After 25 die in #Ukraine protesters prepare to stand their ground
They’ve given up their ground before — voluntarily, as a political concession. But that seems to be over.
After the deaths of 25 people from clashes a day earlier, Ukrainian protesters are prepared to stand and fight again Wednesday.
Police want to clear them out of central Kiev. Some of them died trying to stay put Tuesday — using projectiles and burning barricades to keep security forces at bay at Kiev’s Maidan, or Independence Square.
It was the deadliest day in the months-long standoff between the government and opposition leaders. Police and protesters died. A journalist and a government employee did, too.
More than 240 others were hospitalized, Ukraine’s health ministry said.
Overnight, demonstrators stocked up, passing stones hand to hand, filling Molotov cocktails and stoking flaming barricades with wood and tires.
They prepared a makeshift compressed-air cannon to catapult the projectiles into police ranks.
Flames and smoke were still climbing into the sky after the sun came up.
Ukraine’s President Victor Yanukovich fired fresh vitriol at his opposition Wednesday, pinning blame for the violence exclusively on protesters.
He would have none of it himself.
“This is my life principle – no power is worth a drop of blood spilled for it,” he said in a statement.
Yet he issued a veiled threat to protesters.
Opposition forces should “disassociate themselves from the radical forces that provoke bloodshed and clashes with law enforcement,” he said.
Otherwise, admit to supporting them and be treated accordingly, Yanukovych demanded.
Opposition leaders pointed the finger back, painting their supporters as the victims, not the aggressors.
Neither side seems to have a monopoly on the use of violence, and in the mayhem, it is sometimes hard to tell who is carrying it out.
The journalist who died Wednesday was shot the night before, after a group of masked people stopped a taxi he was riding in, according to a statement by his newspaper Ukrainian Vesti.
They wore camouflage clothes and were throwing Molotov cocktails. They beat other passengers in the car, the paper reported.