Kiev Descends Into Bloodshed as Crisis Takes Deadly Turn

Washington and Berlin raise the intensity another notch in wrestling Ukraine away from Russia. From the state-sponsored (FSB/KGB) RIA Novosti:

KIEV, February 19 (RIA Novosti) – At least 25 people, including nine police officers, were killed Tuesday in bloody clashes in the Ukrainian capital that are threatening to tip the former Soviet nation into civil conflict.

With police engaged in an overnight battle to clear central Kiev of anti-government protesters, fears abounded that the death toll could rise as eyewitnesses reported seeing bodies not apparently accounted for by the authorities.

The scale of the violence prompted UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to appeal for restraint and “genuine dialogue” between authorities and the opposition. Russia, which has staunchly backed President Viktor Yanukovych, accused Western governments of fanning tension by interfering in Ukraine’s internal affairs.

Unrest erupted in the middle of the day as thousands of people marched on the parliament building, where a standoff was taking place over proposed constitutional reforms the opposition said could provide a way out of the political crisis paralyzing the country.

Groups of mainly young men in masks and helmets wielding shields were confronted by riot police, who deployed rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas. Pictures from the front lines showed rioters ripping up cobblestones to hurl at police.

The violence that ensued lasted for hours and resulted in numerous deaths and hundreds of injuries.

Kiev city law enforcement officials said that nine policemen were killed during the fighting and that almost 300 were injured, 35 of them critically.

Police said protesters initiated the escalation in violence by using firearms.

Full article: Kiev Descends Into Bloodshed as Crisis Takes Deadly Turn (RIA Novosti)

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