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February 02, 2014

Ukraine's Yanukovych Returning to Work

by VOA News

Ukraine's beleaguered President Viktor Yanukovych says he will be back to work Monday, even as new protests against him filled the streets of Kyiv.
 
Yanukovych took leave late last week for what was described as an acute respiratory infection.  His website said Sunday he is now feeling well.

About 30,000 anti-government demonstrators seeking his ouster protested Sunday in Kyiv's barricaded Independence Square.  It was one of the largest gatherings in two months of demonstrations against the Yanukovych government.

One protester, Olena Rozhenska, said the outcome of the protests is uncertain.

"I am losing my hope, the next day we see changes. The situation is very dynamic and a lot of changes... we can see now' Rozhenska said. "So I don't know what will be next day here, so we do our best to change something."

Yanukovych has accepted the resignation of his prime minister and revoked controversial anti-protest laws that angered demonstrators. But the protesters have demanded more concessions, including Yanukovych's resignation.

The United States has supported the protest movement, with Secretary of State John Kerry saying it represents the former Soviet-controlled country's fight for "a democratic, European future."

The protests started in November when Yanukovych, under pressure from Moscow, turned down a partnership with the European Union.  The Ukraine faces severe economic troubles and Russia has promised a $15 billion rescue.  But Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week the funding would not be released in full until a new government is formed in Kyiv.