Europe

Ukraine deal: BBC reporters gauge significance

People gather in Independence Square as coffins of anti-government demonstrators killed in Thursday's clashes with police arrive 21/02/2014 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The bloodshed in Ukraine has provoked shock at home and abroad

As Ukraine's president and opposition leaders sign an accord on an early presidential election this year, BBC reporters in Ukraine and beyond contemplate the way forward for the country and how others view the deal.

UKRAINE: Analysis by Olexiy Solohubenko, BBC News in London

If things go as planned, there could be a new government in place in within a week or two. Its primary aim: to restore peace and political stability to a country that has been on the brink of civil war.

But the problems facing Ukraine's leaders are formidable.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Anti-government protesters have been sustained by food brought in by supporters

On the political front they must rewrite the constitution, switch power from the president to parliament and then stage new elections. They must too find ways of dealing with groups pressing for secession. On paper, it sounds easy. In reality, it will be a messy business, the outcome uncertain.

Alongside the political changes is the challenging task of reforming the police and dismantling the whole apparatus of repression. Corrupt prosecutors and judges will have to be replaced.

And then there's the economy.

The Ukrainian currency, the hryvnya, has tumbled in value. There's a shortage of petrol, bread and even cash. International ratings agencies have warned of the country defaulting on its debts.

UKRAINE: BBC correspondent Mark Lowen in the western city of Lviv

Any political deal between President Yanukovych and the opposition movement will have to pass the test here in Lviv. It's a city that has been at the forefront of the protests, sending busloads of demonstrators 500km (310 miles) east to Kiev on a nightly basis.

Lviv has always looked west rather than east: a city for centuries under Austrian and then Polish rule only fell to the Soviets during the Second World War and has remained fiercely proud of its Ukrainian identity ever since.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police officers who travelled from Lviv were among those who addressed crowds on Kiev's Independence Square

The writ of the Kiev government does not extend here. Every regional administration building is now under the control of the protest movement. I visited the police headquarters, taken on Tuesday night by the opposition and ransacked. At the security service office, burnt-out cars lie in the courtyard.

The mood here is one of defiance: that President Yanukovych must step down now. This pro-western part of Ukraine is determined that its voice will be heard.

GEORGIA: BBC correspondent Rayhan Demytrie in Tbilisi

The events in Ukraine matter for Georgia and the Georgians. There is a degree of closeness shared between the two countries: both Georgia and Ukraine underwent so-called coloured revolutions in early 2000s.

The current crisis in Ukraine is seen not just as stand-off between the government and its people, but also as a geopolitical power struggle in which Russia is trying to prevent a post-Soviet country from seeking closer ties with Europe.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Georgia and Russia have had no diplomatic ties since their brief war in 2008

Georgia has been doing exactly that for some time now. Initialling the Association Agreement with the EU last November was seen as a landmark achievement; signing it by the end of summer this year is the top foreign policy priority. Georgia also wants to be a Nato member.

Georgia's non-existent diplomatic relations with Russia, the strict visa regime for its citizens wishing to visit Russia, and most importantly Moscow's recognition of Georgia's two breakaway territories as independent states, are seen by many as punishment for the country's pro-European and pro-Nato stance.

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