22 February 2014 Last updated at 03:21 ET

Ukraine turmoil: Saturday as it happened

Key Points

  • Ukraine's parliament votes to oust President Viktor Yanukovych as opposition takes effective control of the capital, Kiev
  • Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko addresses crowds in Kiev after being freed from hospital where she was under prison guard
  • Parliament elects Oleksandr Turchynov, an ally of Yulia Tymoshenko, as the new speaker (All updates GMT)
  • Mr Yanukovych appears on TV, brands events in Kiev as a "coup" and refuse to step down
  • New elections set by parliament for 25 May
  • Leaders of mainly Russian-speaking regions in east Ukraine say they are taking control of their territories until "constitutional order" is restored in Kiev.

    Below is our coverage of events as they unfolded on Saturday - a dramatic day in Ukraine's crisis, which saw President Viktor Yanukovych removed by MPs and fleeing Kiev, but refusing to stand down.


    A BBC correspondent has just entered the presidential palace in Kiev. He says the building appears to be empty.


    Interfax Ukraine quotes an "informed source" that President Viktor Yanukovych arrived in the eastern city of Kharkiv overnight. He was expected to attend a congress of deputies from Crimea and Sevastopol but the source told the agency "the situation is changing dynamically".

    Anti-government protesters guard the entrance to parliament in Kiev (Feb 22) Anti-government protesters guard the entrance to parliament in Kiev

    This is a picture of anti-government protesters outside parliament in Kiev. Parliament speaker Volodymyr Rybak, has tendered his resignation citing "health reasons", the parliament's TV channel Rada reports.


    Opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko says President Yanukovych has left Kiev, AFP news agency reports


    Early elections are the only option, Mr Klitschko tells parliament in an address on parliament TV channel Rada.


    Vitaly Klitschko is calling for presidential elections by 25 May, AFP reports. He says President Yanukovych "has left the capital".


    "Millions of Ukrainians see only one choice - early presidential and parliamentary elections," Vitaly Klitschko tells an emergency session of parliament.

    The BBC's Duncan Crawford
    Protesters in front of presidential administration building in Kiev

    tweets: Protesters in front of the Presidential Administration building in #Kiev. No riot police. No #Yanukovych.

    Military vehicle in Independence Square Military vehicle in Independence Square

    Anti-government protesters are seen here driving a military vehicle in Independence Square in Kiev.

    The BBC's Kevin Bishop

    outside presidential offices in Kiev tweets: Guards here relaxed but intent on making sure area safe. A few cars starting to reappear on street.


    Opposition Fatherland party MP Oleksandr Turchynov tells parliament that (sacked) Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko has headed to an unknown destination, Interfax Ukraine reports. "It is not known where President Viktor Yanukovych is either," he said.


    BBC Europe Editor Gavin Hewitt says Friday's fragile agreement has been overtaken by events. All riot police have gone from Independence Square and protesters are walking around outside parliament. "Here on the street there is a very eerie sense that they have won their 'revolution'," he says.


    The BBC's Duncan Crawford in Kiev says until yesterday riot police controlled the streets around the presidential offices. There is no sign of them or anyone from the government, he says.


    Ukrainian protesters are now saying they are in control of the presidential administrative building in Kiev, Reuters is reporting. It is not clear if they are inside the building or just the compound.


    The BBC's Oleg Boldyrev, at the presidential administration compound, says the place is deserted and looks and feels empty. "Everything points to no-one being inside." On Friday the compound was surrounded by heavily armed police. Late on Friday they were all gone and the people from the Maidan (Independence Square) came to ensure there was no looting or provocation, he tells Radio 4's Today Programme.


    The BBC's Duncan Crawford adds that protesters say they are not going to enter the presidential building in Kiev, they only want to secure it.


    The "head of self-defence" at Independence Square has announced they will conduct a tour of the presidential residence Mizhgirya, reports say.


    BBC Kiev correspondent David Stern says groups of activists - young men in helmets, ski masks and clubs - are setting up positions on streets and street corners outside the main Independence Square area. Reports also that activists are setting up "block posts" outside the city centre - but it is not clear how widespread that is.


    Reuters now quoting a senior security source as saying that President Yanukovych is still in Ukraine.


    This was the statement telling parliament of the speaker's resignation: "Esteemed people's deputies. I inform you that the head of the Supreme Council (parliament), Volodymyr Vasylyovyvch Rybak, has written a request. Due to his sickness and treatment, he asks to be relieved of his duties." The announcement was followed by applause from deputies.

    Opposition supporters outside presidential offices, Kiev. 22 Feb 2014

    Latest pictures from Kiev show opposition supporters guarding entrances to Ukraine's parliament building.


    MP in President Yanukovych's Party of Regions, Hanna Herman, tells Unian news agency he is in the north-eastern city of Kharkiv.


    The BBC's Daniel Sandford tweets: Speculation won't help today. We only know we haven't seen Yanukovych. It does not mean he has fled.

