A protester guards the Ukrainian government building in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/ Marko Drobnjakovic)
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A top Ukrainian opposition figure assumed presidential powers Sunday, plunging Ukraine into new uncertainty after a deadly political standoff -- and boosting long-jailed Yulia Tymoshenko's chances at a return to power.The whereabouts and legitimacy of President Viktor Yanukovych are unclear after he left the capital for his support base in eastern Ukraine. He maintains that parliament's decisions in recent days are illegal, and a top presidential aide told The Associated Press on Sunday that he will continue to fulfill his presidential duties.Ukraine is deeply divided between eastern regions that are largely pro-Russian and western areas that widely detest Yanukovych and long for closer ties with the European Union.The Kiev protest camp at the center of the anti-Yanukovych movement filled with more and more dedicated demonstrators Sunday, setting up new tents after two days that saw a stunning reversal of fortune in Ukraine's political crisis.Putin had developed a productive working relationship with Tymoshenko when she was Ukraine's prime minister.Presidential aide Hanna Herman told The Associated Press on Sunday that Yanukovych was in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv as of Saturday night and plans to stay in power.
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