At least 21 protesters dead in Ukraine clashes

KIEV - At least 21 protesters have been reported killed by security forces in Kiev following the breakdown of a truce agreed on Wednesday.

Witnesses have told the BBC that some died as a result of single gunshot wounds, typical of sniper fire.

Officials said that one policeman had died and that 67 police troops had been captured by protesters.

Meanwhile, three European Union foreign ministers have been meeting President Viktor Yanukovych.

The foreign ministers of France, Poland and Germany will now stay in Kiev while their EU counterparts convene at an emergency meeting in Brussels to discuss possible sanctions.

Eyewitnesses have told international news agencies that they have counted between 21 and 27 protesters' bodies after clashes in Kiev.

Video footage has emerged apparently showing snipers firing on demonstrators who had been trying to retake their protest camp in Independence Square.

Officials said more than 20 policemen had also been injured.

Witnesses reported live rounds, petrol bombs and water cannon being used at Independence Square during this morning's clashes.

An opposition Twitter feed posted an image of 13 bodies in a makeshift mortuary in the lobby of the Hotel Ukraine.

The hotel is serving as the base for all foreign media in Kiev, including the BBC. Gunshots pierced the windows of rooms used by the BBC and Sky News.

Earlier, several dozen protesters were using the lobby as a triage centre for the wounded, and a priest arrived, says the BBC's Kevin Bishop, at the scene.

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