KIEV, Ukraine -- Embattled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich acknowledged the opposition's victory Friday by initiating early presidential and parliamentary elections and a plan to form a coalition government.
"There are no such steps which we ought not to take together to restore peace in Ukraine."
"As president of Ukraine and guarantor of the constitution, I am fulfilling today my duty before the people, before Ukraine and before Lord God for the sake of preserving the state, in the name of preserving human lives, in the name of peace and calm on our soil," read the statement. It provided no details on how and when the proposed measures would be implemented.
The announcement came on the first peaceful day this week, after the most violent week in the history of post-Soviet Ukraine in which more than 100 people were killed, most of them protesters, and hundreds were injured in Kiev and across the country.
"Yanukovich has deceived many times before, so we will only believe him when he steps down."
Opposition leader and former world heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko expressed impatience with the lack of specifics in Yanukovich's statement.
But Alexander Yefremov, leader of the ruling party faction in parliament, told Interfax that the agreement between the president and the opposition provides for a September vote on the required changes in the constitution and for new elections in December.