McCain in Kiev
© APMcCain encouraging the protesters in Ukraine in December 2013
Ukrainian authorities have opened a criminal probe into an alleged attempt by the opposition to take state power.

Ukraine's security service launched the investigation on Friday after newly-obtained information revealed the country's mass protests were "pre-planned."
"An investigation for an attempted takeover of power has been opened," Maxime Lenko, head of the investigations department of the Ukrainian Security Service, said.
The probe was launched after investigators examined information stored on computers confiscated from an opposition party in December.

The information on confiscated computers of the Batkivschyna party revealed that mass anti-government protests and "the use of force against protesters... to undermine the authority of the president" were "pre-planned," Lenko noted.

Anti-government demonstrations in Ukraine erupted after President Viktor Yanukovych pulled out of a deal with the European Union, which could have paved the way for Kiev to join the bloc.

Yanukovych refused to sign the agreement at the third Eastern Partnership Summit in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius on November 29, 2013 after European Union leaders called on Ukraine to allow jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko to travel overseas for medical treatment.

The opposition accused the Ukrainian president of making the move under Russia's influence.

They have insisted that only the removal of Yanukovych would placate thousands of protesters who have been occupying much of Kiev's city center.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov handed in his resignation in a move aimed at defusing the country's political crisis and finding a peaceful solution to the conflict between protesters and the police.

On the same day, the Ukrainian parliament overwhelmingly voted to abolish a controversial anti-protest law that triggered deadly unrest in Kiev.