Ukraine protesters demand no ‘capitulation’ to Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits the Port of Ochakiv to greet the three Ukrainian naval ships captured in the Kerch Strait and then returned by Russia last year. (Reuters)
Updated 22 November 2019

Ukraine protesters demand no ‘capitulation’ to Russia

  • The rally came even as relations between the states have thawed to a degree after Russia handed back three Ukrainian vessels seized off Moscow-annexed Crimea last year
  • Zelensky, who is more inclined to dialogue than predecessor Petro Poroshenko, has made a troop pullback a condition of having the quadripartite summit in France

KIEV: Thousands of Ukrainians demonstrated in Kiev on Thursday to demand no “capitulation” to Moscow as President Volodymyr Zelensky prepares for a December summit meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
The pair are due to meet for the first time since Zelensky’s election last April at a French-hosted December 9 quadripartite talks which French and German leaders Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel will also attend.
But as Ukraine marked six years since the start of the pro-European Maidan protests which fomented the ongoing conflict with Russian separatists which has killed some 13,000 the flag-waving protesters brandished slogans urging “no to capitulation.”
“Any concessions would only make the situation worse. One cannot conclude an agreement with Putin,” said demonstrator, 44-year-old Andrii Serguiienko.
The rally came even as relations between the states have thawed to a degree after Russia handed back three Ukrainian vessels seized off Moscow-annexed Crimea last year and with September having seen a large-scale prisoner exchange.
Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists have also agreed to stage phased troop withdrawals in three eastern frontline sectors — Zelensky, who is more inclined to dialogue than predecessor Petro Poroshenko, has made a troop pullback a condition of having the French summit.
But a pre-summit roadmap thrashed out between Ukrainian, Russian and separatist negotiators envisaging special status for separatist territories if they conduct free and fair elections under the Ukrainian constitution has sparked anger in Ukraine.
“The actions of Zelensky and his team targeting troop withdrawals is a veritable capitulation. It’s not normal,” scolded Ioulia Nikolaienko, a 30-year-old painter attending the demonstration.


Ethiopia says suspects confessed to killing popular singer

Updated 4 min 12 sec ago

Ethiopia says suspects confessed to killing popular singer

  • Hachala Hundessa became a symbol of the Oromo struggle during years of anti-government protests that swept Abiy to power in 2018
  • Though Abiy is Ethiopia’s first Oromo head of state, Oromo nationalists accuse him of insufficiently championing their interests since taking office

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia’s attorney general said Friday that two men had confessed to killing a popular singer from the Oromo ethnic group as part of a plot to topple Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.
Hachala Hundessa became a symbol of the Oromo struggle during years of anti-government protests that swept Abiy to power in 2018.
His shooting death last week sparked days of protests and ethnic violence that killed 239 people, according to police figures.
“The assassination was intended to be a cover to take power from the incumbent by force,” attorney general Abebech Abbebe said in a statement Friday aired on state television, without providing details.
Though Abiy is Ethiopia’s first Oromo head of state, Oromo nationalists accuse him of insufficiently championing their interests since taking office, a complaint echoed by many protesters last week.
Abebech said that along with the two men who have allegedly confessed to the crime, the government has identified a third suspect who remains on the run.
One of the men in custody identified the masterminds of the alleged plot as members of a rebel group the government believes is affiliated with the opposition Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) political party, Abebech said.
The OLF, a former rebel movement, returned to Ethiopia from exile after Abiy took office and has repeatedly disavowed any links to armed insurgents.
The Internet remained shut off Friday for an 11th consecutive day, though Addis Ababa remains calm and Abiy’s office issued a statement saying the surrounding Oromia region had “returned to calm and citizens have resumed normal activities.”
In her statement, however, Abebech said unnamed agitators were calling for additional protests and road blockages in the coming days.
“There are those that have hidden themselves in nice places but are calling on Ethiopian youth to fight each other, close roads and to cease working as part of a rebellion call,” Abebech said.
“Above all we call on our people to disobey this rebellion call and to thwart it.”