The Interpreter

A special project of Institute of Modern Russia

Ukraine Liveblog: Intense Violence in Kiev

Protesters and police have clashed in Kiev today. At least 22 people have died so far. There are reports of snipers, teargas, stun grenades, rock throwing, and hand-to-hand combat. As tens of thousands of protesters tried to march on parliament, they were stopped by police who then tried to disperse crowds across the city. Titushki, or street thugs allegedly employed by the government to bash heads, have reportedly opened fire on some of the crowds.

Just yesterday, the government offered an amnesty to all protesters who have been arrested thus far, but the crowds are still demanding the resignation of Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych.

Below are two livestreams of the attack on Maidan. Updates are below that. Make sure to hit refresh regularly:

Live streaming video by Ustream


0500 GMT: The day is dawning, which means that this liveblog is now closed. However, we have already started our Ukraine Liveblog: Day 2 of The Battle For Maidan.


0445 GMT: It is nearly morning in Maidan:

almost morning


0438 GMT: Two weeks ago, The Interpreter‘s editor-in-chief Michael Weiss interviewed Oksana Forostyna, executive editor for Krytyka Journal (think Ukraine’s London Review of Books). An outspoken intellectual and pro-Euromaidan activist, she talked about what the protestors in Kiev, now facing the bloodiest day of a three-month-long uprising (for more on this, see our liveblog), really want and what the United States and European Union can and should be doing to force the Yanukovych government’s hand. A month ago, Forostyna wrote a piece titled, “Ukraine Was Hijacked and America and Europe Are Next” warning of the consequences of Western inaction on Ukraine. Now we have published the interview as Forostyna’s remarks are both prescient and relevant.

Read Oksana Forostyna: “Kiev hasn’t faced such violence since the Second World War.”


0436 GMT: Euromaidan SOS has published directions on Facebook on how to avoid those traffic cops stopping vehicles on Zhitomirskaya highway.


0430 GMT: Here are some tweets from a young woman in Kiev. Her Tweets and VKontakte report suggest she is in the city:

Translations:

@mmott23 Maidan is sleepless, people are dying, and all the heads of states and the world community are keeping their mouths shut

@marta_voroncova It’s horrible and terrible here. The city is dying. Gunshots, fire, blood, and corpses…!!! #Киев #ЭвроМайдан

@marta_voroncova Thanks @mmott23. We’re trying. We’re waiting and hoping that this will soon be over. This is not a city, it is not a capital, it is HELL. From which we can’t get out now!!!(((


0425 GMT: The protesters are not the only ones expecting reinforcements. Earlier, there were blockades and roadblocks in Lviv and Odessa to stop Berkut convoys from moving to Kiev. In Lviv, it seems that the protests there may have sidetracked some of the Berkut, but in Odessa, there are reports that the efforts to contain the Berkut convoys failed. Expect those security forces to arrive soon.


0418 GMT: The government is blaming the opposition for this violence. Here’s the official statement:

Acting Justice Minister Yelena Lukash of the working group to settle the political crisis blames the opposition for the escalation of the crisis.

“The protest that yesterday was announced by the opposition as a peacdeful actoin today began with open armed resistance by extremists. The opposition ignored the calls of Yanukovych and the leaders of the EU, US and Russia for peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Today, leader of the opposition are personally responsible for the new stage of worsening of the conflict. Their actions are putting civil peace under threat and the future of Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, people are furious about this on Twitter:

And as it is quieter now, the people prepare for another wave of police attacks:


0414 GMT: The sourcing on this story is unclear, and the entire thing may just be rumor, but Iskra reports that on Zhitomirskaya Highway on the outskirts of Kiev, a real battle has broken out. Traffic police are not letting vehicles into the city which are being in reinforcements of rebels to Maidan. In response to the “paratroopers” from the Western regions of Ukraine, fire arms have been used. Automatic weapon rounds have been heard on the highway. Additional Interior Ministry reinforcements are being brought into the zone of conflict.


