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Ukraine Frees Last of Jailed Protesters

Ukraine has freed the last of the 243 protesters arrested since anti-government demonstrations began in November.

The release was part of a law passed last month to free the demonstrators from police custody. But criminal charges will only be dropped when the demonstrators stop occupying government buildings.

Opposition activists say they will stop blocking a main road leading to public buildings in the capital, Kyiv. But they made no mention of when they would leave the the buildings.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf calls the release of the protesters an important step to de-escalate tension in Ukraine and move towards a peaceful solution to the country's crisis.

Nationwide protests against President Viktor Yanukovych erupted in November when he backed out of a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties to Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised Ukraine a $15 billion aid package when a new government is in place, even if it is run by the opposition.

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