News

Death toll rises as truce collapses and deadly clashes erupt anew in Kiev Chaos

WHAT

Violent clashes began on Tuesday afternoon between anti-government protesters and riot police in Kiev, capital of Ukraine.

WHY

Protests broke out after President Viktor Yanukovych's government rejected a far-reaching accord with the European Union (EU) in November last year, in favour of stronger ties with Russia.

Outraged that a longstanding aspiration for integration with Europe had been ditched overnight, thousands of people poured into central Kiev for peaceful protests.

They have been occupying Independence Square, known as Maidan, for several months now.

LATEST

Deadly clashes erupted anew yesterday, breaking a fragile truce called by protest leaders and the President.

Violence flared when masked protesters pelted Molotov cocktails and rocks at thick lines of armed anti-riot troops at Independence Square.

The police used rubber bullets and stun grenades to try and repel the attack.

Demonstrators pushed police forces back some 200m to retake the entire square, which the police had gained partial control of during Wednesday's clash.

Top officials were evacuated from the main government building close to the clashes.

Meanwhile, the embattled President held urgent talks with EU foreign ministers.

TOLL

At least 45 people killed; more than 280 hospitalised.

REACTION OF THE WEST

The US Embassy in Kiev has revoked the visas of "several Ukrainians who were linked to the violence".

Mr Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the EU Commission, warned that the EU's relationship with Ukraine might have to be reviewed.

US President Barack Obama urged Ukraine to refrain from using violence against peaceful protesters, warning of "consequences" if any further abuses were to take place.

SOURCE: BBC, AFP