Ukraine president announces early elections

Courtesy CBS News
Courtesy CBS News

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has announced early presidential elections and promised to form a coalition government in a bid to defuse a deep crisis in which scores have been killed and hundreds injured.

There was no immediate comment from opposition leaders, who were meeting among themselves.

In a statement on his website, Yanukovych said he would start the process for early elections but gave no date. He also promised constitutional reforms trimming presidential powers, a key demand of protesters.

Meanwhile, shots were fired near Kiev's Independence Square this morning. It's unclear where they were coming from or whom they are targeting. The Interior Ministry has accused the opposition of breaking a truce and firing at law enforcement officers.

The conflict is a battle over the identity of Ukraine, a nation of 46 million that has divided loyalties between Russia and the West.

Demonstrators have camped for three months on Kiev's Independence Square, following Yanukovych's decision to scrap a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia.

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