0410 GMT:Now a journalist has reportedly been killed:

The Facebook post says:

Journalist Vyacheslav Veremey died from a gunshot wound in the stomach. He was a journalist at the newspaper Vesti. The titushki were on Vladimirskaya Street. He was travelling in a car.


0404 GMT: Another major push by police and water cannons:

water cannons 2

water cannons 3

The protesters forming a wall with captured shields from riot police:

shields up


0358 GMT: According to the Euromaidan twitter account, more protesters may have broken through and are on their way to the square:


0346 GMT: The police strategy to put out Maidan’s fires may have hit a roadblock. Protesters have still held off the police and have fueled the fires again, and the police water cannons need to regularly refill it seems. Here’s the latest pictures from the front:

fueling fires

This is the same shot we had earlier. As you can see, the fire is rekindled, and the riot police, now nearly obscured by smoke and flame, have not advanced:

police behind fire

Kiev  Ukraine.  euromaidan3


0334 GMT: Earlier we published a report that a Berkut riot police officer was captured by protesters — and he was beaten badly and was missing a hand (jump to update 0151). Well, a picture has emerged that reportedly shows his hand.


0330 GMT: The Kyiv Post has a full statement from a major opposition leader concerning his meeting with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych:

Klitschko: Yanukovych says EuroMaidan protesters should lay down arms Feb. 19, 4:09 a.m. —
Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko is dissatisfied with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych after his talks with Ukraine’s leader.”Yanukovych reacts to the situation absolutely inadequately. All he’s been talking about is that the leaders of the opposition should call on people on Maidan (Kyiv’s Independence Square) to end the standoff and lay down arms,” according to a statement on his party’s website. Klitschko says “these are police forces that are violently shooting at protesters downtown Kyiv. “This is what I suggest: authorities should immediately withdraw law enforcers and put an end to the bloody crackdown, as people continue to die. This is what I’ve told Yanukovych. Could talks be a solution while blood has been shed? But unfortunately he has no understanding of the situation.” — Katya Gorchinskaya


0319 GMT: The protesters are not unprepared. They have been throwing molotovs, launching fireworks, and they are equipped with shields that they took from the riot police in previous failed attempts to clear the square:

protester shields

Screenshot 2014-02-18 22.22.16

Most, however, remain peaceful, waving flags and singing — and refusing to leave:

protesters

Now the police appear to have brought in a helicopter (we’re not totally sure), which is shining light down from above – an intimidation tactic:

helicopter


0311 GMT: The battle is more intense than it has been in many hours:

battle

And the police line can clearly be seen now, preparing to move in:

police advance


0307 GMT: A clear shot of the water cannon used by police to put out the fires:

water cannon


0301 GMT: Clearly not all the fires are out yet, and the water cannons may run out of water before that happens, but the black smoke is an indication that many of the fires have been hit by water:

not all fires out


0254 GMT: A change in fortune for the police? The police have deployed water cannons, but have aimed them at the fires, and nearly have some of them out.

The fires, set by the police, are a strategy that has backfired, as the wind is blowing towards the police. As you can see below, the police are advancing where the fires are being doused.

police


0241 GMT: The fight for Maidan is on. The first Berkut riot police have made it to the line. There are now intensifying clashes on the front lines:

Espreso TV   LIVE   YouTube3


0227 GMT: A freelance journalist sums up the latest:


0219 GMT: A slow build, but things have gradually been growing more intense, like a symphony about to reach the climax of crescendo. The explosions are getting louder and more frequent. The protesters are more tense and are clearly preparing for an assault, as the speaker on the PA shouts prayers into the microphone.

Kiev  Ukraine.  euromaidan


0213 GMT: The Kyiv Post reports that the identity of a dead man found earlier has been confirmed:

Feb. 19, 3:50 a.m. — A man found dead on Trukhanov Island near the Dnipro River has been identified as Volodymyr Naumov, a member of the EuroMaidan “people’s self-defense” team. — Katya Gorchinskaya


0207 GMT: The sound of flash grenades has been joined by the sound of gunfire. It’s not clear if the shots are rubber bullets or now, but small arms fire is fairly distinctive sound on video. The scene appears to be heating up at the front:

gunfire


0201 GMT: Exactly at 4 AM local time, about a minute ago, there were a series of explosions, and the sounds of banging police shields could be heard on the livestreams. It’s not clear that this was the start of a new assault, however. It could have just been an effort to make sure the protesters in the square did not sleep.


