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Ukrainian president initiates early presidential elections and return of 2004 Constitution

February 21, 2014, 15:05 UTC+3
The president called “for starting a procedure of forming a government of national trust”
1 pages in this article
© ITAR-TASS/Andrei Mosienko

KIEV, February 21. /ITAR-TASS/. President Viktor Yanukovich initiates early presidential elections and return the 2004 Constitution, the president’s website runs on Friday.

“These tragic days when Ukraine has taken the gravest losses and when people has died my duty is to state that human lives are very important. We should do our best to take joint steps to restore peace in Ukraine,” Yanukovich said.

“I declare the steps that should be taken to restore calm and avoid new victims,” the Ukrainian president said.

Infographics Kiev riots. February 20 Kiev riots. February 20
35 people killed in clashes In Kiev, Ukrainian Health Ministry says
“I state that I initiate early presidential elections and return the 2004 Constitution by redistributing powers from the president to the parliament,” Yanukovich said.

The president called “for starting a procedure of forming a government of national trust”.

“As president of Ukraine and guarantor of the Constitution I do my duty before the people, Ukraine and God to preserve the state, people’s lives and for the sake of peace and calm on our land,” Yanukovich said.

The Party of Regions faction in the Ukrainian parliament has hailed President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision to call the early presidential election, to restore the 2004 Constitution and to create a government of national unity, a parliamentarian from the faction, Vladimir Oleynik said.

“We support all decisions made by the president,” he said. “This is a compromise-based decision."

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Death toll reached 80

Eighty Ukrainian citizens have died during clashes and shootings in downtown Kiev in recent days, acting Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko said in an address to the nation on Friday.

In particular, according to Ukraine's Interior Ministry, clashes between protesters and police in Kiev have killed 16 law enforcement officers.

“At least 130 police officers have been taken to hospital with gunshot wounds,” the ministry’s press service said on Friday. “Starting from February 18, 565 law enforcement officials have sought medical aid, 410 have been sent to hospital.”

 

Meeting to find a solution

Earlier on Friday, president Yanukovich held talks with opposition leaders Vitali Klitschko, Arseny Yatsenyuk and Oleg Tyagnibok, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his Polish colleague Radoslaw Sikorski, as well as Russia’s ombudsman Vladimir Lukin.

Negotiators in Ukraine have agreed to initial the agreement to settle the crisis, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s press office reported later.

 

Parliament convenes to return 2004 Constitution

The Ukrainian parliament convened on Friday to discuss a restoration of the Constitution of 2004, which limits presidential power and gives more rights to parliament, as well as the possibility of creating an interim government in the country. The session was attended by 360 deputies from opposition factions, the ruling Party of Region and non-affiliated parliamentarians.

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