    Protesters outside parliament in Kiev

    These opposition supporters outside parliament in Kiev tied a black ribbon to a Ukrainian flag to mark a day of mourning for victims of the clashes. Some 77 people have been killed since Tuesday.


    BBC's Kevin Bishop tweets: The Maidan protesters are strolling up to the parliament and presidency. Smiling and relaxed.


    BBC's Daniel Sandford tweets: Parliament are discussing [opposition leader] @Yatsenyuk_AP as potential interim Prime Minister


    The BBC's Duncan Crawford has been to the presidential compound. See his report here.


    To recap: opposition supporters say they are in control of presidential offices in an area of Kiev previously sealed off by riot police. The whereabouts of President Viktor Yanukovych are unclear. Opposition leaders say Mr Yanukovych must stand down immediately.

    A large truck carrying anti-government protesters

    Protesters are being driven around near the parliament building, with some being ferried around in military vehicles.


    BBC's Daniel Sandford tweets: The best information I have is that Yanukovych went to Kharkiv to try to STOP [regional governor of Kharkiv] Michael Dobkin's separation movement. Will keep you updated

    Anti-government protesters in Kiev. 22 Feb 2014

    Anti-government protesters have sealed off a street leading to the presidential offices in Kiev.


    So where is the president? Several sources are saying he is in the north-eastern city of Kharkiv. But why? It was the capital of Soviet Ukraine from 1919-34. Mr Dobkin, the regional governor, said earlier in the week that protesters in Kiev's Independence Square should be disarmed, if necessary with force, and a number of state institutions transferred to Kharkiv.


    The BBC's Tim Willcox in Kiev say all forms of state security seem to have evaporated from the city. It feels like there has been some sort of regime change, he adds.

    Picture tweeted by Kevin Bishop Picture tweeted by Kevin Bishop

    Picture tweeted by BBC's Kevin Bishop: Bankova St in #Kiev - the presidency is on this street. It's now in opposition hands.

    Presidential offices, Kiev, 22 Feb 2014

    BBC's Kevin Bishop tweets: From inside the presidential compound a security guard looks out over #Kiev


    Ukraine's interior ministry calls on citizens to work with police to ensure order and says it shares desire for change, in a statement quoted by Reuters.

    Opposition defenders arrive to protect the presidency

    BBC's Kevin Bishop tweets: Change of guard - the first opposition defenders arrive to protect the presidency in #Kiev.


    Ukrainian Russian-language website Versii.com reports that President Yanukovych is prepared to resign but is in Kharkiv with senior officials to discuss forming a separate government in the south-east and Crimea. Also considering asking Russia's President Putin to guarantee safety of those regions. He is with the head of his administration Andriy Kluev and ex-PM Mykola Azarov, Versii reports.

    Coffins of protesters in Kiev

    Amid the political uncertainty, funerals are being held for some of those killed in the recent clashes. Here, coffins are carried through crowds of mourners in Independence Square, Kiev.

    Protesters in Kiev. 22 Feb 2014

    BBC's Tim Willcox tweets: Feels like regime change #Kiev No sign Pres, Riot Police, control. Protesters on barricades, making petrol bombs


    Here is a map illustrating the linguistic divide in Ukraine. The darker the yellow, the greater the strength of Russian as a native language.

    Gabriel Gatehouse, BBC Correspondent

    Ukrainians walking around the opulent residence, like in a theme park: "I'm in shock," said many. "So that's where all my tax money's gone"


    BBC Monitoring reports that Ukrainian private TV channels - Inter and Ukrayina - are showing a live broadcast of the emergency parliamentary debate in Kiev. MPs are discussing measures to stabilise the country amid the current power vacuum. Meanwhile, 5 Kanal broke off its live broadcast to show the congress of deputies from south-eastern regions and Crimea that is taking place in Kharkiv.


    Here is Saturday's statement from Ukraine's interior ministry appealing for law and order: "The police are calling on citizens to ensure, by joint efforts, law and order in the state, not to allow the destruction of law-enforcement infrastructure, which has been built over the years and will always be needed by the people for protection against unlawful infringements."


    Oleksandr Turchynov, of the opposition Fatherland Party and a close ally of Yulia Tymoshenko, has been voted speaker, the BBC's David Stern reports.


    Meanwhile, the Ukrainian parliament has adopted a resolution condemning separatism and urging the security service to investigate separatist calls by some politicians, parliament's official TV channel Rada reported.


    In a separate development, at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Ukrainian Nordic skier Marina Lisogor has failed a dope test, AFP reports.


    The head of Russia's State Duma Committee for International Affairs Alexei Pushkov tweets that separatism is not being discussed at the congress in Kharkiv. The main thrust of speeches there is that "we are not preparing to split the country", he says.

    Kanal 5 shows statue of Lenin toppled

    Ukraine's Kanal 5 TV has broadcast footage of statues of Soviet-era leader Lenin being toppled in various cities and towns, including in Khmelnytskyi, pictured. Statues were also brought down 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.


