Kiev turns into a killing field; 70 more killed in clashes

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Kiev turns into a killing field; 70 more killed in clashes

Fearing that a call for a truce was a ruse, protesters tossed firebombs and advanced upon police lines in Ukraine’s embattled capital.

By (Agencies)

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Published: Sat 22 Feb 2014, 12:48 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 12:42 AM

Protesters are engulfed in flames as they stand behind burning barricades during clashes with police in Kiev on Thursday. — AFP

Government snipers shot back and the almost-medieval melee that ensued left at least 70 people dead on Thursday itself.

Video footage on Ukrainian television showed shocking scenes of protesters being cut down by gunfire, lying on the pavement as comrades rushed to their aid. Trying to protect themselves with shields, teams of protesters carried bodies away on sheets of plastic or on planks of wood.

President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition protesters who demand his resignation are locked in an epic battle over the identity of Ukraine, a nation of 46 million that has divided loyalties between Russia and the West. Parts of the country — mostly in its western cities — are in open revolt against Yanukovych’s central government, while many in eastern Ukraine favour strong ties with Russia, their former Soviet ruler.

The carnage appears to show that neither Yanukovych nor the opposition leaders appear to be in control of the chaos engulfing Ukraine. A truce announced late on Wednesday appeared to have little credibility among hardcore protesters at Kiev’s Independence Square campsite.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is sending an envoy to Ukraine at the request of Yanukovich to try to mediate talks between the government and opposition, Russian news agencies said.

European Union foreign ministers are holding an emergency meeting in Brussels to consider imposing sanctions on top Ukrainian officials held responsible for the escalating violence.

UAE citizens warned against travelling to Ukraine

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned citizens who carry diplomatic, official or ordinary passports, not to travel to Ukraine due to the unstable security conditions prevailing there.

In a statement, Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Butti Al Hamed, Undersecretary at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also urged UAE citizens in Ukraine to stay away from places of gatherings and demonstrations and coordinate with the UAE Embassy in Kiev on the following numbers to facilitate their departure process: 00380939752949 and the Operations Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: 024449600.

He urged the citizens to comply with this warning until further notice and to be cautious when travelling outside the country. He also advised citizens travelling overseas to carefully read the travel advice page at the ministry’s website and to enroll in the Tawjdi (my whereabouts) service for the UAE citizens. - Wam

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