Ukraine protesters stand ground, sanctions discussed

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KIEV, Ukraine (CNN) — Protesters stoked fires along barricade lines as night fell Wednesday over Kiev’s Maidan, or Independence Square, a day after 26 people died in violent clashes that have drawn reproach from Western leaders.

An opposition leader said the situation was precarious, but despite the burning fires and police lines, a strange calm pervaded central Kiev — even as security officials rebranded the protesters as terrorists and announced a nationwide security operation to restore order.

Meanwhile, European and U.S. leaders threatened quick sanctions against the Ukrainian government over what French President Francois Hollande called “unspeakable, unacceptable, intolerable acts.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed.

“The violence on all sides is completely unacceptable and President Yanukovych has a particular responsibility to pull back government forces and de-escalate the situation,” Cameron said Wednesday.

The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland will travel to Kiev on Thursday…

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