Ukraine agreement still very far off: Polish PM

Ukraine agreement still very far off: Polish PM

Warsaw (AFP) - Talks led by three EU ministers on the future of Ukraine have stopped the immediate bloodshed, but an agreement remains "far off", Poland's prime minister said Friday.

"For now, this objective (to end bloodshed) has been achieved, but the road to an agreement is still very far off," Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters in Warsaw.

"We can't say yet that the worst-case scenario has been completely avoided. This conflict will last... for a long time," Tusk said.

"It's possible that betting on a happy ending in the next few hours or days was completely exaggerated," he added.

After marathon talks with President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders, three EU envoys said a "temporary" agreement was due to be signed Friday in what would be a major step forward in ending the worst crisis since Ukraine's independence.

Yanukovych announced he was calling an early presidential election, without giving a date, as well as starting a process to reform the constitution and form a unity government.

"I'm not naive, and assuming good will on the part of President Yanukovych would be in my opinion naive, but it's possible that he is a politician who knows he's cornered and has no way out," Tusk told reporters Friday of Yanukovych's possible motivations in agreeing to the deal.

"At this point I don't know anyone on earth who could say that they trust President Yanukovych," Tusk added, as the Polish foreign ministry confirmed the EU envoys were in talks with Ukraine's Maidan civic opposition leaders.

At least 60 people were killed in fierce clashes in Kiev's Independence Square on Thursday, the deadliest day since the crisis erupted in November, with police opening fire on protesters carrying makeshift shields while opposition medics said government snipers picked off demonstrators from rooftops.

Three EU foreign ministers and a Russian envoy flew into Kiev for emergency talks on Thursday as the international community voiced increasing alarm about the bloody escalation of the crisis in the former Soviet state.

An ex-communist EU and NATO member, Poland has long been active in drawing ex-Soviet eastern neighbour Ukraine closer to the West.

Most recently, the two countries co-hosted the Euro 2012 football championships.

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