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Ukrainian 'tempers are heating up'

Ukrainian opposition leaders have warned that tempers are heating up and the president must take action to resolve the country's protracted political crisis.

Vitali Klitschko, the former heavyweight boxing champion who is one of the top figures in Ukraine's mass protests, met with President Viktor Yanukovych as parliament held a session but took no action.

Over two months of intense protests have put Yanukovych under substantial pressure. But he has made no moves to work with the opposition since last week, when he pushed parliament to pass a measure providing amnesty to many arrested protesters if demonstrators vacate buildings they occupy.

Protesters rejected that condition and continue to seek Yanukovych's resignation and an early election.

"The temperature of society is growing and I told the president we have to immediately take a decision," Klitschko said after the meeting.

Another top protest figure, Oleh Tyahnybok, echoed his warning.

"I say it now: if they ignore the street, it means the street will react to this," Tyahnybok said.

Protests that began in late November have drawn substantial crowds to downtown Kiev, sometimes numbering above 100,000 people, and an extensive protest tent camp has been set up on the capital's main square. The protests turned violent in mid-January when demonstrators clashed with police for four days, raining stones and firebombs on riot police and setting their vehicles afire.

AP

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