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UPDATE: Violence continues in Ukraine
Online Staff Report
The death toll in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev rose to 25 Wednesday ad violent protests against President Viktor F. Yanukovych continued throughout the city. Hundreds have been injured in what is now moving toward a civil war in the former Soviet state.
By Jim Hagerty
Violence continued to ensnare the center of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev Tuesday, Feb., 18, as protestors bowled over stone barriers and troops fired back at thousands of marchers.
The latest attack happened just after 7 p.m., Kiev time. Protestors threw rocks, bricks and used firebombs and guns as they stormed the Khreschatyk Hoel, trapping several security guards inside.
It hasn’t been confirmed, although it is believed police have used live ammunition in the exchange.
Nine people have already been killed as military troops fired on a protest camp, launching stun grenades and other weapons on thousands of protestors. Six police officers have been reportedly killed in the firefight, which continues to swirl in Independence Square.
“This is crazy,” 50-year-old protester Liudmila Mazur told USA Today. “It’s like a real war. “They are going to kill each other.”
Ukraine has been a hotbed of unrest since last November, when President Viktor F. Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the European Union and began talks with Russia about joining the Customs Union.
Ukraine borders Russia to the east and northeast. The former Soviet state declared sovereignty Aug. 24, 1991, when it adopted the Act of Independence.