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Thousands Rally Again In Kyiv, Amid Terror Warning

Ukrainians rally on Independence Square during the continuing protest in Kyiv on February 9.
Ukrainians rally on Independence Square during the continuing protest in Kyiv on February 9.
Thousands of antigovernment protesters in Ukraine have gathered for another mass demonstration after President Viktor Yanukovych jetted back to Kyiv from private talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Opposition parties put the number of protesters in Kyiv’s Independence Square on February 9 at 50,000.

Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko called for urgent constitutional reform to reduce presidential powers.

"Maidan is not just in the capital of Ukraine, Maidan has to be in every small city," Klitschko added.

"And if people say, 'We don't want to live by these rules', then this is one way to change the power and to put pressure on the president."

One protester on Independence Square in Kyiv told Reuters, "To be honest I do not believe in any peaceful solution because we see that protesters have been standing here peacefully for a long time but Yanukovych has not paid attention to this."

Yanukovych’s meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony on February 8 came amid intensifying pressure from Ukraine’s opposition for constitutional reforms and early elections.

Neither Russian nor Ukrainian officials would disclose details of the conversation except to say it was brief.

A spokesman for Yanukovych said it was not an official bilateral meeting.

Yanukovych had been expected to discuss with Putin the fate of a $15 billion Russian bailout whose delivery effectively has been frozen until the formation of a new government.

Terrorism Warning

On February 9, Ukraine's security agency warned of an alleged heightened risk of terrorism.

It said it was putting its counterterrorism units on alert, and that international airports, train and bus stations, and power plants were particularly at risk.

It also warned the seizure of government buildings would be viewed as manifestations of terrorism.

Also on February 9, some 20 Ukrainian activists organized a flash mob in Independence Square to express support for Dozhd TV, a Russian independent television station that is facing closure.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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