    More details from the Winter Olympics on Ukraine's cross country skier Marina Lisogor, who has tested positive for a banned substance, the IOC's disciplinary commission says. She told the commission she had taken a medicine and had unintentionally broken anti-doping rules.


    Hundreds of people allowed into grounds of president's private residence on outskirts of Kiev but not into building itself, Reuters photographer reports.

    Ukraine's News 24

    BBC Monitoring says Ukraine's News 24 channel is showing footage from outside President Yanukovych's residence just outside Kiev. There are shots of the extensive grounds and lakes with groups of people and camera crews outside the main house, which appears to be abandoned.

    TV grab

    Russian news channel Russia 24 is showing live coverage of the congress of MPs from Ukraine's south-east and Crimea taking place in Kharkhiv.


    Opposition Fatherland MP Arsen Avakov has been elected acting interior minister, official TV channel Rada has reported.

    The BBC's Daniel Sandford

    tweets: So the next moves will be made in Kharkiv, Donetsk and Crimea. Big, big decisions for Eastern Ukraine and Russia. Enormous stakes


    Worth noting that Arsen Avakov, just elected as acting interior minister, is also a close ally of jailed opposition figure Yulia Tymoshenko.

    11:40: Breaking News

    Ukraine's parliament has voted to speed up the release of jailed opposition figure Yulia Tymoshenko, without needing presidential endorsement.


    Ukraine's parliament has authorised the newly-appointed speaker, Oleksandr Turchynov, to co-ordinate the work of the executive until a new government is appointed, official TV channel Rada reported.

    The BBC's Kevin Bishop
    Cleaner outside presidency. 22 Feb 2014

    tweets: A man cleans the streets outside an empty presidency. An ordered transfer of power seems under way.


    In another development, Ukraine's parliament has passed a vote of no confidence in Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka, the official TV channel Rada has reported.


    BBC correspondent Yuri Maloveryan in Kharkiv says thousands of pro-opposition demonstrators are on the streets close to where a congress of deputies from Ukraine's east is taking place. This time, he says, they are being protected by the police as several hundred pro-Russian protesters shout at them.

    The BBC's Daniel Sandford

    tweets: In the absence of a president (missing) and a prime minister, the new speaker Turchynov is effectively the leader in Kiev at this moment


    The BBC's David Stern says it is not clear if the parliamentary resolution to free jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko will result in her immediate release.

    The BBC's Daniel Sandford

    tweets: If 2004 was the Orange Revolution this was the Bloody Revolution


    Leaders of predominantly Russian-speaking regions in south-eastern Ukraine and Crimea have challenged the legitimacy of the national parliament in Kiev. At a meeting in Kharkiv, regional leaders said they were "taking all the powers into their hands" until the "constitutional order" is "guaranteed" in Kiev.

    The BBC's Daniel Sandford

    tweets: Crowd on the Maidan cheering at the (unconfirmed) news that President Yanukovych has resigned. Hard to confirm at the moment

    Mourner in Kiev. 22 Feb 2014

    Amid the political wrangling, a woman mourns victims of the violence in front of a flower-covered wall in Independence Square, Kiev.


    To recap, Ukraine's parliament has voted to free the jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko although it is still not clear when she will be released from prison in Kharkiv.


    Ukrainian Vice-Prime Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko tells the BBC that Mr Yanukovych will remain as president until new elections are held. "He is the legitimate president and nobody is challenging his legitimacy as president," he says.

    The BBC's Duncan Crawford

    tweets: Lots of fireworks going off in Independence Square. Do they know something about the fate of President Yanukovych? Lots of rumours. #Kiev

    Ukraine @5channel TV correspondent Myroslava Petsa

    tweets Yulia #Tymoshenko hasn't left the hospital yet.


    Kyiv Post reports that opposition leaders have found documents at President Yanukovych's residence near the capital which include a "blacklist of journalists".

    Duncan Crawford in Kiev

    tweets: Two protesters watch on as reporters are shown around the grounds of the president's office in #Kiev

    Protesters watch as reporters are shown around the grounds of the President's office in Kiev

    Just to recap: Ukrainian MPs have voted to order the release of Yulia Tymoshenko, the country's former prime minister. She was jailed two years ago on charges of abuse of power. It is not clear if the vote will result in her being freed immediately.


    Rolling news coverage of coverage by private Inter TV channel in Ukraine, has been disrupted, as a voice is heard telling all staff to leave the building. A sympathetic report about the treatment of wounded members of the riot police had just been broadcast.


    Opposition European Party leader Mykola Katerynchuk tells reporters President Yanukovych promised to resign during a telephone conversation (via intermediaries) with another opposition leader Arseny Yatseniuk.

