KIEV- More than 60 protesters were shot dead Thursday in the deadliest day of anti-government protests in Ukraine, opposition medics said as rival sides traded accusations of sniper attacks and EU ministers tried to broker an end to the crisis.
The deaths came as the European Union agreed to impose sanctions on Ukrainians with “blood on their hands”, though it left the door open to a political deal by naming no names.
The United States threatened to follow suit.
Ukraine’s embattled President Viktor Yanukovych appeared ready to concede to one of the protesters’ main demands by suggesting to visiting EU dignitaries that he may be ready to hold early elections.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, spoke to Presidents Barack Obama of the United States and Vladimir Putin of Russia — who have bickered openly over the crisis, which has pitted the ex-Soviet country’s future between Russia and the West — by telephone.
All three called for a halt to the bloodshed that has escalated since Tuesday.
Opposition medics said more than 60 protesters had been shot dead by police on Thursday alone. Kiev authorities, for their part, put the death toll from three days of violence at 75.