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More than 20 new deaths in Kiev

Thursday - 2/20/2014, 10:50am  ET

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Clashes between police and anti-government protesters in Ukraine's capital have now claimed 50 lives this week.

At least 22 people were killed today after a brief truce in Kiev failed. Government snipers were reported to be shooting at some of the protesters.

After urban street battles, an Associated Press reporter saw 21 bodies laid out on the edge of the protest encampment in central Kiev. In addition, the Interior Ministry says one policeman was killed and 28 others suffered gunshot wounds.

Late yesterday, President Viktor Yanukovych (yah-noo-KOH'-vich) met with opposition leaders, and they called for a truce and negotiations. But a protest camp commander says even after the truce appeal, protesters continued to throw firebombs at riot police on the square. This morning, according to the commander, as police pulled back, the protesters followed them, and police began shooting at them.

Amid the carnage, there are signs that Yanukovych is losing the support of loyalists. The chief of Kiev's city administration announced today that he is leaving the president's Party of Regions. Another influential member of the ruling party said both Yanukovych and opposition leaders have "completely lost control of the situation."

Three months of protests resulted from a move by Yanukovych to strengthen the country's ties with Russia, instead of with the European Union.

%@AP Links

168-r-15-(Sound of a medical team with injured protesters, at protester medical facilities)--Sound of medical workers treating the injured following fierce clashes in the Ukrainian capital. (20 Feb 2014)

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158-a-10-(Jim Heintz, AP correspondent)-"Kiev protest crisis"-AP correspondent Jim Heintz reports fierce clashes between police and protesters have shattered the brief truce. (20 Feb 2014)

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GRAPHICSBANK: An anti-government protester holds a firearm as he mans a barricade on the outskirts of Independence Square, Kiev, Ukraine, graphic element on gray (20 Feb 2014)

APPHOTO XSC122: Activists reinforce the barricades in Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. Fierce clashes between police and protesters, some including gunfire, shattered a brief truce in Ukraine's besieged capital Thursday, killing numerous people. The deaths came in a new eruption of violence just hours after the country's embattled president and the opposition leaders demanding his resignation called for a truce and negotiations to try to resolve Ukraine's political crisis. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov) (20 Feb 2014)

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