Ukraine leader flees Kiev: opposition

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(2nd UPDATE) Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko told parliament that President Viktor Yanukovych has left the capital Kiev; he also called for early presidential elections before May 25

EMBATTLED. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was said to have "left Kiev," according to opposition leader Vitali Klitschko . File photo by Muykhylo Markiv/Ukranian Presidential Press Service/Handout/AFP

KIEV, Ukraine (2nd UPDATE) – Ukraine’s embattled President Viktor Yanukovych has left Kiev, opposition leader Vitali Klitschko said Saturday, February 22, amid reports that the president has fled the country altogether following a week of deadly violence. (READ: Dozens dead on Ukraine’s deadliest day)

“He has left the capital,” Klitschko told parliament, also calling for early presidential elections before May 25.

A spokeswoman for the ruling Regions Party told one Ukrainian media outlet that Yanukovych was indeed in Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine. But the president’s office issued no immediate information on his whereabouts.

Klitschko also urged the parliament to pass a resolution calling on Yanukovych to resign “immediately” over this week’s deadly use of police force against protesters.

“We must, as the people demand, adopt a resolution calling on Yanukovych to immediately resign,” Klitschko’s party quoted the opposition leader as telling Saturday’s parliament session. “Today, parliament is the only legitimate body of power.”

Earlier that day, at the opening of the parliament session, Ukraine’s pro-government parliament speaker Volodymyr Rybak submitted his resignation on Saturday on account of ill health, the chamber’s deputy speaker announced. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/

This is a developing story. Please refresh this page for updates.

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