Friday Dec 20, 201304:16 AM GMT
Ukraine parliament passes amnesty bill
Protesters clash with Ukraine police in Kiev, November 25, 2013.
Protesters clash with Ukraine police in Kiev, November 25, 2013.
Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:15AM
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The Ukrainian parliament has approved a bill that grants amnesty to all the protesters detained during demonstrations in favor of Ukraine’s integration with the European Union.

The bill, which was passed by both opposition parties and deputies from the governing party on Thursday, needs to be signed and ratified by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

A total of 339 of parliament members out of 367 who attended the session voted in favor of the bill, which had been proposed by the opposition.

According to the new law, no new cases will be opened against the pro-EU protesters and their previous convictions will be considered void.

Considering the new law as a victory for the protesters, opposition Svoboda Party leader Oleh Tyahnybok has called on demonstrators to remain in Independence Square of Kiev.

In addition, Vitali Klitschko, the leader of the opposition Udar Party, said “our demands remain the same” and repeated the opposition’s call for the resignation of Yanukovych.

“I am sure that in order to resolve the economic crisis here in Ukraine the only option is through snap elections.”

Moreover, tough budget negotiations will be held in parliament on Friday as the country looks for a way to get rid of the economic catastrophe.

Over the past months, Yanukovych has attempted to lobby both Russia and the European Union for financial support.

However, his sudden decision in November to postpone the signing of an Association Agreement with the EU and opt instead for a deal with Russia triggered the demonstrations. There have been large, round-the-clock pro-EU protest camps in the heart of Kiev.

Yanukovych has criticized the West for supporting the widespread street protests and announced plans to partially join a Moscow-led economic union - a move likely to worsen the current situation.

GHK/HSN

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