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Ukraine parliament rejects gov't no-confidence motion

KIEV--Ukraine's parliament on Tuesday rejected an opposition no-confidence motion in Prime Minister Mykola Azarov's government after the ruling party abstained from the vote.

The measure gathered 186 out of the required 226 votes in the Verkhovna Rada parliament with support from the three main opposition parties that sought Azarov's resignation over Ukraine's refusal to sign a historic EU trade and political pact.

The no-confidence vote failed after Azarov promised to reshuffle his government and apologized for a brutal police crackdown on weekend protests that drew Western condemnation and sparked even bigger rallies.

“I can guarantee lawmakers one thing — I will draw firm conclusions from what happened and make serious personnel changes in the government,” Azarov told an emergency parliament session.

“On behalf of our government, I would like to apologize for the actions of our law enforcement authorities on Maidan (Independence Square),” he added.

Protests over the Ukrainian government's decision to abandon a historic political and trade agreement with the EU has sparked the largest wave of protests in the ex-Soviet nation since the 2004 pro-democracy Orange Revolution.

More than 30 protesters were injured when police used tear gas and batons to push hundreds of angry Ukrainians off Kiev's iconic Independence Square early Saturday.

The action prompted more than 100,000 people to turn out for another demonstration on Sunday that degenerated into bloody violence outside the presidential administration building.

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Protesters chant slogans outside the Parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday, Dec. 3. Ukraine's parliament on Tuesday opened a high-tension session in which the opposition aims to put forward a vote of no-confidence in the government in the wake of both the president's shelving of an agreement with the European Union and police violence against demonstrators protesting that decision.

(AP)

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