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Ukrainian officials accuse protesters of capturing 2 policemen, warn of storming building

  • Ukraine-Protests-40

    A protester throws a tire onto a fire during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, early Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. As riots spread from Ukraine's embattled capital to nearly half of the country, President Viktor Yanukovych promised Friday to reshuffle his government and make other concessions - but a top opposition leader said nothing short of his resignation would do. Hours after the president's comments, huge fireballs lit up the night sky in central Kiev and plumes of thick black smoke rose from burning tires at giant barricades erected by protesters.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

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  • Ukraine-Protest-85

    A protester throws a Molotov cocktail onto a fire during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, early Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. As riots spread from Ukraine's embattled capital to nearly half of the country, President Viktor Yanukovych promised Friday to reshuffle his government and make other concessions - but a top opposition leader said nothing short of his resignation would do. Hours after the president's comments, huge fireballs lit up the night sky in central Kiev and plumes of thick black smoke rose from burning tires at giant barricades erected by protesters. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

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  • Ukraine-Protests-41

    Black smoke and fireballs rise during clashes between protesters and police in central Kiev, Ukraine, early Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. As riots spread from Ukraine's embattled capital to nearly half of the country, President Viktor Yanukovych promised Friday to reshuffle his government and make other concessions - but a top opposition leader said nothing short of his resignation would do. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

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  • Ukraine-Protests-42

    A protester stands behind the barricade in front of riot police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday Jan. 25, 2014. Ukraine's Interior Ministry has accused protesters in Kiev of capturing two of its officers as violent clashes have resumed in the capital and anti-government riots spread across Ukraine. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

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  • Ukraine-Protests-43

    Protesters clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. As riots spread from Ukraine's embattled capital to nearly half of the country, President Viktor Yanukovych promised Friday to reshuffle his government and make other concessions - but a top opposition leader said nothing short of his resignation would do. Hours after the president's comments, huge fireballs lit up the night sky in central Kiev and plumes of thick black smoke rose from burning tires at giant barricades erected by protesters. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

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  • Ukriane-Protests

    A priest prays in front of the riot police as smoke billows from a burning barricade on Hrusevskoho-street in central Kiev Saturday Jan. 25. 2014. Ukraine’s Interior Ministry is accusing protesters in Kiev of capturing two of its officers as rioting against President Viktor Yanukovych continues to engulf Ukraine. (AP Photo/LEHTIKUVA / Antti Aimo-Koivisto ) FINLAND OUT

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  • Ukraine-Protests-44

    Protesters confront with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday Jan. 25, 2014. Ukraine's Interior Ministry has accused protesters in Kiev of capturing two of its officers as violent clashes have resumed in the capital and anti-government riots spread across Ukraine. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

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  • Ukraine-Protests-45

    Protesters confront with poliee amid black smoke in central Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday Jan. 25, 2014. Ukraine's Interior Ministry has accused protesters in Kiev of capturing two of its officers as violent clashes have resumed in the capital and anti-government riots spread across Ukraine. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Ukraine-Protests-46

    Black smoke and fireballs rise during clashes between protesters and police in central Kiev, Ukraine, early Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. As riots spread from Ukraine's embattled capital to nearly half of the country, President Viktor Yanukovych promised Friday to reshuffle his government and make other concessions - but a top opposition leader said nothing short of his resignation would do. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Ukraine-Protests-47

    Protesters clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, early Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. As riots spread from Ukraine's embattled capital to nearly half of the country, President Viktor Yanukovych promised Friday to reshuffle his government and make other concessions - but a top opposition leader said nothing short of his resignation would do. Hours after the president's comments, huge fireballs lit up the night sky in central Kiev and plumes of thick black smoke rose from burning tires at giant barricades erected by protesters. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Ukraine-Protests-48

    Protesters clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, early Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. As riots spread from Ukraine's embattled capital to nearly half of the country, President Viktor Yanukovych promised Friday to reshuffle his government and make other concessions - but a top opposition leader said nothing short of his resignation would do. Hours after the president's comments, huge fireballs lit up the night sky in central Kiev and plumes of thick black smoke rose from burning tires at giant barricades erected by protesters. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Ukriane-Protests-1

    Riot police stand as smoke billows from a burning barricade on Hrusevskoho-street in central Kiev Saturday Jan. 25. 2014. Ukraine’s Interior Ministry is accusing protesters in Kiev of capturing two of its officers as rioting against President Viktor Yanukovych continues to engulf Ukraine. (AP Photo/LEHTIKUVA / Antti Aimo-Koivisto ) FINLAND OUT

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KIEV, Ukraine — Anti-government protesters on Saturday seized a regional administration building, news reports said, and officials warned that police could storm the Kiev city hall to free two policemen allegedly captured by demonstrators.

Protesters have occupied the city hall for nearly two months and turned into a makeshift dormitory and headquarters. Protesters deny they are holding the officers.

A ministry statement warned that police would storm the building if the two officers were not released. It said another officer who had been injured while being seized had been released and was hospitalized in serious condition.

The city hall is only a few hundred meters from both the site of protracted clashes between police and protesters over the past week and Independence Square, where demonstrators have set up an extensive tent camp and conducted round-the-clock protests since early December.

An attempt by police to storm the building would likely set off new clashes.

In Vinnitsya, about 180 kilometers (110 miles) southwest of Kiev, hundreds of demonstrators stormed the local administration building, Ukrainian news agencies said. Until the past week, the protests had been centered in Kiev with only smaller demonstrations elsewhere, but since the Kiev clashes began on Sunday, a score of local government buildings have been seized in the country’s west, where support for President Viktor Yanukovych is thin.

Yanukovych has refused protesters’ demand to resign and call early elections, offering only minor concessions to the opposition Friday. Violent clashes then resumed in Kiev’s government district, with protesters pelting rocks and fire bombs at police, who responded with stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets.

On Saturday morning, the clash site was tense, with demonstrators milling about, many of them bearing clubs, metal rods and large sticks. They watched as black smoke billowed from a barricade of burning tires, but there was no violence.

Interior Minister Vitali Zakharchenko, who is in charge of the police and is one of the figures most despised by the protesters, said other countries “must not close their eyes” to rising extremism in Ukraine. The country has come under wide criticism from the West during the protests, particularly after at least two demonstrators died of gunshot wounds in the clashes this week.

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