KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s prime minister quit to help end more than two months of street protests as parliament prepared to grant amnesty to activists and revoked anti-rally laws that sparked deadly riots last week.

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s prime minister quit to help end more than two months of street protests as parliament prepared to grant amnesty to activists and revoked anti-rally laws that sparked deadly riots last week.


Mykola Azarov, 66, said Tuesday in a statement that he stepped down, triggering the demise of his cabinet, "for the sake of the peaceful resolution of the conflict" that’s threatening Ukraine’s economy. President Viktor Yanukovych accepted and, by law, the government will stay in power until he names a new premier, his office said in a statement.


Yanukovych, 63, is struggling to contain unrest that’s spread from Kiev to other cities across the nation of 45 million people, a key transit route for Russian energy supplies to Europe. The opposition is seeking to oust him and revise the constitution. In Kiev’s central Independence Square, protesters continued to fill sand bags with ice in minus 11 degrees Celsius (12 degrees Fahrenheit) to reinforce barricades.


Lawmakers tackled another crucial demand from protesters by voting 361-2 to repeal anti-protest laws, with 49 abstentions. They postponed a vote on an amnesty for detained protesters until tomorrow.


In its push to change the constitution, opposition leaders are advocating possibly reverting to the 2004 version under which parliament picks the prime minister. According to the current charter, that decision is up to Yanukovych, who has 60 days to install a new government.


Opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk, 39, has twice rejected an offer from Yanukovych to take the premier’s post in the last four days. Fellow opposition leader Vitali Klitschko, the former world heavyweight boxing champion, said protesters wanted more than the government’s resignation and he would "under no condition consider working in a government with Yanukovych as president."


"First of all we have to reboot the power system," Klitschko said in a comment on his Facebook page. "This is what Ukraine has risen up for."


Azarov frequently warned of the economic dangers of the crisis for Ukraine, which is mired in its third recession since 2008. The economy shrank 0.3 percent in the third quarter from the previous three months, while foreign reserves have fallen to $20.4 billion from $24.5 billion a year ago.


"A big question mark is that there is no clarity on who might replace the current government," Serhiy Yahnych and Yevgeniy Orudzhev, analysts at BNP Paribas’s Ukrsibbank in Kiev, said in an emailed note. "If the opposition declines to make up part of a new government, we would not exclude a crackdown of protests."


Justice Minister Olena Lukash backed away Tuesday morning from a threat to call for a state of emergency after demonstrators vacated her headquarters in Kiev.


Fist fights broke out among deputies on Jan. 16, when pro-Yanukovych lawmakers pushed through a bill to criminalize erecting tents in public places and occupying government buildings, and allowed the authorities to keep closer tabs on mobile-phone use and forbid demonstrators from wearing helmets.


Any amnesty for detained protesters, the bill will only take effect if all state buildings seized by demonstrators are handed back, Lukash said Monday.


The unrest has spread beyond the capital. Protesters are occupying or blocking the offices of governors picked by Yanukovych in more than half of the nation’s 25 regions, while police have expelled demonstrators from others. Anti-government activists continue to occupy the agriculture and energy ministries in Kiev.


"We need to change all the authorities," Maxim, a 26- year-old engineer who refused to give his last name for fear of reprisals said on Independence Square. "We are ready to leave and clean up Kiev after ourselves if we get a new prime minister, if the constitution is changed, limiting presidential powers, and if they free all political prisoners. I will stay here as long as needed."


The opposition says six demonstrators have died and a thousand have been injured. A policeman wounded on Jan. 27 in Kherson, south Ukraine, died Tuesday, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. More than 300 more officers have sought medical help, according to the Interior Ministry. The protests escalated last week as the first deaths were registered.


Police have begun an investigation after three people died from gunshot wounds, while 116 people have been detained on suspicion of participation in riots. The opposition canceled a mass rally in the capital, Kiev, Jan. 26 to mourn activists who died last week amid clashes with police.


Ukraine is on the agenda Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Brussels to meet European Union President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Barroso.


In the EU’s view, Russia is to blame for the Kiev uprising because it granted a $15 billion bailout loan on the condition that Ukraine renounce closer ties with the West, an EU official told reporters yesterday in Brussels on condition of anonymity.


The resignation of the prime minister and the scrapping of the anti-demonstration laws are "a first great success in the Ukrainians’ fight for freedom and democracy," Andreas Schockenhoff, deputy leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU- led block in Germany’s lower house of parliament, said in an emailed statement.


Officials from the 28-member bloc are seeking to broker a peace deal in Kiev, with both EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule visiting Kiev Tuesday.