President of Ukraine Declares Truce Amid Still More Fighting, Bloodshed

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Photo: Brendan Hoffman/2014 Getty Images

The "fiery war zone" of Kiev's Independence Square raged again on Wednesday, as it has with varying degrees of intensity for weeks, as threats of U.S. and E.U. sanctions may have finally moved things toward a resolution. Pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych announced this afternoon that after meeting with opposition leaders, the parties declared a "truce," as well as the "beginning of negotiations aimed at cessation of bloodshed and stabilization of the situation in the country for the sake of civil peace."

"We have been watching very carefully and we expect the Ukrainian government to show restraint, to not resort to violence in dealing with peaceful protesters," said President Obama earlier, following the death of at least 25 people, including nine police officers yesterday. "There will be consequences if people step over the line." (A good explainer of the protest's origins and key players can be found here.)

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon added that violence "by any side is totally unacceptable," but urged authorities to "desist from the use of excessive force."

The stunning visuals of almost-medieval clashes between demonstrators and riot police today, however, indicate an uphill battle toward peace:

Photo: Alexander Koerner/2014 Alexander Koerner
Photo: Brendan Hoffman/2014 Getty Images
Photo: Alexander Koerner/2014 Alexander Koerner
Photo: Alexander Koerner/2014 Alexander Koerner
Photo: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/2014 AFP
Photo: Alexander Koerner/2014 Alexander Koerner
Photo: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/2014 AFP
Photo: Brendan Hoffman/2014 Getty Images
Photo: AFP/2014 AFP