Officials in Ukraine say three anti-government protesters have died in the capital, Kyiv, in new clashes with police.
Two protesters were reported to have gunshot wounds. A medical official said another activist fell to his death at the site of the clashes.
Reports say the police were trying to dismantle a protest camp in Kyiv Wednesday and fired tear gas at demonstrators, who responded by hurling stones and homemade explosives at police.
The U.S. embassy in Kyiv said in a statement Wednesday that it has revoked the visas of several Ukrainian nationals linked to the violence. The names of those Ukrainians were not released.
And the European Union\’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday urged "an immediate end" to the escalating violence. After the reports of deaths, she "strongly" condemned the violence.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian prime minister Mykola Azarov warned the protesters that authorities might use force. Azarov told Russia\’s Vesti 24 television that if those he called "provocateurs" did not stop inciting clashes, officials would have no other choice.
The number of injured protesters reached the hundreds by Tuesday, when the anti-government protesters marched through Kyiv for a third straight day. They are protesting President Viktor Yanukovych\’s November decision to back out of a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.
The marchers are also upset over laws recently enacted that tighten restrictions on protests.
Yanukovych has offered to meet with opposition leaders.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday the situation in Ukraine is "spinning out of control." Lavrov said Tuesday that Russia is doing everything it can to help "stabilize the situation" without meddling in Ukrainian domestic affairs.
In Washington, the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors expressed outrage for the bloody police attacks on dozens of journalists in Kyiv, including RFE/RL reporter Dmytro Barkar and cameraman Ihor Iskhakov. They were covering the protests on Monday when they were beaten and struck on the head by members of the elite Berkut police force.
Source: VOA and agencies