Ukraine’s Zelensky to be TOPPLED by protests if he crosses ‘red lines’ in Paris, TV host warns, as crowds cheer
Pressure is mounting on Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, with the opposition threatening him with civil unrest should he show weakness during the Normandy Four talks with Russian, French and German leaders on Monday.
Thousands attended a rally at the iconic Maidan square in the center of the Ukrainian capital, organized in the run-up to the high-profile meeting by the parties of Petro Poroshenko, whom Zelensky defeated in the spring election, as well as former PM Yulia Tymoshenko and rock star Vyacheslav Vakarchuk. And the speakers on stage didn’t mince words.
“Your flight will be not from Paris to Kiev, but from Paris to Rostov[-on-Don]. If it won’t be tomorrow then it’ll be a bit later,” prominent news host Vitaly Gaidukevich warned, addressing the head of state.
The mention of the Russian city was in fact a stark reminder to Zelensky that “Maidan democracy” continues to grip Ukraine. The blunt threat meant that the Ukrainian president may endure the fate of ex-leader Viktor Yanukovych, if he doesn’t deliver what the opposition wants. Yanukovych was overthrown in February 2014 after violent protests in central Kiev, in which around 100 people were killed. He fled to Crimea and then to Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia, and has claimed that an attempt on his life was made in the process.
Protest underway against tomorrow’s talks between Zelensky and Putin in Paris. Crowd probably over 4,000 but not as big or as energized as October demonstrations. Most flags are Ukrainian and the nationalist Svoboda party, which lost in parliamentary elections. pic.twitter.com/yLRvGWUdPw
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) December 8, 2019
“Maidan has proven time and again that citizens have power in Ukraine,” Gaidukevich told the crowd, which chanted slogans calling for Zelensky to be immediately kicked out from office should he do something “wrong.”
The Normandy Four talks are being held in an attempt to find ways to settle the protracted conflict in eastern Ukraine. Notably, it will be Zelensky’s first face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin – and a lot is being expected from the man (Zelensky) back home.
The opposition said it won’t settle for “peace at any cost,” insisting that Zelensky should make no compromises in Paris when it comes to Ukraine’s course towards Europe and towards the “de-occupation and return of Crimea,” which voted in March 2014 to break away from Ukraine and rejoin Russia.
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