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Death toll in Ukraine climbs beyond 50 as truce is shattered

Published on Feb 20, 2014 8:16 PM

KIEV (REUTERS) - Fresh fighting broke out in central Kiev on Thursday, shattering a truce declared by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, as the Russian-backed leader met European ministers demanding he compromise with pro-EU opponents.

A Reuters photographer saw the bodies of 21 dead civilians in Independence Square, a few hundred metres from where the president met the EU delegation, after protesters who have occupied the area for almost three months hurled petrol bombs and paving stones to drive riot police out of the plaza.

The foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland were to report back in Brussels later in the day to EU colleagues, who will decide on possible targeted sanctions against those deemed responsible for the bloodshed. Russia criticised the European and US measures, saying they would only make matters worse.

A Ukrainian presidential statement said dozens of police were killed or wounded during the opposition offensive hours after Mr Yanukovich and opposition leaders had agreed on a truce.

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