The nine were arrested during a violent crackdown on 30 November to drive protesters away from the presidential administration in the capital Kiev.

Ukrainian opposition leaders reiterated their demands to President Viktor Yanukovych on Friday at a roundtable designed to help soothe political tensions in the protest-hit state.

No tangible results were reached at the meeting, however.

Professor Petro told VoR: "It would be ideal for Ukraine if they could reconcile currently two contradictory positions - an economic association with Russia, combined with a political associations with Europe.

"It seems to me that President Putin went the extra mile in reiterating that Russia is willing to work with Ukraine on individual projects even if Ukraine signs an EE association agreement".