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Sen. John McCain Addresses Anti-Government Protesters In Kiev

Sen. John McCain waves to protestors during a mass rally of the opposition at Independence Square in Kiev on Sunday.
Genya Savilov
AFP/Getty Images
Sen. John McCain waves to protestors during a mass rally of the opposition at Independence Square in Kiev on Sunday.

Anti-government protesters in Kiev, Ukraine, got a boost from Sen. John McCain today.

The Arizona Republican, who was accompanied by Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, of Connecticut, said he was at Independence Square to speak on behalf of the American people.

"To all Ukrainians, America stands with you," McCain said, as the crowd roared.

He continued: "People of Ukraine this is your moment. This is about you; no one else. This is about the future you want for your country. This is about the future you deserve. A future in Europe, a future of peace... The free world is with you, America is with you, I am with you," McCain said.

As we've been reporting, cities across Ukraine have been paralyzed by demonstrators, who are protesting President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to reject a trade and political deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.

Meanwhile the European Union says it will go no further in discussing an association accord with the government of Ukraine until it gives a clear sign of commitment. Reporter Teri Schultz filled this report for our Newscast unit:

"EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule says he told Ukrainian representatives visiting Brussels last week they must explain their near-term plans and timeline for signing the proposed accord on closer ties and improved trade.

"But in two tweets today, Fule says he has gotten no answer from Kiev and the words and deeds of President Yanukovych's government are getting farther and farther apart.

"'Their arguments have no grounds in reality.' he wrote.

"A Ukrainian government spokesman says they don't consider a tweet to be a representation of official EU policy but Fule's office has confirmed the Commissioner said it and he meant it."

Note that NPR follows AP style. That's why we're using "Kiev" instead of "Kyiv" in this post.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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