Will Englund & William Booth
February 21, 2014
Ukraine pulled back from the brink of chaos Friday when President Viktor Yanukovych signed a deal with opposition leaders to dilute his powers, form a caretaker government and hold early elections. But the accord appeared likely to be a hard sell among the thousands of demonstrators who vowed that nothing short of his ouster would get them off the streets.
The agreement represents a remarkable, humiliating fall for Yanukovych, whose decision to turn away from closer ties with the European Union and toward Russia sparked protests that began here peacefully in November but turned increasingly violent.
The atmosphere remained tense late Friday in Independence Square, the epicenter of the protests. When one of the opposition leaders, former boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, told the crowds this was the best deal they could get, one of the protesters grabbed the microphone and demanded that Yanukovych resign Saturday morning or face the wrath of the people.