Police, protesters in standoff on EuroMaidan; death toll rises to 22 people (VIDEO, LIVE UPDATES)

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Editor’s Note: Police launched a raid on Independence Square at 8 p.m. on Feb. 18. See Kyiv Post coverage of daytime clashes today between police and protesters that killed at least 22 persons, including seven police officers, and injured more than 1,000 persons. 

Kyiv Post’s related coverage:

At least 22 reported dead, more than 1,000 injured in daytime Feb. 18 clashes; police launch 8 p.m. raid on Independence Square (VIDEO)

Live TV feeds are available here:

Live coverage from Espreso TV 

Live coverage from Hromadske TV

Live coverage from Radio Svoboda

Live coverage from Reuters

Coverage from Channel 5 TV

A view of EuroMaidan around 3:15 a.m. on Feb. 19

A view of EuroMaidan around 3:15 a.m. on Feb. 19

A temporary hospital set up in St. Michael’s Cathedral in Kyiv. Dr. Olga Bogomolets, a medical coordinator of the anti-government EuroMaidan demonstrations, said moret than 1,000 protesters have been injured.


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

Yatseniuk: Negotiations with Yanukovych end ‘with nothing’

Feb. 19, 4:09 a.m. — Opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk emerged pessimistic after negotations with President Viktor Yanukovych. The talks “ended with nothing,” Yatseniuk told Channel 5. “Deputies from the opposition said Yanukovych threatened all opposition leaders with criminal responsibility. We only had one item: immediately start the truce, but they told us to effectively give in. Since a truce has not been announced and the government has no such desire, we’re standing on the brink of the most dramatic page of the history of Ukraine.” — Katya Gorchinskaya

 

 

Man found on Trukhanov Island identified as Volodymyr Naumov

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 

 

Two of the more than 1,000 protesters injured in clashes with police on Feb. 18. At least 22 people were killed, including nine police officers.

Priests fear ‘titushki’ attack

Feb. 19, 2:51 a.m. — The priests of St. Basil’s Greek Catholic Church near Lviv Square in Kyiv said they are fear an attack by “titushki,” government-hired thugs, who are gathering nearby and have called on anti-government protesters to help them rebuff a potential attack.  Earlier, gangs of titushki were spotted in the same area, and shot a protester dead. — Katya Gorchinskaya

 

Police officers showed a Kyiv Post journalist bullet holes in their metal shields on Feb. 18 to prove that protesters were armed with guns.

Interior Ministry says two more police officers killed on Feb. 19; death toll rises to 22 in two days of violence

Feb. 19, 2:34 a.m. — In Kyiv’s Sviatoshyn district, the Interior Ministry is reporting on its website today that two road police officers were shot to death and another officer was injured while the officers were following a car with suspected criminals. The deaths would bring to 22 persons the number killed in two days of violence in Kyiv on Feb. 18-19. — Katya Gorchinskaya

 

Anti-govenrment EuroMaidan protesters sported defensive shields emblazoned with the image of Serhiy Nihoyan, 20, of Dnipropetrovsk, who was shot to death by police on Jan. 22. He was one of three protesters shot to death that day; a fourth died of pneumonia after getting sprayed by a police water cannon during subzero temperatures.

‘Titushki’ dressing like protesters, except for white ribbons on their arms

Feb. 19, 2:29 a.m. — “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

 

White House ‘appalled’ by Ukraine violence

Protesters dig up paving stones on streets and sidewalks for use as weapons against police.

Feb. 19, 2:26 a.m. — The following is an excerpt from White House press secretary Jay Carney’s press briefing on Feb. 18. “…I can tell you we are appalled by the violence that was already taking place in downtown Kyiv, and reports of armed riot police amassing on the edge of Maidan. We continue to condemn the street violence and excessive use of force by either side. The force will not resolve the crisis. To restore peace and stability we urge President (Viktor) Yanukovych to deescalate immediately the situation and end the confrontation at Maidan. We also urge him to restart a dialogue with opposition leaders today to develop a consensus way forward for Ukraine.” — Christopher J. Miller

 

Protesters make Molotov cocktails for use in their battles against police.

