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Ukraine president 'has no plans to quit'

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Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych denied yesterday that he planned to resign in response to the violence that left nearly 100 people dead in the anti-government unrest.

"I am not leaving the country for anywhere. I do not intend to resign. I am the legitimately elected president," he told a local television station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

The embattled leader said he felt that his own security and the safety "of people close to me" was being threatened by protesters, who had taken control of large parts of central Kiev.

He added that he had been given "security guarantees" by international mediators who helped him and the opposition sign a political pact on Friday aimed at ending the country's three-month crisis.

"My car was shot at. But I have no fear," Mr Yanukovych said.

He added that "everything happening today can primarily be described as vandalism, banditry and a coup d'etat. That is my assessment".

"This is not an opposition," Mr Yanukovych added. "These are bandits."

Earlier, Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) opposition party lawmaker Mykola Katerynchuk had told reporters that the president said he would resign in a conversation with protest leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

"Yatsenyuk demanded in the name of Maidan that Yanukovych resign," the lawmaker said, in reference to the anti-government protests that have been raging on Kiev's Independence Square. - AFP.