Viktor Yanukovych decides to hold early presidential elections

Photo: Viktor Yanukovych decides to hold early presidential elections  / Politics

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych stated that he is initiating a return to the constitution in 2004 with the redistribution of powers towards a parliamentary republic. The Ukrainian leader also called for beginning the procedure of formation of a government of national trust, RIA Novosti reported.

"I declare the steps that should be taken in order to restore the calm and to avoid the further victims of confrontation. I declare that I am initiating an early presidential election. I also initiate a return to the constitution of 2004 with the redistribution of powers towards a parliamentary republic. I call for beginning the procedure of formation of a government of national trust," according to the president's statement posted on his website.

"As Ukraine's president and as a guarantor of the constitution I perform my duty before the people, before Ukraine and before the God in order to preserve the state, people's lives, for the sake of peace and tranquility in Ukraine," Yanukovych said.

"There are no steps which we shouldn't do together in order to restore the peace in Ukraine," the president said.

Riots in Kiev resumed on February 18, the day of the Ukrainian parliament's meeting, during which the opposition demanded the restoration of the Constitution of 2004. Radicals broke into the building in the center of Kiev, burned tires, threw stones at cars and police officers. The opposition used firearms for the first time, according to the police. Some 77 people were killed and 577 were injured as a result of the riots, according to the latest data.

The mass protests in Ukraine began on November 21, 2013, when the government announced the suspension of the preparation of the Association Agreement with the EU.

On Jan.28 Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and the Cabinet of Ministers, which will continue to perform their duties until the formation of a new government.

Translated by L.Z.

Edited by C.N.

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Tags: Ukraine