KIEV, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Friday announced an early presidential election as one of a package of measures aimed at ending the country's political crisis.
"I am initiating an early presidential election. I am also initiating a return to the 2004 Constitution with the redistribution of powers toward a parliamentary republic," Yanukovych was quoted by his press office as saying.
The president said that he was ready to form a new inclusive government to end the violence, which left dozens of people dead and hundreds of others injured.
The president made concessions to the opposition in a bid to avoid further bloodshed and casualties among the demonstrators and police officers.
Yanukovych hold meetings with the Ukrainian opposition leaders and international mediators - the foreign ministers of Poland, France and Germany and the chairman of Russia's human rights commission - overnight Thursday to seek ways out of the ongoing standoff triggered by the protests.
Anti-government rallies turned violent on Tuesday, when protesters attacked police with Molotov cocktails and set fires outside parliament. Police responded with stun grenades and water cannons. The confrontation left at least 77 people dead and hundreds of other injured.
Protests in Ukraine began in November when Yanukovych shelved a trade and economic agreement with the EU and turned instead to Russia for financial aid.
KIEV, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine witnessed the deadliest day on Thursday in almost three months of anti-government demonstrations, as more people were killed after violent street clashes between protesters and riot police erupted anew despite a truce announced by the country's president. Full story
BEIJING, Feb. 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Following the escalation of violence in Ukraine, the European Union has agreed to impose a number of sanctions on the country.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "We call on all involved to turn away from violence. But some people are responsible for the violence and so we have decided to introduce targeted measures, targeted sanctions involving visa bans and asset freezes on those individuals who are responsible."Full Story
BAGHDAD, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized on Thursday the West's threat to impose sanctions on Ukraine as a blackmail and double standards.
"The opposition cannot or do not want to distance itself from extremists. The West led by Europe and the United States assume all responsibility for Ukraine situation," Lavrov said in a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari during his official visit to Baghdad.Full Story