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Ukraine protesters give president ultimatum after deadly clashes

Published on Jan 23, 2014 3:30 PM

KIEV (AFP) - Ukraine's opposition threatened to go on the attack on Thursday unless the government agreed to concessions to quell protests that have left five activists dead in the first fatalities of two months of anti-government rallies.

Protesters and police were locked in a tense standoff early Thursday after ferocious clashes that turned an area of central Kiev into a virtual war zone, with police using tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets against protesters hurling stones and Molotov cocktails.

The bloody clashes marked a new peak in tensions after two months of protests over the government's failure to sign a deal for closer integration with the European Union under Russian pressure.

Opposition leaders including former world boxing champion Vitali Klitshcko have launched talks with President Viktor Yanukovych and they were due to meet again Thursday, with the chief demand of early elections.

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