Ukraine's president announces early elections

Friday, February 21, 2014

Yanukovych said some steps should be taken to prevent more bloodshed and provide stability in the country, according to a statement on the president`s official website.

Yanukovych said some steps should be taken to prevent more bloodshed and provide stability in the country, according to a statement on the president`s official website.

KIEV, Ukraine - Ukraine`s President Viktor Yanukovych announced early presidential elections and also said that the 2004 constitution, which limits presidential powers, would be reinstated.

Yanukovych said some steps should be taken to prevent more bloodshed and provide stability in the country, according to a statement on the president`s official website.

Pointing out that both government and opposition sides suffered heavy losses during the clashes, Yanukovych also promised to form a national unity government and make constitutional changes reducing his powers.

Captured Ukrainian security officials released

Ukraine`s Interior Ministry announced that security officers captured Thursday by anti-government protesters have been released.

Radical protesters captured 67 members of Ukraine`s security forces Thursday morning amid deadly street battles in Kiev. The ministry said in its statement that the group had not been harmed while being held captive.

Anti-government protests broke out in November when President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a free trade agreement with the EU amid pressure from Russia.

Recent confrontations between opposition protesters and security forces left 75 people dead and hundreds wounded.

Anti-government protests began in November when Yanukovych rejected a free trade agreement with the EU amid pressure from Russia.

- Bodies continue to be removed from Kiev`s Trade Union Building following violent raid by security forces.

Bodies were removed from Kiev`s iconic Trade Union Building, which was set ablaze during the violent clashes.

After 24 hours of efforts to put out the fire, corpses of the people who were trapped inside the building have been reached.

An Anadolu Agency correspondent on the scene reported that the dead bodies -- the exact number of which was unknown -- continue to be removed from the rubble.

Sergey Sobolev of the opposition Fatherland Party said around 50 people were inside when the fire began.

The Trade Union Building has been used as the political headquarters of the protesters since the demonstrations began.

Anti-government protests broke out in November 2013 after President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a trade pact with the European Union for closer ties with Moscow.

Following several days of relative calm, deadly clashes broke out Thursday when police stormed the camp in Independence Square using tear gas, rubber bullets and smoke grenades.

Since Thursday, 75 people have been killed in clashes between opposition protesters and security forces.

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