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Ukrainian president goes on sick leave as political crisis rages on

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has gone off on sick leave as the country’s political crisis rages on. This comes as protesters continue to defy the terms of an amnesty offered by the government.

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A statement posted on President Yanukovych's website on Thursday said he would be off work indefinitely after coming down with flu-like symptoms.

"The president of Ukraine has been officially registered as sick with an acute respiratory ailment and a high temperature," the statement said.

There was no immediate indication of how long the president would be off the job or whether he would be able to continue to work.

The news came as protesters continued to occupy government buildings in the capital, Kyiv on Thursday. This was in defiance of a new amnesty law passed by Ukraine's parliament late on Wednesday, which offered

an amnesty

to some of the hundreds of people arrested in connection with two months of anti-government protests. The amnesty offered was based on the condition that the protesters leave most of the government offices they have been occupying.

Defiant opposition

The former world heavyweight boxing champion-turned opposition politician, Vitali Klitschko, said the protesters wouldn't leave until the government granted an unconditional amnesty and called snap elections. They are also demanding the president's resignation.

This was just the latest in a series of concessions made by the government over the past week, aimed at defusing the current political standoff.

Earlier in the week, the government had repealed a recently passed law that had classified many forms of protest as criminal acts.

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov

and his cabinet also stepped down, but Yanukovych has yet to name a successor.

The anti-government protests broke out late last November after Yanukovych balked at signing a highly anticipated association agreement, which would have deepened political ties with the European Union.

pfd/kms ( Reuters, AP, dpa)

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