Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Ukraine

Timeline: How Ukrainian Protests Descended Into Bloodbath

Violent, Dramatic Clash In Ukraine's Capitali
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February 18, 2014
In Ukraine, antigovernment protesters engaged in a violent, pitched battle with security forces as they drove them back from Kyiv's Shovkovychna Street in a hail of stones. (WARNING: graphic violence) (RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service)

WATCH: Antigovernment protesters engage in a violent, pitched battle with security forces as they drove them back from Kyiv's Shovkovychna Street in a hail of stones on February 18. (WARNING: graphic violence) (RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service)

Ukrainians are reeling after a night of bloody clashes between antigovernment protesters and police that left at least 25 people dead and more than 240 injured on both sides of the barricades. RFE/RL chronicles the events of February 18, which led to the worst violence in Ukraine's post-Soviet history.

8 a.m.
Some 20,000 protesters march to the parliament building in Kyiv to demand a vote on a series of reforms aimed at defusing the crisis by curtailing President Viktor Yanukovych's powers. Clashes quickly erupt, with some protesters hurling stones and torching three police trucks while police fire rubber bullets and smoke bombs.

10:30 a.m.
Antigovernment protesters seize the Kyiv office of Yanukovych's Party of Regions, reportedly scaling the facade and entering through the first floor. They throw documents out of the windows. Later, part of the building catches fire as protesters outside continue to throw Molotov cocktails.

1 p.m.
Clashes intensify. Police are pelted with stones and Molotov cocktails.

WATCH: Protesters force riot police to retreat.
Ukraine Protesters Force Riot Police To Retreati
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February 18, 2014
Several hundred antigovernment protesters drove Interior Ministry troops off central Kyiv's Shovkovychna Street, pelting them with sticks and stones.

Police are shown badly beaten. Some protesters try to help them while others continue assaulting them.
Ukraine Protesters Beat, Capture Police In Kyivi
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February 18, 2014
During confrontations on Shelkovichnogo Street, protesters captured Interior Ministry troops. Some protesters tried to beat them, others defended them.

The nationalist Svoboda party circulates pictures of casings from bullets apparently used during the clashes.

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1:30 p.m.
Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko urges Yanukovych to pull riot police off the streets and call early presidential and parliamentary elections. "Do it," he tells the president.

3 p.m.
The first reports of casualties start trickling in, with Euromaidan medics and opposition lawmaker Lesiya Orobets announcing the death of three protesters. Police, too, suffer casualties. Of the total 25 casualties eventually confirmed by the authorities, nine will be police officers.

3:50 p.m.
The Defense Ministry threatens an "appropriate response" after protesters seize the Central House of the Officers of the Armed Forces. Until now, the military had avoided involvement in the conflict.

4:30 p.m.
The Interior Ministry issues an ultimatum, demanding that protesters end their "riots" by 6 p.m. Within half an hour, the heads of the security services issue a similar ultimatum, vowing to "clean up this mess" if the violence doesn't stop by 6 p.m.

6 p.m.
The deadline passes, Independence Square is surrounded by riot police. Tensions continue to rise.

8 p.m.
Riot police start moving in against the protest camp on Independence Square, using stun grenades and a water cannon. Several adjoining buildings and part of the square catch fire.

WATCH: Riot police storm Independence Square.
Riot Police Continue To Storm Kyiv's Independence Squarei
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February 18, 2014
Riot police clash with protesters on Kyiv's Independence Square on February 18. (Video provided by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service)

10:45 p.m.
Yanukovych's spokeswoman, Hanna Herman, tells RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service there will be no further negotiations until the violence ceases.

2:25 a.m.
A disappointed Klitschko emerges from his meeting with Yanukovych, describing the talks as fruitless. He says Yanukovych just wants the protesters to "go home."

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