Protesters in central Kiev used blazing tyres and rubble to rebuild barricades close to government buildings and parliament early on Thursday (January 23), following the deaths of at least three protesters - two of them from gunshot wounds - the previous day.

Late into the night of Wednesday (January 22), on the 200-metre stretch of the city centre close to government buildings and the parliament, hard-core protesters continued to launch fireworks at riot police while rebuilding the barricade after an earlier police assault.

Ukrainian opposition leaders emerged from crisis talks with President Viktor Yanukovich on Wednesday saying he had failed to give concrete answers to their demands, and told their supporters on the streets to prepare for a police offensive.

Using emotional language following the deaths earlier in the day of at least three protesters - two of them from gunshot wounds - the three opposition leaders who met Yanukovich said they were ready to face police bullets.

The deaths were the first protest-related fatalities since the crisis erupted last November after Yanukovich ditched a trade deal with the European Union in favour of financial aid from Soviet-era overlord Russia to prop up Ukraine's ailing economy.

The protesters, inflamed by news of the deaths, faced off again on Wednesday with riot police, whom they have battled near the government headquarters since Sunday (January 19) night.

Though repelled by occasional forays of baton-wielding riot police, they have continued to return to the spot, setting tyres ablaze and sending clouds of black smoke wafting into police lines.

Presented by Adam Justice