The situation remains tense in Kiev after the latest upsurge of violence which left at least 25 people killed and more than 1,000 people injured.
The death toll was likely to rise as police went on the offensive after sundown, advancing on thousands of protesters on Independence Square at 8 p.m. with gunshots, a water cannon and an armored personnel carrier. Tents housing protesters were burning on the main square, a fire fueled by protesters with tires as a defense against police attacks.
“Twenty five people have died: eight of them after the hospitalization in city hospitals (including the journalist of “Vesti” newspaper), four in the hospital of the Interior Ministry. Thirteen dead people were conveyed to the Kiev city clinical bureau of forensic medical examination, the Ministry of Health reported.
Nine of those killed were police, the interior ministry says.
After failed overnight talks with the opposition, Mr Yanukovych urged its leaders to “distance themselves from radical forces”, saying it was “not too late to stop the conflict”.
The protests began in late November, when President Yanukovych rejected a landmark association and trade deal with the EU in favour of closer ties with Russia.
Tensions had begun to subside as recently as Monday, as protesters ended their occupation of government buildings in return for an amnesty against prosecution.
But violence erupted outside parliament on Tuesday morning as government supporters blocked opposition attempts to scale back the president’s constitutional powers.
The clashes spread to surrounding streets and police launched an attack on Independence Square – known as the Maidan.
Hundreds of people have been treated in hospital for injuries and there are fears the number of deaths could rise still further, BBC reports.