Ukraine repeals tough laws, army calls for ‘urgent steps’

KIEV: Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych scrapped controversial anti-protest laws Friday but faced calls from the military to take “urgent steps” to ease the ex-Soviet nation’s worst crisis since independence.
A leading protester reappeared with his face swollen and caked in blood, saying he had been tortured and dumped in a forest after vanishing more than a week ago, prompting condemnation from the European Union and the United States.
The Ukrainian armed forces weighed in on the crisis for the first time, calling for Yanukovych to act urgently to stabilise the situation.
Yanukovych, who has been on sick leave since Thursday, repealed draconian anti-protest laws passed earlier this month that had radicalised the two-month protest movement.
He also signed an amnesty bill for jailed opposition activists, but it will only take effect if protesters vacate the public buildings they have occupied within 15 days. US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Berlin the measures pledged by Yanukovych did not go far enough. 

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