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Ukraine deal takes effect, but protesters remain in place

Friday - 2/21/2014, 12:30pm  ET

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- An agreement between Ukraine's president and the opposition is taking effect.

The country's parliament has voted to restore a previous constitution that limits presidential powers -- a move that was part of the agreement signed today. The country's president had changed the constitution in 2010 to increase his powers. Although he retains an apparent majority in parliament, his powers are now significantly reduced.

Lawmakers also approved an amnesty for protesters involved in violence during a months-long standoff over Ukraine's future.

The deal calls for presidential elections to be held this year, instead of in March of next year. And Ukrainian authorities are supposed to name a new government, including opposition figures, within 10 days.

Despite today's agreement, protesters who are angry over police violence are showing no signs of abandoning their camp in central Kiev. Speakers on a stage in Independence Square have said they're not happy, and didn't get what they wanted. And the mood in Kiev remains tense.

The standoff worsened sharply this week with scores of people killed and hundreds of others wounded in the worst violence Ukraine has seen since it became independent in 1991.

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144-a-14-(Orysia Lutsevych (oh-RIH'-sah loo-TSEY'-vihch), research fellow, Russia and Eurasia, Chatham House, in AP interview)-"difficult to sell"-Analyst Orysia Lutsevych says Ukraine's president needs the backing of protest leaders, the Maidan council, to sell his concessions to the people. (21 Feb 2014)

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145-a-17-(Orysia Lutsevych (oh-RIH'-sah loo-TSEY'-vihch), research fellow, Russia and Eurasia, Chatham House, in AP interview)-"a political compromise"-Analyst Orysia Lutsevych says constitutional change offers the best option for Ukraine. (21 Feb 2014)

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GRAPHICSBANK: An anti-government protester takes a break at Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, on texture, with text bar, partial graphic (21 Feb 2014)

APPHOTO MOSB113: Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, second right, and Ukrainian opposition leaders, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, right, Vitali Klitschko, left, Oleg Tjagnibok, second left, sit at a table during a signing ceremony of an agreement in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014. Ukraine's opposition leaders signed a deal Friday with the president and European mediators for early elections and a new government in hopes of ending a deadly political crisis. Russian officials immediately criticized the deal and protesters angry over police violence showed no sign of abandoning their camp in central Kiev. (AP Photo/Andrei Mosienko, Presidential Press Service, Pool) (21 Feb 2014)

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APPHOTO XEL112: An opposition supporter stands at a police barricade near the Presidential office in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014. Ukraine's president gave in to pressure from European diplomats and offered concessions Friday to defuse a crisis that has divided his country and left scores dead. Shots rang out near Kiev's protest camp and protesters fought among themselves about what to do next. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky) (21 Feb 2014)

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