World

Ukraine leader warns defiant regions amid weeks of mass protests

  • Pro-European Union activists cook meals during a rally in the Independence Square in Kiev in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    Pro-European Union activists cook meals during a rally in the Independence Square in Kiev in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man dressed as Grandfather Frost, the Ukrainian equivalent of Santa Claus, and a man playing the accordion walk through a protest camp in the Independence Square in Kiev in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    A man dressed as Grandfather Frost, the Ukrainian equivalent of Santa Claus, and a man playing the accordion walk through a protest camp in the Independence Square in Kiev in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pro-European Union activists remove garbage to make space for a tent during a rally in the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    Pro-European Union activists remove garbage to make space for a tent during a rally in the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)  (The Associated Press)

Ukraine's president is warning defiant western regions of the country, which have openly supported anti-government protests of recent weeks.

President Viktor Yanukovych has faced more than a month of mass demonstrations across the country since he decided to ditch an EU deal in favor of forging closer ties to Russia.

Officials in three western regions have taken unpaid leave as a means of protest against the government, and the mayor of Lviv near the Polish border warned that his police force may defend protesters if central authorities send forces to disperse demonstrators.

Meeting with members of his party on Thursday, Yanukovch said, "We will never allow any legal nihilism or separatism."

Protests, meanwhile, are continuing in the capital, Kiev.