Ukraine’s parliament has voted to remove President Viktor Yanukovych after a week of fighting in the streets of the capital, Kyiv.
Members of the Ukrainian parliament, which decisively abandoned Yanukovych after this week’s deadly bloodshed, stood, applauded and sang the national anthem after it declared the
president constitutionally unable to carry out his duties and set an early election for May 25.
“This is a political knockout,” opposition KDAR leader and retired world boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko told reporters.
Parliament also freed from jail his 53-year-old arch-rival, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
She walked free from the hospital prison where she had been receiving treatment for a bad back while serving a seven-year sentence for abuse of power.
Earlier, the speaker of parliament, a Yanukovich
loyalist, resigned and parliament elected Oleksander Turchynov, a close ally of Tymoshenko, as his replacement.
Yanukovych, who enraged much of the population by turning away from the European Union to cultivate closer relations with Russia three months ago, made sweeping concessions in the deal brokered by European diplomats on Friday after days of street battles that saw police snipers gun down protesters. The latest death toll says 82 people were killed with more than 600 hurt.
But the deal, which called for early elections by the end of the year, was not enough to satisfy pro-Europe demonstrators on Independence Square, known as the Maidan, or “EuroMaidan”, who wanted Yanukovych out immediately in the wake of the bloodletting.
Ukrainian military and police leaders said they would not get involved in any internal conflict.
The interior ministry responsible for the police said it served “exclusively the Ukrainian people and fully shares their strong desire for speedy