UK & World News
Ukraine: Death Toll Rises In Violent Clashes
Thousands of riot police have used water cannon and stun grenades against protesters in Ukraine's capital Kiev after a day of violent clashes left at least 18 people dead.
Demonstrators responded to the security forces' assault by hurling petrol bombs, fireworks, and stones.
They set fire to piles of tyres and wood in an attempt to prevent police entering the main anti-government protest camp in Independence Square, where there are as many as 25,000 demonstrators.
It came as a deadline passed for protesters to end a violent stand-off with riot police. There are also reports live ammunition has been used.
The Government has vowed to use all force necessary to remove the camp which has been in place since last November.
Seven police officers were among those killed on the worst day of violence since protests erupted three months ago against President Viktor Yanukovych, after he rejected an EU pact in favour of closer ties to Russia.
Former heavyweight boxing champion and opposition leader Vitali Klitschko urged protesters to defend the camp.
As fires burned around him, he told the crowd: "We will not go anywhere from here. This is an island of freedom and we will defend it."
Late on Tuesday night, he arrived at Mr Yanukovych's office for crisis talks, according to his spokesman.
Earlier, Mr Klitschko had urged women and children to leave the area because of the threat of force being used.
As the tents went up in flames, defiant protesters shouted "Glory to Ukraine."
Demonstrator Dmytro Shulko, 35, said: "This looks like a war against one's own people. But we will defend ourselves."
A fresh cash injection from Moscow of $2bn (£1.2bn) on Monday - part of a $15bn (£9.3bn) aid package to the indebted Ukrainian economy - only served to aggravate opponents.
On Tuesday, protesters attacked police lines and set fires outside parliament, and stormed the headquarters of the president's Party of Regions.
US Vice President Joe Biden has urged the Ukranian leadership to withdraw security forces and "exercise maximum restraint".
The British Government's Europe Minister David Lidington has also condemned the violence and urged all sides to "immediately de-escalate the situation".
And EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has denounced the "grave new escalation" in Kiev.
"I urge the leadership of Ukraine to address the root causes of the crisis," Mrs Ashton added in a statement.
"A solution should include the formation of a new inclusive government, progress on constitutional reform and the preparation for transparent and democratic presidential elections. The EU stands ready to assist Ukraine in this process."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also appealed for restraint and a "genuine dialogue" to resolve the crisis.
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