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Ukraine’s government survived a no-confidence motion as tens of thousands of protesters surrounded the parliament building in central Kyiv, calling for the administration of President Victor Yanukovich to resign.

Ukrainian opposition parties brought the motion before parliament after the government, led by the Party of Regions, pulled out of a deal establishing closer ties with the European Union.

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov stressed that the decision to suspend negotiations on with the EU was made for the good of the Ukrainian economy.

“We had a strong recession, it was a very important factor that economists understand. We faced it as we could, in very poor conditions, with very high gas prices. Secondly, we’ve lost out a lot in trade, especially with Russia,” Azarov told parliament, amid loud chants of “resign” from opposition MPs.

The Communist Party of Ukraine, which has been in coalition with the Party of Regions, did not support the no confidence vote put forward by the opposition parties because the motion was linked to closer integration with Europe, which the Communists oppose.

The Communist Party has announced plans to put forward its own no confidence motion, based on the government’s management of the economy. If the opposition parties back that – which they have said they will – there would be enough votes to force out the government.

Video: CHESNO Civil Movement

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