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Deadly Kiev Clashes as Riot Police and Anti-Government Forces Collide in Violence

Mayhem in Ukraine capitol leaves at least nine dead and more than one hundred injured

- Jon Queally, staff writer

Riot policemen in flames clash with protesters in downtown Kiev. (Photograph: ANDREW KRAVCHENKO/EPA)

Clashes between anti-government protesters and state security forces exploded in Kiev on Tuesday with at least nine people reported killed as night fell in the Ukrainian capital amid fresh fears that a political stalemate has now escalated into chaotic mayhem with an unknown trajectory.

USA Today reports:

Government troops fired stun grenades and gunshots at thousands of marchers, killing at least nine people, said opposition lawmaker Lesya Orobets. The pop of grenades could be heard and clouds of tear gas and smoke from burning cars and trucks filled the streets.

"This is crazy, it's like a real war – they are going to kill each other," said protester Liudmila Mazur, 50, as she watched about 100 protesters attack a police barricade that blocked the way to parliament.

"I don't know if there is another way now as the government understands only force. When we were protesting peacefully, they didn't hear us. I just hope people won't get hurt," Mazur said.

The Associated Press posted this video from the afternoon clashes:

According to the New York Times:

In the course of wild day of parries and thrusts by the protesters and the police, the authorities in Kiev reported nine people killed, including two police officers. It was the bloodiest day of violence since President Yanukovych spurned a trade deal with Europe in November and set of protests that began peacefully but have since involved occasional spasms of deadly violence.

The push into Independence Square by anti-riot forces spread chaos and fire across the protest zone, with tents ablaze as police advanced through clouds of smoke and tear-gas. Protesters sang the national anthem against the din of percussion grenades, fireworks and what, on occasion, sounded like gunfire.

And the Guardian, which was offering live coverage throughout the day, reported that in addition to those killed, more than 100 people have been seriously injured in the violence.

This livestream from Independence Square was being watched around the world even as night fell over the city:

And Twitter was rapidly tracking news reports and reaction to the Kiev violence from various perspectives:

Photos:

Anti-government protesters shield themselves during clashes with riot police in central Kiev. (Genya Savilov / AFP/Getty Images)

Wounded people walk after clashes with riot police in central Kiev. (Stringer / REUTERS)

Opposition demonstrators stand in front of burning barricades during clashes with police in Kiev. (Piero Quaranta / AFP/Getty Images)

Protesters throw stones toward riot police in Kiev on February 18. (Photo: Getty)

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