Embattled Ukraine President Takes ... Sick Leave

Not everyone believes he's actually sick
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2014 3:35 PM CST
A protester in Kiev passes by makeshift shields with pictures of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich that read 'Get out!'   (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
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(Newser) – With his country in crisis, Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovich is stepping aside—but not resigning, as protesters are demanding, and as Prime Minister Mykola Azarov did earlier this week. Instead, authorities today announced that Yanukovich is taking some sick leave, saying he had a high temperature and an acute respiratory ailment. The move leaves Ukraine's government in limbo; Yanukovich hasn't named Azarov's successor yet, and Russia won't complete Ukraine's bailout until he does, Reuters reports.

Protesters, meanwhile, have said they'll leave the government buildings they're occupying only when Yanukovich resigns. Not everyone is buying that the president is actually ill, either. "This smacks of a 'diplomatic illness,'" said one opposition party member. One leading opposition figure tells the AP that Yanukovich might be readying himself for declaring a much-feared state of emergency. "I remember from the Soviet Union it's a bad sign. … Always if some Soviet Union leaders have to make an unpopular decision, they go to the hospital."

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