    13:30: The BBC's Kevin Bishop in Kiev

    tweets: Parliament tv showing heads of #Berkut and police saying they are now with the people. #Kiev

    Parliament TV showing the heads of the Berkut riot police, addressing the public
    Channel 4 News journalist @mattfrei

    tweets from President Yanukovych's residence outside Kiev: The private zoo. Peacocks of course pic.twitter.com/pLNQ91w6rF

    The BBC Russian Service's Yuri Maloveryan in Ukraine

    tweets: Crowd waiting for the release of Yulia #Tymoshenko at the Kharkiv hospital. Unofficial info: it will take 2 h or more

    Crowd waiting for the release of Yulia Tymoshenko
    14:07: Breaking News

    President Yanukovych describes events in Ukraine as coup, reports the Interfax news agency.

    Duncan Crawford in Kiev

    retweets @Andriyak: This is apparently President Yanukovych's garage. Not a bad collection of motors... #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/LP3gyanQw7


    President Yanukovych says speaker Volodymyr Rybak was forced to resign because he was beaten.

    14:22: Breaking News

    Ukrainian TV channel ICTV has shown a pre-recorded address by the president, in which he says he needs to protect the people and that he will spare no effort to end the bloodshed. He says he will not leave Ukraine and will not resign, since he is a legitimately elected president. He describes the events in Ukraine as "vandalism, banditry and a coup".


    The heads of four Ukrainian security bodies have appeared in parliament to declare they would not take part in any conflict with the people. They represented the paratroop unit of the military, the "Berkut" anti-riot police, Alfa special operations unit and military intelligence.


    The president's address has been carried on several TV networks.

    The president's address has been carried on several TV networks.

    Fresh images from Kiev show an alleged sniper from the pro-government forces being beaten by anti-government protesters.

    An alleged marksman in the pro-government forces is beaten by anti-government protestors in Kiev.

    The Ukrainian website Zerkalo Nedeli says that Ukrainian Defence Minister Pavlo Lebedev has left for the Autonomous Republic of Crimea without appointing anyone to take over his duties, BBC Monitoring reports. The website also says Deputy Defence Minister Volodymyr Mozharovskiy is "destroying all documents relating to the redeployment of troops during the period of conflict".


    Ukraine's president says he will not resign and likens the country's political crisis to the rise of the Nazis.


    International Olympic President Thomas Bach says Ukraine's victory in the women's biathlon relay was the standout moment of the Sochi Winter Olympics and a powerful symbol of unity during the country's bloody political crisis. It was Ukraine's first Winter Olympics gold medal since 1994.


    In an interview, Ukraine's President Yanukovych says his car was shot at, although he showed no sign of injury. "I am not afraid. I feel sorrow for my country," he told UBR television. The interview is thought to have been conducted in the north-eastern city of Kharkiv.

    Rod McLeod
    Protesters play golf at president's residence

    tweets: UKR 19th Hole. Maidan self-defence members play golf in Yanukovych residence

    BBC's Emma Wells
    Families, protesters and the media stream into presidential residence outside Kiev

    tweets: Families, protesters and the media stream into presidential residence outside Kiev

    Yur Chernyy, Simferopol, Crimea

    Emails: We are being warned that we should leave the Crimea in the next day or two as there may be conflict. The Tartar community is strongly pro-Maidan, and there are strong separatist pro-Russian elements here. People are afraid of what will happen.


    Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calls on Germany, Poland and France to use their influence to ensure immediate fulfilment of 21 February agreement, Reuters reports.

    Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski

    tweets: No coup in Kiev. Gov. buildings got abandoned. Speaker of Rada [parliament] elected legally. Pres. Yanukovych has 24h to sign 04 Const. into law.


    The head of Ukraine's armed forces says the military will not get involved in the political unrest, Interfax-Ukraine news agency reports. Yuriy Ilyin, Chief of the General Staff, said in a statement: "The armed forces personnel remain at their normal peacetime locations and perform their routine functions."

    15:15: Breaking News

    Ukraine's parliament has voted to dismiss President Viktor Yanukovych and set elections for 25 May.

    The BBC's Emma Wells
    Yanukovych's residence outside Kiev

    tweets: "It's just like being in Monaco" - man on phone next to me at Yanukovych's residence outside Kiev

    A statue being taken down

    We now have video of protesters toppling statues of Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin in various Ukrainian cities.


    More on that decision by Ukraine's parliament to dismiss President Yanukovych. MPs declared him constitutionally unable to carry out his duties. After the vote, some then stood, applauded and sang the national anthem.


    BBC Monitoring reports that the vote to dismiss Mr Yanukovych was broadcast live by the parliamentary TV channel Rada. The decision was passed by a majority of 328 votes although it was not clear whether any MPs voted against it or abstained.

    15:45: Breaking News

    Ukraine opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has been freed from prison in the north-eastern city of Kharkiv.

    The BBC's Daniel Sandford

    tweets: Yulia Tymoshenko left the hospital, where she has been held prisoner, in a wheelchair and got into a black jeep


    Ms Tymoshenko, a former prime minister, is a fierce rival of President Yanukovych and her arrest in 2011 was widely seen as political revenge.

    Ewhen Chymera, Leeds
    Demonstrators gather in Leeds

    Ewhen Chymera from the Bradford Ukie Club tweeted this photo of demonstrators gathering in Leeds City Square.


