Protesters In Ukraine Vow To Step Up Pressure On Government

Clashes overnight between demonstrators and security forces killed at least 2 people a day after the government of Viktor Yanukovych offered top posts to the opposition in a failed effort to defuse tensions.

Anti-government protesters clashed with security forces overnight in the Ukraine capital, Kiev, killing at least two people, a day after embattled President Viktor Yanukovych tried unsuccessfully to quell unrest by offering top posts to the opposition.

Yanukovych offered on Saturday to hand over two key posts to opposition leaders, but the offer was swiftly rebuffed.

Voice of America reports:

"A large crowd of protesters blocked a government building with police inside early Sunday in central Kyiv. Demonstrators threw stones and smoke bombs. Police responded with stun grenades and tear gas."

"On Saturday in Kyiv's Independence Square, Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a crowd of protesters the opposition is "not afraid" of accepting more political responsibility. He said, however, that President Yanukovych must still meet several key opposition demands and that talks will continue. "

"Earlier, Mr. Yanukovych offered the job of prime minister to Yatsenyuk, and the post of deputy prime minister to former boxer Vitaly Klitschko. The move came a day after the president agreed to reshuffle his government and amend controversial new anti-protest laws."

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from Kiev that protestors tried to storm a cultural center where hundreds of riot police were deployed.

"Klitschko helped broker a solution so the police could leave the building," Corey says. "Meanwhile, the opposition says it's ready to keep negotiating with ... Yanukovych, but that the concessions he's offering don't go far enough."

Two people were killed in clashes on Wednesday.

The Associated Press writes:

"The protests began in late November after Yanukovych shelved a long-awaited agreement to deepen ties with the European Union, but they have been increasingly gripped by people seeking more radical action, even as moderate opposition leaders have pleaded for the violence to end."

"... About half of Ukraine's people [favor] deeper integration with the EU, according to polls, and many Ukrainians widely resent Russia's long influence over the country."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.