Ukraine's Prime Minister And Government Resign
Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych has accepted the resignation of the prime minister and his cabinet amid continuing anti-government protests. Mykola Azarov had offered to step down as prime minister to create "social and political compromise."
The move came after the Ukrainian parliament voted overwhelmingly to annul a controversial anti-protest law. The protests have spread in recent days across Ukraine, even to President Yanukovych's stronghold in the east.
Official buildings in several cities have been occupied, and Tuesday saw the interior ministry report that protesters had stabbed and wounded three policemen in the southern city of Kherson, one of whom later died.
In total, at least five people have been killed in violence linked to the protests.
Azarov was deeply unpopular with the opposition, who accused him of mismanaging the economy and failing to tackle corruption. Their antipathy towards him grew after the protests started in November, when he described demonstrators as extremists and was also seen as being responsible for the use of force by police.
Parliament — holding an emergency debate on the crisis — voted 361 to 2 to repeal the protest legislation, which among other measures banned the wearing of helmets by protesters and the blockading of public buildings.
The law had helped fuel the demonstrations which began in Independence Square in the capital, Kiev, after Yanukovych pulled out of a planned trade deal with the European Union last November in favor of a $15 billion bailout from Russia to bolster the ailing public finances.