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Ukraine truce crumbles as fresh violence kills at least 21, EU ministers meet President

An overnight truce declared by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and the opposition leaders failed within hours after fresh violence and fighting claimed the lives of at least 21 people in capital Kiev on Thursday.

A presidential statement said dozens of police were also dead or wounded in the fresh violence in the Ukrainian capital.

Activists hurling petrol bombs and paving stones drove riot police off a corner of the central Independence Square, known as the Maidan, and appeared to capture several uniformed officers. Police responded with stun grenades.

The clashes erupted shortly before three visiting European foreign ministers were due to the Russian-backed Yanukovich to push for a compromise with his pro-European opponents. The meeting was delayed for security reasons but began an hour late.

BBC earlier reported that five dead bodies were spotted in Hotel Ukraine’s reception area.

However, another news agency reported that several had been killed in today’s clashes where petrol bombs and water cannons were used.

Meanwhile, the three EU foreign ministers are currently meeting with the President Viktor Yanukovych, the BBC report quoted officials as saying, contradicting an earlier report that the EU diplomats had returned without holding talks, for security reasons.

The truce was agreed upon Wednesday night when President Viktor Yanukovych met opposition leaders and a deal was reached for “the start to negotiations with the aim of ending bloodshed, and stabilising the situation in the state in the interest of social peace,” said a statement on the presidential website.

However, the clashes between the protesters and the riot police continued on Thursday as according live rounds were reportedly fired in Kiev’s Independence Square where 28 have been killed in last two days.

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