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Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Opposition Leaders Sign Deal to Defuse Crisis

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, left, and Ukrainian opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk attend a signing ceremony of the agreement in Kiev, Ukraine, on Friday. (AP Photo/Andrei Mosienko, Presidential Press Service, Pool)

After an upsurge in violence between Ukrainian government forces and protesters this past week claimed dozens of lives and deepened concerns about the possibility of civil war, at least the semblance of progress was made through diplomatic means on Friday.

The BBC brought word of a deal struck — and signed — that day:

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders have signed a deal to try to end the political crisis in the country.

Under the agreement, a national unity government will be installed and a presidential poll will be held by the end of the year.

The deal, reached after mediation by EU foreign ministers, also sees electoral reform and constitutional changes.

Ukraine’s parliament has voted to reduce the president’s powers.

It also approved laws which could see the release of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.

However, as The Washington Post pointed out, the fact that three opposition leaders agreed to the terms of the deal doesn’t mean that it will go over with the rest of the protesters in Kiev and around the country. The Post also reported that, later Friday, the Ukrainian parliament voted to oust the interior minister blamed for inciting the bloody clashes between demonstrators and police earlier in the week.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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