Local pastor speaks out about protests in Kiev

Local pastor speaks out about protests in Kiev

It is mayhem in the streets of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, as thousands of protesters fight for closer ties to the European Union.

The fight has been going on since November. But early Tuesday morning, protesters set the capital's central square on fire. Several protesters and police officers have since died.

"It really saddens me to see those tragic pictures coming from Kiev from other cities of Ukraine and how people are being chased out by the police, beaten up and even killed on the streets," said Pastor Andriy Rabiy of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Rabiy's father and mother still live in Ukraine and he says many people felt betrayed when the Ukrainian president reversed a decision to sign a trade agreement with the European Union and instead turned to Russia.

"Those people did not come out for any grand idea but the idea of freedom and personal rights, something they are being denied right now as we speak," said Rabiy.

Rabiy says the Ukrainian community in Berks County is very concerned about the violence. It held an overnight vigil to offer prayers and support for the people over there.

"I do hope and pray that they are going to find peaceful resolution very quick as long as there is a will to do that," said Rabiy.

According to CNN, 21 people have been killed including seven police officers.

Vice President Joe Biden has called Ukraine's president to express "grave concern" about the violence. He also called on Ukraine's president to pull back government forces and exercise restraint.

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