Pro-Russian government forces in the Ukraine have attacked pro-Democracy protesters in Kiev, but they are fighting back with Molotov cocktails and improvised weapons. Other cities are rising up in support. Details and a live feed from the Kiev town square, the epicenter of the violence.
Clashes in Ukraine between police and anti-government activists killed at least 18 people and left hundreds injured in the bloodiest episode of the country’s three-month standoff.
Eleven civilians and seven policemen were confirmed dead during clashes yesterday and through the night as security forces moved to clear out the main protest camp in Kiev. Thousands gathered on central Independence Square, with burning barricades ringing protesters hurling firebombs at officers backed by water cannons and military vehicles.
Ukraine’s Russia-backed President, Viktor Yanukovych, is seeking to end the crisis that has destabilized the country of 45 million, a key energy route. The government yesterday banned protests and vowed to use “all means” necessary to restore order. The U.S. and European governments condemned the violence, some diplomats urging sanctions against the country’s leaders.
“The violent scenario is a tragic and irreversible decision,” Volodymyr Fesenko, head of the Penta Political Analysis Center in Kiev, said by phone. “Western Ukraine may even declare its insubordination. Any attempt to restore order in western Ukraine by force will start a civil war.”
The violence has spread throughout Ukraine. Protesters stormed the police department in Ternopil and Ivano Frankivsk, both in western Ukraine. In Lviv, the country’s fourth-largest city, the anti-government regional council declared “total mobilization” and called all adult males to drive to Kiev.