Sunday, April 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Ukrainian president takes sick leave amid crisis

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s embattled president is taking sick leave, his office said Thursday, a surprise development that left unclear how efforts to resolve the country’s political crisis would move forward. Protesters have been calling for his resignation for two months.

The 63-year-old Viktor Yanukovych has an acute respiratory illness and a high fever, a statement on the presidential website said. There was no indication of how long he might be on leave or whether he would be able to do any work. He wasn’t known to have any previous health issues.

Yanukovych is still in charge of the country, spokesman Andriy Lysenko told The Associated Press. Under Ukraine’s constitution, the president can’t transfer his powers to anyone, he added.

The announcement that Yanukovych was taking sick leave prompted skeptical reactions and even the suggestion that it was a ruse to take him out of power — as in the attempted coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991.

“I don’t remember official statements on Viktor Yanukovych’s colds. But I remember well, when on Aug. 19, 1991, the vice president of the USSR, Gennady Yanayev, announced the serious illness of Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev,” political commentator Vitaly Portnikov wrote on his Facebook page.

Gorbachev’s purported illness was reported on Aug. 19, 1991, as hardline Communists opposed to his reforms attempted an unsuccessful coup against him and held him under house arrest. Although the coup failed, it accelerated the collapse of the Soviet Union, which officially was dissolved four months later.

Yanukovych has faced two months of large protests that have often paralyzed Kiev, the capital. The protests started after he backed out of a long-awaited agreement to deepen ties with the European Union, but quickly came to encompass a wide array of discontent over corruption, heavy-handed police and dubious courts.

Despite offering several concessions, authorities have so far failed to mollify the protesters.

In a series of moves aiming at resolving the crisis, parliament voted Tuesday to repeal harsh anti-protest laws. Yanukovych must formally sign that repeal and it was unclear whether he could do so while on sick leave.

He also has accepted the resignation of his prime minister. But protesters say the moves are insufficient — they want him out and new elections held.

Yanukovych made a late-night visit to the parliament Wednesday before it passed a measure offering amnesty to some of those arrested in the two months of protests. That new law, however, was only valid if demonstrators vacate most of the government buildings they occupy in Kiev and in some western cities. The offer was quickly greeted with contempt by the opposition, which regards the arrests during the protests as fundamentally illegitimate.

There are conflicting figures on how many protesters are now in custody. One opposition lawmaker said Wednesday there were 328, whom he characterized as “hostages.” But the prosecutor-general’s office said Thursday there were 140.

The protests had been mostly peaceful until mid-January, when demonstrators angered by the new anti-protest laws launched violent clashes with police near the Ukrainian parliament. Three protesters died in the clashes, two of them from gunshot wounds. Police insist it was not from their guns.

On Thursday, Interior Minister Vitali Zakharchenko said a 30-year-old policeman at the protest front lines in Kiev had died of a heart attack overnight. Although there have been no clashes there for several days, tensions at the site are heavy. Zakharchenko said the policeman’s death was “a consequence of the daily stress.”

Protesters are demanding Yanukovych’s resignation, early elections and the firing of authorities responsible for the violent police dispersals of demonstrators.

The new bill would not apply to several city buildings in the center of Kiev that the protesters use as dormitories and operation centers to support the extensive protest tent camp on the city’s main square. With temperatures dropping as low as 4 degrees below zero during the night, continuing the protests without some shelter would be virtually impossible.

But the Kiev city hall building, as well as regional administration ones seized by protesters in western Ukraine, would have to be vacated, according to the Unian news agency.

After stepping back from the agreement with the EU, Yanukovych got a $15 billion aid package from Russia that also gives Ukraine lower prices for the Russian gas upon which the country depends. That aid from Russian President Vladimir Putin is key to propping up Yanukovych and keeping the struggling Ukrainian economy from bankruptcy.

But as the crisis drags on, concerns are rising about whether Russia will keep its financial commitment if the Yanukovych regime collapses.

Putin said Wednesday the aid would still be valid, but suggested that delivery of the next tranche could be delayed until the formation of a new Ukrainian government. That appeared to refer to waiting until a new prime minister is named.

————

By Jim Heintz. Maria Danilova contributed to this report.

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

UCD admits record number; 4,284 from abroad

By Cory Golden | From Page: A1

 
Hub of activity: DHS newspaper keeps evolving

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A1 | Gallery

A springtime ritual

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Tom Adams seeks Davis school board seat

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

Holy fire ceremony draws thousands in Jerusalem

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Tour renovated YCCC facility Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Tour Davis Waldorf School on Wednesday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

The fifth annual Tour de Cluck is soon to be hatched

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Ortiz lawn signs available

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sign up soon for spring cooking classes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Robb Davis team to rally on Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Steadfast in their support

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Yolo Hospice offers free grief workshops

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Sign up for Camp Kesem caterpillar crawl

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Quilters gear up for annual show

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A4

League hosts a series of candidate forums

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
KDVS launches fund drive on Monday

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

Calling all Scrabble fans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Hub webpage is seeing traffic increasing

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

Lescroart welcomes all to book-launch party

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16 | Gallery

 
DEVO set to serve up 14th annual Winkler Dinner

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

Learn Chinese crafts at I-House

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A16

 
Preschool open house set at Davis Waldorf

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

Birch Lane celebrates its 50th anniversary

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

 
Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

.

Forum

Take ownership of your health

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Keep your baby safe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Reliving the agony and ecstasy of spring

By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

 
Road diet? No, city diet!

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

 
We’re reveling in our equality

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

Vote no; it’s fiscally responsible

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
Rick McKee cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

 
Core values on campus

By Our View | From Page: A12

 
Bill is an affront to UC Davis ag biotech and local farmers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13

Don’t want to sit in Fix 50 traffic? Consider alternatives

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

 
UCD softball shut out by Santa Barbara

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Aggie men shoot 9-under, lead own tourney

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Stars shine in Woody Wilson Classic

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Devils burn up the track

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
UCD roundup: Aggie baseball swept away by Highlanders

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

A’s score 3 in ninth, rally past Astros 4-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Yolo Federal Credit Union gets WISH funds

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
PG&E pays taxes, fees to county, cities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Will Davis get an Old Soul?

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9

 
Pediatricians, nurse practitioner hired at Woodland Healthcare

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Asian stocks mostly higher after mixed U.S. earnings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Davis Roots will showcase its graduating startups

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14

University Honda wins another President’s Award

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

 
Dutch Bros. raises $19,000 for girl with leukemia

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 20, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8