Cautious welcome for Ukraine deal to end crisis
KIEV (AFP) - Ukraine's leader and opposition on Friday signed a deal to end the splintered country's worst crisis since independence after three days of carnage left nearly 100 protesters dead and the heart of Kiev resembling a war zone.
President Viktor Yanukovych's dramatic decision to hold early elections and form a new unity government was met with caution by the tens of thousands gathered on central Kiev's main square for a protest that began exactly three months earlier.
The deal was signed in the presidential palace's Blue Hall in the presence of EU envoys by Mr Yanukovych and and three top opposition leaders who included the charismatic boxer turned lawmaker Vitali Klitschko.
But Russian President Vladimir Putin's representative pointedly missed the meeting and his name card was taken off the table at which the leaders gathered for the signature ceremony.