Kiev has witnessed the bloodiest outburst of violence since demonstrations began last November, with 67 people killed and 551 others injured in clashes starting Tuesday, marking the culmination of confrontation between the opposition and the Yanukovych government.
The East European country, sitting at the strategically important juncture between Russia and Europe http://www.cheapsoccerjerseysmanchesterunited.com/marcus-rashford-jersey/ , with which it also shares the Black Sea coast, has long been under competing influence from both powers for geopolitical interests, said Liu Fenghua, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"The current demonstrations were fuelled by Yanukovych's sudden suspension of the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) talks with the European Union last November, which was seen in Ukraine as a landmark for joining the European integration process," Liu said in an interview with Xinhua.
"Ukraine's economy is largely depending on Russia's market and natural gas import," he said, adding joining the Russia-initiated customs union will bring "immediate interests to the country, including a cut on gas price," while joining the FTZ risks Russia's counter measures http://www.cheapsoccerjerseysmanchesterunited.com/luke-shaw-jersey/ , "which the FTZ agreement with Europe cannot equally compensate."
"Russia paused the import of Ukrainian dairy and steel products in 2013, and used gas price as leverage, which have caused mounting deficit and losses of over 6.5 billion dollars on the Ukrainian side," Liu said.
Meanwhile, support for the Ukrainian opposition leaders demonstrated by Western countries was an "immediate cause" of the recent violence in Kiev, Timofei Bardachev, director of the Center for European Studies at the High School of Economics in Russia http://www.cheapsoccerjerseysmanchesterunited.com/kieran-ohara-jersey/ , told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.
The Ukrainian opposition leaders, for example, were invited by senior officials to Berlin, where they were openly told Germany favored them in the recent confrontation, he said.
"That recognition provoked the radical opposition to increase their aggressive actions against authorities, what we are witnessing right now," Bardachev said.
"As far as I'm concerned http://www.cheapsoccerjerseysmanchesterunited.com/juan-mata-jersey/ , the Ukrainian government has shown restraint in the three months, such as releasing arrested protesters and suggesting political dialogues," said Liu. "The real problem lies in some extremists' use of force and their tricky demands for immediate government resignation, constitutional amendment and an advanced presidential election, and so on."
"There were now three sides in Ukraine's political arena -- the government, the moderate opposition, and the radical opposition who feel very self-confident," Bardachev said.
The expert warned that the role of the so-called "system opposition," or the moderate opposition, which are currently represented in Ukraine's legislative body, will be marginalized and thus have no influence on future developments.
HONG KONG, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Organizers and runners planning to take part in Sunday's 20th Standard Chartered Marathon are bracing for the worst as Hong Kong may be deluged by heavy rain over the weekend.
The Hong Kong Observatory said Friday that weather conditions could be unstable in the following two days and rains were expected for Sunday.
According to the organizing body, the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association, the event would be cancelled if the observatory raised the No. 3 tropical cyclone warning signal or if a red or black rainstorm warning was hoisted by 03:00 a.m. on Sunday.
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