In fast-moving events on Saturday, Ukraine’s parliament voted for opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko to be released immediately.
Former PM Yulia Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2011 for abuse of power. Her supporters had always maintained this was simply Viktor Yanukovych taking out his most prominent opponent.
Also in parliament, speaker Volodymyr Rybak resigned, citing ill health. He has been replaced by Oleksandr Turchynov, an ally of Yulia Tymoshenko.
Another Yulia Tymoshenko ally, Arsen Avakov, has been appointed interim interior minister. He replaces Vitaly Zakharchenko, who was sacked on Friday after being blamed for the deaths of civilians in last week’s crackdown on protests.
Vitaly Klitschko, leader of the opposition Udar party, repeated his demand for President Viktor Yanukovych’s immediate resignation.
Meanwhile presidential aide Hanna Herman said Viktor Yanukovych had travelled to Kharkiv in the east, close to the Russian border, from where he was to give a televised address.
A gathering of deputies from the south-east and Crimea – traditionally Russian-leaning areas – is taking place there, but Hanna Herman said the president had “no intention” of attending, nor of leaving the country.
An opposition figure has announced to crowds in Independence Square that President Viktor Yanukovych has resigned. This has not been confirmed, but the crowds reacted with huge cheers. The presidential website appears to have gone down.
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