Klitschko reports unproductive meeting with Yanukovych

Feb. 19, 2:22 a.m. — Emerging from a meeting with President Viktor Yanukovych, opposition leader Vitali Klitschko told Hromadske TV that the talks were not successful. Klitschko said that opposition eladers listened for more than an hour to Yanukovych’s accusations that they were to blame for the 20 deaths on Feb. 18. The president also demanded that the opposition demand that protesters leave Independence Square. –– Katya Gorchinskaya

 

A small part of the massive police presence deployed on Kyiv’s streets on Feb. 18-19.

US displeased with latest Ukraine violence

Feb. 19, 2:18 a.m. — U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry “shares the grave concerns expressed by U.S Vice President Joe Biden directly to President Viktor Yanukovych today regarding the unacceptable violence on the streets of Kyiv. We call on Yanukovych and the Ukrainian government to de-escalate the situation immediately, and resume dialogue with the opposition on a peaceful path forward. Ukraine’s deep divisions will not be healed by spilling more innocent blood.” –– Katya Gorchinskaya

 

One of the more than 1,000 protesters injured on Feb. 18 in clahses with police.

Disturbing reports about fire at Trade Unions building

Feb. 19, 2:14 a.m. — There were reports that firefighters were slow to respond to the fire at the burnig Trade Unions building. Additionally an Espreso TV commentator said protesters have run out of tires to burn as a smokescreen between themselves and police and will soon be exposed to police fire. — Mark Rachkevych

Fire engulfs Trade Unions building as people are trapped inside

Feb. 19, 1:17 a.m. — Fire has engulfed the seven-floor Trade Unions building on Kyiv’s Independence Square, with people reportedly trapped inside, as firefighters arrived to help battle the blaze and rescue victims. — Katya Gorchinskaya 

 

One of the more than 1,000 protesters injured on Feb. 18 in clahses with police.

Physicians: Death toll climbs to 20 people, injuries reach thousands

Feb. 19, 1:12 a.m. — The death toll has climbed to 20 people, according to Oleh Musiy, the coordinator of medical services for the anti-government EuroMaidan protests. Additionally, Dr. Olga Bogomolets said that more than 1,000 people have been injured and that “we’re in the thousands territory now” in terms of the number. — Olena Goncharova and Katya Gorchinskaya

 

Fires burning on Kyiv’s Independence Square early on Feb. 19.

Bildt: EU ready to sanction those responsible for violence

Feb. 19, 12:57 a.m. — The European Union will not hesitate to apply visa and other sanctions against those responsible for violence in Ukraine, according to Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. “The EU will not hesitate on measures against interests of persons associated with repression and violence in Ukraine,” Bildt wrote on Twitter. The Swedish foreign minister also expressed indignation at the shutting down of the broadcast of one of Ukraine’s few remaining independent TV stations – Channel 5. “The regime seems to have shut down Channel 5 independent TV station in Ukraine. Regime repression and violence are unacceptable,” Bildt wrote. — Christopher J. Miller

 

A riot-control police officer who was captured by protesters. He was reportedly taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Sixth floor of Trade Unions building reportedly on fire

Feb. 19, 12:54 a.m. — EuroMaidanPR, which operated out of the opposition-occupied Trade Unions building on Independence Square in Kyiv, is reporting that police have taken over the building and that the sixth floor is on fire. — Christopher J. Miller

 

Anti-government protesters clash with the police during their storming of Independence Square in Kiev on February 18, 2014. Flames engulfed the main anti-government protest camp on Independence Square on Tuesday as riot police tried to force demonstrators out following the bloodiest clashes in three months of protests. The iconic square turned into a war zone as riot police moved slowly through opposition barricades from several directions, hurling stun grenades and using water cannon to clear protestors. AFP PHOTO/ GENYA SAVILO

Opposition leader Turchynov injured on stage; crowd captures police officer

Feb. 19, 12:30 a.m. — Oleksandr Turchynov, an opposition leader and former deputy prime minister in the government of imprisoned ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, was wounded somehow on the main stage of Independence Square. He was reportedly hit in the cheek by shrapnel after some kind of explosion. He was taken away for medical treatment. Also, protesters captured a riot-control police officer and took him to the stage. The emcee pleaded with the crowd not to kill him. Meanwhile, protesters started a police water cannon on fire to thwart another advance from law enforcement. –– Vlad Lavrov

 

Protesters stoke fires on Kyiv’s Independence Square early on Feb. 19 to make them less visible to police who are poised to advance.

