

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Violence, tension, diplomacy upped in Ukraine

Friday, January 31, 2014 - 02:11

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