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Klitschko: 'Functioning Government' First Priority

Image: Ukrainian opposition leader and head of the UDAR party Klitschko speaks during a news conference in Kiev
Ukrainian opposition leader and head of the UDAR (Punch) party Vitaly Klitschko speaks during a news conference in Kiev on Feb. 23, 2014. DAVID MDZINARISHVILI / Reuters

The face of the Ukraine uprising took the responsibility of assuring Kiev and the nation on Sunday that peace could follow the chaos — with work and reform.

"In these days the most important thing is to form a functioning government," said Vitali Klitschko, one of the opposition leaders and a former world boxing champion.

In an address to the media, Klitschko said rescuing the economy, “which is in a very bad shape," was a top priority.

Klitschko denied that the uprising that prompted President Viktor Yanukovych to flee to an unknown location was a coup. “We tried to find him all day yesterday,” Klitschko said, adding, “He left the country without a president."

With the president elsewhere, Klitschko said "Parliament is the last legal official institution in Ukraine."

Klitschko said he wanted to focus on reform instead of elections, which he said will take place May 25. However, he said he would be involved in those elections, and “If people decide it, I take responsibility" of the presidency.

— Elisha Fieldstadt

Reuters contributed to this report.