15th death reported in Feb. 18 clashes as police say seventh officer died

Feb. 19, 12:23 a.m. The Interior Ministry early on Feb. 19 reported that that another police officer had died in the Feb. 18th clashes, bringing to seven the number of law enforcement officers killed. The other eight casualties are proteters. Additionally, some 272 other law enforcement officers were injured, including 59 police officers who suffered gunshot wounds, the statement said. — Christopher J. Miller

 

Anti-government protesters clash with the police during their storming of Independence Square in Kiev on February 18, 2014. Flames engulfed the main anti-government protest camp on Independence Square on Tuesday as riot police tried to force demonstrators out following the bloodiest clashes in three months of protests. The iconic square turned into a war zone as riot police moved slowly through opposition barricades from several directions, hurling stun grenades and using water cannon to clear protestors. AFP PHOTO/ GENYA SAVILOV

Police advance on protesters early on Feb. 19

Feb. 19, 12:19 p.m. Riot police officers advanced on Independence Square protesters after midnight on Feb. 19, and were reportedly in the opposition-occupied Trade Unions building, according to Svoboda Party’s Oleksander Aronets. Other officers were reportedly trying to break through barricades manned by protesters. The emcee started singing Ukraine’s national anthem from the main stage as fires burned in the background — Olga Rudenko

 

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt directs traffic.

14th death reported in Feb. 18 clashes

Feb. 19, 12:11 a.m. — Another protester, injured in the Feb. 18 deadly clashes with police, has died in the hospital in Kyiv, according to opposition member of parlaiment Iryna Gerashchenko who is part of Vitali Klitschko’s Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms party. This brings the reported death toll to 14 persons, eight civilians and six police officers. — Olga Rudenko

Two reportedly shot by ‘titushki’ on Velyka Zhytomyrska Street

Feb. 19, 12:08 a.m. — Serhiy Morgunov wrote on his Facebook page that “titushki” — government-hired thugs — show two men on on Velyka Zhytomyrska Street and that one of them died. “The victim was standing in front of me, I managed to hide behind a car. I don’t know what happened to the second one. ‘Titushki’ threw the same kind of grenades as cops. They just opened fire on us. A video linke is here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10203429093993614 — Olena Goncharova

 

Video reportedly of “titushki” — government-hired thugs — shooting an anti-government protester.

Herman: Yanukovych to address nation after meeting with opposition leaders

Feb. 19, 12:01 a.m. — President Viktor Yanukovych’s adviser, Hanna Herman of the ruling Party of Regions, said that he will address Ukrainians after the president’s meeting with the nation’s two top opposition leaders, Arseniy Yatseniuk and Vitali Klitschko. The two opposition leaders, however, have been kept waiting for more than an hour. — Olena Goncharova

 

Police clash with anti-government protesters in Kiev on February 18, 2014. Police on Tuesday began an assault on the main anti-government protest camp in Kiev after a day of bloody clashes, AFP journalists at the scene said. Police warned women and children to leave the area as they moved on opposition positions with water cannon while protestors responded by throwing Molotov cocktails and setting fire to part of the tent encampment. AFP PHOTO/ ANATOLII BOIKO

Protesters dig up stones from central post office, ready for battle

Feb. 18, 11:53 p.m. — Protesters are removign stones from the pavement near the central post office and putting them in sacks to carry to the front lines against police. Meanwhile, a speaker announced from the main stage that the Feb. 18 death toll has been raised to 14 casualties. One protester said they were promised guns, but the weapons have not been delivered. — Vlad Lavrov and Daryna Shevchenko

 

Protesters stoke fires on Kyiv’s Independence Square early on Feb. 19 to make them less visible to police who are poised to advance.

