Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich and opposition leaders agree to a truce ahead of meetings by European leaders to decide whether to impose sanctions. Julie Noce reports.
Fires continued to burn in Kiev overnight Wednesday- but a respite may be on the way. A statement on the government's website late Wednesday said Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and opposition leaders have agreed to a truce and to the start of negotiations with the aim of ending the bloodshed. The opposition later released a video saying they had called off a planned assault on Independence Square. The agreement comes after a day of calls by world leaders to end the violence or face severe sanctions. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, along with French President Francois Hollande and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso held a news conference to discuss earlier conversations they had with Yanukovich. (SOUNDBITE) (French) EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, SAYING: I told him that in a Europe that remains open to the idea of developing the relations with Ukraine there will be consequences, in particular for those who have committed violence or who have used excessive force. I hope that President Yanukovich will be able to respond to this extremely strong message from the European Union." The French, German and Polish foreign ministers will travel to Kiev later Thursday to assess the situation before a meeting in Brussels to decide whether to impose sanctions.