Ukraine truce shattered, death toll tops 50

Posted by Reuters Canada

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Fresh fighting flared in central Kiev on Thursday, shattering a truce declared by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, as the Russian-backed leader met European ministers demanding he compromise with pro-EU opponents.

A Reuters photographer saw the bodies of 21 dead civilians in Independence Square, a few hundred meters from where the president met the EU delegation, after protesters who have occupied the area for almost three months hurled petrol bombs and paving stones to drive riot police from the plaza.

Acting Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharschenko said police had been issued with combat weapons and would use them “in accordance with the law” to defend themselves and others and to free hostages. The ministry said protesters were holding 67 policemen hostage.