Ukraine: 'A Dictatorship Has Fallen'

President leaves Kiev as protesters take HQ; Tymoshenko free

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Feb 22, 2014 6:57 AM CST | Updated Feb 22, 2014 10:43 AM CST

(Newser) – It's a day of fast-moving developments in Ukraine: The parliament voted to oust President Viktor Yanukovich, while he fled Kiev but vowed to stay in office. Meanwhile, his main political rival has been freed from prison after two years, declaring that "a dictatorship has fallen." It's a jumbled mess, but one thing that's clear is that yesterday's concessions by the government won't be enough to appease protesters:

  • Parliament boots Yanukovich: Lawmakers voted to remove him from office and set new elections for May 25, reports the New York Times. His spokesperson rejected the vote.
  • Yanukovich vows to stay: In a recorded TV interview, Yanukovich declared that he will not leave office, reports the BBC. The president, who has fled Kiev but whose whereabouts are unknown, denounced what's happening in the capital as "vandalism, banditry, and a coup."

  • Tymoshenko free: Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been freed from prison after two years, reports AP. Earlier, parliament elected one of her allies as the new speaker.
  • Protesters defiant: They seized control of the presidential headquarters in Kiev after factions rejected yesterday's deal because it left Yanukovich in power. "We will guard the building until the next president comes," one commander tells Reuters. "Yanukovich will never be back."

Coffins with bodies of protesters killed in recent clashes are carried through the crowd in central Kiev.   (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Protesters stand guard in front of presidential administrative building in central Kiev.   (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
A protester stands in front of a poster of Yulia Tymoshenko in central Kiev.   (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukoviych, left, and Ukrainian opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk attend a signing ceremony of the agreement in Kiev Friday.   (AP Photo/Andrei Mosienko, Presidential Press Service, Pool)
A protester stands in front of presidential administrative building in central Kiev.   (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
A coffin with the body of a protester killed in recent clashes is carried through the crowd in central Kiev.   (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Protesters move past the parliament building in central Kiev Saturday.   (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
A woman walks past a column of protesters moving toward the parliament building in central Kiev.   (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
A 2011 file photo former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.   (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov, File)
Protesters smile as they guard the entrance to Ukrainian President Yanukovych's office in Kiev.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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