Kyiv’s center is dark as ‘titushkis’ roam street

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.

More than 20,000 massed on Independence Square at 11:30 p.m. Feb. 18

Feb. 18, 11:30 p.m. — About 20,000 people remain on Kyiv’s Independence Square late on Feb. 18. A lot of the square is on fire from burning tires and debris. Flames spread from the Trade Unions building to the independence monument. Prosters are throwing rocks at police; police are throwing flash grenades at protesters. There’s lots of tear gas in the air and, oddly, fireworks. The Trade Unions building remains under the control of protesters, contrary to earlier reports that police had recaptured the occupation-occupied center. Protesters are walking between the fires they are stoking. Music is turned on from the main stage, with Okean Elzy playing. Police water cannons can be seen from the “Stella” independence monument. Lots of women are in the crowd, including women, who did not heed calls to leave the square— Vlad Lavrov and Daryna Shevchenko.

 

The Interior Ministry released a video showing that protesters are armed and attacked police on Feb. 18. 

Pyatt says America will hold Yanukovych responsible

Feb. 18, 11:13 p.m. — U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt to Zerkalo Nedeli newspaper: “From this moment on, the USA holds the government responsible for everything that happens in Ukraine.” His remarks came after diplomats in Ukraine met with Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara — Katya Gorchinskaya

Feb. 18, 11:10 p.m. Opposition Svoboda Party’s Oleksandr Aronets claims that riot police are shooting ultraviolet paint at protesters on Independence Square to make them easy targets in the nighttime. — Olga Rudenko

Protesters fortify side street off Independence Square

Feb. 18, 11:02 p.m. — Protesters are reinforcing a barricade on a side street off Independence Square where Porter Pub is located on the approach uphill to St. Michael’s Cathedral. — Christopher J. Miller

Police up Feb. 18 casualty count to 13 dead, including six police officers

Feb. 18, 10:52 p.m. — The Interior Ministry is reporting that six police officers died in clashes today, and that 150 were were hospitalized with injuries. Of them, some 35 were reported in critical condition and 39 of those injured suffered wounds from firearms. — Katya Gorchinskaya

 

Interior Ministry video of police officers injured on Feb. 18

Kyiv city administration head urges businesses to take day off on Feb. 19

Feb. 18, 10:50 p.m. — Volodymyr Makeyenko, the appointed head of the Kyiv City State Administration, appealed to the city’s businesses to close on Feb. 19. “I am calling on all commercial structures and private entrepreneurs whose offices are located in the central districts of Kyiv (Shevchenkivskiy, Pecherskiy, partly Podilskiy and Holosiyivskiy) to make Feb. 19 a day off, or reduce the staff to a minimum,” Makeyenko said. — Katya Gorchinskaya

 

The fires burn late into the evening on Feb. 18 on Kyiv’s Independence Square as police surround thousands of demonstrators.

Hospitals overflowing with injured protesters

Feb. 18, 10:34 p.m. Representatives of the political opposition say that hospitals in Kyiv are already overflowing with injured people. “Emergency services and all are filled to the brink. There is nowhere to put people up. The doctors are wonderful. Their sacrifice is impressive. They work with full dedication, fight for everyone who is injured,” according to Iryna Herashchenko, a member of parliament with Vitali Klitschko’s opposition Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform party. — Katya Gorchinskaya

 

Police officers run amid flames during clashes with anti-government protesters in front of the Ukrainian parliament in Kyiv on Feb. 18. At least 10 people were killed in clashes between police and protesters.

