Dec. 2- Russian President Putin said protests in Ukraine against its decision to abandon an EU integration pact were an attempt to shake its legitimate rulers. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Demonstrators fill the streets of Kiev Monday after a weekend marked by violent clashes that went into the night as hundreds of thousands took to the streets rallying against President Viktor Yanukovich's decision to abandon a trade pact with the European Union and to seek closer economic ties with Russia. Demonstrators say their dream was taken away when the government made a u-turn on the EU deal. Now Russian President Vladimir Putin says no one's dream has been stolen. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "In my view, this has little to do with the cooperation between Ukraine and the European Union. Pay attention that no one is diving into the projects of the agreements, no one sees anything. No one is listening. They say that the Ukrainian people have had their dreams taken away. But if you look at the content of these agreements - though in principle the dream is good - then you see that many people will not live to see this dream." Putin who is in Armenia says protesters are trying to destabilize the government (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "In my view this is an attempt by the opposition to shake the current and - I want to emphasize - legitimate authorities in the country." Ukrainian protesters are now calling for a general strike in a nation where many people want to join the European mainstream and escape Moscow's orbit.