By Mick Krever, CNN
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych may be opening to the idea of early presidential elections, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt told CNN’s Hala Gorani, in for Christiane Amanpour, on Thursday.
“There’s a lot of discussion this evening about early elections, and I understand that there were some suggestions made by Yanukovych to the three visiting European foreign ministers who were here,” Pyatt said on the phone from Kiev, referring to the visit of the French, German, and Polish foreign ministers to the Ukrainian capital.
The next elections are currently scheduled for 2015. Yanukovych would be reversing position were he to support early elections.
U.S. Ambassador urges calm in Ukraine
Pyatt said that the U.S. does not believe that Yanukovych should step down, as the opposition wants, but did say that a new government should be formed.
“Our position is the President Yankukovych needs to lead his country into a new future, and he needs to do so through the vehicle of a new government, change to the constitution and the political order.”
More than 100 people died in the fighting Thursday, protest medical officials said. The government didn't release its own figures.
“It’s very clear that for the United States the preponderance of responsibility rests with President Yankuovych. He is the head of government. That being said, we have been very clear in condemning the violence on both sides.”
Pyatt said that he had spoken with many “political and business community leaders,” and they all agreed that Thursday was “the most tragic day in the history of Ukraine.”
“Decisive action is needed now to restore stability and peace in the capital,” he told Gorani.
“It’s going to take very strong signals that those responsible for the atrocious violence of the past weeks will be held fully accountable, and a new technocratic government, which is multi-party, reflects the opposition and the governing Party of Regions.”