The Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has resigned in a bid to defuse two months of unrest in the country.
His announcement came at the start of an emergency session of parliament called on Tuesday morning.
Azarov said he was stepping down because of the threat to the economy caused by two months of unrest.
Under the constitution, the departure of the prime minister means the resignation of the entire government.
In a statement, Azarov said he had personally asked the president to accept his resignation “for the sake of a peaceful settlement of the conflict.”
“The conflict situation which has come about in the country is threatening the economic and social development of Ukraine, creating a threat to the whole of Ukrainian society and to each citizen,” Azarov added.
The 66 year old was appointed by Yanukovich after the presidential election in 2010. He backed the decision in November to shun a free trade agreement with the European Union.
Yesterday, President Viktor Yanukovych met with the three opposition leaders for four hours and agreed to repeal controversial anti-protest laws.
At the meeting, Justice Minister Olena Lukash said politicians would also discuss the issue of the government’s “responsibility” in Tuesday’s session of parliament.
Outgoing Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said former Economy Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, now one of the opposition leaders, was offered the post of prime minister but turned it down.