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September 25, 2017

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Ukrainian president takes sick leave amid crisis over anti-protest legislation

KIEV--Ukraine's embattled President Viktor Yanukovych is taking sick leave as the country's political crisis continues without signs of resolution.

A statement on the presidential website Thursday said Yanukovych has an acute respiratory illness and high fever. There was no indication of how long he might be on leave or whether he would be able to do any work.

Yanukovych is under pressure after two months of major protests seeking his resignation, early elections and other demands.

In one of a series of moves aiming at resolving the crisis, the parliament this week voted for the repeal of harsh anti-protest laws. Yanukovych must formally sign that repeal. He also has accepted the resignation of his prime minister.

Yanukovych made a late-night visit to the parliament on Wednesday before it passed a measure offering amnesty to some of those arrested in two months of protests, but only if demonstrators vacate most of the buildings they occupy. The offer was quickly greeted with contempt by the opposition.

But the opposition regards the arrests during the protests — 328 by one lawmaker's count — as fundamentally illegitimate.

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