0159 GMT: It is almost 4 AM. Things have been relatively quiet for the last few minutes, but the flames of Maidan still burn:

Espreso TV   LIVE   YouTube2

Ukrainian Pravda suggests, however, that a fresh assault will be launched by riot police at 4 AM.


0151 GMT: A picture has been circulating among several sources of a Berkut police officer with a bloody face and a missing hand (graphic). There are reports that he was taken prisoner by protesters at the height of clashes earlier, and it’s not clear if his injuries occurred before or after he became a prisoner.


0122 GMT: Dozhd is reporting on a body found this morning on Trukhaniv Island, in the Dnieper. The body appears to be that of a young member of the Maidan Self Defence group (a neckerchief with the name of the group was found on the corpse). Photos were handed to the journalist Mikhail Baginsky by an activist.

Photo: frankensstein http://bit.ly/1h3Gb1H
Photo: frankensstein http://bit.ly/1h3Gb1H

0108 GMT: Ukrainian news site hvylya.org reports, citing “sources in the presidential administration”, that President Putin has refused to speak to Yanukovych over the phone tonight:

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has tried ringing Vladimir Putin several times. However he refused to speak to the head of state, claiming that he was busy.


0053 GMT: More news on the fire at the Trade Union House, where people are trapped and are trying to escape (jump to update 0053):

BgzAyK2IAAALX4C

 


0047 GMT: The Kyiv Post writes that some of the “Titushki,” pro-government thugs, have been disguising themselves in order to ambush protesters.

“Titushki” — the armed government-hired thugs roaming Kyiv’s streets early this morning — are reportedly indistinguishable from anybody else except for white ribbon armbands so they can identify each other, according to numerous reports. Many “titushki” sightings have placed them in the center of Kyiv, but away from Independence Square, in such places as Lviv Square. The suspicion is that if police launch an all-out assault on the thousands of protesters on the main square, “titushki” will be in the neighborhood to assault any demonstrators who flee. — Katya Gorchinskaya


0034 GMT: Things have already begun to escalate. The police report that three traffic police were shot in Kiev, two of whom were killed. These police do not appear to have been involved in the Maidan clashes, but were shot away from the crowds.


0028 GMT: Hackers have targeted a database of the Interior Ministry and have stolen a list of Berkut soldiers. The list has been published with the dates of birth and addresses redacted. However, the move is disturbing in that it appears to have been made so that reprisal attacks can be made against specific members of the Berkut, or possibly even their families. Reprisal attacks could easily escalate this conflict even further than what has already happened today.


0022 GMT: It seems that the meeting between President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition leaders has fallen apart:


0016 GMT: “4 bodies in St Michael’s cathedral (that’s where the field hospital is). All from Maidan.”


Bgy46AVIUAE8Gu8

There are also claims that live ammunition has been used against the protesters. These were reportedly removed from the bodies:

Bgy4dmVIgAA8yOf To be clear, we think that the claim is that these four people have been killed tonight, since the police started their raid, but this needs confirmation.


2359 GMT: Andriy Shevchenko, a civil rights activist and Rada deputy in the Batkivshchyna party just posted this photo of a field hospital set up in a nearby church:

 

“A reserve hospital has been set up in the refectory of St Michael’s Church”


2356 GMT: Confirmation of our earlier report that some people are trapped inside the Trade Union building:

trade union escape


2353 GMT: This was the scene earlier, reportedly right after midnight:

 

BgylAXNCMAAjdcD

Right now, a barrage of fireworks is being let out by the protesters. We’re not sure if it is a sign of a renewed wave of conflict, however.


