Several thousand Ukrainian students ditched classes on Tuesday and joined protests in the center of Kiev against the government’s abrupt move to freeze integration with the West and tilt toward Moscow. Kiev announced last week that it was halting preparations for the signing of a political and trade agreement with the European Union, after Russia imposed trade restrictions and threatened more to come. Up to 3,000 students from Kiev universities walked out of lecture halls and marched through Kiev to join several thousand other protesters on two central squares, calling on President Viktor Yanukovych to change his mind and sign the agreement with the EU at a summit on Friday.
“We feel ourselves part of Europe and now the authorities want to take this identity away from us,” said Yehor Mnishek, a student from Kiev. ”