Anti-Government Protests Spreading Throughout Western Ukraine

About 2,000 protesters had stormed the regional administration in Lviv, located near the Polish border.

As anti-government protesters stormed regional administration buildings around western Ukraine, one governor quit, but then disowned his resignation letter, saying that it had been signed under duress.

Lviv Governor Oleh Salo, who was appointed by President Viktor Yanukovych in October, said that protesters had threatened him with violence to make him sign his resignation on Thursday, but that he remained "faithful to the Ukrainian president," UNN news agency reported.

Earlier on Thursday, the regional administration in Lviv, located near the Polish border, said that about 2,000 protesters had stormed their building and that Salo had resigned.

Protesters also broke into a regional administration building in another western Ukrainian city, Rivne, and demand the resignation of Governor Vasily Bertash, Lenta.ru reported.

Bertash — who had received an Order of Merit award from Yanukovych a day earlier — was reportedly abroad on vacation at the time.

In the western city of Ivano-Frankivsk, about 500 protesters surrounded the regional administration building, shouting "Shame!" and "Out," the local Firtka news agency reported.

Governor Vasily Chudnov went outside to try to speak to the protesters, but was roundly booed, the report said.

The resentment of the government's decision to abandon a planned association deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Moscow in November is particularly strong in western Ukraine, where pro-European sentiment is stronger.

Eastern Ukrainian regions are populated mostly by Russian-speaking Ukrainians and ethnic Russians, who tend to look more favorably toward Moscow.

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