2348 GMT: VERY troubling reports — earlier we posted a picture of the Trade Union Headquarters on fire. The building has been occupied by the opposition for months (jump to update 2309). Now there is news that people may be trapped inside:


2330 GMT: Zik.ua reports that police guarding the Regional Department of Internal Affairs in Ternopil have lowered their shields and declared that they are on the side of the people according a video from zik.ua. The policemen were outnumbered and appeared frightened of the demonstrators, but after a long negotiation, they declared that they would not go against the populace, as the crowd chanted “the police are with the people.” This video has been circulating which seems to confirm the report. At the end of the video, the police put down their shields to the cheers of the crowd.


2319 GMT: Ukrainian Weekly journlalist Oleksandr Mikhelson has been beaten by titushki (pro-government thugs).

 


2315 GMT: Things are intensifying in several cities outside of Kiev. Lviv is of particular interest (jump to update 1533):

Bgyr0_2CAAE4ccY


2309 GMT: It is hard to imagine how much things have changed today. Just one day ago, the government offered amnesty to protesters who were arrested. When the opposition saw that offer as a way to subvert the people in the streets, they refused to leave, and things have escalated tremendously since then.

 

BgyrYdRIYAAaauD


2303 GMT: Now Turchunov has tweeted himself and said that he has been injured, apparently by shrapnel, but he is ok:


2254 GMT: According to Ukrainian Pravda, 20 people have been killed and 500 wounded so far today. They also report that Turchunov has been wounded. There are now conflicting reports as to whether Turchunov was shot or wounded by shrapnel.


2250 GMT: There is a lot of noise around the report that opposition leader Oleksandr Turchynov has been injured. Let’s clarify the news. Interfax is reporting that Turchynov was “injured in the course of the confrontation.” They don’t confirm he was shot. Other sources are also saying that he was shot. Many sources, including the announcers on the livestream of the center square, say he was shot by a sniper. Also, some reports suggested that he was killed. Right now, it seems clear that he was hurt. But that’s about all we can confirm. The reports are confusing, and this news is very new and so could change.


2239 GMT: Interfax confirms that Turchinov is injured and is being attended to by medics. This appears to match reports that he has been shot, but that detail has not been confirmed. This is a developing story.


2230 GMT: VERY unverified, and very important:

 


2225 GMT: Several disturbing reports, the first from Kyiv Post:

Feb. 18, 11:44 p.m. — Man people are reporting seeing roving bands of “titushki” — government-hired thugs — roaming center streets in Kyiv, including Lviv Square and on Velyka Zhytomyrska, Yaroslaviv Val and Volodymyrska streets. Many are armed with clubs. Their appearance coincides with a darkness that fell over center streets because of closed businesses and non-working street lights. Some see the two events as connected to a coming police raid overnight to clear Independence Square once and for all of protesters that have been staging their activities there since Nov. 21. Moreover, Kyiv Post contributor Aleksandra Kovaleva reports shooting near Kostolnaya Street, one of the spoke roads that go uphill from Independence Square. — Christopher J. Miller and Katya Gorchinskaya.

A Ukrainian protester has shared this report on Reddit. It’s unverified, but there are many similar reports:

YGgGi4v.png  1920×1080


2219 GMT: Police are now dragging people over the barriers and out of the square, as the fighting is one again intensifying:

Meanwhile, the meeting between the opposition and the President has not started, as was scheduled:

 


2211 GMT: There is gunfire reported away from the square:

But inside the square, things are also intensifying once again: Screenshot 2014-02-18 17.09.58 protesters running The livestreams show intense fighting again near the borders between the protesters and the police corridors.


2204 GMT: It’s not just the violence in Independence Square that is the problem tonight in Kiev and the rest of Ukraine. There are now reports of violence in other towns and cities, and in Kiev but away from the main squares.

 


2157 GMT: RFE/RL’s Glenn Kates reports that, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, at least 6 police officers have been killed today.

