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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - 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.

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