Ukrainian opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko blamed the government for escalating violence in an article published on Thursday, as another protest leader called for the President to stand down, and the death toll reached at least three.
Attempts by President Viktor Yanukovych to hold the opposition responsible for the “chaos” would fail, Mr. Klitschko wrote in the newspaper Bild, amid the clashes and burning barricades in Kiev.
“The people know very well that only he is responsible, that he himself passed these unbelievable laws,” in reference to measures introduced last week giving authorities more powers that protesters and human rights groups said are designed to stifle dissent.
At Independence Square, protest leaders late Wednesday demanded that Mr. Yanukovych step down within 24 hours, as around 50,000 people took to the streets of the capital.
“We will go on tomorrow. If there is a bullet in the head, then there is a bullet in the head,” former Foreign Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said.
The body of activist Yuri Verbytskyi was found outside the city bearing marks of torture, euronews reporter Kateryna Khinkulova tweeted and Radio Liberty reported late Wednesday.
It was the third death after officials confirmed two men were shot dead Wednesday, with protestors blaming police, while the Interior Ministry said the officers were not carrying guns.