Goodbye Lenin: Statues of former Soviet leader toppled across Ukraine

Anti-government protestors brought down several statues around the country amid uprisings

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Statues of Soviet-era Lenin are being toppled by anti-government protestors throughout Ukraine's 13 provinces in the latest demonstration of outrage over the government's close ties with Moscow.

Statues were brought down in the central city Khmelnytskyi as well as in the south-eastern city of Dnipropetrovsk; the central city of Poltava; the northern city of Chernihiv; in Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyy, Brovary and Boyarka in Kiev Region and in the city of Zhytomyr in northern Ukraine, news agencies reported.

Protesters in the Ukrainian capital claimed full control of the city Saturday following the signing of a Western-brokered peace deal aimed at ending the nation's three-month political crisis. The nation's embattled president, Viktor Yanukovych, reportedly had fled the capital for his support base in Ukraine's Russia-leaning east.

Police abandoned posts around the capital, and protesters took up positions around the presidential office and residence.

Ukraine's parliament voted by an overwhelming margin on Saturday to immediately release jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister who spearheaded the nation's pro-democracy 2004 Orange Revolution.

A motion "to immediately free Tymoshenko based on the decision of the European Court of Human Rights" was backed by 322 deputies of the 331 registered for Saturday's Verkhovna Rada session. Tymoshenko was jailed for seven years on disputed "abuse of power" charges in 2011.

Yanukovych's whereabouts were unclear Saturday morning. Media outlets reported that he left Kiev for his native eastern Ukraine after surrendering much of his powers and agreeing to early elections by the end of the year.

(With AFP)

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