Ukraine’s western region of Lviv has reportedly declared independence from the central government.
Hours after protesters seized the prosecutor’s office in central Lviv and forced a surrender by interior ministry police, the executive committee of the region council - also called the People’s Rada – claimed control over the region.
"The regime has begun active military action against people. Dozens of people have been killed in Kiev and hundreds have been wounded. Fulfilling the will of society, the executive committee of the Lviv region’s council, the People’s Rada, is assuming full responsibility for the fate of the region and its citizens," read a statement.
The executive committee was led by Petro Kolodiy, chairman of the Lviv region’s council.
Lviv lies close to the border with Poland and was one of the venues for the Euro 2012 football tournament. Over the past months, the city has become a powerful engine driving the insurgency against president Viktor Yanukovich.
The region, which is traditionally hostile to the easterner Yanukovich and favours closer ties with the European Union, has a population of 2.5 million.
"when can a government kill its own people?" is an actual article title over at CNN
"When can the people overthrow their own government?" Anytime they chose to.
Fresh fighting broke out in central Kiev Thursday, leaving at least 19 dead and shattering a brief truce declared by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, as the Russian-backed leader met with European ministers demanding he compromise with pro-EU opponents.
The deaths, which raised the toll since Tuesday to at least 51, including at least 12 police, came during a new eruption of violence just hours after the country’s embattled president and the opposition leaders demanding his resignation called for a truce and negotiations to try to resolve Ukraine’s political crisis.
(Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
VICE UK’s news editor, Henry Langston, is on the streets of Kiev, Ukraine, where it’s been reported that at least 37 people have been killed—mainly from police gunshots. He called us this morning to give us an update on the situation.
An anti-government protester holds a firearm as he mans a barricade on the outskirts of Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. Fierce clashes between police and protesters, some including gunfire, shattered a brief truce in Ukraine’s besieged capital Thursday, killing numerous people. The deaths came in a new eruption of violence just hours after the country’s embattled president and the opposition leaders demanding his resignation called for a truce and negotiations to try to resolve Ukraine’s political crisis. (AP Photo/ Marko Drobnjakovic)
20 Feb 2014 in Kiev
Hotels in Kiev Are Being Used as Makeshift Morgues As the Death Toll Rises
Last night, protesters and police made an uneasy truce in Kiev, but this morning the ceasefire was well and truly broken as blood was shed once more in the streets of the Ukrainian capital. The death toll keeps rising. The Kyiv Post is reporting that at least 37 people have been killed—mainly from police gunshots. Yesterday, the country’s Lviv region declared independence from the central government after protesters seized the prosecutor’s office and the police surrendered.
President Yanukovych is today meeting with EU foreign ministers, and the EU will discuss the possibility of imposing sanctions. Yet it looks like Russia will prop up the Ukrainian economy by buying £1.2 billion in government bonds. Obama didn’t think much of this, attacking Putin for Russia’s role in the crisis and claiming to be “on the side of the people.”
VICE UK’s news editor, Henry Langston, is on the streets of Kiev. He called us this morning to give us an update on the situation.
VICE: Hi, Henry. Things sound pretty horrible out there. What can you tell me?
Henry: I’ve already seen several bodies, which have definitely been hit by gunshots. One guy was wearing a Kevlar vest but without the armour plate; there was a huge hole in it with blood surrounding it. They draped the bodies in a Ukrainian flag. They were young men, possibly in their mid 20s. Earlier, some protesters were shot when they were charging towards some police vans.
Can you tell me how the truce broke down? I thought Yanukovych and the opposition leaders were trying to bring some stability to the situation.
At about 8 AM, the protesters re-took the parts of Independence Square that police had withdrawn from as part of the truce. In retaliation to that, the police opened fire. I have been shown rounds from handguns. There are lots of worried people; these people cannot fight against AK-47s. They have shields and clubs. We haven’t seen any guns on the protesting side. That said, there are reports that outside of Kiev a large number of weapons were seized by protesters who stormed government buildings.
A protester/rioter wore this today in the Ukraine. He was shot with a full caliber-rifle round which clearly shot right through the kevlar in this body armor.
There is no such thing as a bullet proof vest.
If there are any gun control/confiscation supporters left after seeing the carnage that has unfolded today, I have nothing left to say to you. This was a shootout against mostly unarmed civilians that had nothing more than pieces of concrete, bricks, and occasional molotov cocktails to throw at their alleged oppressors.
Ukrainian girls explains why Ukrainian people are fighting
“The Kiev municipal health authorities reported that 39 people had been killed on Thursday, bringing the total number of dead in three days of mayhem to at least 67. There were unconfirmed accounts that 70 protesters in Kiev had been killed and hundreds wounded on Thursday by gunfire in a confrontation with the police. Either figure made Thursday the deadliest day in the conflict to date.
Short of calling in troops it looked unlikely that Mr. Yanukovych could restore his battered authority and regain control of the capital, Kiev, as a growing number of once-loyal members of his ruling Party of Regions, including the mayor of Kiev, announced they were quitting the party to protest the bloodshed.
About the only thing that was entirely clear by Thursday afternoon was that protesters had reclaimed and even expanded territory in the center of Kiev that they had lost just two days earlier when police launched a bloody but unsuccessful assault on Independence Square, the focal point of protests since late November.”
Blood-soaked sheild with bullet holes in it.
20 Feb 2014, Kiev, Ukraine