Violence in Ukraine has escalated to a whole new level. The health ministry says 25 people have been killed in fighting between anti-government protesters and police who tried to clear a central square in Kiev. The crackdown, it seems, has been launched.
President Viktor Yanukovich met opposition leaders for talks last night but his opponents, Vitaly Klitschko and Arseny Yatsenyuk, quit the talks without reaching any agreement on how to end the violence and said they would not return while blood is being shed.
The opposition are pressing for changes to the constitution which would curb the powers of Yanukovich and allow for the appointment of a technical government. Yanukovich is yet to name a new prime minister. If he names a hardliner, that could prove incendiary.
Russia again attacked western meddling and has reaffirmed its commitment to stand behind Yanukovich with a $2 billion down payment on the $15 billion it has promised to bail its neighbour out. The United States and European Union look rather impotent.
Italy’s new man, Matteo Renzi, will continue working to put together a coalition cabinet, aiming to do so by the weekend. The key post is finance minister and the indication the appointee will send about the level of commitment to meaningful economic reforms.