The Kyiv Post reports that at least 13 were killed and more than 100 injured in the daytime clashes alone, before the police raid started at 8 PM local time. The pictures from the night raid are the most intense, so we’d imagine that these numbers may increase, possibly significantly, before all is said and done.

And there’s always tomorrow.


2152 GMT: Here’s a picture we missed earlier:

BgyaMgPCQAEsCCH


2142 GMT: RT has this report:

“From this moment on, the USA holds Yanukovich responsible for everything that happens in Ukraine,” US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt told Zerkalo Nedeli newspaper after talks with Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.

Speaking of Ambassador Pyatt, he appears to be a man who puts his money where his mouth is:

 


2118 GMT: The opposition has now begun to meet with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych:


2102 GMT: Intense footage, filmed from the ground right behind police lines, shows the initial police assault on the Maidan protests. Not the armored vehicle appears to destroy itself as it drives through the fire, and several police officers appear injured in the fight:


2052 GMT: Now protesters outside of Kiev have reportedly attacked police:


BgyLjyZIgAAB1zv


2045 GMT: Several sources report that International leaders have been frantically calling Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych today, but he won’t speak to them:


2025 GMT: Once again there is a wave of intensification. There is fighting between protesters and police right on the edges of the fires. Protesters may be noticing that the wind seems to be blowing the flames towards the police, at least for now. Initially, it looked as though crowds were moving wood to the front of the fight to create barricades: rebuilding barriers But in fact they are throwing the wood into the fires: fights on edge of fire stuff into fires


2010 GMT: RT reports that at least 3 police officers have been killed so far in today’s clashes:

The number of police officers killed in violent Tuesday clashes in Kiev has risen to three, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry stated. According to the ministry, 135 law enforcers have been taken to hospitals, and 35 are in critical condition.

It’s unclear if that number will increase. It’s also not clear if anyone else has been killed since the police attacked the square just two hours ago.


1956 GMT: The wind is howling in Maidan, and as the fires are bruning intensely there is a danger that the fire could blow into the crowds: flag and fire flags and fire shields and smoke


1951 GMT: The chaos in Maidan has not let up at all, though at one point it was much slower than it is now. Things are once again intensifying, and an extremely large fire is now raging on the edge of the protests. Loud explosions are shaking the square. The situation is intense. intensifying fire


1945 GMT: The Crimean Parliament has declared the de facto start of a civil war. The Presidium of the Supreme Council of Crimea has declared that a real civil war has begun in Ukraine, and urged President Viktor Yanukovych to take extraordinary measures to preserve the constitutional order and unity of Ukraine. We have translated part of the report below:

“Militants from Svoboda, Right Sector and other extremist organisations have announced a general mobilisation and are calling on people with guns to go to the barricades… This is no longer a peaceful protest, as we are constantly being told by opposition leaders and the biased media, nor are these even riots. This is the beginning of a civil war, the threat of which the Crimean parliament has repeatedly warned” said the statement from members of the Crimean parliament.

 


1940 GMT: The hardline and state-owned Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reports that, according Deputy Head of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, the Canadian embassy has come under attack today.

“A group of unidentified persons armed with sticks burst into the Canadian embassy in Ukraine and started crushing property,” Tatarov said, adding the assaulters had tried to inflict bodily harm to the embassy staff.

The report should be taken with a grain of salt until it is confirmed, however.


1934 GMT: The US State Department has issued travel warnings and has recommended that everyone in Ukraine stay indoors and away from protest areas:

Protest-related violence, particularly in Kyiv, escalated sharply on February 18, resulting in several deaths and hundreds of injuries. Protesters remain in Kyiv’s Independence Square and several government buildings in Kyiv and other cities throughout Ukraine. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations, and large gatherings and to remain inside in the evening. U.S. citizens whose residences or hotels are located in the vicinity of the protests are cautioned to leave those areas or prepare to remain indoors, possibly for several days, should clashes occur. The situation in Ukraine is unpredictable and could change quickly. Further violent clashes between police and protesters in Kyiv and other cities are possible. The location and nature of demonstrations and methods employed by the police can change quickly and without warning. Protest sites have drawn large crowds, and protesters have blocked roads in Kyiv and other cities and may do so again.

