Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov won't be speaking at a Friday session of the World Economic Forum in Davos, after the organization uninvited him from world leader camp due to the chaos back in home country. The reversal, reported by Buzzfeed, comes a day after three protesters were killed in Ukraine's capital of Kiev. According to Miriam Elder's scoop, Azarov's uninvitation also bans him from the Davos forum entirely.
Azarov previously blamed the protester deaths on the opposition groups supporting the protests, although reports indicate that two of the victims were shot by snipers. The prime minister also called the protesters, who are calling for the end to Azarov's government, "terrorists." Opposition groups in the country are outraged over President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to back away from an agreement with the European Union in November. Instead, Yanukovych and Azarov's government are strengthening their ties with Russia.
The massive protests intensified after Yanukovych approved strict curbs on public protests in the country, prompting organizers to build barricades. The laws, which could sentence those who disseminate "slander" or occupy public buildings to jail or labor, seem to have had the opposite effect. Three opposition leaders sat down with Yanukovych on Wednesday to try to find a way to end the increasingly violent protests. Opposition organizers have tried to keep the protests peaceful, and some protesters have accused the government of hiring mercenaries to stir up violence in Kiev's Independence Square. Here's how The Washington Post described the scene on Wednesday:
Formations of riot police, holding their shields overhead in a way that made their lines resemble huge, scaly, metal snakes, twice broke through barriers Wednesday morning and swept away the protesters who had been confronting them with stones and molotov cocktails on Hrushevsky Street. Each time, police retreated to their original position, and stone-throwing protesters reoccupied the street.
For now, the political negotiations over the sustained opposition to Yanukovych's government has taken a back seat internationally to the unsettling images emerging from the streets of Kiev as protests continue: