18 people are dead in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev as thousands of riot police marched on the city’s Independence Square, where some 20,000 protesters remain camped out.
This was the deadliest wave yet in the three months of protests that began with an unpopular decision by President Yanukovych to reject a long-planned economic deal with the European Union in favor of a Russian bailout. The protests found new life – and took a violent turn – in late January to oppose strict anti-protesting laws.
“We see that this regime again has begun shooting people; they want to sink Ukraine in blood. We will not give in to a single provocation,” opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk told protesters according to the Associated Press. “We will not take one step back from this square. We have nowhere to retreat to. Ukraine is behind us, Ukraine’s future is behind us.”
-The Associated Press contributed to this report
Below are multiple live web feeds from Kiev as well as Twitter streams providing updates.
Riot police form up in Kiev’s Independence Square. | Sergei Supinsky/Getty Images
Anti-government protesters tear up the plaza to gather stones. | Genya Savilov/Getty Images
Kiev’s Independence 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. | Genya Savilov/Getty Images
Riot police form a barrier with their shields as they clash with protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square. | AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
Monuments to Kiev’s founders burn as anti-government protesters clash with riot police in Kiev’s Independence Square. | AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
An anti-government protester runs during clashes with riot police. | AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
Flames engulfed the main anti-government protest camp on Independence Square. | Getty Images/Genya Savilov