A pro-European Union protester throws an object during clashes with Ukrainian riot police in Kiev, Ukraine (CNS photo/Valentyn Ogir enko, Reuters)
violence broke out in Kyiv on Tuesday, February 18 between protestors
on Independence Square and government forces. The international
mainstream media report casualties on both sides but offer no
explanation of who started the shooting and why.
According to a
statement e-mailed by the press on Tuesday evening (local time),
February 18, by Olha Halabala, a representative from the headquarters of
the Euromaidan movement:
morning, the chairman of Ukraine’s parliament, Volodymyr Rybak refused
to register the opposition draft law [providing for a] return to the
2004 Constitution, which caused rapid escalation in the situation on
Kyiv’s streets. As of 6:00 p.m.: 6 people are confirmed dead by the
Maidan medical service, around 10 more fatally wounded; ... 14
journalists were beaten today; More than 500 people seriously wounded by
grenades, rubber and live bullets; Kyiv has shut down... a state of
emergency has been enacted as of 6:00 p.m. Everyone who is at the Maidan
[Square] is now considered an extremist, according to an official
statement of the Internal Ministry.... Soldiers are using grenades,
throwing Molotov cocktails to set the Maidan tents on fire.... Special
Forces are coordinating their activities with armed units of titushky [hired thugs]. Special Forces snipers have been spotted and photographed on house roofs in central Kyiv.
Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav
Shevchuk, issued a statement Tuesday which was published on the official
UGCC website and widely quoted in its entirety in the Ukrainian media.
An English translation of the full text of the statement follows:
great regret I declare that the appeals by the Churches to avoid
bloodshed and to resolve the conflict peacefully were not heeded. In
God’s name I condemn the violence and the disregard of human rights and
of the people’s will. I emphasize that the one who has authority bears
full responsibility for what is happening in this country.
all I say: stop the bloodshed immediately! I call on all the sons and
daughters of the Church to fast, pray, and show solidarity with the
victims. At this moment, when fratricidal disaster is looming over
Ukraine, let the bells ring in all the churches of the UGCC.