EU warned that Ukraine could spiral in to civil war

Business Week reports that anti-government unrest spread from Ukraine’s capital as the European Union warned the protests, which turned deadly this week, could spiral into a civil war.

Activists have taken over the headquarters of governors picked by President Viktor Yanukovych in five cities, marking a widening of the two-month protest movement. EU justice chief Viviane Reding told CNBC today that Ukraine must get its “house in order” as it heads in the “direction of a civil war.”

Yanukovych is struggling to stem rallies against his November snub of a European Union cooperation deal, with police crackdowns fanning people’s anger. Four days of clashes left as many as five dead and 1,250 injured as laws to stem the protests took effect and police got special powers to quell the demonstrations. Opposition politicians accuse the president of not taking peace talks seriously.

“The prospect for a compromise deal between the government and protesters in central Kiev has fallen in the past few days,” Alex Brideau, senior analyst at Eurasia Group in Washington, said in an e-mailed note. “Yanukovych appears unwilling to make key concessions at this stage, increasing the risk to his hold on power.”

The yield on government bonds due 2023 rose 35 points to 9.719 percent at 12:38 p.m. in Kiev.

Regional government buildings in the western cities of Lviv, Ternopil, Rivne, Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk were taken over by activists. Demonstrators also targeted administrative offices in at least five more of the nation’s 24 regions, smashing their way in when police offered resistance, Ukrainian 5 TV reported.

Police detained 58 protesters in the Cherkasy region for attempting a takeover, the Interior Ministry said. Activists in Kiev seized the Agriculture Ministry building near their tent camp to shelter from temperatures of minus 18 degrees Celsius (zero Fahrenheit) and set up a first-aid point, Interfax said.

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