RIOTS IN DOWNTOWN KYIV – ongoing updates.
Earlier today, large groups of Maidan activists walked in a procession to the Verkhovna Rada [Parliament], demanding reinstatement of the 2004 version of the Ukrainian Constitution. The area was surrounded by law enforcement. The situation escalated fast. A dozen people reported dead, hundreds injured. After numerous clashes, the protesters retreated to Maidan [Independence Square], followed by law enforcers.
Starting from 8:30 pm, several attacks have been made on the protesters’ camp, many of the barricades were lost. The protesters are now gathered in the heart of the camp, protecting themselves from further attacks by walls of fire.
The government threatens to treat everyone who does not leave downtown Kyiv by midnight as a terrorist. Access to the city is being restricted. One of the main TV channels covering the protests has been switched off throughout Ukraine.
As of 01:00, Kyiv time, the death toll has reached TWENTY, and the number of injured, FIVE HUNDRED.
01:19 – Officials: ‘Berkut Not Equipped with Firearms’
The official Kyiv is now informing the world that “Berkut is not equipped with firearms. The special police force only has the means to contain the protests.” The Ukrainian authorities keep lying to the world. In the meantime, hospitals are packed with people with gunshot wounds. Over ten dead.
I appeal to the European embassies, to urgently send their specialists, experts, journalists to Hospitals N17 and N18, and the Kyiv Municipal Emergency Hospital, to document the real state of the wounds.
International experts have to be immediately sent to the hospitals!
Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, MP:
The assault on Maidan was brutal. Berkut also attempted an inside attack, by setting fire to the top floor of the Trade Union House.
01:32 – News from Lviv
Olexander Aronets, MP:
People stormed into the military unit at Stryyska Street and captured an arsenal, full of weapons. They also captured the prosecutor’s office building. Documents are being burned and thrown out of the windows.
Updates on the Trade Union House Fire
The House of Trade Unions is on fire, people are sliding down vertical walls. Tremendous self-control. They are climbing down successfully! – eyewitnesses on Facebook
Together with @STsegolko, we let in three fire engines from Mykhailivska Street.
Finally, firemen arrived. People are trapped on the 9th floor of the Trade Union House. A rescue group approaches.
A priest from Maidan stage: the night of evil is short, and tomorrow will be a new day
A girl at the Maidan stage has been shot, she is hit to the thigh. The good news, however, it was a rubber bullet.
Four bodies are at the Mykhaylivskyy Cathedral. These people were killed next to the Trade Union House.
02:03 – Road Police Shot At
Road Control informs that a patrol of road police was shot at in the Boschagivka district of Kyiv. Somehow, it seems this is only the beginning, writes EuroMaydan on Facebook.
02:08 – Kyiv Church of Fathers Vasilians Calls for Help
EuroMaydan via Facebook:
We have information from MP Oleksandra Kuzhel. Priests from the Kyiv Church of Fathers Vasilians ask for help. Right now, titushkas [hired thugs] are gathering next to the church and preparing to start a bloody battle. A detail of thirty strong and well-equipped men should be sent here, to beat off an attack if necessary.
The information has been verified. The church is located at Lvivska Square, 7 Voznesenskyy Descent (former Smyrnova-Lastochkina Street).
02:32 – Overview of the Last Few Hours
Ukraine on Facebook:
Protesters have built an improvised barricade from the corner of the Trade Union House to the Independence Monument, and set it on fire. The fortification is made of tires and other combustible materials. People bring wood and other flammable things. Because of this, Berkut’s assault on EuroMaidan has slowed down. The smoke is being blown in their direction, making for an additional obstacle.
The first floor of the Trade Union House on the side of the European Square is on fire as well. The glass collapsed because of the temperature and the fire spread inside the building. The protesters are throwing furniture out of the Trade Union House to enlarge the barricade. At the same time, activists built some additional barricades in the streets adjacent to Maidan, in particular, Kostyolna Street. These fortifications are meant to defend the protesters from unexpected attacks of enforcers from other directions.
Meanwhile, eyewitnesses spread information through Facebook that special forces shoot ultraviolet paint at people. The people in the square are convinced that law enforcers use the paint to mark their targets, because it glows in the dark. Law enforcers use also gas and stun grenades, as well as water cannons.
Attempts to break through to Maidan continue. Positional fights at the fire line are active, continuing with varying success.
Many people have been seriously wounded in the encounters. A hand of one of protesters was torn off by an explosive device from the side of law enforcers. Maidan self-defense keeps making efforts to hold the square, while volunteers ask people without proper equipment to not enter the thick of the events.
Meanwhile, specialized machinery is actively disassembling the barricades at Hrushevskiy Street, next to the Dynamo stadium. Some 8 excavators and 10 trucks are working in the street, disassembling and taking away the barricades.
02:20 – Road Clear for Reinforcements
The checkpoint at the entrance to Kyiv from the Zhytomyr highway has been taken! The road is clear for reinforcements!
02:27 – Everyone Rescued from the Trade Union House!
Boris Yeghiazaryan, reporting from Maidan:
The guys are going to Maidan. Our numbers grow. Despite the injuries and, the deaths, Maidan keeps standing. More people are arriving. We need many people to make it to the morning. We have already fought off several attacks, captured a few Berkut officers. These beasts have started a real war.
Tonight, the fate of Ukraine is being decided. A war is happening here, but it’s not scary as long as we’re together. All kinds of help are required at Maidan. Guys, come here, we have to make it through the night. Stand up and come here.
Berkut burned down the Trade Union House, it’s all in flames. The guys went into the building, rescuing people from top floors. Everyonehere saves lives. Miracles happen here.
We block Berkut off with our fire. And when the priests are praying, the wind changes, blowing fire and smoke towards God is helping us. Guys, stand up, come here, by car or on foot!
03:12 – Berkut Advance Again
03:20 – Party of Regions MPs Flee Ukraine
Twenty-six MPs of the Party of Regions left Ukraine by a charter flight operated by Azarov Jr., around midnight, a source in the Party of Regions informed Hvylya.
Another source noted that Volodymyr Rybak, speaker of the Rada, said that no parliamentary session can take place tomorrow, because the faction of the Party of Regions cannot be collected to attend.
Our friend spent half a day with a guy he met at Maidan. They made friends there, and stood together, like these things happen there.
We met them at Mykhailivska Square. Took medicines there.
We saw “titushkas” at the intersection of Volodymyrska and Velyka Zhytomyrska Streets. Then they started to shoot. At us. I heard bullets flying over our heads.
The guy was shot into stomach and killed. In his car, there’s a baby chair.
That’s it. End of story.
03:30 – No active advance as of this time