 


1926 GMT: Another disturbing development:

 

Crimea is an autonomous republic within Ukraine.


1905 GMT: 5 Channel presenter Tetiana Danylenko is reporting that not only the channel’s website, but also both their analogue and cable broadcasts have been cut. 5 Channel has been one of the leading broadcasters in covering the Maidan protests.


1859 GMT: The Kyiv Post reports that a meeting between the President and the opposition has been moved to tonight:

An 11 p.m. emergency meeting is scheduled tonight between President Viktor Yanukovych and the nation’s three opposition political leaders on Feb. 18 to resolve an escalating crisis that is bringing the nation closer to the brink of a civil war. The announced meeting comes amid bloody clashes between anti-government protesters and Interior Ministry forces that are now centered on Independence Square in central Kyiv. Police closed in on the main square at 8 p.m. from along Institutska and Khreshchatyk streets.

That’s in 2 hours. Meanwhile, the intensity of the fires in Maidan is nearly impossible to believe: Screenshot 2014-02-18 14.02.30 maidan on fire2


1853 GMT: Russia’s TV Rain reports:

Demonstrators have torched a BTR in Kiev. Demonstrators in Kiev pelted a BTR armoured personnel carrier with Molotov cocktails as it approached the barricade on Khreschatyk on the side of European Square. According to eyewitnesses, the BTR was engulfed in flames.

 


1850 GMT: While the fires burn, the opposition leaders are reading instructions to the protesters. Espreso TV   LIVE   YouTube

 


1840 GMT: Several more shots from some of the livestreams, and yet the pictures fail to capture the pure chaos of the scene:

Screenshot 2014-02-18 13.28.03

Screenshot 2014-02-18 13.27.49


1836 GMT: The cameraman on the stream embedded above says that much of the fire we are seeing are the tents of protesters that have been lit on fire. Below we have another view of the scene from a different angle:

Bgxsc1SCMAAi5OQ


1831 GMT: We believe we saw a police officer go down after being hit with a molotov. The fireworks are incredibly intense. The rumbling booms are surreal. The scene is truly terrifying. fireworks intense fire


1822 GMT: The riot police fell back as the fireworks began to fly. In the background, new groups beat their shields in rhythm to intimidate the crowds. Those police have now charged again, but have been met with molotovs. Things are extremely intense: Screenshot 2014-02-18 13.25.04 Screenshot 2014-02-18 13.25.09 A shot from another livestream, further away, shows the size of the flames: Spilno.TV


1815 GMT: The chaos from another angle:

 

BgxpK0UCAAE3HBm

The water cannons are out of water, but the intense fires are glowing ever brighter:

fire3


1810 GMT: CHAOS – Police are firing water cannons, protesters are shining lasers and firing fireworks at police”

Screenshot 2014-02-18 13.13.12


1804 GMT: We’ve embedded the livestream at the top. Intense fires are now burning. The explosions come at a rate of anywhere between 1 every few seconds and 4-10 a second. The government has sent hundreds, perhaps thousands, of police against the protest lines, and they have pushed through.

fires

fires2


1757 GMT: Teargas, explosions, grenades, flashes and shouting. The police have attacked the Maidan protests.


1753 GMT: BREAKING: The police are on the move: Press Club Spilno.TV2 The announcer says “this is the beginning of the end. The end of the old Ukrainian nation and the birth of a new one.


1747 GMT: Watching the livestream – many things are being said over the PA system. The cameraman just translated some of them. This is what he said is being broadcast: The message is for women and children to evacuate Maidan right now because the police are preparing for an anti-terrorist operation which is about to begin. The police consider all gathered in Maidan terrorists. Typically it takes about 15 or 20 minutes from the start of these messages until the operation begins. These messages are about 10 minutes old.


