Protesters continue to demand the resignation of the Ukrainian government led by President Victor Yanukovich and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, despite the parliament's failure to legally oust the regime with a no-confidence vote.
As Ukrainian opposition protesters clogged the street outside of the parliament building in Kiev Tuesday morning, 186 lawmakers voted in favor of the no-confidence motion. However, they fell short of the 226 votes required to abolish the cabinet.
The protests and rallies were ignited in November, with Ukraine's last minute rejection of an EU trade deal that was expected to secure long term economic benefits and create closer ties with the influential European governing body. This decision highlights Ukraine's divergent views of its future, with its western regions bearing pro-European views and its eastern regions leaning towards its Russian past.
The protesters perceived the decision as a shift backwards, to the country's time under Soviet rule Reuters News Agency reported.
Before the no-confidence vote, Azarov apologized for the police force amassed against protesters this weekend, after the opposition pushed through barriers around the president's administration building with a bulldozer.
Azarov then appealed to the opposition, asking them to end the rallies outside the government buildings.
"We reach out our hand to you. Push away the plotters, the plotters seeking power and who are trying to repeat the scenario of 2004," Azarov said to parliament, referring to the tumult of the Orange Revolution that led to the ousting of Yanukovych, who was prime minister, in 2004.
Azarov told the BBC Monday, that he saw "all the signs of a coup" as protests continue to escalate.
"Well, if they (the government) are not following the will of the nation, they are illegitimate," demonstrator Yehven Buleha, told CNN. "We need to create our own government and introduce our order, our right to vote," he said.
Despite freezing temperatures protesters continue to stand their ground, erecting tents and waving flags. On Monday protesters barricaded government buildings with trash bins and large containers in order to prevent lawmakers from going to work and calling for a general strike.
Vitali Klitschko, former heavyweight world boxing champion and leader of the opposition, said that they had no plans to end the protests after the no-confidence hearing.
"We will peacefully blockade the government building and not allow them to work," he told demonstrators at a rally, Associated News reports.
"The protests will go on until the opposition finds a way to solve this," protester Sergey Vysotsky, 24, told CNN. "My guess is that they (the demonstrators) won't go back to their homes until they accomplish what they came here for."
The U.S. and Europe are declining to "engage in a rather overt and we think inappropriate bidding war," Secretary of State John Kerry said in a NATO Council meeting. But Poland and a number of other countries bordering the Ukraine are supporting pro-European Ukrainians, fearing a Russian-influenced nation on their borders, the Associated Press reports.