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Ukraine Axes Berkut Riot Police Unit Accused of Killings

A feared riot police force that many accuse of attacks on anti-government protesters has been disbanded, Ukraine's new interior minister announced Wednesday.

Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page that he has signed a decree to disband the force known as Berkut.

Anti-government protesters have blamed Berkut for violent attacks against a peaceful demonstrators protesting ousted President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to ditch closer ties with the European Union and turn to Moscow instead.

Image: Berkut members in Kiev on Feb. 22
Members of a Berkut unit in Kiev, Ukraine, on Feb. 22. YANNIS BEHRAKIS / Reuters

Ukraine has been consumed by a three-month-long political crisis.

Yanukovych and protest leaders signed an agreement last week to end the conflict that left more than 80 people dead in just a few days in Kiev.

Shortly after, Yanukovych fled the capital for his powerbase in eastern Ukraiune but his exact whereabouts are unknown.

- The Associated Press