Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is meeting with opposition leaders on Thursday evening for continued discussions on the current political crisis following increased violence at rally sites in Kiev and protester deaths on Wednesday.
Local media reported the arrival of opposition leaders Vitali Klitschko, Oleh Tiahnybok, and Arseniy Yatseniuk at the presidential administration building. Klitschko outlined the opposition's agenda for the meeting: "The key message is: terror, persecution of people must stop, and also the resignation of the government and (Interior Minister Vitaliy) Zakharchenko. These are our main demands."
Klitschko instructed protesters to maintain a "period of silence" until 8:00 p.m. local time, at which point he planned to brief protesters on the results of the opposition leaders' meeting with the president.
Interfax-Ukraine reported that during this "period of silence," protesters were no longer throwing stones at police on Hrushevskoho Street, the site where at least one protester was found shot to death on Wednesday. Opposition leaders threatened Wednesday to abandon non-violent demonstrations if their demands are not met.
The U.S. Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe released a statement Thursday regarding recent events in Ukraine. Chargé d’Affaires Gary Robbins noted alarm about the increased violence in Kiev and called on the Ukrainian government "to resolve the two-month political standoff by addressing protestors' concerns through constructive dialogue, and call for restraints on all sides."
Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine, re-tweeted the OSCE's message of de-escalation.
More than 1,400 people were injured in clashes with security forces between Monday and Tuesday. Approximately 300 were injured Wednesday.
Protests began in November 2013 following Ukrainian President Yanukovych's announcement that Ukraine would not join the EU. Pro-EU rallies have continued since November, with protesters voicing opposition to Ukraine's economic ties to Russia.
[Interfax Ukraine News Agency]
[Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe]