14 Dec 2013

Ukraine protest leaders call for more mass rallies

9:12 pm on 14 December 2013

Leaders of anti-government protests in Ukraine have called for more mass rallies this weekend, over the refusal of President Viktor Yanukovych to sign an integration agreement with the European Union.

One prominent opposition figure, world champion boxer, Vitali Klitschko says they have heard nothing from Mr Yanukovych in response to their demands during talks on Friday.

This is despite the president's office saying he has offered some concessions.

The BBC reports that at the talks on Friday opposition leaders did not drop their demands for the government's resignation, as well as for early presidential and parliamentary elections.

On Thursday, a top Ukranian official said after meetings in Brussels Ukraine would sign the EU trade agreement in the future but first new terms must be negotiated.

Demonstrators are arriving in Kiev ahead of a mass rally on Sunday.

Hundreds of demonstrators remain camped out in freezing temperatures on Independence Square, behind barricades of snow and ice, reinforced with pallets, benches, metal barriers and wire netting.

The protests erupted last month after President Yanukovych pulled out of an association agreement with Brussels, which would have been a crucial step towards the former Soviet republic's integration into the EU.

Opposition leaders agreed to meet the president after a court freed the last nine people arrested when police used force to break up a pro-EU demonstration on 30 November.

The criminal cases against the nine people continues.