Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovich has offered the post of Prime Minister to one of the opposition leaders in apparent effort to head off mounting violent protests against his rule.
"The president of Ukraine has offered the post of prime minister to Arseny Yatsenyuk. If the latter agrees to take the post, the President will take the decision on the resignation of the government,” Justice Minister Elena Lukash said.
Another opposition leader, Vitaly Klitchko, was offered the post of deputy Prime Minister for humanitarian affairs.
The offer of high government posts to opposition leaders came as protests spread from the capital Kyiv to provinces, with a dozen government offices in Western and central Ukraine stormed and occupied by protesters.
There was no immediate comment from the opposition leaders. Accepting Mr. Yanukovych’s offer may cost them the support of protesters who have been clashing with police in the past few days, demanding the resignation of the President and early elections.
Mr. Yanukovich also promised to consider changes to the Ukrainian Constitution, to devolve some of the sweeping presidential powers to the government and the Parliament.
The Ukrainian President made his offers at his third meeting with the opposition leaders on Saturday evening.
A spokesman for Mr. Yanukovich said the opposition leaders agreed to persuade protesters to abandon their camps in Kyiv set up two months ago after the government refused to sign a free trade pact with the European Union.