Kiev, Ukraine - As violence exploded on Thursday night and heavy smoke from burning barricades at the protesters' encampment belched into the sky, three European foreign ministers were meeting with President Viktor Yanukovich, according to a presidential aide.
On Friday, Yanukovich announced a deal with opposition leaders to hold early presidential elections, form a government of national unity and make constitutional changes reducing his powers.
"Unless he's prepared to stand down, this deal, if there is one and it goes through, will not succeed. [The opposition] expect nothing more than the departure of the president," said Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons, reporting from Kiev.
The demonstrators, who have been protesting against Yanukovich's decision to strengthen ties with Russia at the expense of the European Union, pushed police forces back some 200 metres on Thursday night to retake control of the whole of Independence square, which anti-government protesters have occupied since November.
An Associated Press journalist said he had seen 10 bodies lying in the street, while a Reuters photographer said they had seen 15 bodies, covered by blankets on or near the downtown square.