Protesters take over police headquarters in Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk oblasts

Feb. 18, 10:22 p.m. — Several news media outlets report that protesters in western Ukraine have taken over police headquarters in two oblasts, Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk, and are trying to storm the headquarters in Ternopil Oblast. In Ivano-Frankivsk, Den daily newspaper reported that  seom 1,000 protesters gathered on 15 Sakharova St. They yelled “Glory to Ukraine!” and “Police are with the people!”  Police officers did not resist. One came out to negotiate with protesters. Riot police fficers without helmets and masks left the building through the corridor provided by the activists. — Olga Rudenko and Ivan Verstyuk

 

Anti-government protesters clash with the police in Kiev on February 18, 2014. Police on Tuesday launched an assault on the main anti-government protest camp on Kiev’s Independence Square after the bloodiest clashes in almost three months of anti-government demonstrations, AFP journalists at the scene said. AFP PHOTO/ ANATOLII BOIKO

Roving bands of ‘titushki’ reported roaming Kyiv

Feb. 18, 10:18 p.m. There are unconfirmed reports of 300-500 “titushki” — government-hired thugs — walking on Volodymyrska Street towards Sofiyivska Square, near where a medical center has been set up at St. Michael’s Cathedral. — Olga Rudenko

Trade Unions building evacuated

Feb. 18, 10:15 p.m. Protesters inside Kyiv’s Trade Unions building are currently evacuating, head of EuroMaidanPR, Sviatoslav Yurash, told the Kyiv Post. Protesters have used the building as the protest movement’s headquarters since they stormed it on Dec. 1. Yurash managed EuroMaidanPR from a press office on the second floor of the building. –– Christopher J. Miller

Feb. 18, 10:10 p.m. Road police on the crossroads of Gonchara Street and Yaroslaviv Val are stopping every car enroute to Gonchara Street to check their boots for possible involvement in the protests. — Iryna Yeroshko

Herman says talks will start only when violence stops 

Feb. 18, 10:08 p.m. — Presidential adviser Hanna Herman told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty negotiations between the government and the opposition will only happen once peace is restored. “Negotiations only happen when the force methods of fighting are stopped, when the opposition takes armed people off the streets and when calm is renewed in the country,” said Herman. “There needs to be agreement. What the opposition is doing now, calling further for armed conflict is a great crime against the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian state.” –– Katya Gorchinskaya 

Police say three officers killed, more than 135 hospitalized

Feb. 18, 10:03 p.m. The number of law enforcement officers killed during the Feb. 18 clashes with protesters in central Kyiv on Tuesday has increased to three, police said. A total of 135 law enforcement officers were hospitalized, 35 of them in serious condition, the Interior Ministry reported. — Iryna Yeroshko

Lviv police stop Kyiv-bound traffic

Feb. 18, 9:56 p.m. — Lviv police are stopping armed people heading for Kyiv. “We have enough forces and resources to affect the situation,” a police supervisor said. Meanwhile, there were unconfirmed reports that protesters were storming the Lviv police office. –– Interfax-Ukraine and Olga Rudenko

Report: Police break through eastern barricades on Independence Square, retake occupied Trade Unions building

Feb. 18, 9:52 p.m.  — Euan MacDonald, a former Kyiv Post editor, reports that police have broken through the protesters’ barricades on the eastern side of the perimeter on Independence Square. “Tents are burning on the east side of Maidan, it looks like the riot police have broken through the east barricade and forced the protesters back. The forces of the regime are now close to the heart of Independence Square. Fireworks are being launched in the direction of the police attack. A massive wall of flame now forms the eastern front of the Maidan.”

MacDonald also reports that the Trade Unions building, which served as a headquarters for the anti-government protesters, has been retaken by riot police. “The Yanukovych regime is determined to crush the anti-government protests tonight. The people are being forced back further onto the Maidan. The situation is desperate for the protesters on Maidan.” — Mark Rachkevych

Both Kyiv airports working 

Feb. 18, 9:51 p.m. — Amid traffic snarls on the ground, representatives of both of Kyiv’s major airports — Zhulany and Boryspil — say that air traffic is working normally and that both airports are open. — Daryna Shevchenko

Reports of Yanukovych, Yatseniuk meeting

Feb. 18, 9:28 p.m. — Channel 5 is reporting that President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk are meeting tonight in a bid to end the violence and resolve the nation’s political crisis that began on Nov. 21 and that has claimed — counting today’s nine casualties — at least 14 lives already. — Vlad Lavrov

 

A screenshot from Espreso TV’s live coverage shows fires burning uncontrolled on Kyiv’s Independence Square as police circle thousands of protesters. A pro-presidential member of parliament said that police would clear out the main square of anti-government protesters tonight.

