The United States tried Thursday to defuse a potential row with its European allies after the leak of an embarrassing phone call in which a top US diplomat cursed the EU response to the Ukraine crisis.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych returns to work from four days of sick leave after opposition leaders appealed for Western assistance and an injured militant accused of rioting left the country for medical treatment.
Russia on Friday slammed as a "circus" US Secretary of State John Kerry's planned weekend meeting with Ukrainian opposition leaders.
In a major show of support for pro-democracy protesters in Ukraine, US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet top opposition leaders for the first time this weekend.
Ukrainian lawmakers meet on Tuesday to debate ways of ending a deadly two-month crisis after President Viktor Yanukovych gave in to a key opposition demand to abolish draconian anti-protest laws.
Ukraine threatened to impose a state of emergency on Monday after demonstrators occupied the justice ministry and protests demanding the president's resignation spread despite a power-sharing offer.
Protesters and Ukrainian police were on Saturday still locked in a tense standoff in Kiev after a night of sporadic clashes that erupted despite a truce and offer of concessions by President Viktor Yanukovych.
Ukraine's opposition threatened to go on the attack on Thursday unless the government agreed to concessions to quell protests that have left five activists dead in the first fatalities of two months of anti-government rallies.
Russia will not intervene in the raging anti-government protests in Ukraine and believes its leadership will find a way out.
Russia warned Tuesday that clashes between opposition and police in Ukraine were getting out of control and slammed the EU's "indecent" support of the protest movement against President Viktor Yanukovych.
The flames from buses set ablaze lit up the night sky, protesters dug up stones from the pavement to hurl at police and the stench of tear gas hung thick in Kiev.
Pro-EU Ukrainians were reinforcing barricades in Kiev on Saturday ahead of a new mass rally, despite President Viktor Yanukovych signing legislation that placed strict curbs on protests, which drew condemnation from the West.
Ukraine's ex-interior minister and current opposition leader Yuriy Lutsenko was under intensive care in hospital Saturday after being beaten in fresh clashes that erupted between pro-EU demonstrators and club-wielding police.
The long-running opposition protests on Kiev's central Independence Square are becoming a "school for revolution" as the country's leaders lose touch with society, top Ukrainian novelist Andrey Kurkov told AFP.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday said that Western countries appear to have lost "their sense of reality" over the pro-EU protests in Ukraine, which he called the work of provocateurs.
Ukraine's opposition called Thursday for a mass weekend rally, as pro-European demonstrators sought to increase the pressure on President Viktor Yanukovych following a failed police raid.
Pro-EU Ukrainian protesters on Sunday toppled a statue of the Soviet Union's founder Vladimir Lenin in Kiev after hundreds of thousands massed for a new protest in an increasingly tense standoff with President Viktor Yanukovych's government.
The government of Ukraine does not rule out discussing snap elections with the opposition, a high-ranking official said ahead of a meeting of top European diplomats in Kiev Thursday.
Dozens of protesters were reported wounded in Ukraine's capital early Saturday when police brutally dispersed demonstrators calling for President Viktor Yanukovych's ouster after he failed to salvage an EU deal.
Though the European Union appears to have lost to Russia in the first round of an East-West tussle over winning friends and influence in eastern Europe, some analysts would disagree.