UK & World News
Yulia Tymoshenko: Ukraine's Cancer Has Gone
Ukraine's opposition icon Yulia Tymoshenko has told anti-government protesters they have removed a "cancer" from the country, after she was earlier freed from prison.
"You are heroes, you are the best of Ukraine," the former prime minister said, before breaking down in tears.
She told the 50,000-strong crowd in Kiev's Independence Square they had no right to leave the area "until you have concluded everything that you planned to do".
"Don't stop yet," she implored them.
Sitting in a wheelchair, Ms Tymoshenko said President Viktor Yanukovych should be forced to come to the square, the focal point of demonstrations against him. Mr Yanukovych has since gone into hiding after Parliament voted to oust him.
She was earlier freed from prison after being given a seven-year sentence for abuse of power and has pledged to stand for president.
Demonstrators took to the streets last November over Mr Yanukovych's decision to have closer ties with Russia rather than Europe.
Clashes between protesters and police have killed 82 people, the worst violence since the country gained independence.
On the subject of ties with Europe, Ms Tymoshenko is "sure" Ukraine will join the European Union "and this will change everything".
The resolution dismissing Mr Yanukovych was passed by deputies in the country's assembly who applauded and sang the national anthem. Early elections have also been set for May 25.
Speaker Oleksander Turchynov said Mr Yanukovych had "abandoned his constitutional responsibilities, which threatens the functioning of the state, the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine".
Mr Yanukovych has been blocked from taking a plane to Russia, Mr Turchynov said.
"He tried to take a plane to Russia but he was blocked in doing so by border police. He is currently hiding somewhere in the Donetsk region."
Before Parliament voted, Mr Yanukovych reportedly told a local TV station in Kharkiv he would not resign or leave Ukraine, comparing the situation in the country to the Nazis coming to power in 1930s Germany.
Early on Saturday, police abandoned posts around Kiev as protesters claimed full control of the city and took up positions around the president's office and Mr Yanukovych's grandiose residential compound.
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