Carol Hills: I'm Carol Hills in for Marco Werman and this is "The World". It's been a week of grim news from Ukraine. Dozens have died or have been injured in clashes between police and protestors demanding change. But there were a couple of pieces of good news for Ukrainians today. The country won its first gold at the Sochi Olympics in the women's biathlon relay and the violence in Ukraine itself seems to have died down. President Viktor Yanukovych appears to have blinked in his confrontation with the protest movement. He made a series of concessions in a deal with opposition leaders.
Ukranian People: [Speaking/singing in Ukrainian]
Hills: So they're cheering and singing the national anthem in the Ukrainian Parliament. But what about out in the street? Margaret Evans has been out all in downtown Kiev reporting for the CBC. Margaret, what's it been like today?
Margaret Evans: Well, outside of the square and inside of the square are two very different things here. When the news broke that the deal had actually been signed by opposition leaders, I was a few blocks outside the square and a few people were honking their horns, things like that. But in the square I didn't, I have to say, meet a single person who was happy that the deal had been signed. They don't think it goes far enough. They've always said, "We're not going until Yanukovych actually resigns," and nothing seems to have changed that.
Hills: So what kind of deal was struck today?
Evans: Well, there are a couple of different aspects to it. I think the most important for the opposition is that there is agreement to revert to the 2004 constitution which really diminishes the power of the president, giving more power back to the parliament. So it's taken away some of the powers that Yanukovych has given himself over the years. Then there will be a coalition government fairly quickly and presidential elections no later than December of this year. So it's quite far-reaching, but, again, I didn't meet a single person the square who said it went far enough. People say that they don't trust him, they think that this is the hand of Russia. They didn't like the fact that there was a Russian envoy in the discussions. They see it as a time-buying tactic if you like. They all call President Yanukovych a bandit and they simply think he'll use this to gather his resources again and they'll be back in the same place a few months later.
Hills: Wasn't there also an agreement today that they're going to release the former president, Yulia Tymoshenko, from prison?
Evans: The parliament basically decriminalized the count that she was originally charged on which would allow them to release her from jail, although it's not clear to me yet whether or not the president has to sign off on that. But essentially they did take a vote which means that the parliament agrees that she should be allowed to go free.
Hills: So the protestors that you talked to, you couldn't find anybody who supported this deal. What would please the protestors? What do they want to see in a deal before they accept it?
Evans: It's very, very simple in their mind. They simply want President Yanukovych to resign immediately. They want him gone yesterday. And I think what we're going to be watching for in the hours and days to come is how committed the conventional opposition leaders are to selling this deal to the people who've been spending the nights in the square, the ones who have been manning the barricades, the hardcore people who have been engaging in clashes with the riot police. And nobody says that they are going to leave the square. I did meet a few people who said they're happy if this de-escalates the tension, they're happy if there are no more deaths, but I'm not sure that this is going to be enough to actually empty the square of the people. I mean today there were still manning chain gangs, bricking up the barricades, they were still fortifying the barriers.
Hills: Viktor Yanukovych has made concessions before and then he's welched on the deal. What guarantees are there that he won't do that again?
Evans: Well, it's hard to say about guarantees. I mean I think that the dismissal of the Interior Minister is important in real terms and symbolically as well because it does seem to be at least the start of a dismantling of the power structure around President Yanukovych, but people are very nervous that there will be backsliding, they're nervous about what the reaction of Moscow will be once the distraction of the Sochi Olympics is gone. So there's a lot of uncertainty and one young man said to me today, "He can still do whatever he wants to us."
Hills: CBC's Margaret Evans in Kiev. Thanks, Margaret.
Evans: You're welcome, Carol.