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23.01.2014

Ukraine protests: Crisis talks after day of bloodshed 12

13:29, — Europa

Ukraine protests: Crisis talks after day of bloodshed

Ukrainian opposition leaders are due to meet President Viktor Yanukovych, a day after the first deaths in the protests that have gripped Kiev for two months.

One of them, former boxer Vitali Klitschko, has said he will lead pro-EU protesters "on the attack" if snap elections are not called.

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said compromises "might be possible", but the opposition should avoid ultimatums, BBC reports.

Two activists were killed in clashes with police in Kiev on Wednesday.

Prosecutors confirmed they had died from gunshot wounds. They were the first fatalities since the anti-government protests flared up in late November over Mr Yanukovych's decision to pull out of a landmark treaty with the EU.

A third activist, Yuriy Verbytsky, has been found dead in a forest outside Kiev, after reportedly being abducted along with fellow activist Ihor Lutsenko earlier this week. His body is said to bear signs of torture.

The BBC's Duncan Crawford has spoken to a student, Mikhail Nizkoguz, 17, who accused riot police of dragging him from the street on Monday and torturing him by beating and stabbing.

His face and body is covered with cuts and bruises. He said police accused him of firing fireworks at them - but that he was only taking pictures. The BBC has asked police to respond to his allegations but has had no response.

Hundreds of protesters and scores of police have been injured in the clashes around Independence Square this week.

The centre of Kiev remains extremely tense, the BBC's Daniel Sandford reports. Barricades are still burning, billowing black smoke from the piles of tyres that now mark the front line between the riot police and the protesters.

Photo: Reuters


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