Ukraine: “The War Is Here.” Over 20 Dead and 1,000 Injured

Violence between Ukraine’s opposition
(known as Euromaidan) and the government’s SWAT-style police force
(Berkut), has boiled over today. Fires are raging across
protester’s tent-towns and police headquarters in what is being

as “open warfare.” Estimates
that over 20 people are dead and over 1,000 are
injured. The BBC reports that
officers are using rubber bullets and stun grenades, while The
Daily Beast

machine guns are their weapon of choice. Protesters are
armed with an array of weapons, from bricks and molotov cocktails
to firearms of their own.

Euromaidan participant Lesya Orobets writes

The war is here. A real fierce war. It is impossible to grasp
this emotionally, although the mind is working precisely and
quickly quite apart from emotions. We are being exterminated
because of our desire to have dignity and decide our lives
independently. This simply makes no sense. My fellow Ukrainians are
being killed by the creatures that not only resemble us
biologically, but also carry Ukrainian passports.

Russian news website
that mayhem was sparked because police blocked
opposition members and their representatives from entering
Ukraine’s parliamentary building, where they planned on introducing
constitutional reforms to limit the authority of President
Yanukovych, who has been consolidating power.

The Kyiv Post has a comprehensive timeline of events.
Here are some

Feb. 18, 8 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.”


Police continued to amass in the evening… Protesters tore up
paving stones on Khreshchatyk Street, stood guard at barricades and
stockpiled Molotov cocktails as if bracing for an attack by police


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.


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

Shortly after midnight, one politician
, “I am confident that today Maidan will be


Feb. 18, 10:18 p.m. There are unconfirmed
reports of 300-500 “titushki” — government-hired thugs — walking
on Volodymyrska Street towards Sofiyivska Square


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.


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.

So far, no resolution has been reached between Yanukovych and
opposition leaders. Whether or not they even met is still

Read Reason’s previous coverage of the Ukrainian revolution


from Hit & Run

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