Following deadly clashes between protesters and state security forces, President Viktor Yanukovich and opposition leaders agreed to a temporary truce, following a meeting on Thursday. Yanukovich agreed to ensure the release of dozens of detained protesters and stop further detentions if the truce is observed. Although one opposition leader, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said after the talks that "there is a really good chance" to stop the bloodshed, others were more pessimistic. The ongoing country-wide protests began after Yanukovich turned away from closer ties with the EU in favour of getting a rescue loan from Russia. Demonstrations turned violent this week after the government pushed through harsh anti-protest laws, rejecting protesters' demands for new elections.