KIEV, February 5 (RIA Novosti) – A total of 259 pro-EU protesters will have criminal cases against them dropped under an amnesty aimed at defusing the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine, the country’s chief prosecutor said Wednesday.
“These are people who were declared crime suspects,” Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka said.
“Some 150 were held under arrest, while others were under house arrest or under oath not to leave the area,” he said.
Last week, President Viktor Yanukovych signed into law bills declaring an amnesty for demonstrators and canceling new unpopular anti-protest laws, in a move that marked his first real concession since mass anti-government protests erupted in November. The demonstrations followed the president’s decision to back away from planned association agreements with the EU in favor of closer ties with Russia.
The street protests threw the country into a political crisis, with hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians attending rallies demanding the dissolution of the government and calling for early elections. Last week, the prime minister resigned, prompting the collapse of the government.
The largely peaceful demonstrations in Kiev spilled over into violent clashes between police and protesters last month, and at least two people have been killed.
Yanukovych has said he is prepared to hold early presidential and parliamentary elections in the country if no other solution can be found to the political crisis.