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Ukraine: Prime Minister Resigns

Mykola Azarov announces his resignation in the wake of the protests taking place in Kiev against President Viktor Yanukovych.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 1/28/2014, 11:26 AM

Ukraine is burning
Ukraine is burning
Reuters

Prime Minister of the Ukraine, Mykola Azarov, has announced his resignation from his post in the wake of the protests taking place in Kiev against President Viktor Yanukovych and his government.

Azarov said, while announcing his resignation, that he was doing this in order to promote "political-social compromise".

President Vanukovych has agreed to repeal the anti-protest laws that sparked Kiev's ongoing uprising - but it is unclear whether or not the remainder of parliament will back him, according to BBC News

Vanukovych has called a special session of parliament Tuesday to discuss the ongoing clashes between government forces and the opposition, which have left at least three dead and over 400 injured. 

While an uneasy truce has been called between the two sides, it is unclear whether or not the calm will remain. 

Vanukoych and opposition leaders have been talking to each other since Wednesday, but Monday night's concession was the first real progress made in nearly a week.

Also Monday, Justice Minister Olena Lukash threatened to call a state of emergency unless protestors leave her building, which they began occupying Sunday night in search of shelter, reported by the Washington Post

Protestors have taken over at least four major buildings so far, according to the Post, in different parts of downtown Kiev. The development is another sign of how the conflict between government forces and anti-government protestors has escalated over the past week. 

Lukash claimed that the protestors began occupying the building just as ministry workers began meetings on providing solutions to the clashes, discussing the possibility of providing amnesty to dissidents and working with the government to transition the state into greater calm.

The threat of an ultimatum surfaced as protests spread - with protesters also gathering in public squares  in Eastern Ukraine, where Yanukovych is said to have had a stronghold of support, and even occupying government buildings there.

Over the weekend, Ukrainian opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk rejected an offer by President Yanukovych to take up the post of Prime Minister - as well as several other offers that signaled willingness to meet the opposition's demands. He said that refusal stemmed solely from the government's refusal to repeal the anti-protest laws. 

The offers included an impressive array of benefits for the opposition. Besides Yatsenyuk being placed as Prime Minister - and being given the ability to dismiss the current government entirely - the position of Deputy Prime Minister was offered to Opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko.

Yanukovych even offered to rescind many of the laws he had enacted to the Ukrainian constitution since 2004, when he came to power, which had consolidated power with the presidency. 

The development is the latest in a series of mass protests in Kiev since early December, when hundreds stormed Independence Square to protest the government's refusal to become a full member of the European Union (EU). Yanukovych opted to strengthen ties with Russia instead of joining the EU - angering the population which was once under Soviet rule.