It was a tense Thursday in Ukraine. A truce between protesters and government forces held for much of the day.
The relative calm follows some of the most violent clashes since the crisis began in mid-November. Three protesters were killed just one day prior. Two were shot to death in unclear circumstances. Another is believed to have fallen to his death from the top of the soccer stadium where others had gathered to throw rocks at police.
Ukraine’s foreign minister is accusing the opposition of trying to stage a coup.
Amid the violence and heated rhetoric, the two sides continue to talk. Vitali Klitschko, the opposition leader and former heavyweight champion boxer, is asking President Viktor Yanukovych to call snap elections to defuse the crisis.
Ahead of meeting the president, Klitschko seemed optimistic.
"The power has to stop the aggression against activists, and all activists have to be free," he said. "It's the main point — the base point — to start negotiations."
In response, Yanukovych is calling for an emergency session of parliament next week.
"The situation requires urgent resolution," he said on Thursday. "We all need to act within the law, and there is that political space: the parliament."
Yanukovych is under pressure from protesters who have been hit with new laws against demonstrations, enacted to clear the gatherings. Police have begun making arrests.
"The government is counting on the fact that it can scare the people with these murders and tortures, hoping the people will give up," said protester Mykola Mishovskiy. "But, as you can see, it has the opposite effect. We are waiting for the victory, we are waiting for everything to end peacefully."
Pro-Western protesters took to the streets of Kiev in November when Yanukovych's government did not sign a trade deal with the European Union. Instead, it opted to create closer economic ties with Russia.
Global and domestic responses
Western nations have spoken out to condemn the latest violence.
The U.S. Embassy revoked a number of visas for Ukrainians. The embassy says the holders “were linked to the violence.” The Obama administration is considering sanctions against the Ukrainian government.
"We urge, continue to urge, President Yanukovych and his government to protect the democratic rights of all Ukrainians, including the rights of peaceful protest. If we have to take additional steps, we will," said Marie Harf, deputy press spokeswoman at the State Department.
Anti-government feelings that began in Kiev are spreading to other parts of the country, too.
In one of the more dramatic moments of the day, protesters were able to force one regional governor to resign. But Oleh Salo of Lviv, a Yanukovych supporter, quickly rescinded his resignation, saying it came under duress.
Will the government call elections?
Will the opposition attend the parliamentary debate?
Will the truce last?
We consulted a panel of experts for the Inside Story.
The above panel was assembled for the broadcast of Inside Story to discuss.
For future hard-hitting conversations, find Al Jazeera America on your TV.