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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Central Bank blocked by Ukrainian protesters

This week's widespread civic unrest is continuing in the Ukraine, with demonstrators in the capital of Kiev occupying City Hall and the Trade Unions building, surrounding the nearby Cabinet Ministry and trying to block the entrance of the Central Bank next door.

Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko, whom many blame for the crackdown on protesters by riot police early Saturday, issued a statement saying he had barred police from "the use of force against participants of peaceful gatherings that are taking place in the capital of Ukraine and other cities," The New York Times reports.

Some are calling it the "Euro Revolution," in reference to President Viktor Yanukovich's decision, under pressure from Russia, not to sign political and free trade accords with the European Union.

Ukraine faces a severe economic crisis and is in dire need of $17 billion or more in financial aid. Officials had been in talks with the International Monetary Fund over an aid package, but said they were not willing to implement the austerity measures that were set as conditions for help.

Ukrainian officials are looking to Russia and China for financing, but it is not clear if those countries will offer assistance in light of the worsening financial situation.

The unrest, however, shows no signs of abating.

"It's a war of attrition," Yuri Levchenko, an official with the nationalist Svoboda Party, said, according to The New York Times. "Whoever gives up first loses."

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