Ukraine opposition leaders are calling for a general strike after their parliamentary allies failed to topple the government in a vote of no confidence.
Protesters are also threatening to tighten their blockade of key buildings amid the deepening crisis over the government’s rejection of closer ties with the European Union.
Meanwhile NATO Secretary General Fogh Rasmussen has criticised the crackdown on protesters:“We condemn the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrators in Ukraine. We call on all parties to refrain from provocations and violence.”
And US Secretary of State John Kerry has also voiced concerns.
“We urge the Ukrainian government to listen to the voices of the people who want to live in freedom and we urge all sides to conduct themselves peacefully. Violence has no place in a modern European state.”
Despite protester calls for him to resign Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovych has left the country for China as a gesture of confidence that security can be maintained at home.
Our correspondent Maria Korenyuk who is in Kyiv said:
“Among the thousands of protesters here few really believe that President Victor Yanukovych will accept their demands for a change of government. Meanwhile the prime minister has already said that he is ready to make some changes but he didn’t say what.”