Violent clashes in Ukraine over EU trade pact

There have been violent clashes between protesters and riot police in the Ukrainian capital Kiev over the government's decision to suspend preparations to sign a landmark trade pact with the EU.

A man kneels down while riot police stand guard near the presidential administration
A man kneels down while riot police stand guard near the presidential administration Credit: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Ukrainian opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko addressed hundreds of thousands of protesters at a rally in central Kiev calling for President Viktor Yanukovich to resign.

Protesters broke into the city hall and occupied at least part of the building and climbed the gate of the presidential administration building.

President Yanukovich's decision to forego the trade agreement is widely seen as a move to improve ties with Russia instead of the EU.

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EU suspends Ukraine trade deal plans amid protests

The EU says it is putting on hold work on a key trade agreement with Ukraine, saying the government's arguments have "no grounds in reality". Protesters have taken to the streets in support of the agreement, which was rejected by the government.