1743 GMT: The following is a translation from TV Rain:

Yanukovych will meet with the leaders of the opposition on Wednesday The Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, will meet with the leaders of the opposition on Wednesday. This was disclosed in a Ukrainian Pravda interview with Verkhovnaya Rada speaker, Vladimir Rybak. He called to find a way to resolve the conflict peacefully and renounce all violence. “On Wednesday there will be a meeting between the leaders of the opposition and the president at approximately 11:00,” said the Rada speaker. He also added that he had met with the president on Tuesday morning, noting that the question of a state of emergency hadn’t been discussed.

 


1740 GMT: We’re still watching the livestream from Kiev. Moments before now, someone broadcast the national anthem over the PA. Now, huge groups of police and riot vehicles are still gathering, perhaps preparing to break up the crowds. Here is a screanshot: Press Club Spilno.TV


1735 GMT: The official death toll stands at 9:

 


1727 GMT: Police and armored vehicles are staging right now near the front lines. This is a screen capture from a livestream. It appears everyone is gearing up to move. Stay tuned.

btr ukrain


1719 GMT: Another video taken earlier shows police on a rooftop, throwing things (possibly stun grenades) and firing shotguns into the crowds below. Also note, that this is near the small shack-like building where two protesters were seen with a gun earlier (jump to update 1629):


1708 GMT: Truly shocking video from TVi (Ukrainian: ТВі) TV, Ukraine’s only independent TV channel, which shows injured protesters and violent scenes. Some of the protesters appear to be dead (one is receiving CPR) and several images are graphic.


1656 GMT: Video seems to confirm the deployment of heavy armor by security forces:

So far, the security forces appear to be staging. The clashes have waned for the moment. Perhaps there is too much attention while the rally is taking place in Maidan Square.


1645 GMT: This picture reportedly shows BTR armored personnel carrier moving down Kikvidze street towards the center of Kiev (approximately here):


BgxSaUWCUAAPJea


1635 GMT: The Interior Ministry gave the protesters a deadline to withdraw from the streets. That deadline passed 35 minutes ago. Two screen captures from livestreams show protesters huddled in Maidan Square while armed police move towards the front lines:

UkrStream.tv


1629 GMT: This video, also taken earlier today, shows some extremely aggressive behavior on the part of protesters. Several have guns. We see a pistol being shot, and it sounds real. We’re working to identify the rifle in the picture to see if it is also a real gun or a BB gun.


1617 GMT: This graphic video, uploaded by Radio Svoboda, shows 2 of the dead protesters in the streets of Kiev:

Meanwhile, this video posted on Kyiv Post shows police surrounding and beating a single protester earlier today:


1611 GMT: At least 5 protesters have been killed today, at least 3 of whom were killed by gunshot wounds. AFP reports:

“Five civilians died as a result of the mass unrest in Kiev,” Kiev police department spokeswoman Olga Bilyk told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

RT tweets that at least one police officer has also been killed.

Hundreds have been injured, and at least 15 journalists have been hurt as well. One journalist is reportedly missing.


1605 GMT: The Interior Ministry’s deadline for protesters to clear the streets has passed. They are still there. However, riot police have advanced and gained some territory back from the protesters.

Myroslava Petsa of 5-Channel has been live-tweeting the speeches in Maidan. Here are a few key excerpts:

 

 

 


1554 GMT: We’re watching several live streams at the moment. Here is a snapshot of what’s going on in Kiev right now (note, the livestream from above the Rada seems to have stopped):

Screenshot (6)

On a 4th livestream, from Maidan Square, the people have been engaged in prayers, and now opposition politician Vitali Klitschko is speaking. He sounds determined and, interestingly enough, is now speaking in Russian, not Ukrainian.


