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Ukraine MPs fail to strike constitution deal

Published on Feb 5, 2014 12:45 AM

KIEV (AFP) - Ukrainian lawmakers failed to agree on curbing the president's powers at a stormy debate on Tuesday as international pressure grew for ending the two-month crisis with the expected arrival of the EU foreign policy chief.

Ms Catherine Ashton is due to meet opposition leaders for dinner in Kiev on Tuesday and President Viktor Yanukovych on Wednesday to discuss plans for financial aid from Brussels and Washington in exchange for democratic reforms.

Ukraine's protests erupted in November after Mr Yanukovych rejected a key EU pact in favour of closer ties with Moscow, and the turmoil has now become an all-out movement to oust him.

Demands of pro-EU protest leaders include constitutional amendments that would cut presidential powers and freedom for arrested activists without conditions, but Mr Yanukovych's ruling Regions Party has insisted this can only happen if occupied government buildings are vacated.

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