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The barriers have gone up again in Independence Square in Kyiv with the protesters defiant in the teeth of a bitter chill. Diplomatic relations too are plummeting towards a deep freeze.

The US State department has warned it is considering economic action against Ukraine. “All policy options are on the table including sanctions” a spokeswoman said but was not specific on what kind.

There was hint of a thaw in the political stand-off with an offer of talks with the opposition from president Viktor Yanukovych

“To reach a compromise I’m calling on the opposition not to refuse, not to go along the path of the stand-off and ultimatums. I am assuring you that the authorities will act only within the framework of the law and will never use force against peaceful gatherings,” he said.

The offer was rejected with Arseny Yatsenyuk a leader of a major opposition party said there should only be talks once their demands including the government’s resignation had been met.

One protester said “You can expect anything from him. He says one thing and he does totally another thing. So you can see day and night politics.”

As the protesters settled in the interior minister promised the square would not be stormed as it had been on Tuesday night.

That was action which led Vitaly Klitschko one of the main figures of the opposition to say it had “closed off the path to compromise”.

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