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Ukraine leader warns defiant regions amid protests

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's president is warning defiant western regions of the country, which have openly supported anti-government protests of recent weeks.

President Viktor Yanukovych has faced more than a month of mass demonstrations across the country since he decided to ditch an EU deal in favor of forging closer ties to Russia. Officials in three western regions have taken unpaid leave as a means of protest against the government, and the mayor of Lviv near the Polish border warned that his police force may defend protesters if central authorities send forces to disperse demonstrators.

Meeting with members of his party on Thursday, Yanukovch said, "We will never allow any legal nihilism or separatism." Protests, meanwhile, are continuing in the capital, Kiev.

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