KIEV, Ukraine —
The protesters appeared to sense that Ukraine’s political standoff was reaching a critical turning point. Waving Ukrainian and opposition party flags, they shouted “Glory to Ukraine!” and sang the Ukrainian national anthem.
Shortly before midnight, Klitschko headed to President Viktor Yanukovych’s office to try to resolve the crisis, his spokeswoman said. An hour later, he was still waiting to be received.
Earlier in the day, protesters attacked police lines and set fires outside parliament, accusing Yanukovych of once again ignoring their demands and dragging his feet on a constitutional reform to limit presidential powers.
Tensions soared after Russia said Monday that it was ready to resume providing the loans that Yanukovych’s government needs to keep Ukraine’s ailing economy afloat. This raised fears among the opposition that Yanukovych had made a deal with Moscow to stand firm against the protesters and would choose a Russian-leaning loyalist to be his new prime minister.
The protests began in late November after Yanukovych turned away from a long-anticipated deal with the European Union in exchange for a $15 billion bailout from Russia. The political maneuvering continued, however, with both Moscow and the West eager to gain influence in this former Soviet republic.
Until Monday, the government and the opposition had appeared to be making some progress toward resolving the political crisis peacefully.
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