A Deal To Stop The Bloodshed?

Violence Escalates As Kiev Protests Continue

Adam Martin summarizes that latest news from Ukraine:

Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych signed a deal with protest leaders in Kiev on Friday, agreeing to early presidential elections, a coalition government, and a constitutional reduction of presidential powers. The deal, brokered by European Union and Russian mediators, restores the 2004 Ukranian constitution “with a rebalancing of powers towards a parliamentary republic,” Yanukovych said. The Ukranian parliament approved the reversion to the old constitution on Friday evening.

Radek Sikorski, Poland’s foreign minister, made the case for compromise to the opposition with characteristic bluntness:

Some good news for the former president, Yulia Tymoshenko:

Hayes Brown wonders if the protesters will abide by the agreement:

Despite the leadership’s willingness to sign onto the agreement, it is unclear whether the protesters in the Maidan will follow their lead and clear the square they have held for months on end.

According to the Kyiv Post, when opposition leader Oleh Tiahynbook addressed the crowd asking “Do we agree to this?”, referring to Yanukovych remaining in office, “the thousands of people assembled overwhelmingly shouted ‘no’ in response.” Kyiv Post’s CEO Jakub Parusinksi tweet out “If deal info true, #EU just exchanged minor diplomatic victory for the safety of #Ukrainian people.”

Demonstrators may continue to make demands, specifically Yanukovych’s immediate exit, feeling they come from a position of strength at the moment. On Friday a group of police officers from the city of Lviv, which has been a secondary hotbed of anti-Yanukovych sentiment, joined protesters in Kyiv, providing the opposition with a morale boost.

Max Boot chimes in:

It would be good if the accord sticks, in order to prevent further fighting, but at this point it is far from clear that it will do so. It was only on Wednesday, after all, that a previous truce had been announced, and then just as promptly broken. It is clear, however, that at least for now Yanukovych has temporarily disappointed his backers in the Kremlin by refusing to declare “emergency powers” and call in the army to clear out demonstrators from central Kiev after his police force failed to get the job done.

A small glimmer of hope.

(Photo: Tributes are placed at the spot where an anti-Government protestor was shot by a sniper near to Independence square, on February 21, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovych is thought to have reached a deal with the opposition to end the crisis, after all-night talks in Ukraine mediated by EU foreign ministers. By Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)