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Ukraine conflict could 'lead to disaster' Polish PM warns

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 27.01.2014 07:45
Poland's prime minister has warned continued repression in Ukraine could "lead to disaster" as the justice minister in Kiev threatens to call for a state of emergency after protesters occupy her building.

A protester throws a Molotov cocktail during an anti-government protest in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, 25 January: photo - EPA/ALEXEY FURMAN

Anti-government protesters occupied the justice ministry building in Kiev late on Sunday and set up barricades outside.

Justice minister Olena Lukash said she would ask Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council to introduce the measures if the protesters refused to leave, local media report.

Demonstrations spread out from the capital to ten cities across the country over the weekend, with many municipal buildings being occupied.

Tough new anti-protest laws and President Yanukovich's refusal to sign an associate agreement with the EU have set off the worst political violence since Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, with at least four dieing in clashes with police last week.

In an attempt to defuse the growing conflict, Yanukovich offered the key political posts of prime minister and deputy prime minister to opposition leaders, although observers have said the politicians turned down the offer as it was a "poisoned chalice" which could split the opposition ahead of elections in 2015.

Poland's prime minister Donald Tusk spoke by telephone with opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Sunday.

Continued "conflict and repression is the road to disaster," Tusk tweeted after the phone call.

"We support Ukrainian democrats in their efforts to achieve a fair and wise agreement," the Polish PM added.

Polish MEP Jacek Protasiewicz, who is one of the deputy presidents of the European Parliament and a member of Poland's ruling centre-right Civic Platform party, resisted calls for Poland to become further embroiled in the conflict in Ukraine.

"This is their [Ukrainians] responsibility, so we must not behave like a mother in law, getting mixed up in the spouses' affairs," Jacek Protasiewicz told Polish Radio on Monday morning. (pg)

tags: Ukraine
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