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Ukrainian tensions spread to second major city

Pesident calls special parliament session

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    Protesters throw tires in a fire as they clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday. Health officials and police said that two people died of gunshot wounds during the clashes Wednesday morning.

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    Police detain a protester during clashes in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. City health officials and police said that two people died of gunshot wounds during the clashes Wednesday morning. But the opposition charges that as many as five people have died. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak)

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    Police detain a protester during clash in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. City health officials and police said that two people died of gunshot wounds during the clashes Wednesday morning. But the opposition charges that as many as five people have died. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak)

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  • Ukraine-Protest-80

    Police detain protesters during a clash in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. City health officials and police said that two people died of gunshot wounds during the clashes Wednesday morning. But the opposition charges that as many as five people have died. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak)

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  • Ukraine-Protest-81

    Protesters clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. City health officials and police said that two people died of gunshot wounds during the clashes Wednesday morning. But the opposition charges that as many as five people have died. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

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    A protester throws a Molotov cocktail during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. City health officials and police said that two people died of gunshot wounds during the clashes Wednesday morning. But the opposition charges that as many as five people have died. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

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    A pro-European Union activist stands near a barricade on Independence Square during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. Police in Ukraine's capital on Wednesday tore down protester barricades and chased demonstrators away from the site of violent clashes, hours after two protesters died after being shot, the first violent deaths in protests that are likely to drastically escalate the political crisis that has gripped Ukraine since late November. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

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    An Orthodox priest prays in front of police officers as they block a street after clashes in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. City health officials and police said that two people died of gunshot wounds during the clashes Wednesday morning. But the opposition charges that as many as five people have died. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

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  • Ukraine-Protests-37

    Protesters clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. City health officials and police said that two people died of gunshot wounds during the clashes Wednesday morning. But the opposition charges that as many as five people have died. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

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    A police officer aims his shotgun during clashes with protesters in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. Three people have died in clashes between protesters and police in the Ukrainian capital Wednesday, according to medics on the site, in a development that will likely escalate Ukraine's two month-long political crisis. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

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    Protesters throw rocks at police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. City health officials and police said that two people died of gunshot wounds during the clashes Wednesday morning. But the opposition charges that as many as five people have died. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

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Protesters throw tires in a fire as they clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday. Health officials and police said that two people died of gunshot wounds during the clashes Wednesday morning.

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KIEV, Ukraine  — Tensions in Ukraine spread far from its embattled capital today as hundreds of people in the city of Lviv stormed into the regional governor’s office and forced him to write a letter of resignation.

Kiev, the capital, has been the epicenter of two months of protests against President Viktor Yanukovych after he turned away from closer ties to the 28-nation European Union in favor of getting a bailout loan from Russia. The protests have turned violent this week as pro-EU demonstrators feel Yanukovych has ignored their demands to resign, call a new election and rescind his harsh laws against protesters.

Lviv is one of the major cities in western Ukraine, where support for Yanukovych is thin. The governor, Oleh Salo, who was appointed by Yanukovych, later insisted he acted under duress and was rescinding his resignation.

Yanukovych today called a special parliament session for next week to discuss the tensions that have spiraled after at least two protesters were killed Wednesday in violent clashes with police. Opposition leaders had demanded that Yanukovych must make concessions by late today or face renewed clashes between protesters and police in Kiev.

However, there was no indication that Yanukovych’s call represented an inclination to compromise with opposition protesters, since his backers hold a majority of seats in parliament.

As three opposition leaders prepared to hold another round of talks with Yanukovych today, protesters in Kiev extinguished burning barricades shielding them from police, enforcing a tenuous peace ahead of the evening deadline. The fires had coated downtown Kiev with thick black smoke.

The fragile truce came after three main opposition leaders urged protesters late Wednesday to refrain from violence for 24 hours until their ultimatum to Yanukovych expired.

The new laws against protests triggered violence Sunday near the large tent camp on Kiev’s main square where protesters have stood their ground around the clock for nearly two months.

According to the presidential web site, Yanukovych told parliament speaker Volodymyr Rybank the special session was necessary because “the situation demands an urgent settlement.”

The Ukrainian parliament is known for dramatically contentious sessions that sometimes erupt into fistfights between legislators.

There was no immediate response to Yanukovych’s parliament move from opposition leaders, who were waiting to be received by Yanukovych. But his staunch ally, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, has assumed a harsh stance against the protesters, calling their actions an attempted coup d’etat.

“It’s not the opposition, it’s rebels who are acting against us,” Azarov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

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