    Yulia Tymoshenko waved to supporters from a car as she was driven out of the hospital in Kharkiv, a Reuters photographer at the scene said.


    Mr Yanukovych's spokeswoman, Hanna Herman, says he "does not accept" the decision to remove him from power, BBC Monitoring reports.


    UK Foreign Secretary William Hague issues a statement on developments in Ukraine: "Today I am in close touch with key partners over the extraordinary developments in Ukraine. Events in the last 24 hours show the will of Ukrainians to move towards a different future, and ensure that the voices of those who have protested courageously over several months are heard. "

    "We will work closely with our EU partners in support of a new government in Ukraine, as and when that is formed. In the meantime it is important that Ukraine's political leaders respond to events calmly and with determination to harness the united efforts of all Ukrainians to work together for a successful future."

    Gabriel Gatehouse, BBC Correspondent

    Ukrainians walking around the opulent residence, like in a theme park: "I'm in shock," said many. "So that's where all my tax money's gone"

    Jack Garland in Kiev

    tweets: Just told by protestor guarding Yanukovitch residence not to step on the grass... #kiev #maidan


    "We are the power!" Maidan commander Andriy Parubiy tells jubilant crowds. "Yulia Tymoshenko is heading here, and will be with us within hours!"


    Moments after being, Yulia Tymoshenko says "dictatorship has fallen"


    Here's the announcement of the removal of President Yanukovych, made by newly-appointed Ukraine parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchynov: "Taking into account that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych removed himself from fulfilling his constitutional duties, which threatens the governability of the state, Ukraine's territorial integrity and independence and leads to mass violation of the rights and freedoms of the citizens; given the circumstances of utter emergency, the Supreme Council of Ukraine, expressing the sovereign will of the Ukrainian people, decree the following. First, to establish that President Viktor Yanukovych has in an unconstitutional way removed himself from fulfilling his constitutional duties and fails to fulfil his duties. Second, in line with Clause 7 of Part 1 of Article 85 of the Ukrainian constitution, schedule an early presidential election for 25 May 2014. Third, this resolution comes into effect as soon as it is passed."=

    Alex Artiushchenko, Myrgorod, Ukraine

    told the BBC "People went onto to the streets to fight for their rights. It is their only chance to change the situation. No one trusted anyone. You cannot trust the police. I hope that it opens a new page in our history. Now this is the most important time. We need support from other countries".


    The BBC's Yuri Maloveryan watched ecstatic crowds greet Ms Tymoshenko as she was driven from prison.

    The BBC's Yuri Maloveryan watched ecstatic crowds greet Ms Tymoshenko as she was driven from prison.

    Ms Tymoshenko's release was a condition of the EU trade deal that Viktor Vanukovych rejected late last year - starting the protests that led to the current crisis.

    In April 2013 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that her pre-trial detention had been "arbitrary and unlawful", though the judges did not rule on the legality of her actual conviction for the 2009 gas deal which was seen as favouring Russia at Ukraine's expense. The court also did not explicitly support her claim that her detention was politically motivated, nor did they accept her allegations of physical maltreatment and medical neglect in prison.


    Ukraine's new parliamentary speaker was quoted as saying President Viktor Yanukovych had tried to board a plane to Russia but had been prevented from doing so and was now in the Donetsk region. "He tried to get on a plane to Russia but border officials stopped him," Interfax news agency quoted Oleksander Turchynov, an opponent of Yanukovych, as saying. The report could not immediately be confirmed.


    The UK says it will support a new government in Ukraine as soon as one is formed, and calls for an International Monetary Fund package to help the country recover. In a tweet, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said he had agreed with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier to push for a "vital" IMF financial package for debt-laden Ukraine. Just two months ago, Ukraine's President Yanukovych went to Moscow for Russian help to stave off financial crisis.

    The BBC's Daniel Sandford

    tweets: Interfax say Dobkin left Ukraine for Russia. Not much of a brave last stand.

    The Telegraph's Roland Oliphant

    tweets: For UK followers wanting to understand the outrage at Victor Yanukovych's extravagance: He has more duck houses than I can count. No joke.


    Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, has hailed the freeing of Yulia Tymoshenko.


    Ukraine's border guard service says that a leading governor and a mayor from the president's eastern base have fled to Russia. A spokesman for the border guard service, Oleh Slobodyan, told The Associated Press that Kharkiv regional governor Mikhaylo Dobkin and Kharkiv Mayor Hennady Kernes left Ukraine across the nearby Russian border on Saturday. Both are top allies of President Viktor Yanukovych, whose rule appeared increasingly under question.


    Vladimir Lukin, Russia's envoy sent to Ukraine to help the government negotiate an end to the crisis, has criticised the EU's envoys in Kiev, in a TV interview quoted by the Interfax news agency.


    Protesters standing in the rain react after the Ukrainian Parliament votes to eject President Yanukovych and hold early presidential elections.

