Ukraine tensions escalate: protesters pushed back to Maidan, troops injured, subway halted
18 February 2014, 18:51
Law enforcers have practically dismantled the main barricade in the Grushevsky street, the police advanced almost to the European square. Protesters are hiding behind shields and retreating back to the Maidan. Using flashbangs, law enforcers are also trying to storm the barricade in the Institutskaya street, which is located closest to the Maidan Nezalezhnosti.
Meanwhile, four Kiev subway stations - Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Khreshchatyk, Arsenalnaya, and Pochtovaya Ploshchad - were closed at the entrances and exits on Tuesday afternoon to ensure passenger safety during the latest disturbances in Kiev. The announcement was made from a loudspeaker at the entrance to one of the stations, an Interfax correspondent said.
Ten interior troops injured in Kiev
Doctors are providing first aid to interior troops injured in central Kiev.
Several dozen servicemen, who sustained various injuries, including gunshot wounds, are in the courtyard of a building on Shovkovychna Street, the mass media report. About ten gunshot wounds have been reported on Tuesday, a doctor said.
Ukraine's security service gives Kiev protesters two hours to stop riots - official statement
Ukraine's Security Service chief Oleksandr Yakymenko and Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko have urged opposition leaders to calm the protests and return to talks.
Order will be restored, using all the legal means available, if the disturbances do not stop before 6:00 pm (4:00 GMT), Yakymenko and Zakharchenko said in a joint statement released on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a criminal case has been opened into Tuesday's riots in Kiev.
'Police have opened criminal proceedings under Ukrainian Criminal Code Article 294 (mass unrest),' the city police department said.
Earlier, a fire broke out at the Kiev city administration building at about 3:00 pm local time (1:00 pm GMT) on Tuesday. A fire brigade is tackling the fire, the city administration said on its website.
Mayor Volodymyr Makeyenko is inside the building, it said.
Reports said earlier that protestors made their way into the building through smashed windows on the right side of the building to see if there are law enforcement personnel present. They also reportedly torched car tires near the iron gates fencing the courtyard, where they think riot policemen of the Berkut special police force could be located.
A staff member has been killed during an attack on the Party of Regions office, the party said in a press statement on Tuesday.
'The Party of Regions office was attacked today by armed youth. The building was pelted with Molotov cocktails and smoke bombs, causing fire inside the building, windows were smashed on several floors. When an attempt was made to remove the people working in the building, the men leaving the building were brutally beaten. One staff member died. He was an ordinary worker from the supply department. Who will answer for this death?!' the statement said. Earlier reports said two people were killed during the storming of the office.
Duma's Pushkov against forcing Ukraine to choose between Russia and EU
Head of the Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs Alexei Pushkov supports the standpoint that Ukraine should not be forced to choose between Russia and the EU.
'It seems to me that we could take as a basis the statement of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said that Ukraine should not be put before a choice - either the EU or Russia. I absolutely agree with that,' Pushkov said during Moscow-Berlin videoconference on Tuesday.
If the Ukraine is put before this choice, then 'we will get a divided country,' he stated.
'We must find such a way for the Ukraine to complete the integration process with the European Union, that will allow us to preserve current relations between Ukraine and Russia. These relations are now quite important for the Ukrainian economy. This will be the best choice, I suppose,' the head of Duma Committee said.
He urged all the parties to 'overcome purely geopolitical approach and think like politicians who are interested in Europe becoming more united.'
Pushkov doubts that either the EU or Russia alone is able to help stabilize the Ukrainian economy.
'Maybe this is our common goal,' he said.
Voice of Russia, Interfax
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