More than 30 people were killed in a "criminal" blaze in Ukraine's southern city of Odessa, as violence spread across the country during the bloodiest day since Kiev's Western-backed government took power.
US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke passionately Wednesday about the "incredible yearning for modernity" sweeping across the world, warning that free elections do not necessarily usher in true democracy in many countries.
Ukraine's embattled leader announced a "truce" with the opposition as he prepared for a grilling by visiting EU diplomats Thursday over clashes that killed 26 and left the government facing diplomatic isolation.
Riot police launched a fresh assault on protesters in central Kiev early Wednesday, escalating a bloody standoff that has already left at least 18 people dead in a dramatic turning point for Ukraine's three-month political crisis.
US Vice President Joe Biden intervened as a political crisis in Ukraine turned deadly Tuesday, calling President Viktor Yanukovych and saying government forces that stormed a protest camp should withdraw.