Yakimenko spoke hours before the announcement of the truce, which two of the opposition leaders -- Vitali Klitschko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk -- later confirmed.
Klitschko, a former world-class boxer who now leads the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform party, said the next round of talks will take place Thursday. Until then, Yanukovych has promised that there will be no further attempts to disperse protesters in Maidan, according to a statement on Klitschko's party's website.
"Today, a key goal is to stop the bloodshed that authorities have provoked and unleashed," Klitschko said. "Now we will see how Yanukovych will stick to his word after promised sanctions from the West."
Ukraine's top military man replaced
One man who won't be part of the government's anti-terrorism campaign is Ukraine's armed forces chief.
Col. Gen. Volodymyr Zamana has been replaced, according to a statement Wednesday on the president's website.
No reason was given for the dismissal of Zamana, who according to his official bio started in the Soviet military, then rose through the ranks of Ukraine's military before getting the top job in February 2012.
U.S. General Philip Breedlove, the military commander for NATO -- the 23-nation alliance including not just Western Europe and the United States, but Ukraine's neighbors Poland and Romania -- called "upon the new military leadership in Ukraine to open a dialog (sic) with us to bring this situation to a peaceful resolution."
In his CNN interview Wednesday, Ukraine's foreign minister insisted that -- despite what he characterized as protesters' provocations -- police have "strong instructions" to avoid using "offensive means."
And Kozhara rejected reports that the army, whoever leads it, has been authorized to fire on protesters.
"Under no conditions (will) the Ukrainian army ... be used in resolving this political crisis," the minister added.
Over the course of a few hours overnight Wednesday, Ukrainian troops moved into defensive positions around bases and weapons depots, according to a U.S. defense official familiar with the latest intelligence. The move is seen by the United States as an effort to ensure the military's facilities remain secure.
U.S. won't issue visas to 20 Ukrainians
After some well-reported infighting about how engaged they'd been in the crisis, Western officials were vocal on Wednesday not just condemning the violence but threatening action.
The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland are set to to travel to Kiev on Thursday to survey the situation, before briefing their European Union colleagues in Brussels. After that, they and their U.S. allies could impose sanctions against Yanukovych's government -- especially if there is even more violence.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso vowed European officials will "respond to the any deterioration on the ground" with "targeted measures against those responsible for violence and use of excessive force."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that Yanukovych must decide "between protecting the people that he serves -- all of the people -- ... versus violence and mayhem."
"We are talking about the possibility of sanctions or other steps with our friends (in) Europe and elsewhere in order to create the environment for compromise," Kerry said.
Later Wednesday, a senior State Department official told reporters that the United States wouldn't issue visas for 20 senior members of the Ukrainian government and others responsible for Tuesday's violent crackdown on protesters.
Calling the violence from both government forces and protesters "completely unacceptable," British Prime Minister David Cameron challenged Ukraine's leaders to make the public's safety their first priority.
"President Yanukovych has a particular responsibility to pull back government forces and de-escalate the situation," Cameron said.
Such measures could affect individuals but not likely the larger situation short term, said Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. Military action seems highly unlikely, and Russia appears poised to help Ukraine's government if economic sanctions were imposed, he said.
"We really don't have very good options to introduce," Haass told CNN.