Ukrainian president Yanukovuych flees Kiev as opposition seize the palace

Ukrainian opposition protesters have taken control of the presidential palace and demanded that the president Viktor Yanukovuych resign. Yanukovuych has gone into hiding and his whereabouts are unknown. The opposition leaders who signed an earlier peace deal with Yanukovuych face repudiation from the crowd in Maidan, who accuse them of selling out. Yanukovuych took to television to deny a rumor that he is resigning. The release of jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is said to be imminent. Opposition parliamentarians are attempting to establish legitimacy as the new parliament of Ukraine. Politicians from the ethnic-Russian-dominated south and east have denounced the new government and vowed to govern themselves independent of Kiev. Protesters in the region are demanding reunification with Russia.

The riot police are fleeing their barracks, wearing masks to hide their faces.

Lots more updates, in realtime, from the Guardian.

In Kharhiv, it appears that the congress of politcians from the south and east have effectively said they will not be governed from Kiev.

According to Russia Today:

* The Kharkov public gathering has announced a number of measures local authorities should take in response to the developments in Kiev. They should take full responsibility for all decision in respective regions, with no regard to authorities in Kiev until the constitutional order in Ukraine is restored, a resolution of the gathering says.

* The military commanders should take measures to protect arms depots and prevent their take-over and looting by radical opposition activists.

* Meanwhile citizens are encouraged to form local militias to protect public order. Local authorities are to fund and support those militias.

Ukrainian president denounces coup as protesters take over Kiev - live updates [Conal Urquhart/The Guardian]