At least three people died Tuesday in clashes between protesters and police in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, Olga Bogolomets, a docter treating the injured in Maidan square, said.

The square is the opposition stronghold in the heart of the capital.

"In the medical center at the House of the Officials there are three dead. We have many injured, dozens of them seriously," Bogolomets told the online edition of Ukrainskaya Pravda.

Ukraine's current crisis erupted at the end of November, when President Viktor Yanukovych - under pressure from Russia, its leading trade partner - backed away from plans to ink a trade pact with the European Union and instead signed a $15 billion financial-aid package with Moscow.

Pro-Europe protesters took to the streets in downtown Kiev and began occupying administrative buildings, prompting Ukraine's Parliament, controlled by Yanukovych's allies, to pass a package of laws on Jan. 16 restricting freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and other basic rights.

Violent clashes pitting demonstrators and riot police broke out three days later and left six dead and hundreds wounded.

Ukrainian officials and opposition leaders began seeking a negotiated solution to the crisis in the wake of the bloodshed.

The talks led to the resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and the repeal of the controversial anti-protest laws, but opposition demonstrators are still demanding that Yanukovych step down and early elections be held. EFE