Nine deaths today from mass protests in Ukraine

Nine people died earlier today in mass protests over Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovich's dictatorial rule and his decision to side with Russia instead of the European Union.

A police spokeswoman said seven civilians and two policemen had died in Tuesday's clashes.

Earlier the State Security Service (SBU), in a joint statement with the interior ministry, had set protesters a 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) deadline to end street disorder or face "tough measures".

Forces loyal to the Russian-backed president broke through front-line barricades near the Dynamo Kiev soccer stadium and advanced to the edge of the occupied Independence Square. They were met after nightfall with a hail of petrol bombs and fireworks, responding with bursts of water cannon.

At least nine die on worst day of Ukraine protest violence