President, opposition reach deal to end Ukraine unrest

KIEV, Feb. 21 (PNA/RIA Novosti) -–The president of Ukraine and the opposition reached a deal Friday on an agreement they hope will lead out of the deepening and increasingly bloody political crisis gripping the former Soviet nation.

The presidential administration said an agreement was forged after a night of negotiations overseen by a group of EU envoys, lawmakers and a Kremlin-appointed mediator.

Signing of the roadmap deal has been scheduled for 12 p.m. local time (1000 GMT), the presidential administration said, without providing details.

EU officials earlier described negotiations as “very difficult.”

Fighting between radical anti-government protesters and police has claimed at least 77 lives over three days. Opposition medics have put the estimate higher.

Authorities and opposition have traded accusations over who instigated the latest round of violence, which erupted Tuesday after a crowd marched toward parliament intent on storming the building.

An uneasy truce was called Wednesday, only to be shattered early the following day. Dozens were killed Thursday, mainly from gunshot wounds.

Opposition figures accuse security forces of firing on protesters, while the authorities maintain the increasingly well-armed and aggressive anti-government movement attempted to mount a violent seizure of power.

At least 13 police officers have been killed in the fighting. By the latest Health Ministry estimates, 577 people have sought medical aid, although the actual number of people injured is believed to be much greater. (PNA/Itar-Tass)