KIEV: Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigned on Tuesday in a bid to ease Ukraine's deadly two-month crisis as lawmakers began an extraordinary session aimed at adopting crucial reforms.
"I have taken a personal decision to ask the president of Ukraine to accept my resignation from the post of prime minister," Azarov said in a statement.
Azarov said that he hoped his resignation would create "an additional possibility for a political compromise to peacefully resolve the conflict."
"The government has done everything during this standoff for a peaceful resolution of the conflict," he said, adding that his cabinet had been forced to work in "extreme conditions".
"Today the most important thing is to preserve the unity and integrity of Ukraine. This is far more important than any personal plans or ambitions. That is why I have taken this decision," he said.
The special parliament session in Kiev is expected to debate ways of ending the crisis, including abolishing draconian anti-protest laws that have angered the opposition.
Lawmakers suspended the session for a pause to agree an agenda for the day just minutes after starting with the national anthem and a one-minute silence for those killed during clashes in Kiev. (AFP)