Swoboda on Yanukovych: "No head of state can stay in power with so much blood on their hands"

Ukraine riots Kiev

With 25 people confirmed dead and many more fatalities reported, the most violent altercations since the beginning of the Ukrainian protests are continuing in Kiev.
 
Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, said:
 
"Victor Yanukovych is toying with the opposition in Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, pretending to engage in dialogue – just as he toyed with the European Union, pretending to want to sign an association agreement. Whether he does not have the will or the power to find a peaceful solution no longer matters: with that much blood on his hands, he can no longer stay in office.
 
"A peaceful compromise to create a government of national unity, with the full support of the country's economic leaders, would be the best option now. The Ukrainian oligarchs must finally choose a position.
 
"It is ironic that Yanukovych himself says that elections determine a country's leadership, while simultaneously blocking early elections and even parliamentary proceedings. With scenes like a civil war unfolding in Kiev, the only way out now is for Yanukovich to leave and for new elections to be held without delay. More violence risks splitting the country and escalating the death toll and that cannot be in the interests of the Ukrainian people."
 
Libor Rouček, S&D vice-president for neighbourhood and enlargement policies, added:
 
"The S&D Group is appalled by the violence overnight in Kiev and we express our sincere condolences to the victims and their families.
 
"We urge the Ukrainian government to put an immediate stop to the crackdown on protesters in central Kiev and launch a thorough investigation – possibly with international assistance and supervision – into the violent events of last night. Meanwhile, it is imperative that opposition leaders do their utmost to contain the violent and extremist elements within the protest movement.
 
"Despite the horrific scenes of violence, a negotiated political solution remains the only way out of the crisis. We urge the government and opposition leaders to start a serious dialogue to halt the slide toward a more widespread and entrenched conflict – a scenario that would have disastrous consequences for Ukraine and for European security. Credible constitutional reform, coupled with a power-sharing arrangement to pave the way for free and fair elections, remains a viable basis for political compromise. To reach it, the Verkhovna Rada must resume its work as soon as possible."