    Protesters standing in the rain react after the Ukrainian Parliament votes to eject President Yanukovych

    Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko reacts after she was freed in Kharkiv.

    Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko reacts after she was freed in Kharkiv

    Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has arrived in Kiev, reports Interfax Ukraine, via BBC Monitoring.

    Duncan Crawford BBC News

    tweets: A huge shrine to the dead is now on the edge of Independence Sq. Hundreds of flowers and candles. #Kiev

    Shrine at Independence Square

    Yulia Tymoshenko, shown here on the plane from Kharkiv, is expected to address crowds in Independence Square.

    Yulia Tymoshenko on the plane from Kharkiv
    The BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse in Kiev

    tweets: I saw Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli. Admittedly it had been utterly trashed. But it wasn't as opulent as Yanukovich's. Yanuk had a galleon!


    One of the protesters, who walked freely around the president's residential compound earlier today, tells the BBC: "Before today, I can't believe that such a place can exist in Ukraine."


    Yulia Tymoshenko is on the way from Zhulyany airport in Kiev, to lay flowers at a memorial on Grushevsky Street, before going to nearby Independence Square.


    A 15-year-old protester, who laid flowers at Independence Square in memory of the dead, tells the BBC that Ukraine will have "no future" if Mr Yanukovych remains as president. "A lot of my friends have tried to go abroad, and they will do this if Yanukovych stays as president," she says.

    Sylvia, Reading, USA

    Emails: As a Ukrainian-American it is stunning for me to see what is happening in Ukraine. The Russian dictatorship directed from Moscow of Yanukovich has collapsed. It is now for eastern Ukraine to decide if they too are patriotic Ukrainians and accept the outcome in Kyiv or remain benighted and puppet slaves of Russia. History is being made in a great nation and nothing can stop it. Events are moving too rapidly. Civil war is still a possibility if the east does not accept reality that the old order of things (Imperial Russia) is dead. Glory to Ukraine! To the Heroes Glory!

    18:34: BBC Newsnight

    tweets: Has Yanukovich bottled it? @ggatehouse looks round the now deserted presidential palace #newsnight #kiev #Ukraine

    Yanukovych bottles
    Pavel, Kharkov, Ukraine

    Emails: Nationalists have won control of everything, the persecution of the 50% of the population who are ethnic Russian will not be far behind.

    18:45: Steve Rosenberg BBC News, Moscow

    tweets: Revolutionary events in #Ukraine. And what is State TV showing right now? The Olympics.


    Freed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, quoted by Interfax Ukraine at Kiev's Zhylyany airport, says all those behind the violence must be punished. She says: "We will not be worthy of the memory of the people who were killed and who opened the road for us, if we do not punish all those who deprived them of their lives, who took their lives, who beat the students, who beat our peaceful spiritual people."


    The freed former prime minister is thanking protesters in Hrushevskyy Street - one of the sites of the recent violent clashes. She will be in Independence Square shortly.

    Zach, Greece

    Emails: My wife comes from the most polluted city of Ukraine Mariupol where the predominant language is Russian. I find the cause just and this small revolution the only chance that this nation has in order to turn from a country of corruption and oligarchs to a modern European country. I salute the people that stood in the cold for 3 months and the heroes that died for their country. A lot of respect from Greece.

    Anthony Howlett, near Nikoleav, Ukraine

    Emails: As a frequent visitor to this country I am not surprised by recent events. The scale of corruption at all levels is self evident. This along with the demands of the opposition makes sense in this young democratic country. Those is power should be remind that in a democracy often times the other guy wins.

    Damian Bridgeman, Dublin

    Emails: As someone whose wife is Ukrainian and a regular visitor to Ukraine, I think the talk of a split in the country or civil war is very wide off the mark. Most ordinary Ukrainians find life tough with spiralling costs and have watched with cynicism as governments come and go, with a their various levels of corruption. I am no fan of Yanukovich but find the involvement of the far right in his demise extremely worrying. The peoples movement should distance themselves immediately from them.

    Matvey, Moscow, Russia

    Emails: The general view here in Russia both in the media and among locals is this: Why are the EU and US so keen to support armed rioters against a democratically elected government? Talk about hypocrisy.


    Yulia Tymoshenko, quoted by Interfax Ukraine, says: "My biggest happiness is returning to an absolutely new Ukraine. The era of dictatorship, criminality, clannishness and lawlessness has ended. A new era has begun today, an era of free people, a free country, a European country."


    Tymoshenko - in a wheelchair - thanks supporters in Hrushevskyy Street, near Independence Square. She says: "If you only knew how many times I wanted to be here, how many times I wanted to hold the hands of those who fought and never gave up. My dearest kin, you are the best in the world. There is no-one else, no-one. Glory to Ukraine!"


    The White House says the United States is closely monitoring developments in Ukraine. In a statement, the press secretary says the "unshakeable principle" is that the people of Ukraine decide their own future.


