KIEV, Ukraine - It was the deadliest single day of bloodshed in Ukraine since it won independence from the Soviet Union more than 20 years ago.
At least 25 people died and more the 250 were wounded Tuesday after police stormed an anti-government camp in Kiev’s Independence Square.
In a televised speech Wednesday, Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych blamed the opposition for the violence, and said he'd made several offers to compromise.
Last month, in a bid to quell the protests, he offered government jobs to several opposition leaders, which they rejected. Many saw the offer as purely symbolic to begin with. Yanukovych again met with the opposition — although those talks reportedly broke down after he refused to order police to back down.
Opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenuk said he won't return to the negotiating table until the bloodshed stops. The Telegraph quoted him as saying, "We will not give in to a single provocation ... We will not take one step back from this square."
Meanwhile, Western nations are considering sanctions against the country. The European Union on Wednesday called a rare emergency meeting of the bloc’s 28 foreign ministers to address the crisis. As for the U.S., it too is under pressure to respond. The U.S. ambassador to Ukraine threatened both sides with sanctions in a tweet.
The other big player here is Russia, which has sided with Yanukovych and accused the protesters of attempting a coup.
This all started in November after Yanukovych backed out of a highly-anticipated agreement with the European Union in favor of a bailout package from Russia.
That set off the protests, although the resentment had been building over Yanukovych's presidency long before that. Now the opposition is demanding he hand in his resignation letter.