US Secretary of State John Kerry has urged the Ukrainian government to "listen to the voices of its people" after President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to reject an agreement with the European Union.
Mr Kerry told a news conference in Brussels that "violence has no place in a modern European state," at a NATO foreign ministers' meeting.
Mr Kerry's statement comes after the Ukrainian parliament rejected a motion of no-confidence tabled by opposition MPs following the pro-European protests calling for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych and his government.
The government had hoped that an offer of round-table discussions with opposition leaders would ease tensions, but that offer was rejected out-of-hand yesterday.
Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has claimed the ongoing protests, and the occupation of Kiev city hall, have what he termed, "all the signs of a coup".
Russian President Vladimir Putin even went so far as to describe the pro-EU demonstrations as "pogroms".
Although demonstrators say their number one objective is to force Mr Yanukovych to resign, his spokesman said the president will proceed with a scheduled visit to China today.
During the debate on the no-confidence motion, Mr Azarov urged politicians not to repeat the 2004 Orange Revolution that overthrew the country's leadership in the face of mass protests.
Speaking above boos in parliament, Mr Azarov apologised for the use of police force against pro-EU protesters on one of Kiev's main squares.
"We reach out our hand to you, push away the intriguers, the intriguers seeking power and who are trying to repeat the scenario of 2004," he said.