1549 GMT: It’s hard to say if this is a different case than the four who have already been reported killed, but this picture reportedly shows another dead protester in Kiev:

BgxBGHGCUAAPQKD


1538 GMT: Now there is an indication of escalation. We’re watching livestreams from Kiev, and a large group of security forces are moving towards the Rada. Worse yet, there’s indications that they are armed (we’re not sure if picture below is the same group we saw on the video):

 

BgxEcj0CUAAitqT


1533 GMT: Let’s zoom out a little. First, here’s an indication that things may not be getting any better soon:

 

And here’s a sign that protests may be starting up away from Kiev:

BgxB0B9IUAAg7Pz


1525 GMT: Police have been spotted moving molotov cocktails near the front lines. This would not be the first time we’ve seen Ukrainian police use molotovs against protesters, though it’s unclear where they are moving these to:


BgxAGgqCAAAjnM-

BgxBwrlCQAAQg42


1518 GMT: Could this be the headless body we saw earlier? (jump to update 1452):

 


1515 GMT: Demotix reports that protesters are capturing police officers:


1511 GMT: The following picture and associated claim is unconfirmed. Reverse image searching the picture does not net results, indicating that the picture could be real.

 

Bgw9_DNCMAA6Pca

Again, this report is unverified.


1504 GMT: The following is a translation of an article on Rossiyskaya Gazeta, a newspaper owned by the Russian government:

The Ukrainian Defence Ministry is warning the opposition and the rioters supporting them of a possible reaction by the army to the outbreak of disorder. The reason for the statement was the seizure of the House of Officers by fighters as a result of clashes in the centre of the Ukrainian capital.

“The actions of the protesters, who today on February 18 carried out the takeover of the premises of the Central House of Officers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, are illegal and must be stopped immediately. The leadership of the Ministry of Defence has repeatedly said that it is impossible for the armed forces to become involved in the political conflict. By their action of seizing a military installation, (which the House of Officers formally is – RG), the protesters are provoking an appropriate response from the Ministry of Defence” says the press office of the Ministry of Defence.


1458 GMT: Some of these pictures are an hour or two old, but they give a sense of the intensity of what is happening in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, today:

This is just about 5 minutes old:

Bgw67NZCQAE_8jY Earlier today:


BgwjLMcCUAAswz7

BgwZZICCEAA4UPb We’ve been watching the livestream. It’s not the change of the hour yet, but the church bells are ringing constantly. Their sound is mixed only with sirens, the occasional pop of teargas or stun grenades, and the wind.


1452 GMT: The Interpreter’s Pierre Vaux takes this screenshot of a live stream of the scene outside the Rada (parliament). There is a man, perhaps a member of the military or police, though that’s unclear as some protesters wear camouflage, on a stretcher. Where is this man’s head? 3982986


1450 GMT: Two updates in the last few minutes:

 


1444 GMT: At least three protesters have already been killed, though there are reports of a fourth. Hundreds have been injured. The Kyiv Post reports:

Dr. Olga Bogomolets, a physician, told the Kyiv Post at 3:30 p.m. that three protesters had been shot to death while dozens more were injured, including many with serious wounds. The Emergencies Ministry reported a fourth casualty, that of an employee for the ruling pro-presidential Party of Regions, apparently killed after protesters stormed the party office on Lypska Street. The identities of the dead were not immediately available. The four deaths came in the aftermath of renewed violent clashes that pit thousands of police and protesters against each other at several locations near Ukraine’s parliament building in Kyiv. Police said that at least 37 police officers were injured, but that number could not be confirmed by other sources.

A priest gives last rites to three demonstrators shot to death today by police. | Kviv Post
A priest gives last rites to three demonstrators shot to death today by police. | Kviv Post

 


1434 GMT: Two maps help set the scene. There are reports of sniper fire, molotovs and stun grenades. Protesters have set up roadblocks, often with burning tires, in order to keep the police back. But even as protesters are defending themselves against a police advance, many are trying to advance themselves as they march towards parliament. What’s concerning is that it appears that a very large amount of people are essentially penned in to a relatively small and embattled area.

 

BgwsB-pCYAAtC6a

 

BgwVLICCUAA3eKN


1425 GMT: The videos set the scene. Police with riot gear have openly clashed with protesters. Here is a report from the BBC:

Here’s some of CBS’s footage:

BgwjuEYCEAAUkxX