The Ukrainian parliament has voted to dismiss President Viktor Yanukovich and has set the date for a new presidential election on May 25. Earlier protesters seized Yanukovich's Kyiv office on Saturday after the president fled the capital to his stronghold in the north-eastern city of Kharkiv, as the pro-Russian leader's grip on power rapidly eroded following bloodshed in the Ukrainian capital.
Parliamentarians took the decision to declare him constitutionally unable to carry out his functions, having left Kyiv. Parliament also voted to free his arch-rival, jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Her daughter said Tymoshenko was already free under Ukrainian law but still in the hospital where she has been held for treatment.
The former prime minister waved to supporters from a car as she was driven out of the hospital in Kharkiv, a Reuters photographer said.
Tymoshenko, 53, was jailed in 2011 for abuse of office over a gas deal with Russia but her supporters and Western leaders say her trial was politically motivated.
The newly-installed interior minister declared that the police were now behind the protesters they had fought for days, giving central Kyiv the look of a war zone with 77 people killed, while central authority crumbled in western Ukraine.
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