Ukraine protests: 'At least two demonstrators killed' in Kiev as clashes intensify - Europe - World - The Independent

Ukraine protests: 'At least two demonstrators killed' in Kiev as clashes intensify

Security forces have chased protesters away from the site

Ukraine descended further into chaos today as violent clashes between police and protesters left two dead and injured hundreds, in a situation spiralling "out of control" in the country's capital.

Escalating unrest resulted in the first two fatalities today, after the Ukraine's General Prosecutor confirmed two men had died of gunshot wounds and a criminal investigation has been opened.

Talks to resolve the crisis failed to yield any immediate results when President Viktor Yanukovych met with three opposition leaders, while the European Union warned they may have to "rethink their relationship with Ukraine" if proof emerges that peaceful protesters had been shot at or "a systematic violation of human rights" had taken place, Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the EU Commission said.

"If there is a systematic violation of human rights, including shooting at peaceful demonstrators or serious attacks to the basic freedoms ... then we have to rethink our relationship with Ukraine and possibly (there will be) some consequences."

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday Moscow is ready to discuss measures with the EU to "eliminate policies" that are creating "dividing lines" within the Ukraine, after warning that the "situation is getting out of control".

Police stormed barricades on Kiev's central square, detaining some protesters at 6am (GMT) this morning during heavy snowfall. Later, police began chasing protesters from the site of violent clashes, hours after the two protesters died. Helmeted riot police moved in on hundreds of protesters on Wednesday afternoon, beating and firing rubber bullets at some and sending people running.

The Ukraine Prime Minister Mykola Azarov denied reports that police had live ammunition and said opposition leaders should be held responsible for the deaths.

He said anti-government protests had brought "terrorists" onto the streets of Kiev and pledged to punish all "criminal action", even as protesters confronted police near government headquarters.

Mr Azarov said: "As the Prime Minister of Ukraine, I officially state that the casualties, which unfortunately already exist, remain on the consciousness and responsibility of the organisers and certain participants of mass disturbances."

The EU also called on Ukraine's government and opposition to “engage in a genuine dialogue”.

“I strongly condemn the violent escalation of events in Kiev overnight leading to casualties. The reported deaths of several protesters are a source of extreme worry,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.

Hundreds of protesters have been injured in the clashes, which have been largely restricted to the main protest camp at Independence Square.

The US Embassy said it was revoking the visas of some Ukrainian officials linked to the violence and was considering further action. The embassy would not name the officials, citing privacy laws.

The Prime Minister Mykola Azarov had said police would use force if the unrest continued after new anti-protest laws were rushed through Parliament on Thursday.

Mr Azarov told state broadcaster Russia 24 yesterday evening: "If the provocateurs do not stop, then the authorities will have no other choice but to use force under the law to protect our people."

Stalemate in Ukraine: Is Brussels doing enough to help protesters?

The two-month standoff, which has attracted hundreds of thousands of protesters to rallies in central Kiev, began after President Yanukovych abruptly spurned a pact with the European Union in favour of close ties with Russia.

His decision to instead turn to Russia for financial assistance outraged many people who had pinned their hopes for a more prosperous future on closer ties with the EU, rather than with their former Soviet rulers.

More to follow

Additional reporting by Associated Press

Suggested Topics
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week