UKRAINE: Following the bloodiest day in Ukraine’s post-Soviet history, President Viktor Yanukovych today signed an agreement with opposition leaders and European and Russian mediators for early elections and a new government in hopes of ending a deadly political crisis.
Ukraine’s parliament this morning voted to restore a previous constitution that limits presidential powers. Lawmakers also approved amnesty for protesters involved in violence over the months-long standoff with the government in Kiev.
There’s skepticism the deal can hold, especially from other leaders in the former Soviet bloc:
“It would be naive to assume Yanukovych has any goodwill—there’s nothing behind him but the wall,” Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters in Warsaw. “I don’t know anyone in the world who could say he trusts President Yanukovych.”
Chaos continues in Kiev (see this footage), with many of the dead still on the street and the wounded going without treatment. Here’s some translation from the video provided to WORLD reporter Jill Nelson:
- At 5:14 they are trying to resuscitate the victim (but he’s dead), and they yell to the cameraman “Hey hey. Go find a empty ambulance!”
- By 5:30 “Be gentle!” as they lift a victim up. “He’s heavy”
- 5:51 “Are you alive, brother?” repeats this twice. Feels pulse in neck. “Are you alive?”
- 6:09 to passerby “Get ambulances here for everyone!”
- 6:23 coming up to guy “You alive? You’re alive brother?”
- Guy nods: “Okay good. Alive.”
- Next guy: “Are you alive?”
- Lady in background: “They’re alive, him and him.”
The video was posted by a Ukrainian citizen on YouTube originally and is from Feb. 18, which our translator notes now seems like “a very long time ago.”
Reports (and YouTube videos) of police brutality are rampant as protesters are determined to wrest their country from Moscow’s sucking hold.
The injured, bloodied, and bandaged are finding refuge in St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, part of the Orthodox Church’s Kyivan Patriarchate, which has taken an independent line from Russia and its quasi-state Orthodox leadership.
George Weigel has a report of Catholic clergy on the front lines in Maidan—and what’s ahead for the church in Ukraine.
NIGERIA is a bloody place, too. A Feb. 19 attack on Bama town by militant group Boko Haram now appears to have killed 115. Militants burned 400 vehicles and 15 houses, according to Stefanos Foundation’s Mark Lipdo, who also reported overnight: “Nine children and four adults were killed in their sleep on Wednesday in Berom village, Barkin Ladi local government area.” More than 245 Nigerians have been killed by Boko Haram this year (in 52 days, to be precise).
CHINA: The Dalai Lama met this morning with President Barack Obama in the map room of the White House, not the Oval Office, where the president receives heads of state. According to White House correspondent Mark Knoller (@markknoller via Twitter), the president was acquiescing to pressure from China to scrap the meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader.
IRAN: Americans think more of Iran than they do of their own lawmakers. That’s one way to interpret the latest Gallup findings on how Americans view the countries of the Middle East.