February 21, 2014 12:01 am -

kievThere had been news of a truce early Thursday between the current Ukraine leadership and anti-government protesters, but the situation quickly deteriorated:

Security forces fired on masses of antigovernment demonstrators in Kiev on Thursday in a drastic escalation of the three-month-old crisis that left dozens dead and Ukraine reeling from the most lethal day of violence since Soviet times.

The shootings followed a quickly shattered truce, with enraged protesters parading dozens of captured police officers through Kiev’s central square. Despite a frenzy of East-West diplomacy and negotiations, there was little sign that tensions were easing.

President Viktor F. Yanukovych lost at least a dozen political allies, including the mayor of the capital, who resigned from his governing Party of Regions to protest the bloodshed. Mr. Yanukovych conferred with three foreign ministers from the European Union who had come to press for a compromise solution.

The sights of bullet-riddled bodies slumped amid smoldering debris, some of them shot in the head, and screaming medics carrying the dead and wounded to emergency clinics, including one in a hotel lobby, shocked the country and the world. The opposition said that at least 70 and as many as 100 people had been killed, while municipal authorities put the day’s death toll at 39.

Guardian described it as

… the bloodiest day of violence since protests began, as the opposition routed thousands of riot police to regain control of central Kiev amid signs that the power base of embattled president Viktor Yanukovych was under threat.

Dozens died and hundreds were injured in a day of dramatic violence that turned into a seesaw contest and saw thousands of riot police scuttling from territory they seized on Tuesday. The day ended with thousands of Kiev residents patiently building city centre barricades in the cold and the dark. …

The mayor of Kiev, Volodymyr Makeyenko, a Yanukovych appointment, announced he was quitting the president’s political party. “The events happening in the Ukrainian capital are a tragedy. I have decided to resign from the Party of the Regions.” Ten Yanukovych MPs broke ranks and demanded mediation in the spiralling conflict by the EU and the US.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.