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Ukraine President defiant after violence erupts

At least 16 people were killed in fierce clashes in Kiev between protesters and riot police.

The clashes outside parliament erupted after the opposition accused the government of ignoring its demands. (AP) The clashes outside parliament erupted after the opposition accused the government of ignoring its demands. (AP)

The Ukrainian president is blaming opposition leaders for the deadly violence that has erupted in central Kiev.

In a statement published online early Wednesday, President Viktor Yanukovych said that he had already made several attempts to compromise, but that opposition leaders “crossed a line when they called people to arms.”

Yanukovych said opposition leaders had to “draw a boundary between themselves and radical forces,” or else “acknowledge that they are supporting radicals. Then the conversation … will already be of a different kind.”

The defiant tone of the statement left little hope of a compromise to resolve the crisis, which erupted three months ago when Yanukovych shelved an association deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.

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At least 16 people have been killed in fierce clashes in Kiev between protesters and riot police, the bloodiest outburst of violence in nearly three months of demonstrations.

Ukraine’s political crisis escalated sharply early on Tuesday between anti-government demonstrators and police in Kiev. The clashes outside parliament erupted after the opposition accused the government of ignoring its demands even after nearly three months of protests that have paralysed the capital. It was the worst violence since the protests began in late November.

First published on: 19-02-2014 at 12:29:39 pm
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