Yanukovych accuses opposition of increasing tensions in Ukraine
KIEV - Agence France-Presse
An EU flag flutters over the barricades in front of riot police in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. AP PhotoPresident Viktor Yanukovych on Thursday accused the opposition of inflaming tensions in Ukraine's crisis but also admitted for the first time that the authorities had made mistakes.
"The opposition is continuing to inflame the situation and is calling on people to stand in the freezing cold due to the political ambitions of several leaders. I think this is wrong," he said in an address to the nation after the opposition refused to back an amnesty bill.
"Why do politicians not call for peace, calm and understanding (but) do the opposite, by exciting moods with their ill-considered and irresponsible announcements, thinking about their own ratings more than the life and health of people," he said in a statement published on the presidential website.
The opposition has refused to end anti-government street protests despite the parliament passing an amnesty for protesters arrested in the two-month crisis.
Yanukovych, who earlier went on indefinite sick leave with a respiratory infection, however also admitted he needed to take more account of the mood of the country.
"From my side, I will show more understanding for the demands and ambitions of people, taking into account the mistakes that authorities always make... I think that we can together return the life of Ukraine and its people to peace." Yanukovych said that all obligations that the authorities have taken on "will be fulfilled" such as the amnesty law adopted in a stormy session on Wednesday night.