UK & World News

  • 30 January 2014, 11:25

Ukraine's President Yanukovich On Sick Leave

Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich, who has faced protests calling for his resignation, has taken sick leave.

The embattled leader, who has an acute respiratory illness and high fever, has already lost his prime minister Mykola Azarov, who resigned on Tuesday.

It is not clear how long Mr Yanukovich will be away from his desk.  

The government has faced violent protests on the streets in sub-zero conditions calling for early elections and other demands.

An attempt by parliament to resolve the crisis earlier this week, by repealing harsh anti-protest laws, failed to appease protesters who said it did not go far enough.

On Wednesday, it passed a measure offering amnesty to some of those arrested on condition demonstrators vacated most of the buildings they occupy. However, the opposition quickly rejected the offer.

The demonstrations began when Mr Yanukovich backed out of a long-awaited agreement to deepen ties with the European Union, instead turning towards Moscow.

But they quickly came to stand for a wide array of discontent over corruption, heavy-handed police and dubious courts.

One estimate puts the number of arrests at more than 300.

Serhiy Arbuzov, who was Mr Azarov's first deputy, has stepped in as interim prime minister.

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