KIEV, Ukraine — 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 of 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. Allies are deserting him one by one, even as a presidential aide said Sunday that he's hanging on to his presidential duties.
The newly emboldened parliament, now dominated by the opposition, struggled Sunday to work out who is in charge of the country and its ailing economy. Fears percolated that some regions such as the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea might try to break away. Three months of political crisis have left scores of people dead in a country of strategic importance to the United States, European nations and Russia.