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February 21, 2014 AT 4:24 AM
Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych said Friday he would hold early elections and give up some of his powers in an attempt to end the crisis which has put the country on the brink of civil war. "I announce the steps that should be made to restore peace and to avoid further victims of the stand-off," he said in a statement addressed to "compatriots." He also backed a return to the 2004 constitution, which further limits presidential powers in favor of parliament, and agreed to form a "government of national confidence" in the wake of this week's clashes. At least 77 people have been killed since Tuesday and more than 580 injured as a geopolitical tug-of-war over whether Ukraine should embrace the West or Russia turned violent.