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Pause in Ukraine clashes, uneasy standoff remains

Ukrainian protesters and security forces refrained from using further force after two days of clashes but an uneasy standoff remains with neither side giving way. 

KIEV: Ukrainian protesters and security forces on Tuesday refrained from using further force after two days of clashes but an uneasy standoff remained with neither side giving way.

After a night of violence, a temporary truce appeared to be in place with the protesters no longer launching the Molotov cocktails and stones that had marked their action since the clashes erupted on the night of January 19.

Police stood in solid lines behind anti-riot shields but did not use any force against the protesters, a correspondent said.

Meanwhile protesters freely milled around in the "no-man's land" between their barricades and the lines of police that had been a no-go area the day before.

Police loudspeakers repeated a message to the protesters offering them to leave their barricades in security.

It also warned them that approaching within three metres of the police lines would be seen as an attempt on the life and health of the security forces.

Despite the calm, thousands of protesters remained around the area of the standoff on Grushevsky Street that leads to the Verkhovna Rada parliament.

Opposition leader and boxing champion Vitali Klitschko came to the scene and informed the protesters he had sought to meet President Viktor Yanukovych but was told that the president was busy.

He said he was now awaiting a telephone call from the head of state.

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