Just before midnight Wednesday, Ukraine's president declared a truce in his tumultuous nation, as well as the start of negotiations aimed at not only preventing further bloodshed but forging a lasting peace.
The statement -- agreed upon with leaders of Ukraine's three top opposition parties -- seemingly offered a respite from the violence and acrimony that's marred the last few weeks.
Still, there have been talks before. There was a breakthrough as recently as four days ago, when protesters agreed to move out of Kiev's City Hall and unblock downtown streets. Then it collapsed in a bloody mess Tuesday on the streets of Kiev.
So will this attempt be any different?
One thing that has changed is the scale of the violence: Authorities say at least 26 people -- protesters and police alike -- were killed in fierce clashes centered around Kiev's Maidan, or Independence Square.
The international outrage also has ratcheted up. After weeks of behind-the-scenes work and general calls for a peaceful resolution, Western leaders ramped up their pressure on Wednesday.
As U.S. President Barack Obama said, "We're going to be watching closely."
He and other Western leaders offered pointed remarks -- and floated possible sanctions -- against Ukraine's embattled government for its part in the recent violence.
"We hold the Ukrainian government primarily responsible," Obama said, "for making sure that it is dealing with peaceful protesters in an appropriate way, that the Ukrainian people are able to assemble and speak freely about their interests without fear of repression."
If there is a truce, it wasn't evident overnight Wednesday in central Kiev.
Persistent explosions rattled the night sky, the apparent product of protesters' fireworks, security forces' stun grenades and whatever else.
Demonstrators continued to pick up pavement and rocks, then throw them at police. Security forces themselves responded, including in some cases throwing Molotov cocktails in protesters' direction.
"The government would like the world to believe that those on Maidan are just terrorists and extremists to justify the bloodshed,... that those on Maidan are armed with firearms and rioting," Kiev protester MaiaKiev told CNN iReport. "But it's not a riot ... It's a revolution of dignity."
Both sides appear dug in
The situation began in November, when the opposition hit the streets angry about Yanukovych's backpedaling from a trade pact with the European Union. That move and Russia's offer the following month to buy $15 billion in Ukrainian debt and slash the price Kiev pays for its gas played into the storyline of Ukraine being a proxy for battles between Russia and the West.
Yet this dispute goes beyond international affairs. It's also about who controls Ukraine's future and how, as seen in the opposition's pressing for constitutional reforms shifting powers from the president to the parliament.
The government's response to the dissent -- including a sweeping, if short-lived, anti-protest law in January -- further inflamed the opposition.
While the protests in Maidan have been a constant, there have been ebbs and flows in the unrest. The most sudden shift came on Tuesday, two days after a seeming breakthrough. Riot police plowed through the streets with water cannons, stun grenades, night sticks and, in some cases, armored personnel carriers.
Protesters fought back, with some clawing paving stones from the streets and firing Molotov cocktails attached to fireworks from an improvised air cannon. They even set fire to the headquarters of the headquarters of the ruling Party of Regions.
Overnight Tuesday, the situation had become a standoff. The security forces maintained on alert and so did demonstrators, refusing to budge from their physical position in the center of Ukraine's capital as well as their political positions.
A ring of fire continued to burn along barricades around their camp in the city center. Their cries against President Viktor Yanukovych are continuing too -- accusing him of scuttling an European Union trade pact to cozy up with Russia, resisting reforms that might curb his power and stubbornly, heavy-handedly dealing with the opposition.
As to the Ukrainian government, while security forces held back Wednesday, its officials did not.
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara said an opposition march Tuesday "ended with massive riots and aggressive and excessive attacks against the Ukrainian police."
The head of Ukraine's security service was even more forceful, accusing protesters of taking over government offices nationwide and looting 1,500 weapons and 100,000 rounds of ammunition, among other misdeeds.
"These are concrete acts of terror," Oleksander Yakimenko said in a statement announcing an anti-terrorism operation apparently targeting protesters. "Radical and extremist groups are now a real threat."