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Ukraine: Tymoshenko Ally Handed Presidential Power

As parliament's speaker takes control, the whereabouts of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych are unclear.

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Ukraine's legislature voted Sunday to hand the president's powers to the parliament's speaker, Oleksander Turchynov, an ally of Yulia Tymoshenko.

Stringer / Reuters

Ukraine's parliament, exercising power since mass protests put the president to flight, on Sunday launched criminal investigations into leading figures in Viktor Yanukovich's ousted administration and named Turchinov, a senior opposition figure, as his temporary successor.

The Kiev protest camp at the center of the anti-Yanukovych movement filled with more demonstrators this morning.

Yannis Behrakis / Reuters

The Associated Press reports that Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has said Ukraine should seek a loan from the International Monetary Fund to avoid an imminent default, but would have to meet demands for difficult structural reforms.

This morning former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has made a speech to a forum on government communications in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

AP Photo/Al Moutasim Al Maskery

He said the crisis in Ukraine stems from the government's failure to act democratically. Gorbachev, 82, won the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the Cold War, but he has little influence in today's Russia.

Meanwhile, the whereabouts of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych are unknown.

Pool / Reuters

The Kyiv Post reports, "Border guards said they stopped his plane in Donetsk trying to leave the country on Feb. 22, but have not said anything publicly today. Member of parliament Vitali Klitschko said today that he doesn't know where Yanukovych went, nor were his whereabouts disclosed in parliament today."

Ukraine is divided between eastern regions that are pro-Russian and western areas that want a closer relationship with the European Union.

Yanukovych's refusal to sign an agreement with the EU in November was the catalyst for the protests, but they quickly expanded to take in corruption and human rights abuses.

Alan White is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alan White at

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