Ukrainian protesters looked set to double-down in their bid to oust President Viktor Yanukovych after the government claimed a deal to end the crisis gripping the country had been brokered on Friday.
"What we're hearing from protesters, in so many words, is that this supposed settlement is 'crap.' They're not going to stand for what they deem are minor concessions," said Christopher Miller, an editor at English-language newspaper Kyiv Post and contributor to NBC News' partner GlobalPost. "They would much prefer to stay on the square and continue fighting."
"[This morning] I saw more protesters arriving. They’re not backing down. If anything, they are reinforcing barricades," he told NBC News from Kiev.
Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images
Anti-government protesters man the barricades in Independence Square in Kiev on Friday.
While the reported deal set an early election date for December, protesters want early elections as soon as possible, Miller said.
"They want them now, and really what they want is Yanukovych to resign," he added.
Kiev's subway and highways linking the capital to western Ukraine had reopened Friday, allowing more protesters to travel to Independence Square, where demonstrations have been centered, Miller said.
Earlier, the government announced in a statement that overnight negotiations with opposition leaders, European Union ministers and Russia had produced an agreement to end the crisis. The opposition did not immediately confirm that an agreement had been reached, however.
Thursday was Ukraine's bloodiest day since the country emerged from the Soviet Union in 1991 and demonstrators held a vigil at Independence Square. At least 77 people have been killed -- including more than 13 police officers -- and 577 others injured in clashes this week.
First published February 21 2014, 1:42 AM
F. Brinley Bruton
F. Brinley Bruton is an editor and senior writer at NBCNews.com in London. Bruton reports, writes, edits and acts as the main point-person in London, commissioning and editing work by NBC News colleagues around the world. She started this role in May of 2007.
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At NBCNews.com and previously msnbc.com, she documented the economic crisisâ€™s deep impact on Spanish society. Bruton has also covered Turkeyâ€™s powerful Islamist government, and the struggle by young Muslim women to be accepted in mainstream society. She has also broken news on the booming North American methamphetamine trade.
Bruton joined NBCNews.com after working as a journalism trainer and mentor at Afghanistanâ€™s Pajhwok Afghan News. While in Afghanistan, she traveled to Farah Province â€“ off-limits to most Westerners â€“ to interview a female activist who became a hero after criticizing U.S.-backed militia leaders for the U.K.'s New Statesman magazine.
Bruton was also a reporter with Reuters in London and New York from 2000 to 2004. In New York, she broke stories about subprime and predatory lending at leading lenders like Citigroup and Countrywide. In London, she wrote about the rush to cash-in on reconstruction contracts after the invasion of Iraq.
Prior to her work at Reuters, Bruton worked at the Mexico City News where she covered, among other things, unionization efforts by the cityâ€™s sex workers.
Bruton lives in London, U.K.