UPDATE: Ukraine’s government and opposition call for truce

BY Justin Scuiletti  February 19, 2014 at 11:42 AM EST
Anti-government protesters clash with the police during their storming of Independence Square in Kiev on February 18, 2014. Photo by Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

Anti-government protesters clash with the police during their storming of Independence Square in Kiev on February 18, 2014. Photo by Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

Updated 06:08 p.m. EST | Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders called for a truce Wednesday after the two sides met following a deadly clash that left dozens dead in the capital of Kiev.

A statement posted on Ukraine’s presidential website confirmed the agreement.

President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych held a meeting with Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Volodymyr Rybak and members of the Working Group on the Settlement of Political Crisis.
The meeting was attended by Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Andriy Kliuyev, First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Andriy Portnov, Acting Minister of Justice Olena Lukash and leaders of opposition parties Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Vitali Klitschko, Oleh Tiahnybok.
Following the meeting, the parties declared:
1. Truce
2. Beginning of negotiations aimed at cessation of bloodshed and stabilization of the situation in the country for the sake of civil peace.

No further details on the truce or negotiations have been released at this time.

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Original story, 11:42 a.m. EST | Violent and deadly clashes in Ukraine have earned several calls for action from Western nations.

The United States, Reuters reports, urged Ukraine’s government to pull its riot police from Independence Square in the country’s capital of Kiev, where dozens were killed in violent clashes between protesters and law enforcement Tuesday. White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said that the U.S. wants the Ukrainian government to call a truce with the protesters and hold discussions with the government opposition.

Several European Union states are also considering sanctions against Ukrainian officials. The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland will travel to Kiev Thursday in order to examine the situation in the capital and determine if sanctions are necessary before a meeting in Brussels. If sanctioned by the EU, Ukraine officials’ assets would be frozen and they would be forbidden travelling anywhere within the 28 nations that make up the union.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. was also in the discussion of sanctions against, but said there was still time to reach a compromise. “President Yanukovich has the opportunity to make a choice,” said Kerry. “The choice is between protecting the people that he serves … and (the) choice for compromise and dialogue versus violence and mayhem.”