Kravchuk: Yanukovych to seek protesters' release

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Riot police block an opposition tent camp while displacing pro-European Union activists from their barricades at the Ukrainian presidential administration building in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. Heavily armed riot troops broke into the offices of a top Ukrainian opposition party in Kiev and seized its servers Monday, the party said, as anti-government protests crippled the capital for yet another day. Elsewhere police dismantled or blocked off several small protest tent camps set up near key national government buildings in the city. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's president has expressed willingness to seek the release of demonstrators arrested in recent protests, according one of the former Ukrainian leaders who met with him to try to defuse the country's tensions.

Releasing those arrested during violent police dispersals of demonstrators is one of the key demands of opposition leaders who have organized rallies of hundreds of thousands in the capital.

Bidding to reduce the tensions have persisted for three weeks, President Viktor Yanukovych met Tuesday with three former leaders of the country.

One of them, Leonid Kravchuk, said Yanukovych has agreed to seek the protesters' release. But it is not clear if he can do that by a unilateral order.