Pro-presidential lawmaker says police will clear out Independence Square tonight.

Feb. 18, 9:36 p.m. — Oleh Tsariov, a pro-presidential Party of Regions member of parliament, said in an interview with Russia 24 television station said that Maidan will be cleared of the protesters within the hour. “In one hour, Maidan will be cleared. After we restore order in Kyiv, we will do it in the whole country.” Meanwhile, more people seem to be walking away from Independence Square, walking at a normal pace, than going towards it to join protesters — Ivan Verstyuk and Nathaniel Espino.

 

A screenshot from Espreso TV’s live coverage shows fires burning uncontrolled on Kyiv’s Independence Square as police circle thousands of protesters. A pro-presidential member of parliament said that police would clear out the main square of anti-government protesters tonight.

Activists stand their ground, sing Ukrainian national anthem

Feb. 18, 9:32 — As fires and fireworks burned in the background, thousands of protesters began singing Ukraine’s national anthem as police and demonstrators settled into a standoff with neither side advancing on the other. Protesters continued to throw tires onto burning tents to keep the fires burning and, ostensibly, police away from them. –– Daryna Shevchenko and Olga Rudenko

 

Some of the weaponry recovered on Institutskya Street in Kyiv after deadly clashes that reportedly killed at least nine persons and injured more than 100 people on Feb. 18.

Metro shutdown, taxi problems snarl traffic

Feb. 18, 9:30 p.m. People are continuing to report problems getting around central Kyiv, with metro service interrupted and with difficulty hailing taxis. With protesters calling on the public to bring tires to burn on Independence Square, police are stopping taxis entering the center of teh city and checking their trunks. — Yuriy Onyshkiv

Second Ukrainian billionaire calls for ‘peaceful solution’

One the heels of a statement by Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, another billionaire, Victor Pinchuk, the son-in-law of ex-President Leonid Kuchma, issued this statement tonight: “A peaceful solution must be found, it is imperative to refrain from the use of force and find a compromise. Ukraine since its independence has avoided bloodshed. We must return to this tradition immediately. From this minute, this is the responsibility of everyone – those in power, the opposition, civil society, business. It is time for all sides to take courageous steps towards compromise that they may not yet have been ready to take even this morning. For each of us, love for Ukraine must be immeasurably more important than any other feelings and interests.” — Brian Bonner

Protesters burn tires, police water cannon on Independence Square

Feb. 18, 9:09 p.m. A person on Independence Square reports that protesters are stacking and burning tires to create smokescreen that ostensibly makes a police advance on demonstrators less likely. Moreover, there was a report that protesters had set fire to a police water cannon — Daryna Shevchenko

Protesters stop advancing water cannon with Molotov cocktails

Feb. 18, 9:02 p.m. A police water cannon trying to advance was stopped by Molotov cocktails thrown by protesters. Meanwhile, acting Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov reportedly assured European Union enlargement commissioner Stephan Fuele that riot police officers would not fire on protesters overnight. — Daryna Shevchenko and Iryna Yeroskho.

Feb. 18, 8:51 p.m. Twitter users report that Channel 5 is being switched off across Ukraine, but their live feed on YouTube still works. — Iryna Yerosko

Feb. 18, 8:50 p.m.  An angry crowd inside Zhytomyrska metro station said that trains were moving but they were not stopping at central Kyiv metro stations. Meanwhile, taxi drivers were charging double tariffs in Kyiv and people were reporting booking a taxi via Internet — Daryna Shevchenko and Ivan Verstyuk

Fires on Independence Square as police advance with water cannons, gunshots

Feb. 18, 8:55 p.m. — Police had encircled Kyiv’s Independence Square. Tent cities housing protesters were on fire. Officers had deployed a water cannon and an armored personnel carrier. But a protester on the main square said that police had not penetrated the barricaded perimeter and were merely encircling the protesters there. — Daryna Shevchenko

Yatseniuk calls for truce until morning

Feb. 18, 8:46 p.m. Opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk has called on police to retreat 200 meters further up Institutska Street and urged both sides to call a truce until morning. — Katya Gorchinskaya

Saakashvili says Russia bought Ukraine’s sovereignty for $2 billion

Feb. 18, 8:43 p.m. Former Georgian President Michael Saakashvili, speaking on Channel 5, said that Russis bought Ukraine’s sovereignty with its latest offer of cash.

