Wednesday, February 19, 2014

25 killed in Ukraine clashes

Clashes in Ukraine between anti-government protesters and police have left 25 people dead and more than 500 injured.

Health ministry officials say the 25 killed include police officers, demonstrators and local reporters.

The protest by opposition parties and citizens began in November after President Viktor Yanukovych said he was seeking close ties with Russia rather than making efforts to join the European Union.

The protests in the capital Kiev escalated into brutal violence on Tuesday when police tried to stop marching demonstrators.

Police besieged and stormed the demonstrators' stronghold at Independence Square in central Kiev on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Demonstrators responded with throwing firebombs from barricades. Clashes are continuing.

Protesters have seized government offices and raided security organizations' buildings in cities in western Ukraine. Turmoil is spreading across the country.

President Yanukovych met with opposition leaders early Wednesday to attempt to resolve the situation.

The opposition leaders demanded police withdraw from the square.

But the president said in a televised speech that the opposition has crossed a line, and rejected their demands.

No signs of de-escalation are in sight.