Embattled Ukraine President Leaves Kiev After Bowing to Protesters' Demands

Image: A picture of Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich is seen on the ground in Kiev
A picture of Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich is seen on the ground in Kiev on Friday.STRINGER / Reuters

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Ukraine’s embattled president reportedly left the capital for his support base in Ukraine's Russia-leaning east, just hours after he made huge concessions aimed at ending deadly violence that has been shaking the country for weeks.

Late on Friday, a senior State Department official said President Viktor Yanukovych was in Kharkiv for a meeting.

"It is not unusual after he makes large political moves to visit where his base is," the official said.

Although he had been due to visit Kharkiv, Yanukovych's exact whereabouts were not known. His residence outside the capital was empty and unguarded and journalists were entering freely, according to local reports.

On Friday, Yanukovych signed a deal with Ukraine's main opposition leaders brokered to end the deadly violence that put the country on the brink of civil war.

He agreed to early elections and to surrender some of his powers after 77 people were killed as a geopolitical tug-of-war over whether Ukraine should embrace the West or Russia turned violent this week.

Meanwhile, reports swirled that protesters had claimed control of parts of the city.

Christopher Miller, a GlobalPost journalist and an editor at the Kyiv Post, reported that there were no troops in sight.