ANTI-GOVERNMENT protesters in Ukraine have agreed a brief truce while new talks took place between opposition leaders and President Viktor Yanukovich.

Protesters, who have been bombarding police with petrol bombs and cobblestones in Kiev since Sunday, told opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko they would suspend further action until last night.

Mr Klitschko, a former boxer, is one of three opposition leaders who has been leading demonstrations against Mr Yanukovich since November when he pulled out of signing a free trade deal with the EU in favour of closer economic ties with Russia.

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The unrest swelled into peaceful mass rallies against the four-year rule of Mr Yanukovich which turned violent on Sunday when hard-core radicals broke away from the main protest area in the capital Kiev and clashed violently with riot police.

Three people have been killed on the side of protesters - two of them from gunshot wounds - and more than 150 police have been injured in the worst street violence in post-war Kiev.

The truce was agreed after Mr Klitschko went to the barricades where protesters are confronting police from behind a curtain of black smoke from burning tyres.

Also involved in the new round of talks between Mr Yanukovich and Mr Klitschko were former economy minister Arseny Yatsenyuk and far-right nationalist Oleh Tyahnibok.

In an initial round of talks on Wednesday, Mr Yanukovich refused to make any real concessions to opposition demands for his government's dismissal.