Ukraine protests rage on as EU formally suspends discussions

AS MASS protests against the government flared in Kiev, the European Union announced yesterday that it will halt talks with Ukraine indefinitely.

European commissioner for enlargement Stefan Fule said that the Ukrainian government’s arguments “have no grounds in reality” as he confirmed the curtailment of discussions.

Late last month, President Viktor Yanukovych abruptly cancelled negotiations over a trade deal, sparking demonstrations in favour of closer relations with the European bloc.

Yanukovych appears to favour closer ties outside of the EU, having previously suggested that Ukraine’s economy would be better suited in a nascent customs union with Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. He will visit Moscow again later this week.

Hundreds of thousands of protestors gathered in Kiev again yesterday, continuing protests that began last month when the country’s parliament voted against the release of Yulia Tymoshenko, former opposition leader. Tymoshenko’s release was considered a condition of the European deal.