Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Viktor Yanukovich: Diplomatic pressure mounts on Ukraine leader

Ukraine's president has offered a truce and talks with the opposition and replaced the head of the army after a night of protests in the capital Kiev that left 26 dead and up to 200 people injured.

Viktor Yanukovich made the announcement on Wednesday in advance of meetings with EU foreign ministers who are threatening to impose sanctions for the violence.

A statement on the presidential website announced an agreement for "the start to negotiations with the aim of ending bloodshed, and stabilising the situation in the state in the interests of social peace".

Foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland were due to meet Yanukovich in Kiev before returning to Brussels for a meeting of all 28 EU foreign ministers to decide on targeted sanctions for Tuesday night's violence.

Fires were still blazing along the barricaded frontline between the protesters and riot police in Kiev, but there was no immediate sign of a repetition of the violence.

However, the standoff between protesters and riot police continued on Thursday morning.

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