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Three dead in Ukraine protests

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 22.01.2014 10:40
Three demonstrators have been killed in the Ukrainian capital, one from gunshot wounds to the head, as the political conflict in the ex-Soviet state escalates.

Youtube sreen shot as EspressoTV shows police moving in to clear a protest near government buildings, Wednesday morning

Three people were killed after security forces moved in to clear a group of protesters and barricades near government buildings, early on Wednesday morning in Kiev.

The Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine confirmed that a third person was brought into a hospital dead, after earlier reports that two were killed.

A Reuters cameraman says he was shown the body of a man identified as a protester who had gunshot wounds to the head.

Riot police clash with protestors during an anti-government protest in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, 22 January: photo - EPA/ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE

The Interfax news agency reports that medical staff in Kiev confirm that one man has died, with an anonymous source saying that he had been shot.

Protesters shouted "murderers" as reports circulated that a man had been shot by police sniper fire.

It is unclear whether the shots were from live rounds or rubber bullets.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said anti-government protests had brought "terrorists" on to the streets and warned that all "criminal actions" would be punished.

"Terrorists from the 'Maidan' (seized dozens of people and beat them [...] I am officially stating that these are criminals who must answer for their action," he said.

'A line has been crossed'

Poland's foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski has said that Warsaw is ready to offer help to bring a resolution to the conflict now that "another line has now been crossed with the shedding of blood."

Protesters have been shown live on state TV throwing Molotov cocktails at police lines, with opposition leaders blaming far-right groups for the violent protest, which erupted in Kiev after MPs passed anti-protest laws last Thursday.

The violence occurred on Wednesday in the area around Hrushevskyy Street, close to the main protest encampment at Maidan (Independence Square).

"Opposition leaders say they have lost, or are losing control, of the situation in Maidan," Poland's president Bronislaw Komorowski said on the Radio Zet channel this morning during an interview recorded Tuesday night.

Poland has been a strong supporter of Ukraine signing an associate agreement with the EU, a process which came to a grinding halt when President Viktor Yanukovich refused to sign the deals with Brussels at a summit in Vilnius last November.

Asked if he had been in contact with his Ukrainian counterpart in the last few days, President Komorowski said that this "would not make much sense. Everything that was needed to have been said has been said".

The Ukraine security force (SBU) said on Wednesday that Zbigniew Bujak, a Solidarity trade union activist in the 1980s in Poland, had been denied entry to Ukraine after he took part in protests against the government on 12 and 13 January this year.

The deteriorating situation in Ukraine is to be discussed by Poland's National Security Council

The Polish foreign ministry has appealed to Poles staying or living in Ukraine to exercise caution in areas were the demonstrations are taking place, as tension increases in the capital city, PAP reports. (pg)

Last updated 10.30 Wednesday

tags: Ukraine
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