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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ukraine: Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov named interim president -- BBC



Parliament in Ukraine has named its speaker as interim president.

Oleksandr Turchynov takes charge following the dismissal of President Viktor Yanukovych on Saturday. Mr Turchynov told MPs they had until Tuesday to form a new unity government.

Parliament also voted to seize Mr Yanukovych's luxury estate near Kiev, which protesters entered on Saturday.

The whereabouts of Mr Yanukovych, who described parliament's decision to vote him out as a coup, remain unclear.

Thousands of opposition supporters remain in Independence Square, where the atmosphere is described as calm. 

Late on Saturday, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, freed from detention in the eastern city of Kharkiv after a vote in parliament, urged opposition supporters in Independence Square to continue protesting.

Her release was one of the conditions of the EU-Ukraine trade pact that President Yanukovych rejected last year - triggering the protests that led to the current crisis.

The health ministry says 88 people, mostly protesters, are now known to have been killed since 18 February.

Mr Turchynov, a close associate of Ms Tymoshenko, described forming a unity government as a "priority task".

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