Thursday, January 23, 2014

Street Battles in Ukraine, Casualties Reported

Authorities in Ukraine deployed an armored personnel carrier and masses of riot police Wednesday in their latest push to sweep the center of the capital of anti-government protesters. Unrest in Kiev took a turn for the worse in the morning with news that at least three people were killed in clashes with police as the violence that erupted this week showed little immediate sign of abating. Ukraine has seen increasingly ugly scenes in recent days with demonstrators intensifying their anti-government campaign in response to draconian legislation that came into force Wednesday which has severely curbed the freedom to protest. Demonstrators in helmets, many of them wielding sticks and shields, some of them throwing Molotov cocktails, engaged in pitched battles with lines of advancing lines of riot police for much of the day on Ulitsa Grushevskogo, a street flanking the Cabinet office and parliament. Riot police fired what appeared to be rubber bullets and stun grenades at the crowd. The United States said Wednesday that it “strongly condemns” the escalation of violence in Ukraine that has left at least two people dead amid a wave of anti-government protests. “We urge all sides to immediately de-escalate the situation and refrain from violence,” US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement. (video)

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