    The White House press secretary added: "We welcome constructive work in the Rada [parliament] and continue to urge the prompt formation of a broad, technocratic government of national unity. We welcome former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's release from a prison hospital today, and we wish her a speedy recovery as she seeks the appropriate medical treatment that she has long needed and sought."


    The White House press secretary added that the US continues to urge an end to violence by all sides and "a focus on peaceful, democratic dialogue, working pursuant to Ukraine's constitution and through its institutions of government".


    The US says it will work with Russia and the appropriate European and international organisations to support a "strong, prosperous, unified, and democratic" Ukraine.

    Anastasia, Montreal

    Emails: As a Ukrainian living abroad, I can't help but feel ashamed. Ashamed that a criminal political regime has become the face of my people. Ashamed that my people burn down their own cities and murder each other. There was great honour in these demonstrations back in November: the people wanted their voice to be heard. There is little honour in the way these demonstrations have been conducted. Or with whose help, the various radical, ultra-nationalist, xenophobe groups who are well armed and highly organized. I hope it's over now, but I fear for the future, looking at the chaos this has created.

    Yulia Tymoshenko

    Freed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko leans out the window of a car and greets supporters upon her arrival in Kiev.


    Ukrainian border guards prevent Vitaly Zakharchenko, Interior Minister in Yanukovych's government, from fleeing the country, Interfax Ukraine reports


    Arriving at Independence Square and addressing crowds, Yulia Tymoshenko says she recognises a "different Ukraine".


    The freed Tymoshenko says bullets fired by snipers into the bodies of young boys "entered the heart of everyone of us and that bullet will stay with each one of us".


    Tymoshenko tells the thousands gathered at Independence Square that she regrets she couldn't be with them during the protests. She says: "We simply cannot afford to pardon those who were allowed to send bullets into the hearts of our young men."


    The freed former prime minister begs for Ukraine's forgiveness. She apologises on behalf of all politicians - "no matter which parties, no matter which positions they took". She says: "I want to say on behalf of all of them that so far, politicians were not worthy of you, they were not worthy of a single drop of blood that you spilled for Ukraine."


    Tymoshenko tells the people of Ukraine - "my dear ones" - "you are an integral part of the new Ukraine".


    She says politics is "a big theatre" and that she will let the public know what is happening "back stage".


    Ultra-radical Ukrainian opposition group Right Sector says it will continue protests in Kiev despite parliament's vote to oust Yanukovych, Reuters reports. "The Right Sector will not disperse," the group says in a statement. "It is not the time to celebrate. Now we must be more united than before."

    Olenalands, Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Emails: As a Ukrainian who took part in the demonstrations in 1990-1991, as a Ukrainian living abroad, as a Ukrainian who has tried to distance herself from Ukraine represented by Yanukovych and his regime for the past years I cannot but feel proud of those I couldn't join on Maidan this week. Weeping for the fallen, hoping for the living. Glory to Ukraine! To the Heroes Glory!

    Duncan Crawford BBC News

    tweets: Extraordinary scenes in Independence Sq tonight. Thousands holding candles n phones aloft in memory of the dead.

    Independence Square, Kiev

    Tymoshenko urges Ukraine to continue protesting. "I want you to feel your strength so you can change Ukraine, and you can do this, you can change Ukraine," she says.

    Yulia Tymoshenko

    Addressing the crowds at Independence Square, Yulia Tymoshenko pledges "nobody will betray you" and "I am coming back to work".

    Kirk Gordon, Zaporizhia, Ukraine

    Emails: : As a Canadian experiencing life here and witnessing the cynicism and despair of so many good and deserving people, it is my view that this government has cheated and abused the people for too long and deserves to fall. Violence and death are the tragedy of this story, and whether the west or east played a major role in recent events is not the issue today as the Ukrainian people now have a chance to rebuild and save their country. A criminal oligarchy has been taken down, which is no affront to any democratic principles or values.

    Yulia Tymoshenko

    The former prime minister, now a free woman, tells the thousands gathered in Independence Square that she will be their "guarantee" to fight against corruption.

    Anton Matviienko, Kiev, Ukraine

    Emails: Tymoshenko is a thief and supposed to stay jailed!

    Duncan Crawford BBC News

    tweets: Interviewing a toddler in Independence Sq. 2 year old Ivanka joined in chants singing "glory to the heroes".

    Toddler at Independence Square, Kiev
    Martin Nunn, Kiev. Ukraine

    Emails: How sad, how truly sad to watch Tymoshenko trying so hard to rouse the crowd on Maidan whilst not knowing that the world she knew has changed beyond all recognition. She is now an out of date politician in a world she does not understand. If she runs for the Presidency I think she will unlikely get past the first round, better that she should just retire gracefully and write her memoires as there is no place in Ukrainian politics for her today.

    Anti-government protesters

    Anti-government protesters light candles in memory of demonstrators who have lost their lives.

    Duncan Crawford BBC News

    tweets: Response to Yulia Tymoshenko's speech is quite mixed. Many in crowd sceptical saying they don't want her to be the next President. #Ukraine


    There are reports someone in the crowd at Independence Square may have suffered a stroke during Yulia Tymoshenko's speech. Organisers interrupted the former prime minister a few times during her address to appeal for a doctor to come forward.

