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Ukrainian Opposition Blocks First Parliament Session of New Year

Ukrainian opposition parties blocked the first parliament session of 2014, reiterating demands for the government to be dismissed and police to be held accountable for what they call a crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Speaker Volodymyr Rybak announced a break until 4 p.m. today in the capital, Kiev, to allow talks with parliamentary groups in his office. He said yesterday that lawmakers may adopt this year’s budget -- due for a vote in two days -- without deliberations should opposition block the legislature, the Unian newswire reported.

President Viktor Yanukovych is seeking to weather the biggest street demonstrations in almost a decade, which began after he snubbed a European integration accord in favor of a $15 billion bailout from Russia. Opposition blocked parliament last month having failed to oust the government of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov in a Dec. 3 confidence vote.

Opposition leaders including former world heavyweight boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko object to the draft budget, particularly increased spending on law enforcement.

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