Dec. 15 - As protesters mass in Independence Square, Ukrainian opposition leaders demand President Yanukovich refuse to sign any agreements with Russia. Jillian Kitchener reports.
Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters gather at Kiev's Independence Square. Opposition leaders are demanding President Viktor Yanukovich not sign any documents with Russia during his upcoming visit to Moscow -- fearing it will slam the door on the country's chances to integrate with mainstream Europe. Opposition leader Oleh Tyahnibok: (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION LEADER OLEH TYAHNIBOK, SAYING: "And we, the modern Ukrainians, must do everything we can right now for the sake of the future, so that Moscow does not step its dirty boots over Ukrainians, that is why we forbid the president to sign anything in Moscow, that would conflict with the interests of the nation." This comes after weeks of protests against the government's policy swerve -- turning away from the EU and toward Moscow for aid to save Ukraine's distressed economy. U.S. Senators John McCain and Christopher Murphy, traveled to Kiev to demonstrate their solidarity with the opposition. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATOR, JOHN MCCAIN, SAYING: "And the destiny you seek lies in Europe. (PAUSE FOR TRANSLATION) Ukraine will make Europe better, and Europe will make Ukraine better." Meanwhile, a couple thousand government supporters gathered nearby at European Square, with police presence dividing the two rallies. This pro-government demonstrator stressed the benefits of aligning with Russia: (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) VALENTINA, PRO GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATOR, SAYING: "My opinion is it is better be part of Europe and live like Germany in harmony with Russia, they do after all have a lot in common such as the gas pipeline, car industry..." Some protesters characterize the East-West tug-of-war as a battle for Ukraine's soul.