    M Hassan, Kharkiv

    Emails: As the Tigress is back in game [Yulia Tymoshenko] the opposition is more stronger and influential now. The world and people of Ukraine will see how these leaders will unite to form government and give a new way to make Ukraine a better place to live. I support the people of Ukraine and salute their willpower to do something to get a better life.

    Paul, Kiev, Ukraine

    Emails: As I have been living in Kiev for 6 years now I believe my opinion is more valid than some other people from around the world.......quite simple I want to tell people from Russia and the Ukrainian diaspora, that this regime change in Ukraine today is 100% NOT the actions of radicals, extremist or fascists. It was normal people of all ages. I am a neutral and have seen it all with my own eyes!!!!!


    Interfax Ukraine news agency is reporting that border security officials prevented a charter flight with Viktor Yanukovych aboard, leaving Donetsk. An aide to the chairman of the State Border Service, Serhiy Astakhov, reportedly told the agency that a charter flight tried to leave Donetsk airport "without the required border clearance". According to the border guards, Yanukovych was on board.

    Independence Square, Kiev

    While many of the tens of thousands of people in Independence Square cheered Ms Tymoshenko, the BBC's David Stern in Kiev says she remains a divisive figure in the opposition - partly blamed by many Ukrainians for chaos after the Orange Revolution. The BBC's Tim Wilcox, in the Maidan, saw dozens walk off during her speech, saying that she did not represent them.

    President Viktor Yanukovych

    Ousted President Viktor Yanukovych is reportedly holed-up somewhere in his power base in eastern Ukraine. He has since tried to leave the country, reports Interfax Ukraine, which said he was stopped by the State Border Service.

    Carl Bildt

    Sweden's foreign minister tweets: New Ukraine government needs both radical economic reform package and radical international support efforts. Need to move fast.

    Independence Square

    Anti-government protesters appeared solemn at the huge gathering at Independence Square.


    As Yulia Tymoshenko addressed the crowd, she was joined on the stage by Arseniy Yatsenyuk (second right), the parliamentary leader of her Fatherland party and its main negotiator during the protests. The 39-year-old was recently mentioned in an embarrassing leaked call between the US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, in which the two spoke of him as a possible future leader, while disparaging the internationally more famous opposition leader, former boxer Vitali Klitschko. Read more about the key opposition leaders here.

    Ms Tymoshenko on stage, surrounded by family and other opposition figures

    Ms Tymoshenko is in a wheelchair after suffering chronic back problems during her two-year imprisonment. She had long requested to be allowed to go to Germany to receive treatment - something Ukraine's parliament voted against in November last year. That vote helped put the government on a collision course with pro-EU forces in the country, as her release was a condition of the EU trade deal the president rejected shortly after, prompting the start of the protests and, ultimately, his current predicament. You can read more about Ms Tymoshenko here.

    Ms Tymoshenko on stage in a whelchair

    Speaking to the crowds in the Maidan, a Ukrainian MP says today's parliamentary resolutions have come into force. Businessman and unaffiliated MP Petro Poroshenko said that now the resolutions have been published in the parliamentary newspaper Holos Ukrayiny, they have come into effect. "Today all Ukraine has shown that it is with Maidan," he said.

    Duncan Crawford in Kiev

    tweets: A Syrian flag held aloft in Independence Sq tonight by a man from Aleppo. #Ukraine #Syria

    A Syrian flag in Independence Square

    A Ukrainian border service spokesperson told AFP news agency that aides to President Yanukovych tried to bribe border guards to let him fly out of the country abroad a private plane. But the border guards at Donetsk airport refused to let him go.

    Daniel Sandford in Ukraine

    tweets: Scuffles in Kharkiv

    Scuffles in Kharkiv

    Kharkiv's Lenin statue is not the only one to have attracted hostile attention. Anti-government protesters around Ukraine have attacked statues of Lenin - symbols of Soviet Russia.

    The BBC's Kevin Bishop

    tweets: Central Kharkiv - defenders of Lenin in standoff with Euromaidan supporters. Police keeping sides apart.

    Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt

    tweets: The lesson of revolutions is the need to immediately focus on the day after. And the day thereafter. Otherwise risk everything goes wrong.


    The Ukrainian health ministry issues a statement on its website saying 88 people are now known to have been killed in clashes in Kiev since 18 February.


    Thank you for joining us on this live page today. We leave you with some extraordinary pictures - from an extraordinary day - from Viktor Yanukovych's residence, which has become something of an attraction for curious Ukrainians. You can follow ongoing developments on the BBC News website.

    A ship at Viktor Yanukovych's residence Few government leaders can boast a galleon at their official home
    The president's monogrammed golf bag With a golf course on site, President Yanukovych had monogrammed golf bags
    An anti-government activist plays golf With possibly more enthusiasm than technique, this anti-government protester gives golf a try


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