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Ukraine's President Offers Government Posts to 2 Top Opposition Figures

Embattled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has offered government posts to two top opposition leaders, but they say protests will continue until all their demands are met.

Speaking to a large crowd Saturday in Kyiv's Independence Square, Arseniy Yatsenyuk said the opposition is "not afraid" of accepting more political responsibility. He said, however, that President Yanukovych must still meet several key opposition demands and that talks will continue.

Earlier, Mr. Yanukovych offered the job of prime minister to Yatsenyuk, and the post of deputy prime minister to former boxer Vitaly Klitschko. The move came a day after the president agreed to reshuffle his government and amend controversial new anti-protest laws.

Klitschko joined Yatsenyuk Saturday, saying Mr. Yanukovych has agreed to opposition demands including the release of arrested protesters and the rescinding of recent changes to the constitution. Klitschko said, however, the protests will not stop.

The opposition has waged two months of anti-government demonstrations, demanding President Yanukovych and Ukraine's No. 2 leader, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, step down. Protesters have also called for early elections.



The crisis in Ukraine was spawned by Mr. Yanukovych's November 21 decision to back out of a trade agreement with the European Union in favor of closer economic ties with Russia.

The decision resulted in a multi-billion-dollar bailout from Russia that analysts say staved off near-certain bankruptcy for the impoverished country. Pro-European protesters were angered by the turn toward Moscow and took to the streets of Kyiv, where they have maintained a presence ever since.

The protests have spawned deadly clashes between demonstrators and police.
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