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sustain the momentum for change and keep people on the streets as temperatures begin to drop and the harsh Ukrainian winter sets in.
Ukraine faces huge problems to finance a big current account deficit. Cheaper Russian gas would buy time for Kiev to find ways to meet outside funding needs estimated at $17 billion next year.
Despite reports that Ukraine's Naftogaz had won deferral until spring of payments of gas bills for the last three years, Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller said Kiev owed just over $2 billion for three months of deliveries and no agreements had yet been reached on settling the debt.
Azarov's government survived an attempt to topple it in parliament on Tuesday in a rough encounter with opposition parties at which he had apologised for police heavy-handedness in which scores of people were hurt.
Trying to defuse protests, the government has defended its foreign policy switch by saying that it marks only a "pause" in moves to integrate further with Europe, rather than an about-turn. As if to underscore this point on Wednesday, Azarov said a delegation would also leave soon for Brussels.
ROUTES TO POWER BLOCKED
Hundreds of protesters, bearing the national flag or the standard of opposition political parties, rallied on Wednesday near official buildings, but found many routes blocked by vehicles which interior ministry forces had stationed across streets and approach roads.
"We don't like this government, young people in Ukraine want to join Europe. We want to be able to study and work freely in Europe, that is where Ukraine's future lies," said Christina Yavorskaya, 21, a student from the Chernobyl district in western Ukraine. "We want European salaries, a European way of life. There is no future with Russia."
"There is a chance of getting these bandits out of office. And as long as there is that chance, we'll be standing here," said Misha Skoropad, 38, who came on a bus from the western city of Lviv to protest near the presidential headquarters.
The opposition is a loose alliance of political factions ranging from pro-EU liberals to hardline nationalists, without a galvanising figure in the mould of Yulia