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Ukrainian opposition leader expresses willingness for talks, but only if police punished

  • A riot police officer guards the Ukrainian presidential administration building in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. Western diplomats urged Ukrainian authorities to respect the massive protests gripping the country against the government's decision to freeze ties with the EU and turn to Moscow instead. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    A riot police officer guards the Ukrainian presidential administration building in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. Western diplomats urged Ukrainian authorities to respect the massive protests gripping the country against the government's decision to freeze ties with the EU and turn to Moscow instead. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)  (The Associated Press)

  • Riot police officers guard the Ukrainian presidential administration building in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, with paper  flowers placed onto their  shields decorated by Pro-European Union activists.  Western diplomats urged Ukrainian authorities  to respect the massive protests gripping the country against the government's decision to freeze ties with the EU and turn to Moscow instead. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    Riot police officers guard the Ukrainian presidential administration building in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, with paper flowers placed onto their shields decorated by Pro-European Union activists. Western diplomats urged Ukrainian authorities to respect the massive protests gripping the country against the government's decision to freeze ties with the EU and turn to Moscow instead. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)  (The Associated Press)

  • An activist decorates the shields of riot police with paper flowers as they guard the Ukrainian presidential administration building in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. Western diplomats urged Ukrainian authorities to respect the massive protests gripping the country against the government's decision to freeze ties with the EU and turn to Moscow instead. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    An activist decorates the shields of riot police with paper flowers as they guard the Ukrainian presidential administration building in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. Western diplomats urged Ukrainian authorities to respect the massive protests gripping the country against the government's decision to freeze ties with the EU and turn to Moscow instead. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)  (The Associated Press)

A leader of the protests gripping Ukraine's capital to try to force the government's resignation says the opposition is willing to talk with officials to find a way out of the crisis, but only if the police who violently dispersed demonstrators are punished.

Oleh Tyanhybok, head of the nationalist Svobooda party, told reporters on Friday that "the opposition is ready to sit down, talk, negotiate change in the situation" to seek "an exit from the current political crisis."

His statement, however, appeared to be only an incremental move toward a resolution of the tensions. Police say the dispersal and beating of demonstrators came after provocations.

The opposition is protesting President Viktor Yanukovych's abrupt decision to freeze ties with the 28-nation European Union and shift toward Russia instead.