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Thu February 20, 2014
Kiev Protester Talks Aims And Issues Of Ukrainian Opposition
Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 8:02 pm
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
Earlier today, we spoke with another protester at Independence Square, known locally as Maidan Square. Viktor Andrusiv has been part of the protest movement from the day it started last November. We reached Andrusiv just hours after he says one of his friends was killed by police. I asked him what happened.
VIKTOR ANDRUSIV: Actually, we still are trying to find out. But he was attacking the police and he has a lot of wounds from a gun.
SIEGEL: A lot of bullet wounds?
ANDRUSIV: Yeah, yeah. Bullet wounds. And he lost a lot of blood and died. It looks like it was rooted from a Kalashnikov gun.
SIEGEL: You think that he was shot with an AK-47, with a Kalashnikov.
ANDRUSIV: Yes. Yeah, yeah because we found three bullet wounds.
SIEGEL: Mr. Andrusiv, I'd like you to explain for Americans who are listening right now what you are protesting for and what might conceivably happen to lead you to say, that's enough, the protest can end.
ANDRUSIV: We hear - we start the protest for - only for European integration. We wanted to join EU, and we started to demonstrate against Viktor Yanukovych's regime. And so only one reason for people to leave or stop fighting (unintelligible) he will resign. And also for him, his only chance to survive is to leave the country and his position.
SIEGEL: You're saying that the only thing that could lead protesters to leave the square would be for President Yanukovych to resign and leave the country.
ANDRUSIV: Yes. After today's hearing, there is no - absolutely no chance to have other deals. People will not accept any kind of deals, any kind of compromises, only one: he resign. And people are not afraid. People will stand to them. And they understand they can be killed and they stay here and they will not go.
SIEGEL: You're describing how people have reacted to the killings over the past 24 hours. If we had spoken a week or two ago, would you have demanded anything less than President Yanukovych's...
ANDRUSIV: Yes. Yes.
ANDRUSIV: A lot of people stand against him being president. But we trust our leaders, and we wanted to have a peaceful resolution for - of the conflicts. But now, it's not possible to have any compromises except he will leave his position.
SIEGEL: Do you get the impression that people all over Ukraine are, first of all, getting news coverage, journalism about what's happening in Kiev and other western cities that is accurate? Are all Ukrainians seeing what's going on right now in the capital?
ANDRUSIV: Yes, actually, because of the national television, for the first time, they start their live broadcasting from Maidan.
SIEGEL: From Maidan. This is the first? This is the first?
ANDRUSIV: Yeah, yeah, the national television.
SIEGEL: So people all over the country can see what's happening.
ANDRUSIV: Yeah, yeah. Now, they can see.
SIEGEL: Do you think that people in the eastern part of Ukraine, in the city of Donetsk, for example, which is historically very Russian, very pro-Russian - do you think they sympathize with what you're doing in the capital?
ANDRUSIV: I cannot answer that question because, you know, it depends on how - what kind of information they got, and they got only lie. During the last few months, they didn't receive any objective information about what is going on. So I think they do (unintelligible) things that here is not the kind of some intellectual people like me (unintelligible) in politics all standing here. And so I see that they all now change their position. Sorry, I have to interrupt my interview because something going here now, and I have to leave.
SIEGEL: Well, Mr. Andrusiv, thank you very much for talking with us today.
ANDRUSIV: OK. Yes. OK. Thank you very much. Because the shooting still continue at (unintelligible), so goodbye.
SIEGEL: That was Viktor Andrusiv. He's been part of the protest in Ukraine's Independence Square since they began last November. I spoke with him earlier today. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.