“(Russian Presdient Vladimir) Putin has bought Ukraine’s sovereignty for $2 billion he loaned Ukraine. Unfortunately (Ukraine’s) president gave up Ukraine’s sovereignty. The fate of Europe, not just Ukraine is now being decided in Kyiv. I’m thrilled with the courage of Ukrainians. You will win,” he said. He also said that Europe should have taken strict measures regarding Ukraine. “How many times could they express concerns? (Europe’s) reaction is absolutely inadequate,” he said. — Anastasiya Forina

Government restricts traffic to Kyiv 

Feb. 18, 8:38 p.m.  Traffic to Kyiv will be restricted starting midnight to prevent the escalation of mass unrest in the city, the Ukrainian government press service reported.

“We ask you to treat the response measures with understanding and assist the law enforcement agencies in performing their duties on maintaining law and order,” it said in a statement posted on the government website on Tuesday evening. —Interfax-Ukraine

Rinat Akhmatov says no circumstances justify use of force against civilians (text of statement)

Feb. 18, 8:30 p.m.  Rinat Ahmetov’s statement on clashes in Kyiv. “There are no circumstances that would justify the use of force against peaceful citizens. Peaceful citizens must not suffer in any situation. This must be the main objective for the government, the opposition and all conflicting parties. Human losses and injuries suffered by protesters and law-enforcers during street clashes is an unacceptable price for political mistakes.” Akhmetov urges an end to the  bloodshed in the streets of Kiev and calls on all the opposing parties to return to the negotiations process immediately and continue to work without any delay until a solution is found that would take Ukraine out of this deep political crisis. — Katya Gorchinskaya 

Protesters set fire to armored personnel vehicle

Feb. 18, 8: 20 p.m. Anti-government protesters are clashing with riot police on the barricade on European Square in central Kyiv. An armored personnel carrier has rammed through the barricade, but protesters pelted it with Molotov cocktails. The vehicle is currently on fire, the storming of the barricades continues. —Interfax-Ukraine

 

It is a night of fires, explosions and gunshots as police and protesters clash tonight on Kyiv’s Independence Square.

 

Independence Square on war footing after dark

Feb. 18, 8 p.m. — As police continued to amass in the evening, the only way out of Independence Square after sunset was up the hill towards St. Michael’s Cathedral as well as on Khreshchatyk and Prorizna streets. Protesters tore up paving stones on Khreshchatyk Street, stood guard at barricades and stockpiled Molotov cocktails as if bracing for an attack by police overnight.

Thousands remained on Independence Square well into the evening, ignoring police calls to clear out and go home by 6 p.m.

Acting Security Services of Ukraine head Oleksandr Yakymenko and acting Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko issued a public warning at 4 p.m. to protesters to clear the streets within two hours: “If by 6 p.m. the lawlessness doesn’t cease, we shall be forced to used all legal means to bring order.”

Kyiv’s metro was closed by 4:30 p.m. and roads leading to Kyiv were blocked by police.

A commandant for the opposition-occupied Ukrainian House announced at 5 p.m. that police officers had stormed the building, forcing the evacuation of civilians. Police took over the state-owned exhibition hall and conference center by 6 p.m.

General Prosecutor Viktor Pshonka issued a combative statement: “For everyone who suffered, for every burned car and broken window, the organizers of the mass disturbances will carry responsibility. The general prosecutor’s office will demand the most severe punishment for those who pushed people into today’s action, and those who organized and managed them.” —Brian Bonner

 

Protesters’ tents burn on EuroMaidan after police throw Molotov cocktails at the protesters.

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