There is an urgent need for de-escalation in Ukraine as President Yanukovich tries to calm a country bitterly divided over years of history.
Ukraine's political and economic landscape is stuck between old Soviet masters in Russia and the democratising ideals offered by the EU.
Two Ukrainian children received a nasty shock when a ferret, who had somehow entered the sewer system, popped up in their toilet.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said he invited all parties, including the opposition, for talks to find a political compromise to a growing political crisis.
In a statement on his website, Yanukovich said the opposition should not refuse and should "not go down the road of confrontation and ultimatums". EU and US officials had demanded he launch a dialogue with all parties after more than two weeks of protests in central Kiev.
Vitali Klitschko, the leader of the Ukranian opposition party, believes overnight action against anti-government protesters by police in Kiev to remove barricades and tents from a camp has closed the path to any kind of compromise.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Victoria Nuland said she clearly explained to the Ukrainian Prime Minister Yabnukovich that what happened last night was "absolutely impermissible in a democratic society".
Thousands of riot police have started to leave Independence Square in Kiev, after a dawn ambush on protesters failed to move them from their camp.
It appears the police are under orders to avoid excessive force. Squadrons of police retreated into their vans, as protesters cheered and jumped up and down in the bitter December temperatures.
Thousands of riot police and protesters clashed this morning in Kiev as police attempted to move them from a number of camps around government buildings. Protesters are calling for closer ties with Europe, and are angry at the perceived closening of ties with Russia, its former Soviet master.
- On November 21, the Ukrainian government announced it did not sign a trade pact with the EU amid speculation of pressure from Moscow
- Thousands poured into the streets, and have remained there, urging President Viktor Yanukovych to go ahead with the deal
- European leaders say the trade pact would have brought investment, and that failure to sign risked the economic future of the country
- Under the deal, Ukraine would have had to agree to improve its justice and human rights record, and to look into ways of clamping down on corruption
- Supporters of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, leader of the 'Orange Revolution' hoped the deal would mean she would be released from prison
Riot police and protesters clashed this morning outside Kiev's city hall, as police attempted to remove pro-European activists occupying the building.
Protesters sprayed icy water from inside the city hall they have been occupying for weeks now. Police vans attempting to enter the building were stormed by the the large assembled crowd, and eventually several vans of officers left.
Overnight in the city's main square thousands of protesters fought police as they attempted to clear the area.
Pro-European and anti-government protesters in Ukraine faced off with thousands of riot police in down town Kiev last night, as police attempted to move tents and barricades from the main square. Thousands of protesters put up a fierce fight for hours, shoving back at police lines to keep them away.
Several demonstrators and police were injured, but police appeared to be under orders to avoid the excessive force used in recent weeks. Squadrons of police arrived at Independence Square at around 1am, but by 7am had not succeeded in clearing the camps.
Many demonstrators locked arms and jumped up and down to keep warm in the bitter December temperatures.
Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko, who is a reigning world heavyweight boxing champion, urged Ukrainians to rush to the centre of the capital to defend democracy. He told protesters in the square: "We will say no to a police state, no to a dictatorship."
Buses carrying police later drove away from the square to cheers from protesters. Another group of police stationed outside the Kiev city hall building, which has been occupied by protesters for weeks, also departed.
Hundreds of police have stormed a protest camp in the Ukrainian capital, clashing with protesters as they tried to dismantle barricades.
Protesters shouted "Shame!" and "We will stand!" and sang the Ukrainian national anthem.
The storming of the camp at Independence Square came despite a visit by two senior Western diplomats to try to defuse a week-long stand-off between the opposition and president Viktor Yanukovych.
The police tried to dismantle barricades surrounding the camp but then moved back after resistance from protesters.The police took up positions on the perimeters of the camp, then began clashing with demonstrators and trying again to dismantle the barricades.
The confrontation at the protest camp unfolded as EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland were in the city to try to talk to the government and the opposition and work out a solution.
The Russian parliament accused Western nations of interfering and said protests against Kiev's policy U-turn away from the EU and towards Moscow were destabilising.
The statement came as US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton visited Kiev.
Representing the EU, Baroness Ashton expressed concern at a raid by masked police on the Kiev offices of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko's political party.
The EU considers Tymoshenko a political prisoner and had sought her freedom as part of the negotiations for the now-mothballed trade pact.
While thousands of opposition demonstrators are camping out in freezing temperatures on Kiev's Independence Square, Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich insisted again his government needs to deepen trade ties with Russia.
In his first public appearance since the demonstrations last week, Mr Yanukovich ignored the demands of pro-Europe protesters.
"We cannot talk about the future without talking about restoring trade relations with Russia," Mr Yanukovich said in televised comments.
The opposition is furious about his decision to ditch a landmark pact with the European Union in favour of closer ties with Russia and called for the government to resign.