Chaos in Kiev: As truce collapses, Ukraine forces killing protestors. Will pro-Putin forces prevail?

 

Map of Kiev, Ukraine (credit: AFP)

Map of Kiev, Ukraine (credit: AFP)

(Washington, D.C.) — The chaos in Kiev is going from bad to worse.

  • The brief truce has already collapsed.
  • The killing of Ukrainian protestors by government forces has resumed.
  • Some Western reporters and analysts are suggesting the regime’s hold on power may be slipping.
  • Others, however, are convinced the pro-Putin forces will crush the protestors no matter how many are killed.

Here is some of the latest coverage.

New York Times headline: “Ukraine Leader Strains for Grip as Chaos Spreads.”

“Ukraine spiraled deeper into disarray on Wednesday as the government of President Viktor F. Yanukovych and several thousand grimly determined protesters, along with their supporters in Russia and Europe, faced off in a confrontation over the fate of this fractured country of 46 million,” reports the New York Times.

“As measures of the turmoil, the authorities announced a nationwide ‘antiterrorist operation’ to keep guns and power from what it called extremist groups, and they dismissed the country’s top general,” noted the Times. “But very late in the day, they declared that a truce had been reached with political leaders of the opposition, who confirmed that overnight. The party website of an opposition leader, Vitali Klitschko, said the opposition had received assurances that there would be ‘no assault’ on the main protest site, though it was uncertain that a pause in the conflict would hold, particularly among more determined street fighters. The agreement was announced after indications — including the deployment of paratroopers to help protect military bases — that the Ukrainian authorities were concerned about maintaining control, particularly in the country’s west.”

However, the truce has not held.

“A shaky truce crumbled in Kiev Thursday morning, when gunfire erupted at the city’s Maidan, or Independence Square, which has been ground zero for anti-government protesters,” reports CNN. “At least 20 protesters died, said Oleg Musiy, head of the protesters’ medical service. A police officer also was killed, the interior ministry said. It’s unclear what prompted the gunfire. But CNN crews at the scene reported that as security forces were moving away from the area, a group of protesters pursued them, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails….”

“Protesters grabbed the wounded by their clothes or limbs, and carried many of them to a hotel lobby at one end of the square that had been converted into a triage center,” noted CNN. “Bodies, covered in bloodied sheets, lay on the floor. Orthodox priests prayed over them. Medical workers had no chance to save many of those who died, said Olga Bogomolets, a doctor. ‘They were shot directly to their hearts, their brain and to their neck,’ she said. As police hastened their withdrawal, demonstrators rushed to fortify their barricades, which they then reignited. The tent city was once again in their hands. It’s unclear exactly how many people died Thursday. Speculation ran rampant. Various figures were thrown around. No one wanted a repeat of Tuesday, when 28 people died — police and protesters alike. It was the deadliest day of the protests, which began in November when Yanukovych reversed a decision to sign a trade deal with the European Union and instead turned toward Russia.”

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