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Ukrainian protesters occupy government buildings in Kiev

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 24, 2014 at 8:24 a.m.

protesters-guard-the-barricades-near-the-entrance-to-the-stadium-of-dynamo-kyiv-soccer-club-in-kiev-ukraine-on-friday-jan-24-2014

Protesters guard the barricades near the entrance to the stadium of Dynamo Kyiv soccer club in Kiev, Ukraine, on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014.

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukrainian protesters seized a government ministry in the capital and besieged several governors' offices in western regions Friday, raising the pressure on the country's Russia-leaning government.

Meanwhile, President Viktor Yanukovych showed little willingness to negotiate and promoted his hawkish top aide, Andriy Kluyev, to his chief-of-staff.

The seizures could complicate talks between opposition leaders and Yanukovych, who has demanded the demonstrators leave other administrative buildings in Kiev that they have occupied for nearly two months. The opposition wants Yanukovych to resign in favor of a new election.

Some opposition leaders had expressed hope for negotiations after meeting with Yanukovych for several hours late Thursday, telling the crowd that he had promised to stop detaining protesters and to release dozens of them already in custody. They urged the protesters to maintain a shaky truce that has followed violent street battles in Kiev so as to avoid further bloodshed.

But the opposition leaders were booed by some demonstrators eager to resume clashes with police.

The truce largely held Friday, but early in the day protesters broke into the downtown Ministry of Agricultural Policy, meeting no resistance. The demonstrators let ministry workers take their possessions but wouldn't let them work.

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