THE BLOG

Carnage in Ukraine: What Next?

02/21/2014 05:22 pm ET | Updated Apr 23, 2014

"The actions on the visa level are good but you need to arrest the accounts of those guys... because Yanukovych is not going down without taking very, many, many, many dead people with him."

The words of an exhausted medic in central Kyiv spoken to reporters during a break from treating scores of seriously injured people.

The casualties were the result of a broken truce agreed to Wednesday evening by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in talks with opposition leaders. Little wonder when Ukrainians awoke Thursday to the unmistakable sound of live fire, they were horrified to discover that the truce was broken. Ukrainian and Western news agencies showed images of uniformed police snipers, deliberately targeting unarmed, pro-democracy protesters, even medics, with high-velocity rifles. One medic said the live fire was clearly shot by professionals and targeted the heart, neck and lungs of their targets.

2014-02-21-1902792_235162146667595_841618402_n.jpg Slain protesters lined up on the streets of Kyiv today, some wrapped in the Ukrainian flag. Protest leaders said the gruesome scene needed to be documented for the world to see. Credit: EuroMaidan PR

What happens now is anyone's guess, but the future is still less than bright.

After marathon, round-the-clock talks Thursday night involving opposition leaders and European envoys, a pact was signed, subsequently approved in parliament by a wide margin Friday, to reenact the constitutional amendments passed in 2004, which bring more balance in power between parliament and the president. The pact also mandates the holding of early presidential elections before the end of the year and the installation of a unity government within 10 days.

In uncharacteristic lightning speed, the Ukrainian parliament then moved quickly to rescind the law that led to the imprisonment of former prime minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko. And in a further move that brought cheers to protesters a special motion passed to remove the despised Minister of Interior Vitaliy Zakharchenko from office.

Doubtless, these developments moved quickly after intense international pressure. European governments, along with the US and Canada, were quick to announce further actions Thursday -- critically, the freezing of the accounts of individuals in Yanukovych's inner circle -- after the brutal, unprovoked assault on the protesters.

Until now, there has been little doubt that Yanukovych has been taken his cues from Russian President Vladimir Putin -- a man notoriously impervious to opprobrium from the West. Putin is incapable of seeing Ukraine outside his sphere of influence. Like the Chinese leaders who ordered the Tiananmen Square massacre -- having unruly protesters screaming for democratic rights in the main square of your capital is an abhorrent notion.

Said Lesya Orobets, an opposition MP and a member Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: "We see the hand of Putin at work, pressing Yanukovych to get rid of the opposition and of protests."

As the sun set on Kyiv Friday, it was abundantly unclear whether the majority of the protesters would accept the deal brokered by their leaders -- leaders who themselves are divided. With rivers of blood still drying in the cracks of Kyiv's historic cobblestone streets, it is more than likely that the protest movement will demand nothing less than the resignation of Yanukovych.

People feel betrayed after the mass killings of Friday, and in their eyes, Yanukovych has no legitimacy.

Said Lubomyr, a protester from the western city of Ternopil, on BBC World Service:

"I cant say that I am very satisfied or pleased (with the agreement). Its not something that will stop violence. The only thing that can stop violence in Ukraine is imprisonment of Yanukovych and those responsible for killing their own people. You can sign agreements with someone who is trustworthy but Yanukovych is not that person at all. He has shown that many times. Its not wise to trust him."

Added Svitlana, a former Ukrainian journalist on BBC World Service Friday evening: "Yanukovych cannot be trusted at all. He has proven it many, many times."