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Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko said on Thursday that there was only one way to end the bloodshed engulfing Ukraine.

Klitschko agreed to a cease-fire with President Viktor Yanukovych late on Wednesday but the pact collapsed hours later when clashes erupted in Kiev.

In a statement posted online just after noon (5 a.m. ET), the former boxing star said: "President Yanukovych has to announce early presidential election. This is the only way to stop the violence."

Klitschko also alleged that "armed criminals" had been "unleashed to beat people."

Vitali Klitschko at a barricade in Kiev in January.Etienne De Malglaive / Getty Images, file